Taco Soup and Eric Ripert

VF3 playwright Erin Barlow

Erin Barlow has been a LiveWire Collective member since 2007 and has appeared in the company’s productions of A/other Lover, Love of the Nightingale, Soldiers: The Desert Stand, VisionFest 2008 and Red Angel, for which she was listed as one of the Top 5 Male & Female Performances in NewCity’s Top 5 of Everything 2008: Stage. Most recently, she appeared in the Hypocrites’ production of Sean Graney’s No Exit. Last year, LiveWire produced Erin’s short play BE as part of our VisionFest 2009 Line-up. We are delighted to bring her latest piece, The Kink, to the stage at VisionFest3: Feast.

We asked Erin, and all of our VF3 playwrights, a few probing questions about her piece as well as some that surround our theme of “Feast.” Here’s what she had to say…

1. What is your favorite meal?
My mom calls it Taco Soup.  My boyfriend calls it Sunday Soup.  I call it Housewife Soup.  Basically, it’s a can of corn, a can of black beans, a can of Ro-Tel, a packet of taco seasoning, a packet of Hidden Valley Ranch mix, fake meat crumbles (the real recipe calls for ground beef), and some vegetable broth.  It is embarrassingly simple to prepare.  I usually put out more effort when cooking, but it’s ideal for a wintry Chicago Sunday evening.

2. Which three people (real or not) would you most like to sit down with for a meal?
My mother, my boyfriend, and Eric Ripert.

3. When was the last time you were together with your best friend? What did you do?
I was last with my best friend several months ago.  She had been living in Chicago, and she came back to gather her belongings.  We slept in my bed with our dogs, which we referred to as lying down with our pack.  We all slept quite well.

4. What is your earliest theatrical memory?
I was taken to see our local high school’s production of ‘Pirates of Penzance’ when I was in the second grade.  I was so taken with the show, but I couldn’t really remember the songs or the plot.  So, I hung out in my backyard with the program, and I made up my own songs and lines.  Which I’m sure were very bad.

5. What inspired you to write this play?
I heard this story (listed below) on NPR while I was at work, and I cried as I sat at my desk.  I jotted down Mr. Rosenblatt’s statement, “This is a way of keeping the dead alive, by doing what they would have wanted,” which ended up becoming the crux of the play. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=123610749

Check back soon to read how the other playwrights answered these questions. For more on VisionFest3: Feast, visit www.livewirechicago.com/vision