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Distinguished Guest Artists and Projects
Barbara Lebow - The Phenom     [Also see Lab Activities: Plumfield, Iraq]

Award-winning playwright Barbara Lebow was a Playwright-in-Residence at the Lab from 2005-2007. Barbara began working with the Lab by taking her play, The Phenom, through its final stages of development. This culminated in a staged reading, directed by Frank Wittow, with professional actors, at UCSB’s MultiCultural Center Theater. A post-play discussion with an invited audience followed the reading.

The Lab continued to collaborate on a final developmental workshop of The Phenom at the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center, where Barbara is a core member.

Based on their highly successful collaboration, Lab Director Nancy Kawalek and Barbara then applied for a New Plays on Campus grant from the Playwrights’ Center. They received the grant, enabling Barbara to write and develop a new play, Plumfield, Iraq. Nancy and Barbara returned to the Playwrights’ Center to further develop Plumfield, this time with the Center’s Producing Artistic Director Polly Carl as dramaturge, and Nancy as director of the workshop production with professional actors. Plumfield, Iraq went on to have its world premiere in a student production on the main stage of UCSB’s Theater and Dance Department.

As a Playwright-in-Residence, the Lab afforded Barbara the opportunity of working on two plays in a truly supportive and nurturing environment. As a direct result of her affiliation and collaboration with the Lab, she was able to take a play from its very inception all the way through to a full production. The Lab would like to additionally acknowledge the tremendous support and collaboration of the Minneapolis Playwrights' Center and Dr. Polly Carl.

Kevin Daniels in The Phenom

From left to right:  Professional actors Haskell Vaughn Anderson III, Kevin Daniels, Nancy Kawalek, and Kathryn Ish in a reading of The Phenom

Nancy Kawalek and Barbara Lebow lead the post-play discussion with the audience.

Six months after the reading at UCSB, The Phenom went on to have a final developmental workshop at the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center. Here, seen at the close of the workshop, are the exhausted but very happy participants. From left to right: Producing Artistic Director of the Minneapolis Playwrights’ Center, Dr. Polly Carl; playwright Barbara Lebow; dramaturge Liz Engelman; and Lab Director Nancy Kawalek.

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