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Spotlight On... Vivian Barnes!

Playwrights’ Corner
Headshot of Vivian Barnes

Get to know a little bit more about one of our Venturous Playwriting Fellows, Vivian Barnes! Find out what she's tuned into these days, as well as what her writing snack of choice is.

As always, we're here to answer all of your burning questions about our Lark Playwrights, and, if after reading this interview, you're inspired to learn more, then you should definitely RSVP for our Meet the Writers event on June 7th at 7pm!

What is the best, most whimsical way you could introduce yourself?

Hello, I’m Vivian Jeanell Ophelia Barnes and sometimes I talk to the moon. 

What are you working on right now? It can be a play, or something else!

A few things. Finishing up post-production on audio play about a woman who collects space trash and makes a strange discovery on the farside of the moon. That’s my thesis at UCSD. I’m stumbling my way through my first screenplay about a pop star and her alter ego and the relationship between them that goes off the rails. I’m also in the very very early inspiration/research stage of a play about pain. I think it’s a comedy. We’ll see! 

Who or what is inspiring you these days?

My family. I’m writing this from my parents’ house in Virginia right now after not seeing them for a year and half. My sisters both came to visit while I’m here so we have 5 out of 6 family members together. Logically, I knew that I missed them but the moment I actually saw them and held them for the first time in 18 months rewired my brain. I feel like a new person. 

I also read an interview with Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu where she talked about changing the ending of Pass Over for the Broadway transfer. I found that very inspiring--really embracing the plasticity of the medium with a play that’s already so lauded in its current form. It reminded me that sometimes our plays need something new from us depending on how the world has changed. 

Describe your workspace for us! Anything that you keep nearby that might surprise us?

I always keep my “current project” notebooks nearby. I usually start writing things in longhand because it helps me stop myself from self-editing too early. I have a cowboy hat I got as a gift mounted on the wall because it doesn’t fit my big head. There’s also a little postcard with a drawing of two aliens on it and a tiny framed poem called “Her Time.” When I’m working I like to keep a few lit candles on my desk, especially late at night. 

If you could summarize this virtual season in 3 words, what would they be?

Much more accessible. 

What are you tuned into these days (movies, books, tv, podcasts, music… anything)?

My favorite podcast Still Processing is back for a new season. I’ve been watching a lot of body horror movies for research/fun and I loved this French movie called Raw. I’ve been listening to Heaux Tales on repeat for weeks. God bless Jazmine Sullivan for getting me through. I’m reading a book of short stories by Randall Keenan called Let the Dead Bury Their Dead. And I’ve been wrapping my brain in a warm hug rewatching the Real Housewives and loving every second of it. 

What is your writing snack of choice?

CANDY. My poor teeth.

Finally, what are you looking forward to?

Graduating from grad school. Writing in coffee shops and libraries again. Sitting in a mostly empty movie theatre at a weird time of day. Making a home somewhere, finally, after years of being transient. Also, I’m not a hugger but I can’t wait to hug everyone I love for way too long when I finally see them again.