In The Lab
December 2020 - April 2021
The Playwrights’ Center is stepping up our support to meet this moment, launching a brand new online development and performance project series called In the Lab. Through this innovative program, three writers will develop wildly experimental new works, pushing the boundaries of form and content, and revolutionizing the way we experience stories.
by Ken Urban
Friday, December 18 at 7:00 pm CST
Bennett and Leslie experience unspeakable tragedy. Bennett is a music journalist who, in the face of great loss, can no longer listen to music. Leslie runs away from her old life when she realizes her relationship cannot recover. In the Hudson Valley, at a chance meeting at a farmer’s market, these two strangers develop an impossibly strong connection. It’s an encounter they can’t forget.
I was inspired to think about how grief might bring strangers together; how it’s something you can share with a stranger, not with someone who knows you. The play had a workshop right before life shutdown. Audience members commented the play might work as a ‘radio play.’ Since the shutdown, I’ve been thinking about ways to bring this play to life during our current state of quarantine. I plan to use my workshop as an opportunity to imagine what a 21st-century audio play might sound like, and to get deeper into the story of Bennett and Leslie.”
by Dominic Taylor
Friday, January 22 at 7:00 pm CST
On its surface, Cell Surface is a play about two significant African-American Biologists: one was the first African-American graduate of Dartmouth College, the other was the first African-American woman to earn a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. How did these Cells interact?
When COVID happened, I was really interested if I placed these people in these boxes, like digital Petri dishes or something. In this examination, I want to lean into this technology to see what it can illuminate about this collision of Black people using digital tools I never considered.”
Tomorrow Will Be Sunday
by Heather Raffo
Tomorrow Will Be Sunday is a theatrical experiment into the future of migration and the global economy. Understanding our connection to economic forces and people across the globe has only become increasingly heightened. We cannot begin to create a new relationship to human value without first unpacking what we value—understanding how every economic decision we make impacts others locally and across the world.
In the face of what is likely a new global order and years of economic restructuring, I wonder how this play can best serve the times we live in? How might an immersive virtual platform engage a cast living in locales across the world? How might "live" theater be reimagined virtually, by allowing an audience agency in how they migrate through a web-based play? And how might an episodic production model built across multiple theaters create a new theatrical platform for audience conversations nationally and internationally? In short, the potential to develop this play virtually upends even theatrical borders both economic and personal.