Callan Stout and Matthew Barbot Chosen for Pipeline PlayLab

March 21, 2017

Current Playwriting students Matthew Barbot (‘17) and Callan Stout (‘17) have been chosen to participate in the Class of 2016 Pipeline PlayLab.

Stout and Barbot join six other writers in the PlayLab. Members are chosen in a competitive application process and then participate in a year-long series of monthly meetings, building new plays with constructive feedback from other playwrights, directors and the artistic staff of Pipeline. The year will culminate in staged readings of the developed plays in July 2016.

“The Pipeline process isn't unlike class—everyone reads a few plays for each meeting and offers extensive feedback,” said Barbot. “It's a really great group, and I'm really looking forward to getting the chance to present work with a company whose whole approach matches mine so well. On their website they say, ‘Pipeline makes theater of the imagination. … Above all, we aim to leave you with stories that stick somewhere in your heart, your brain, or your guts.’ I knew I had to apply.”

“One of the most exciting things about attending Columbia is that you have access to all of the opportunities in NYC and I think an important part of the experience is taking advantage of that,” said Stout. “Being a member of the Pipeline PlayLab while in school is a great way to build bridges towards a professional career as a playwright while I'm still in the nurturing university environment.”

Both of the full-length plays Stout and Barbot are working on were projects they began in their first year of the Columbia MFA program. Stout’s play Untitled Outer Space Religion Play is set on a distant future planet where Rainer Maria Rilke’s poems, the Duino Elegies, are the seminal religious text. A young woman—also named Rainer—commits to the ultimate expression of faith; to return to a dead earth and audio record reflections on the Elegies while self-mummifying. “The work is ultimately about a young woman confronting the religion she no longer has faith in,” said Stout. It began as a writing exercise in Lynn Nottage’s class.

Barbot’s play, Princess Clara of Loisaida tells the story a brother and sister growing up in the Lower East Side with their catatonic father who only communicates by singing sitcom themes. “A fairy soldier shows up who claims that Clara is a misplaced princess, and a there’s a mysterious man who lives in a video game. Ultimately, it's about wishing you could be something else than what you are, and having the power to write our own narratives,” said Barbot. He began work on it in Kelly Stuart’s playwriting workshop.

You can read more about the Pipeline Theatre Company here.