Barbara Blatner

Barbara Blatner

BARBARA BLATNER is a playwright, poet and composer. YOU/ME was produced in the 2015 Midtown International Theatre Festival. YEARS OF SKY, produced by Scripts Up! at New York's 59E59 Theaters (2013), won the 2013 Columbia-Greene Playwrights Project, the 2014 New Works of Merit Contest and was a PlayLabs selection at the 2015 Great Plains Theatre Conference. Barbara’s verse play, NO STAR SHINES SHARPER, was...
BARBARA BLATNER is a playwright, poet and composer. YOU/ME was produced in the 2015 Midtown International Theatre Festival. YEARS OF SKY, produced by Scripts Up! at New York's 59E59 Theaters (2013), won the 2013 Columbia-Greene Playwrights Project, the 2014 New Works of Merit Contest and was a PlayLabs selection at the 2015 Great Plains Theatre Conference. Barbara’s verse play, NO STAR SHINES SHARPER, was produced by Mystic Theatre Company (2004), published by Baker’s Plays (1990), aired on National Public Radio stations on Christmas night (1992/1993) and acquired by the Museum of Television and Radio. GUERNICA 2003 appeared in the American Globe Theatre’s Festival (2012). SHADOW PLAY received a workshop production in the Cleveland Public Theatre’s 1993 New Plays Festival. Barbara’s adaptation of Borowski’s THIS WAY FOR THE GAS, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN was commissioned by New Voices and staged at the Boston Public Library (1989).

In 2010, New York Quarterly Books published Barbara’s verse memoir, THE STILL POSITION, and, in 2012, a second poetry collection, LIVING WITH YOU. A chapbook of poems, THE POPE IN SPACE, was published by Intertext Press in 1986. Poems, fiction and reviews have appeared in Beloved on this Earth (anthology), Heliotrope, House Organ, Poetry Northwest, The New York Quarterly, Lift, Apalachee Quarterly, 13th Moon, and others.

Ms. Blatner has taught full-time at Yeshiva University since 2002. She received a Doctor of Arts in English from SUNY-Albany, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Boston University, and a B.A. in Music Composition from Vassar College.

Plays

  • Years of Sky
    YEARS OF SKY chronicles the troubled but enduring love of a biracial couple whose love is bound to the Kennedy assassinations and nearly thirty years of American politics.

    Part 1: 1963/Time on Fire. The grassy knoll: In love 17-year-olds David and Stace meet for the first time in public to see President Kennedy pass by, and scheme to spend their first night together that night. Stace wants David...
    YEARS OF SKY chronicles the troubled but enduring love of a biracial couple whose love is bound to the Kennedy assassinations and nearly thirty years of American politics.

    Part 1: 1963/Time on Fire. The grassy knoll: In love 17-year-olds David and Stace meet for the first time in public to see President Kennedy pass by, and scheme to spend their first night together that night. Stace wants David to rendezvous at her house; he claims she doesn’t grasp the risks of his traveling to her white suburb. She finally agrees to meet at their usual spot behind a movie theatre and David, moved, proclaims he'll come to her house. Believing JFK brings a new era of racial equality, anticipating a night in each other's arms, they defiantly hold each other as the motorcade approaches.

    Part 2: 1968/Path of the Sun. The morning of RFK’s death: David, committed to Black Power politics, at his father Ben’s Dallas electrical shop pines for Stace who we learn he abandoned on the knoll after JFK was shot. Ben accuses David of hypocrisy for wanting “that white girl.” Stace bursts in, distraught over RFK; her real mission is to get David back. David thwarts reconciliation by trying to hasten her into bed. When Stace confronts him about why he left her, he insults her. Weeping, Stace rushes out the door, as David faces his father’s wrath.

    Part 3: 1992/Years of Sky. The day the Rodney King verdict is announced in LA: David and Stace, both divorced, meet for the first time in twenty-four years “of the same Dallas sky” in a hotel room overlooking Dealey Plaza. David confesses he never got over her, wants to try again, but Stace’s anger about their past erupts. David challenges her white privilege; she demands he explain why he left her on the knoll. They fight their way to understanding and reaffirm their bond as race riots explode in LA.
  • Clearing
    Thanksgiving night 2006: In a clearing in the Arizona desert, two years after his honorable discharge from duty in Afghanistan, Kirt reenacts in a full-blown, drug-induced hallucination the events of Thanksgiving night 2004 when he and his best friend Jim were ambushed by Taliban in the Hindi Kush foothills and Kirt “accidentally” killed Jim. Kirt, who has suppressed his memory of this event, is driven to...
    Thanksgiving night 2006: In a clearing in the Arizona desert, two years after his honorable discharge from duty in Afghanistan, Kirt reenacts in a full-blown, drug-induced hallucination the events of Thanksgiving night 2004 when he and his best friend Jim were ambushed by Taliban in the Hindi Kush foothills and Kirt “accidentally” killed Jim. Kirt, who has suppressed his memory of this event, is driven to relive it and face the truth of his history.

