Greenfield, MA – Set in an unspecified re-purposed building in a small Western Massachusetts town, Northampton author and playwright Ellen Meeropol’s GRIDLOCK tackles issues of climate change and radical activism as two sisters reunite after a fifty-year separation. On Friday, June 11, a public reading of this work-in-development will give audience members and artists the chance to hear and comment on this new play.
The reading will take place at 7:30 pm at the LAVA Center at 324 Main St, Greenfield. The reading is free and open to the public, but seating capacity is very limited, so reservations are advised by calling 413-768-7514 or writing to firstname.lastname@example.org, Attendees should have been fully vaccinated. The event will also be streamed live on YouTube at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTM_CHysj_URdk1QDxCWr_A
Meeropol’s play is loosely based on the characters and events portrayed in her recently released novel Her Sister’s Tattoo (Red Hen Press, 2020). Two sisters are caught up in the anti-war protests of the mid-‘60s, but as a result of “the thorny intersection of family loyalty and clashing political decisions”, a half-century estrangement ensues. GRIDLOCK brings the two, now in their 70’s. back together when a widespread and days-long outage of the national electrical grid throws the country and the local communal living group into a difficult position.
Development of this play and others by local playwrights writing about contemporary issues is part of the missions of both Silverthorne Theater and LAVA (Local Access to Valley Arts). Jan Maher of LAVA directs this reading with actors from both groups participating. More information about the reading can be found at https://www.localaccess.org/ or https://silverthornetheater.org/special-events .
Silverthorne Theater Company is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) arts organization founded in 2014. Our mission is to present adventurous, thought-provoking theatrical experiences, including productions of classic, contemporary and new works for diverse audiences.
MEET THE PLAYWRIGHT: Ellen Meeropol
A literary late bloomer, Ellen Meeropol began seriously writing fiction in her fifties, but her first publications came much earlier. At age twelve, her essay, “I am a Square Dance Orphan,” was published in a national square dance magazine and she wrote a monthly feature column for her high school newspaper in the Washington, D.C. area. Ellen studied art at Earlham College and the University of Michigan.
After working as a day care teacher and a women’s reproductive health counselor, Ellen became a registered nurse and then a nurse practitioner, working at a children’s hospital in western Massachusetts for 24 years. During that time, she authored and co-authored two dozen articles and book chapters about pediatric issues and latex allergy. She was honored for excellence in nursing journalism by the nursing honor society Sigma Theta Tau and received the Ruth A. Smith Writing Award for excellence in writing in the profession of nursing. In 2005 Ellen was given the Chair’s Excellence Award from the Spina Bifida Association of America for her advocacy around latex allergy and spina bifida.
In 2000, after decades of reading voraciously and thinking that “someday” she would write, Ellen started writing fiction and studying craft, earning an MFA from the Stonecoast Program at the University of Southern Maine. In 2005, determined to spend more time with the characters demanding her full attention, she left her nurse practitioner career.
Ellen is a frequent presenter at conferences and book festivals, including the AWP annual conference, The Muse and the Marketplace, Wordstock, Virginia, Salem, and Maine Festivals of the Book, the San Miguel International Writing Conference, and the WriteAngles Writers Conference. She has taught fiction workshops at Writers in Progress in Florence, MA, Grub Street in Boston, and World Fellowship Center in New Hampshire. She volunteers with WriteAngles, Inc. and is a Founding Member of the Straw Dog Writers Guild, coordinating its social justice committee.