Dec 5, 2022

I Interview Playwrights Part 1116: Julia B. Rosenblatt

Photo Credit:Seina Shirakura Photography

Julia B. Rosenblatt

Hometown: Hartford, CT

Current Town: Back in Hartford!

Q: Tell me about Can't Make This Sh*t Up

A: About two months ago Tjasa Ferme introduced me to Transforma Theatre and The Science in Theater Festival. While I believe in science thoroughly, (which is actually something one has to make explicit these days), I am terrifyingly intimidated by the subject. My freeze response kicks in and I assume I am incapable of understanding any of it. So when Tjasa said she needed a play about an eco-toilet connected to a laboratory that uses excrement to produce biogas, my head started spinning.

Jaewon Cho's BeeVi toilet is nothing short of mind blowing. And yet it makes so much sense, I can only assume the reason we haven't heard more about it, is that it involves acknowledging what the great children's author, Taro Gomi, has been telling us for decades: everyone poops. As we get closer to the point irreversible climate change, it's clearly time we get over ourselves and insist on sustainable forms of energy, no matter what (or whom) it comes from. Can't Make This Sh*t Up, is loosely based on my home, a small urban commune once known as the Scarborough 11. The play imagines the year is 2030. After yet another devastating natural disaster has wiped out the city's plumbing and sewage system, we decide to build a Biological Anaerobic Digestion System in our backyard. Our NIMBY neighbors go nuts, and drag us before the zoning commission, bringing national attention to our family once again. It's a comedy.

Q: What else are you working on now? 

A:  Group! (lyrics by Eloise Govedare, music by Aleksandra Weil) is a musical that follows six women through intensive outpatient therapy for drug and alcohol addiction. The show has had two workshops and a brief run at Passage Theatre in New Jersey. We are now in the process of rewrites, and looking for the next development opportunity.

Q: Tell me, if you will, a story from your childhood that explains who you are as a writer or as a

A:  Like many other playwrights, I have been "devising theater" in my parents' basement since I was in elementary school. I spent hours creating and rehearsing epic plays and musicals with anyone who was willing (most often my younger sister). I am eternally grateful to my parents, older sisters, aunts and uncles for sitting through our "performances."

Q: If you could change one thing about theater, what would it be? 

A:  Purpose and access. Theater is essential to the human condition. It should not be something that is elite or reserved for specific times and places. Theater should be made and enjoyed by whomever chooses to do so.

Q: Who are or were your theatrical heroes? 

A:   August Boal's Theater of the Oppressed changed my life. It set me on a path that I have rarely veered from in the last 30 years. As far as current playwrights, I fall in love with everything Lynn Nottage creates.

Q: What kind of theater excites you? 

A:  Real, complex stories that use humor to challenge the status quo and demand systemic change.

Q: What advice do you have for playwrights just starting out? 

A:  Oof, this is a hard one because every day I feel like I'm "just starting out." I guess I would say write with passion and seek feedback with humility. We should always be learning.

Q: Plugs, please:

A:  Well of course coming up, Science in Theater Festival.
I am a co-founder and ensemble member of HartBeat Ensemble.
Check out the professionally immersive theater training program at Capital Community College!

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