Sea Seed

Sea Seed is a collaboratively written play by Los Angeles-based Son of Semele Ensemble (SoSE) members Hilletje Bashew, Melina Bielefelt, Don Boughton, Erith Jaffe-Berg and Matthew McCray.

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The play grew out of Erith Jaffe-Berg’s work with the MMTW and probes the idea that “paths” are becoming as important as place in shaping people’s identities and outlooks.

Our work together began in January 2014 when members of the Moving Matters Traveling Workshop (MMTW) visited SoSE in Los Angeles to share creative responses to the idea of serial migration. In February, members of SoSE experimented with monologues and dialogues about “serial migration” inspired by Susan’s book and MMTW presentations.

Six actors from SoSE decided to create a full-length play from the ideas explored in Susan’s book. A seventh SoSe member, Daniel Getzoff, was commissioned to write a short to serve as the setting and to offer a backstory for the characters. Daniel’s backstory, “Parlo(u)r Game(s),” resulted. Thematically, we decided to focus on a family on the verge of celebrating a marriage, deciding whether or not to accept a new person into the family. We introduced characters who were serial migrants, immigrants, tourists, cosmopolitans and stationary (those who live in one country). The script was written and assembled by the actors, who used the backstory as a touchstone for dialogue, scenes and dramatic structure.

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We wondered if the play’s reflection of comings and goings, attachments new and old, familial structures and interpersonal connection and conflict would create a timely reflection of life “on the move” for audiences. We thus presented portions of the play in progress to audiences in Los Angeles and Riverside in 2014 and 2015. Audience feedback resulted in significant changes in the script. A staged reading of the full play was performed in February 2016.

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For more information about the play and upcoming performances contact Erith Jaffe-Berg

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