    In Kirt’s reenactment, he and Jim fight, and Jim runs off into the darkness. The ghost of Kirt’s Vietnam War hero father Erwin appears, pushes Kirt to avenge a mysterious betrayal that occurred in Arizona before Kirt and Jim went to war. So begins Kirt’s journey into the deep past where, with his parents Erwin and Emily, he plays out conflicts that lie at the core of the family’s unhappiness.

    Reliving the ambush, Kirt moves toward a revelatory, near-tragic end in the desert, as Erwin’s ghost compels him to remember how Jim replaced him in Emily’s affections. As past and present converge, Kirt wounds an innocent passerby, Larsen, believing him to be enemy Taliban. Remembering that he shot Jim, Kirt moves to cut from his chest his tattoo of Chochise, the Apache chief whose “truth and goodness” he strongly identifies with. At the last moment, Lisbet and Emily rush into the clearing and save Kirt from self-destruction.
  • Marilyn Monroe in the Desert
    MARILYN MONROE IN THE DESERT

    A dream in three parts:

    ACT 1: SUN. Dreaming that she is improvising a film in the “great American desert,” Marilyn Monroe falls for a handsome Miner (Death) who promises her eternal youth as his bride if she can stay young till midnight. The Miner fervently hopes that union with gorgeous Marilyn will make him, finally, “feel love,” but Marilyn does...
    MARILYN MONROE IN THE DESERT

    A dream in three parts:

    ACT 1: SUN. Dreaming that she is improvising a film in the “great American desert,” Marilyn Monroe falls for a handsome Miner (Death) who promises her eternal youth as his bride if she can stay young till midnight. The Miner fervently hopes that union with gorgeous Marilyn will make him, finally, “feel love,” but Marilyn does not understand that being his bride means she must die. She encounters two ancient lost Blind Persons who can’t acknowledge her beauty and stardom and, with the Miner, punishes them with labor for their imperviousness to her.

    2: DUSK. Marilyn clings to the Miner who, frustrated that she has not yet made melted his heart, withholds water and love from her. Desperate about losing him, panicked about aging, Marilyn saves the female Blind Person from a spider bite and is moved when the old ones “see” beauty inside her. The Miner leaves Marilyn, dangerously dehydrated, to die on top of a mesa, but she rallies, and with the Blind Persons digs a hole in the sand to find water…

    3: MOON. … but finds none. Delirious under the moon, she hallucinates a nightmarish vaudeville that shows her all too clearly her own aging and the fatal role the Miner is playing in her “movie.” Coming to, older, she wrestles with the Miner to save the Blind Persons; the Miner becomes a vulture and flies away. Realizing that she is in an actual desert, not a Hollywood set, finding a real inner self through acts of love toward the Blind Persons, Marilyn claims life and her intrinsic worth, and strikes out into the desert with the surviving female Blind Person to find water.
  • White Ashes

    In WHITE ASHES, a tragi-comedy, the madness of history is alive in the riotous psyche of a woman striving to extricate herself from incest.

    Esther Golden, on leave from White Ash Psychiatric Hospital, visits her father Abe and mysteriously sequestered, off-limits mother. When Abe, with whom Esther has an unmentionable sexual relationship, says he intends to bring her home for good, she...

    In WHITE ASHES, a tragi-comedy, the madness of history is alive in the riotous psyche of a woman striving to extricate herself from incest.

    Esther Golden, on leave from White Ash Psychiatric Hospital, visits her father Abe and mysteriously sequestered, off-limits mother. When Abe, with whom Esther has an unmentionable sexual relationship, says he intends to bring her home for good, she escapes into habitual madness, claiming to be a victim of the Nazis who killed her grandparents. Promising to bring Esther home, Abe drives her back to White Ash where she resumes a love-hate relationship with John, a hilariously guitar-slinging inmate. At White Ash, Elinor, an irreverent street person who has landed on the ward, promises emotional refuge to Esther, and seduces John.

    A new surrogate “family” of Esther, Elinor and John forms, but Elinor soon runs away from the institution, an abandonment that provokes Esther to relive her relationship with her mother. She attempts suicide, but Katy saves her. Abe at home, agitated when Esther avoids his phone calls to her at White Ash, is flooded with Holocaust memories.

    Pulling himself together, Abe picks up Esther at White Ash. When the two arrive at Abe’s apartment, Esther, identifies Abe as “the Nazi,” and stabs him with a kitchen knife. Entering her mother’s room at last, she finds it empty except for prewar photographs of her parents. Dying, ABE confesses that his wife killed herself – “the Nazis did it” – years before. Esther, clutching her mother’s photo to her heart, acknowledges that “war may be over.”