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Why Playwright Barbara Hammond Is on the Cusp of Something Big

The writer behind Magic Theatre's Eva Trilogy steps into the spotlight.

 

Read more from the Fall Arts Preview from our September 2017 issue here.

Barbara Hammond wants you to call your mom. At least that’s one takeaway from her latest work, The Eva Trilogy, premiering this fall at Magic Theatre. The production is conceived as a triptych of plays, performed in sequence—first Eden, then Enter the Road, and last No Coast Road—that together tell the story of an Irish expat, Eva, who finds herself thrown back into family crisis after a soul-searching stint in Paris.

Like her heroine, Hammond is a daughter of Ireland, though she now lives stateside. The work was inspired by Saint Patrick’s Day readings of the rambling Molly Bloom soliloquy from Ulysses with her Irish literary group in New York. After that, Hammond, whose own mother became terminally ill during her writing process, says, Eva “really did start spilling out of me in a way that no other play of mine has done.”

Hammond may not yet be a familiar name, but expect that to change. Her film, June Weddings, was a director’s award winner at the 2013 SF Shorts festival, and her last staged work, We Are Pussy Riot, or Everything Is P.R., was staged in Seattle this summer. She was a resident at the New Dramatists playwriting lab alongside Taylor Mac, which put her on Magic Theatre artistic director Loretta Greco’s radar. “When I finally met her in person, I think the first thing I blurted out was ‘I don’t know why you aren’t famous,’” Greco says. “And I mean that.”

Famous, perhaps, in time. But a crowd-pleaser? That’s harder to say. “The play isn’t for people to say, ‘Oh, I enjoyed it,’” Hammond says. “It’s for them to go home thinking about whether they like themselves.” And maybe to remember to call Mom.
Oct. 19–Nov. 12

 

Originally published in the September issue of San Francisco

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