As an artist-driven theater company, we believe in the power and importance of storytellers. Our Playwrights Lab serves as an incubator for developing new plays through our New Classics Initiative, and our annual Lab Results festival offers an evolving inclusive definition of classical theater.
Lab Results 2022
In 1956, after some time away, Leon Ivy returns home from a sojourn in Paris with a finished novel, a publisher, and big plans for his future — but times have changed along Central Avenue and his wife, Bird, and her new business partner, Daddy August, have enacted secret plans of their own. What are the costs of leaving home and what is the price of fighting for what you believe in?
Riva Thornton flees from her immense grief in the real world into the magical world of the Black Grimm Forest that borders all fifty states. This forest is a safe space for its Black visitors to escape their racial trauma by morphing the fairytales into whatever they need. Riva conjures a slumber so deep and dreams so heavenly that three years of her life pass by. When a mysterious woman awakens Riva, she is drawn unwillingly into an adventure through the Grimm. Riva must choose to return to the land of the living to face her grief or cling to the illusion of happily ever after.
Hannah is afflicted with a mysterious condition that is slowly draining her ability to feel emotions. After her husband is killed by a hit-and-run driver, those feelings come rushing back as she navigates a house full of ghosts—her husband in real time, and flashbacks that feel as if they’re present day. When her psychic neighbor involves herself in the unsolved case, the whodunnit becomes a “whydunnit.” Will solving the murder actually do more harm than good?
Set in south Texas where Jesus and football rule, Dixie home cares for her wheelchair-bound son Randall, who has suffered a traumatic brain injury. “Reaction Sports” is coming to interview Dixie, her family and Randall’s best friend and high school football teammate, Devonté, for possible inclusion in a future episode. National exposure could spark donations to help with Randall’s astronomical health care costs, so it is imperative that the interview goes well. But with exposure comes truth – and truth can be filled with killers.
Seventeen years after the loss of her young husband from cancer, Mia meets a teenager, Ethan, who believes he is the reincarnation of her late husband. When Ethan and his mom Lexi come to Mia’s house for lunch, Mia must face her doubts, her past, and the whole truth.
Lab Results 2020
After receiving an opportunity to attend the prestigious Vanguard Academy, 13-year old SHE is forced to “make her own way” and face the harsh realities of adult life. SHE copes through a world of poetry, and soon discovers that the small town she was so desperate to escape is filled with the very people who give her wings to fly.
Martina has always been the best at video games since “turning over” Defender in 1984. The skills she learned with the games that she played got her through many battles. Now Martina is propelled in a world of past traumas video-game style. As she battles levels and the “monsters” from her past can she make the decision to be a better wife, mother, and human?
At a Willed Body ceremony — an event where medical students meet the families of medical cadavers — Lydia, an ambitious first-year med student, meets Harrison, the son of the cadaver she is about to dissect. As Lydia cuts deeper and deeper into his father’s body, she and Harrison enter into an unconventional relationship that straddles the line between sweet and horrifying.
Brothers Play is a nativity scene… of sorts. Thomas throws a rock through the rose window at church to shatter his family’s code of silence, a few days before Christmas. A darkly funny, brutally honest exposure of abuse, and secrets, and how they spill out despite ourselves. And the love of brothers, of course.
Frank, a married heterosexual crossdresser in his late 30s living in Montana, discovers Miss Olivia’s Finishing School for Girls, a club for fellow recreational crossdressers. Finally able to share his secret with another like-minded man, Frank’s newfound freedom threatens his marriage and his relationship with his best friend.
When 15-year old Tori goes to work as a summer intern for her godmother’s new African American boyfriend, Jamal, everyone is thrilled… until sexually charged photos turn up in Jamal’s office. Then suspicions turn to accusations and accusations turn into paranoia. What exactly is Jamal doing in his garage with teenage Tori?
Lab Results 2018
Perdita knows something is off in her life and she longs to know what happened to her mother in this update of Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale. Set along the Sacramento River Delta during the time of the Gold Rush, Along the River, Almost Winter is a journey from betrayal to forgiveness — told from the point of view of a bear.
Gabriela is an Argentine concert cellist living a good life in Chicago with her American husband and adjusting to life as a new mom until a visit from two strangers upends everything. The Abuelas explores the long and devastating repercussions of Argentina’s military dictatorship from 1976-1983, and the heart’s capacity for forgiveness even in the face of the harshest betrayal.
Inspired by the Tower of David Building in Caracas, Venezuela, which was left unfinished and became home to thousands of squatters, Mayor of the 85th Floor is a dystopian tale about a young woman who is one of hundreds of squatters living in the Empire State Building in the near future. This play explores what happens to a city irreparably damaged by storms and financial ruin, and how the people in this environment survive after our government no longer has the resources to take care of its own.
Nineteen year-old Josie Ricks adores her father, Joe Ricks; he’s a great guy. And that’s why she’ll stand with him, along with her mother and brothers, when he announces his candidacy for the Senate. But when Josie’s childhood friend implicates Joe in a compromising sexual encounter, Josie starts to see her father in ways she never did before. Regular Joes is the private, family drama behind a public sex scandal.
Paroled after 33 years, Carlotta yearns for a quiet life of redemption. Never fully recovered from his family’s murder, 33 years ago, Elton seeks justice. The two shall meet.
The lives that inhabit an apartment from 1949 to 2016. A young refugee woman who is finally free to start anew in the United States tries to vanquish the past that haunts her, alongside her father, husband, friends, daughter and granddaughter.