Last week, “Entangled,” a new work about sibling relationships and quantum physics by playwright Lila Rose Kaplan, made its world premiere at UCSB’s Hatlen Theater.

The play, which follows the intertwined stories of three pairs of siblings at a special twins-only boarding school, was produced through LAUNCH PAD in UCSB’s Theater & Dance Dept. LAUNCH PAD was started in 2004 by Professor Risa Brainin as an opportunity for professional playwrights to refine and produce new work with the help of other professionals and student actors and designers, in a safe environment in which students and professionals can openly collaborate and learn from each other.

Students in Professor Erin Cressida Wilson’s class, “Playwright’s Process: From Inspiration to Production” (including yours truly) have been lucky enough to see the process that “Entangled” has gone through, from early drafts to rehearsals to the complete production; students have also been able to work with Kaplan a great deal while writing their own plays.

As someone who knew virtually nothing about play writing, I can say that the experience has been extremely helpful; Professor Wilson’s class and LAUNCH PAD have provided an insight into the theatre world that is a rare treat for students in the undergraduate level.

While visiting our class to talk about “Entangled,” Brainin — who is also the play’s director — said that she sees a natural fit between the production of new theatre and the openness and eagerness of a college environment. Despite that, this extremely successful program is also extremely unique, which is unfortunate, given how difficult it can be for new, and even established, writers to get new plays on their feet and to real audiences.

For those who would like to experience the fruit of this careful and unconventional labor, “Entangled” will finish its run at UCSB with performances from March 8 to 10 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $13 for students and can be purchased online or at the Theater and Dance Ticket Office.


Check out in the next week for a video interview with playwright-in-residence Lila Rose Kaplan and director Risa Brainin.