Local play to debut in Hollywood




Staff Writer

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

A local play will be featured later this month on a Hollywood stage.

"Seven Bridges Road," based on the real-life slayings of Rocky Mount women a decade ago, will be presented April 22 at The Blank’s 2nd Stage Theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard in Hollywood, Calif.

Rocky Mount playwright Marilynn Barner Anselmi said she's equal parts proud and excited as she heads to Los Angeles with her play, developed by The Blank Theatre’s Living Room Series. This program allows playwrights to work with local directors, actors and professional staff on the development of the script.

L.A. director Kristina Lloyd directed a previous play that Barner Anselmi wrote.

“I’m thrilled to be again working with Marilynn Barner Anselmi on this compelling true story and for the first time with the highly reputable Blank Theatre Living Room Series," Lloyd said. "I love the workshop process and diving deep with both the playwright and the cast to make the play the best it can be. It is a transformational experience for all involved.”

Shelagh McFadden, literary manager at The Blank Theatre, said she's pleased to welcome Barner Anselmi back to the Living Room Series of staged readings, "especially with such a highly relevant and meaningful work as 'Seven Bridges Road.' We understand this play is also very personal for her, and that shows in the writing.”

Barner Anselmi said she was moved to write the play after reading an article in the Telegram about how the investigation of the fates of two female crime victims were treated differently.

The fictionalized account of an imaginary meeting of two relatives connected with the victims came about after Barner Anselmi researched news reports, especially in the Telegram.

“In the play, my two main characters are the daughter of the white woman that was murdered and the mom of one of the missing black women, though that encounter never happened in real life, as far as I know.” Barner Anselmi said previously.

Barner Anselmi is already an established playwright. Another one of her plays, “You Wouldn’t Expect,” premiered off-Broadway last year at the Chain Theatre in New York City.

"Seven Bridges Road" ran a few times last year at Nash Arts Center in downtown Nashville with some dates being cancelled due to Hurricane Florence.