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Florida Rep Has Announced the Plays and Playwrights for its 2020 PlayLab FESTIVAL OF NEW WORKS

Florida Rep Has Announced the Plays and Playwrights for its 2020 PlayLab FESTIVAL OF NEW WORKS

Florida Repertory Theatre's 2019 PlayLab Festival of New Works kicks off April 30 with readings of six new plays, including one commissioned by Florida Rep for its popular Education Conservatory Program. The Festival also includes a Playwrights' Panel, where the festival playwrights talk about their craft and take questions from the audience.

The 2019 PlayLab lineup reflects Florida Rep's mission to produce a wide variety of work by emerging and well-established writers. The selected works are "Spay" by Madison Fiedler, "Tablescape" by Jeanette Farr, "White Party" by Brent Askari, "Jerome" by Ron Lagomarsino, and "A Sherlock Carol" by Mark Shanahan." The commissioned work, "Bulletproof Backpack" by Eric Coble, kicks off the festival on April 30th and has its world premiere production scheduled for August 2020 to close the Education department's Conservatory season.

The seventh annual PlayLab Festival runs April 30 - May 3 in the ArtStage Studio Theatre, and tickets are $20 per reading or $99 for an all-access pass that includes six admissions, and the Playwrights' Panel. Available again this season is a $125 VIP pass, which allows for reserved seating at each reading.

The selected plays were chosen from an open call for submissions to affiliated artists with the National New Play Network, PlayLab alumni playwrights, and several literary agencies in New York. Florida Rep's reading committee, made up of 40 theatre professionals and sponsors, began reading and evaluating 80 scripts this fall before announcing the final selections.

Each of the festival playwrights works with a professional director and a professional cast of actors and receives 15 hours to workshop and develop their piece before it has one public reading during the intensive weekend festival. The plays are each in consideration for a future premiere production in a subsequent Florida Rep season, and every year since its inception, the theatre has chosen one or two of the plays for production. In addition to the 6 showcased plays selected for the festival, Florida Rep is pleased to name four finalists for the 2020 PlayLab: "The Garbologists" by Lindsay Joelle, "Way Beyond Water" by Jan Neuberger, "Rosenberg" by David Meyers, and "Settlements" by Seth Rozin.

Earlier this year, "Alabaster" by Audrey Cefaly kicked off its 11-theatre National New Play Network Rolling World Premiere in the ArtStage Studio Theatre after having been read on the 2018 PlayLab. Also announced earlier this month, Florida Rep's 2020-2021 season includes the World Premiere of "Good Americans" by Bruce Graham, chosen from the 2019 PlayLab last May.

Each reading and performance includes a talk-back and a discussion with the playwrights, directors, and actors. The audience feedback is instrumental in the development process and helps the playwrights perfect their scripts and helps guide Florida Rep as it decides whether to include one of these plays in a future season.

The festival will feature many of Florida Rep's ensemble artists, professionals from across the state of Florida, and local actors familiar to Southwest Florida audiences.


Grand PlayLab Sponsors Lee Moore & Dee Whited

Bulletproof Backpack by Eric Coble | April 30 at 6:30 PM

This world premiere co-commission with Oregon Children's Theatre comes from the creative team behind "Refugee." Written by Coble with contributions by a group of local Southwest Florida students, Bulletproof Backpack began as a student-driven social conflict project creating a platform for students to research, discuss and interview our local community on the subject of gun violence in our schools. The play is an intertwining of student feedback and interviews with fictional characters who beg for answers and continue to pose the question, "How can I feel safe in our schools?" | Sponsored by Guy Almeling & Linda Sebastian

Spay by Madison Fiedler | May 1 at 2 PM

Williamson, West Virginia has been aptly nicknamed Pilliamson as long as anyone there can remember. Two now-grown sisters have taken very different paths in the wake of their mother's overdose. As Harper raises her sister's child, vowing to tread new ground, Noah opts for the old and finds herself in all-too-familiar territory. "Spay" is an electrifying new drama where cycles of addiction and notions of autonomy are catapulted into question when a stranger shows up with an answer to their prayers - at a certain cost. | Sponsored by Emily Eason & Cos

Tablescape by Jeanette Farr| May 1 at 6:30 PM

Joe and Pratt are world travelers who love a great adventure, but it is time to settle down and think about a family. Pratt prepares a lavish tablescape for what is supposed to be a site visit with their lawyer and the teenaged mother of the child they intend to adopt. But when only the young mom shows up and unravels the details of the potential adoption, what was meant to be a perfect brunch quickly spirals - plates get broken, flies, and despite their best intentions (and attempts to meditate), not everything can be fixed. Each finds that there is beauty in broken things, and the cracks in the foundation might be what makes a person whole. | Sponsored by Noreen Raney

White Party by Brent Askari | May 2 at 2 PM

John and Laura Baron are making final preparations for their annual party - thrown in their lavish home on an exclusive Florida Island (with a causeway). However, this year, things don't go according to plan. As the festivities seem to go off-track, the Barons grow increasingly manic and paranoid, suspecting darker forces have conspired to sabotage their perfect evening. | Sponsored by Judy Weiner

Jerome by Ron Lagomarsino | May 2 at 6:30 PM

Upon the untimely death of their father, two estranged siblings must face off to determine the proper course of care for their schizophrenic brother Jerome. Alternately heartbreaking and hilarious, they embark on an emotional journey no one is prepared to take.

A Sherlock Carol by Mark Shanahan | May 3 at 6:30 PM

Moriarty was dead, to begin with. And Sherlock Holmes is a haunted man. But, when a grown-up Tiny Tim asks Holmes to investigate the death of Ebenezer Scrooge, the Great Detective must use his gifts to solve a Dickens of a Christmas mystery! Six actors take on the beloved characters of Arthur Conan Doyle and Charles Dickens in this holiday adventure for all ages. From the author of "The Dingdong" and last season's "A Christmas Carol: The Tale of Ebenezer Scrooge." | Sponsored by Mary Denison


Following the final reading of the 2020 PlayLab, audiences will hear from all of the festival playwrights in a round table discussion. Moderated by Associate Artistic Director, Jason Parrish, the playwrights will talk about their plays, their work as writers, and what it takes to make a living as a playwright in the American Theatre. Join us for this one-of-a-kind gathering of professional working playwrights. | Sponsored by Val & Darlene Arnold

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