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PREVIEW: PlayLabs at the Playwrights’ Center

Playwright Martyna Majok workshopping her play queens [sic] at the Playwrights’ Center as part of the 2016-17 Ruth Easton New Play Series. Photo by Paula Keller.

If you like new plays, it’s hard to beat the free PlayLabs performances at the Playwrights’ Center next week. These will be new in every sense – the ink sometimes still drying from the playwrights’ revisions – and there is that “free” aspect, again. Over the course of 7 days, the center will present three plays and a selection of scene readings. The three featured plays, all by PWC Core Writers, are:

  • A Humbling in St. Paul by Alice Tuan,
  • Take Care by Jason Gray Platt, and
  • In the Time of the Volcano by Jen Silverman.
Playwright Jen Silverman and director Jeremy B. Cohen workshopping Wink at the Playwrights’ Center as part of the 2016-17 Ruth Easton New Play Series. Photo by Bill Cameron.

The scene showcase will feature work by nine PWC Playwriting Fellows:

  • Benjamin Benne,
  • Mia Chung,
  • Jessica Huang,
  • Rachel Jendrzejewski,
  • Tim J. Lord,
  • Stacey Rose,
  • Tori Sampson,
  • Mfoniso Udofia, and
  • Saymoukda Duangphouxay Vongsay.

All events take place at the Playwrights’ Center in Minneapolis and are free and open to the public. Attendees are also invited to a free reception on October 28.

Calendar of Offerings

  • A Humbling in St. Paul by Alice Tuan
    • Monday, October 23 – 7:00 pm
    • Repeats Friday, October 27 – 7:00 pm
  • Take Care by Jason Gray Platt
    • Tuesday, October 24, 2017 at 7 pm
    • Repeats Saturday, October 28 at 1 pm
  • In the Time of the Volcano by Jen Silverman
    • Wednesday, October 25 at 7 pm
    • Repeats Saturday, October 28 at 7 pm
  • Party/Reception
    • Saturday, October 28, around 9:30 pm (follows In the Time of the Volcano)
  • Playwriting Fellows Showcase
    • Sunday, October 29 at 12 pm


Angela Lin (left) and Adia Morris (right) in we, the invisibles [sic] by Susan Soon He Stanton, part of PlayLabs 2016. Photo by Paula Keller.
A Humbling in St. Paul, by Alice Tuan
Olive Chung comes to the Twin Cities to work on a new play and reconnects with her grad school friend Liz Manuel after being out of touch for a decade. While staying with Liz and her wife, Sharine Hopewell, and their pups, Bell and Musco, Olive gets what she thinks is food poisoning. It turns out to be much more mysterious and severe than anyone imagined. A play about the guest/host space, infection, the performance of normalcy, unseen presence, the body rebelling against the mind, optimism, gratitude, and, yes, friendship.

Take Care, by Jason Gray Platt
Ella gathers her family together for the holidays to have the delicate conversation surrounding her end-of-life plans. But the emotionally strenuous conversation does not go as she had hoped. So the discussion happens again. And again. But each time another family member is missing, and the conversation goes slightly differently, until it becomes apparent that the end of Ella’s life isn’t the only approaching tragedy for which a plan needs to be made. Because time is running out.

In the Time of the Volcano, by Jen Silverman
Henry has become the janitor at his kids’ high school after losing his job, while his wife Luce struggles to hold onto her own. Meanwhile, their two sons are struggling to understand their own potential as they become ever more aware of their parents’ failures. When strange news from the past reaches Henry, it explodes into all of their lives, changing how they see Henry—and ultimately themselves. A play about what happens when we’re offered a chance at dreams we didn’t even know we had…

PWC Core Writers (clockwise from left) Alice Tuan, Jason Gray Platt, and Jen Silverman.

An earlier version of this article misattributed the actors pictured in we, the invisibles. The article has been updated to correct this.

Twin Cities Arts Reader