UMass New Play Lab
January 31—February 1, 2020 7:30 pm
February 6, 2020 7:30 pm
February 8, 2020 2:00 pm
February 14—February 15, 2020 7:30 pm
February 20, 2020 7:30 pm
February 22, 2020 2:00 pm
UMass Amherst Campus
Handicap access available
$5 students and seniors/$7.50 general admission
Fine Arts Center Box Office
Two sisters working out family tensions amid a climate crisis and the settlement of Mars. Four meddling kids and a dog confront the unexplainable and question their identities.
The pair of plays selected for this year's UMass Theater New Play Lab use sci-fi conventions as a way to look at familiar issues from a new angle. Now in its seventh iteration, Play Lab offers our team of graduate student dramaturgs and director, as well as our cast of undergrads, the opportunity to work on selecting and shaping new work fresh from the brains of emerging playwrights.
As valuable as the creative members of this enterprise are, though, there's one more element needed for a successful Play Lab, and that's the audience. Getting a work in front of community members who share their honest reactions is crucial to the Play Lab process, because it offers playwrights and our team an in-the-moment barometer of which parts of the script are successful and what needs more work. Those changes are often made in between performances. We've seen whole scenes added, even titles changed, over the course of a Play Lab run based on audience reactions and feedback gathered during the post-show conversations held after every performance. It's an immediate way for theater-goers to affect the direction of their favorite performing art!
About this year's plays:
The Interrobangers is written by M Sloth Levine. Four groovy teens and a dog search the woods in their van to solve a mystery while exploring drugs, queerness, and the fear that men in rubber masks are scarier than monsters. The four question the world they know, looking into the parts of their history they would rather avoid.
Walden by Amy Berryman is an extraordinary piece asking the questions about the relationships between the human spirit and scientific discovery. In the not-so-distant future, climate change has intensified and scientists are recommending that we colonize elsewhere. Cassie, a NASA botanist, returns from her year-long deployment in space and is shocked to find her sister, Stella, a former NASA architect, engaged to an Earth Advocate. As the twins grapple with questions of rivalry and love, humanity hangs in the balance.
ll audience members are invited to the free post-show conversation after every performance. Come see both plays, or see a play twice and watch it evolve.