“A Quick 5” with playwrights Bernie Gabin and Phoebe Roberts
Breaking Light Productions is currently streaming the original piece, “Mrs. Hawking,” by Phoebe Roberts and Bernie Gabin on YouTube.
Breaking Light is a Boston-based film and stage company that specializes in serial content. The productions are performed live and then pre-recorded on stage. They are best known for the “Mrs. Hawking” series of plays over the past seven years.
The YouTube video production of “Mrs. Hawking” is the first installment of Gaslamp’s Victorian Adventures set in 1880s London. In partnership with the Manchester Community Theater in New Hampshire, we meet Mrs. Hawking and Mary Stone, her assistant, in their first adventure.In the first part, we see them dealing with bad guys, rescuing kidnapped children and fighting prejudice against women in Victorian England.
Phoebe Roberts and Bernie Gabin are a couple who have been writing and producing scripts for stage and screen together for six years. They are an MFA playwright and screenwriter and a Ph.D. in physics who encountered producing Shakespeare’s plays at Brandeis University. In addition to “Mrs. Hawking,” they also produce a Hollywood comedy series, “Dream Machine.” During the day, Phoebe teaches literature and writing at Lesley University, while Bernie is an AI engineer for the Department. defensee.
Although Roberts now lives in the Boston area and Gabin lives in Columbia, Maryland, the two have continued their theatrical relationship over the miles. Both have co-written several plays, and Roberts also directs. Gabin is often involved in the technical aspects of the piece, for example the lighting and sets.
What is the genre of “Mrs. Peddling?”
We’d call it a period mystery adventure – we follow a group of detectives through Victorian London, searching for clues and solving cases, but also devising clever plans to catch their prey and fight back. through intense action scenes.
What made you decide to set the time in the 19th Century?
We’ve always loved the culture and aesthetics of the Victorian era, and there’s plenty of fascinating history to draw on. But it’s also a time of colonialism, inequality, and oppression that is often overlooked in classic histories of the genre. We wanted to capture all of the fun parts of this setting while recognizing and addressing the impact of these societal ills. Many of our characters are people who would traditionally have suffered under these circumstances, like our female detectives who have to step out of their forbidden roles to continue their work.
Do you think of Mrs. Hawking more than an 18th Batman of the Century, Robin Hood, Equalizer or something completely different?
Our main influences for the character of Mrs. Hawking were Batman and Sherlock Holmes. While we didn’t want our characters to be superhuman, we liked the idea of a brilliant deductive mind like Sherlock who also struggles like Batman, with the burdens that drove her to challenge the injustices of society. It also inspired the generational dynamic of our detective team, where our gifted hero, Mrs. Hawking, mentors and challenges two up-and-coming young heroes, Mary and Nathaniel. In turn, these two young characters challenge her to confront her preconceived ideas about how the world works and the possibilities for a better future.
How many more parts do you plan for “Mrs. Hawking?”
We’ve written five more parts so far, plus a spin-off. We are shooting for nine in total in the form of three trilogies. Each building a larger arc that spans roughly fifteen years of the characters’ lives. They focus on building the team, the challenges the team faces, and ultimately how it evolves into the next generation of heroes. The spin-off follows a supporting character in a more humorous story, and we had so much fun with the different tone that we’re considering writing more in that vein.
Have you written other songs together and do you have a favourite?
We wrote about fifteen feature films during our time working together! Some of our favorites include “Hood,” a modern thriller reinterpretation of Robin Hood; our ancient Roman gladiator epic “Adonis”; and “Gentlemen Never Tell,” the Mrs. Hawking spin-off in the form of a Jeeves and Wooster-style comedy of manners. We also have our sitcom “Dream Machine,” which satirizes the creative process of show editing, the pilot of which will be released on YouTube later this year.
For more information on the project, visit this link. To see “Mrs. Hawking”, you can watch it anytime on YouTube.
You can find the review of “Mrs. Hawking” here.