Of the 70+ new plays developed at the Playwrights’ Center each year, eight are selected to be part of the public season, giving playwrights expanded workshop time with collaborators and the chance to see their new work on its feet in front of two different audiences. These readings are free to attend and take place at the Playwrights’ Center, located at 2301 E Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis.
Reservations for PlayLabs will open approximately a month before the festival.
The 2018-19 season:
PLAYLABS (October 22-29):
- Berlin Diary by Andrea Stolowitz
- Legacy Land by Stacey Rose
- KARA & EMMA & BARBARA & MIRANDA by Ariel Stess
- Darling Boud (as in Loud) by Allison Gregory (December 3 & 4)
- Jeune Terre by Gab Reisman (January 14 & 15)
- The History of Religion by Carlyle Brown (February 4 & 5)
- Tiny Houses by Stefanie Zadravec (March 4 & 5)
- The Dance by Kim Euell (April 1 & 2)
Readings in PlayLabs and the Ruth Easton New Play Series feature top local and national actors and incorporate design elements, giving audience members a unique way to experience new work and a chance to be part of the creative process.
PlayLabs, October 22-28, 2018
For more than 30 years, the Playwrights’ Center’s PlayLabs festival has been one of the nation’s most comprehensive play development programs. Playwrights receive 30 hours of workshop time with a team of collaborators (including designers) and two public readings with time for rewrites in between. Over 65% of the plays featured in PlayLabs over the past decade have gone on to production, and the festival has become a must-attend event for theater leaders and fans both locally and from around the country.
Berlin Diary by Andrea Stolowitz
Directed by Larissa Lury
Monday, October 22 at 7 p.m. & Friday, October 26 at 7 p.m.
In 2006, playwright Andrea Stolowitz receives a copy of her great-grandfather’s 1939 diary from the archivist at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM). It sits on her shelf. In 2015, Andrea Stolowitz receives a DAAD fellowship to spend a year in Berlin using the diary as the basis for a new play. The parallel lives of Max Cohnreich and Andrea Stolowitz create a nested detective narrative about the search for home and family which operates at the border of reality and memory and the intersection of national history and private lives. A play about remembering and forgetting.
Legacy Land by Stacey Rose
Directed by Logan Vaughn
Tuesday, October 23 at 7 p.m. & Saturday, October 27 at 1 p.m.
Legacy Land is the story of two sisters grappling with a painful legacy of sex abuse, incest, and family dysfunction during a freak Thanksgiving weekend blizzard. Barbara, a 42-year-old recluse, has hunkered down for an intimate weekend between her and her barely legal lover, Marcus. When Barbara’s bubbly younger sister, Denise, and her loutish fiancé, Freddie, arrive, all bets for a cozy weekend for two are off. As the blizzard renders them immobile, the group reconciles themselves to their situation. That is, until Freddie, in his bottomless arrogance, reveals the real reason for his and Denise’s visit.
KARA & EMMA & BARBARA & MIRANDA Ariel Stess
Directed by Hayley Finn
Wednesday, October 24 at 7 p.m. & Saturday, October 27 at 7 p.m.
Kara’s husband is about to leave and run away with their 21-year-old babysitter, Emma. Emma’s mother, Barbara, is being hassled by her ex-boyfriend to get back together. And REI employee Miranda is trying to find a way to stop living paycheck to paycheck. Set in Santa Fe, New Mexico, this comedy-drama is about breaking free from forces in your life that are holding you back—in order to start again.
Directed by Lisa Channer
Sunday, October 28 at noon
Scenes from 2018-19 playwriting fellows Antonio Duke, Marvin González de León, Idris Goodwin, May Lee-Yang, Sofya Levitsky-Weitz, Casey Llewellyn, Philana Imade Omorotionmwan, Tori Sampson, and Haygen-Brice Walker.
Ruth Easton New Play Series, December 2018 – April 2019
The Ruth Easton New Play Series provides selected Core Writers with 20 hours of workshop time to develop a new play with collaborators of their choice: top local and national actors, directors, designers, and dramaturgs. Each play has two public readings, allowing the playwright to experiment and see the play on its feet in front of two different audiences. The Center brings in visiting artistic leaders to see the readings and connect with the playwrights, and more than half of the plays developed in the series over the past decade have gone on to production. The series is made possible by the generous support of the Ruth Easton fund of the Edelstein Family Foundation. This year’s line-up:
Darling Boud (as in Loud) by Allison Gregory
Monday, December 3 & Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Teeming with glamour and tragedy, Darling Boud brings the six infamous, blue-blooded Mitford sisters to searing, witty life. Controversial, politically charged, radically different, their fascinating world intersected the big events of the twentieth century. But what happens when they are brought together—something they never would have agreed to in life? A collusion of family, love, and world war in correspondence.
Jeune Terre by Gab Reisman
Monday, January 14 & Tuesday, January 15, 2019 at 7 p.m.
The waters are rising around Jeune Terre, Louisiana, and the land is slipping away. As scientists and state administrators bargain over the town’s future, a theatre troupe arrives to tell an old story in a new way, just in time for a quickly approaching storm. This inventive new play with songs explores what it means to live on the edge of invisibility in a time of atmospheric change.
The History of Religion by Carlyle Brown
Monday, February 4 & Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 7 p.m.
From memoir to myth, from Sugar Hill to the Caribbean, The History of Religion travels in time and space to examine humanity’s relationship with faith, bringing us face-to-face with the biggest question of our lives: in a world full of pain, sorrow, and suffering, what makes life worth living? Set against a musical backdrop by multi-instrumentalist Victor Zupanc and percussionist Ahanti Young, playwright/ performer Carlyle Brown calls us into worship, taking the audience on a journey from mystery to revelation and back again.
Tiny Houses by Stefanie Zadravec
Monday, March 4 & Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at 7 p.m.
On July 17, 2014, Malaysia Flight MH-17 rained down upon a tiny, war-torn Eastern Ukraine village by a surface-to-air missile launched by pro-Russian Separatists. Bodies and objects alike become fodder for those trying to escape the circumstances in which they were born. Tiny Houses is a comic riff on Pandora’s Box that explores the ripple effect on several women who suddenly realize they can disrupt the status quo.
The Dance by Kim Euell
Monday, April 1 & Tuesday, April 2, 2019 at 7 p.m.
The Dance is a play exploring how epic events impact the personal relationships between three ambitious young people (two African American artists and an activist attorney) as they struggle to define their identities, values, and commitments. Set against the backdrop of Nelson Mandela’s prison release and historic visit to the Bay Area, the play strives to capture the zeitgeist of this momentous period when the convergence of the anti-Apartheid movement, the crack epidemic, The War on Drugs, and the ascendance of Hip-hop culture impacted communities of color in the US.
The Playwrights’ Center serves playwrights by sustaining careers, developing new work, and connecting playwrights to theaters. Each year at the Center, fellows and Core Writers receive more than $315,000 in direct support, 70+ new plays are workshopped, playwrights connect with 100 producing theaters through partnership programs, and 2,000 member playwrights from around the world find resources to achieve their artistic vision.