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Annual PlayLabs Festival Runs October 17–23 at the Playwrights' Center

The Playwrights' Center's 45th anniversary season kicks off October 17 with PlayLabs, a week-long new play festival featuring Core Writers Christina Ham ("West of Central"), Susan Soon He Stanton ("we, the invisibles") and Ken Urban ("The Remains"). Tickets are free and can be reserved at

During the festival, the playwrights each have 30 hours to workshop their script with a team of collaborators: top actors, directors, designers, and dramaturgs from the Twin Cities and around the country. Each play has two public readings with time for rewriting in between.

PlayLabs also features a showcase of work by 2016-17 Playwrights' Center Jerome and McKnight Fellows and the first event in a year-long conversation series called #Theater2060, discussing how theater will change over the next 45 years.

"This year's lineup of plays tells stories not often represented on stage," says Playwrights' Center Associate Artistic Director Hayley Finn, who produces the festival, "from the story of immigrants who work at an elite hotel to gay divorce to a noir thriller that explores how race affects the real estate industry and places an African-American female protagonist at the center of the story. Christina, Ken, and Susan are bringing to light facets of the American landscape not always seen. Being part of new stories is at the heart of theater, and I am thrilled that we can support these talented and insightful artists and their timely work."

Around 75% of plays developed at PlayLabs over the past decade have gone on to production, including Christina Ham's "Scapegoat," Philip Dawkins' "Le Switch," Sarah Gubbins' "Cocked," Mat Smart's "The Royal Society of Antarctica" and "Tinker to Evers to Chance," Dan O'Brien's "The Body of an American," Allison Moore's "Slasher," Samuel D. Hunter's "The Few," Christine Evans' "Can't Complain," and Winter Miller's "In Darfur."

All PlayLabs events are free and open to the public, and take place at the Playwrights' Center, 2301 E Franklin Avenue in Minneapolis. For tickets, see or contact the Playwrights' Center at (612) 332-7481 or The schedule for PlayLabs 2016 is as follows:

"The Remains" by Ken Urban
Monday, October 17 and Saturday, October 22 at 7 p.m.

Married for a decade, Kevin and Theo are the ideal couple in the eyes of their families. But at dinner this Sunday, Kevin and Theo have big news. A comedy about the tragedy of loving.

Director: Jeremy B. Cohen**
Cast: Damian Baldet*, Maulik Pancholy* (of TV's "30 Rock" and "Weeds"), Sue Scott*, Robert Rosen, Mo Perry*, Riley O'Toole

**Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
*Member of Actors' Equity Association

"West of Central" by Christina Ham
Tuesday, October 18 and Friday, October 21 at 7 p.m.

The year is 1966 and the remnants of the Watts Riots are still smoldering against the backdrop of South Central Los Angeles. When a mysterious man stumbles into the office of private eye Thelma Higgins looking to warn her husband that his life might be in danger, she soon discovers that the man she's been married to for ten years is not who he claims to be. As her investigation leads her on a tangled trail of deceit, corruption, and treacherous backroom deals, she and her husband must learn to trust one another again to find out who's trying to kill him and why.

Director: Hayley Finn**
Dramaturg: Michael Kinghorn
Sound Designer: Andrew Dolan
Cast: Juanita Jennings*, Shawn Hamilton*, James A. Williams*, Ricardo Beaird, Thomasina Petrus*, Mark Benninghofen*, Chaz Hodges*

**Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
*Member of Actors' Equity Association

"we, the invisibles" by Susan Soon He Stanton
Wednesday, October 19 at 7 p.m. and Saturday, October 22 at 1 p.m.

In 2011, the director of the International Monetary Fund was accused of sexual assault by a hotel maid, Nafissatou Diallo, but all charges were dismissed. "we, the invisibles" shares the rarely-heard stories of people like Diallo, people from all over the globe working at New York's luxury hotels. Funny, poignant, and brutally honest by turns, the play is an investigation of the complicated relationship between movers and shakers and the people who change their sheets.

Director: Dámaso Rodriguez**
Dramaturg: Wendy Weckwerth
Design consultant: Joel Sass
Cast: Kurt Kwan*, Sara Ochs, Nathan Keepers*, H. Adam Harris*, Adia Morris*, Angela Lin*

**Member of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society
*Member of Actors' Equity Association

PlayLabs Party
Saturday, October 22 following 7 p.m. reading of "The Remains"
A party to celebrate the PlayLabs artists and the local theater community.

Playwriting Fellows Showcase
Sunday, October 23 at 12 p.m.

Scenes from new work by Jerome Fellows Katie Bender, Emily Feldman, Jessica Huang, and Kristin Idaszak; Many Voices Fellows Benjamin Benne and Marisa Carr; McKnight Fellows in Playwriting Andrew Rosendorf and Rhiana Yazzie; and McKnight National Residency and Commission Recipient Francine Volpe.

Director: Brian Balcom
Cast includes: Christian Bardin, Larissa Kiel*, Song Kim, Nicole Kruex, Kurt Kwan*, Billy Mullaney, David Mura, Skyler Nowinski, Stephen Yoakam*

*Member of Actors' Equity Association

Critical Conversation: Theater in 2060
Sunday, October 23 at 2:30 p.m.H. Adam Harris, Aditi Brennan Kapil, Kwame Kwei-Armah, and Kira Obolensky provide their manifestos for what theater will look like in the future, followed by a discussion.

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