‘Erb: An Ethical Romance by Mel Konner

Join us September 26, 2020 for a staged reading of Georgia playwright Mel Konner’s new play ‘Erb: An Ethical Romance. 


Christiane Cook is a fortyish psychologist who runs the Institutional Review Board (IRB; ‘Erb), ensuring ethical research at an up-and-coming university. Her marriage of convenience to her gay architect-husband Cameron is also a warm friendship, until he falls in love with one of her colleagues. They have a sexually wayward college daughter they love to desperation. Meanwhile Christiane’s former paramour, Mitch Mitchison, a brilliant thirty-something researcher wildly proud of his Scots heritage, insistently courts her again. His research, on her desk for review, involves getting homophobic men drunk and provoking them with insinuations about their sexuality. Also under review: the Dark Web project run by a dashing Israeli who speaks garbled English and has FBI ties. Sparks fly between him and Christiane’s assistant, Chloe, who needs a mom as well as a boyfriend. A near-tragic incident stemming from Mitch’s study changes everything, but all’s well that ends well, and three pairs of lovers look like they may, just may, walk off happily into the sunset.

This reading will be directed by Laurel Ann Lowe.

NOTE: This event will be best enjoyed by adults 18+


At our staged readings, the dialogue and stage directions are read aloud so that the audience can hear what the play will sound like. Each of our staged readings has benefited from different levels of movement and physicality to paint a mental picture of what the full show will look like. The performance helps the playwright spot potential areas for strengthening their work in the future.

After the performance, there is a brief intermission followed by an optional moderated talkback. The audience has an opportunity to answer some simple questions about the show, as well as provide their general feedback on the show. This process is essential for new play development! Now is your chance to be a part of creating new art!


In the past decade Mel Konner, a father of three and an anthropologist with experience in Botswana and India, has fulfilled a lifelong dream by devoting himself largely to creative writing, although he has done it all his life. His play, Sixteen Springs, a romantic comedy about the missing years of The Winter’s Tale, received a professional reading in 2018 by Out of Hand Theater and Theater Emory in Atlanta. He has written four other plays, including Jessica, a romantic-comic sequel to The Merchant of Venice. In 2019, Jessica was named a semifinalist in the Eugene O’Neill Center’s Playwriting Competition. His short fiction has been published in MSS (edited by novelist John Gardner), Massachusetts Medicine, and forthcoming in the online collection, A New Decameron, edited by Pete Candler. He won the Oberon Poetry Prize for 2018. He has published non-fiction books and one “slim volume” of poetry, Nonrequiem. He is thrilled that his comedy, ‘Erb: An Ethical Romance, will receive a staged reading at Pumphouse Players. Please attend if you can, and please laugh.

Event Details
Event Details