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New Plays to Be Workshopped in Newport

Ambitious, fledgling Cincinnati LAB Theatre will present two fully staged workshop productions and two original play readings by area playwrights in its New Works Festival in August at Falcon Theatre in Newport.

LAB has been quietly establishing itself for the last three years and is now a division of Falcon. Led by talented indie theatre artists Bob Allen, Jared Doren, and Elizabeth Harris as artistic directors, its mission embraces established and emerging playwrights presenting established works and develop new plays through a traditional workshop model.

in a rotating repertoire over two weekends, Aug. 4-13, August’s “festival” will present new and innovative works in various stages of development, encourage open and honest discussions, and allow audiences an inside look into the creative process, Doren promises. 

“We want to give people a place to grow,” Doren says, “and explore and work and fail – you don’t get better if you don’t have that opportunity.” There will be post-show discussions for all scripts.

The dream, he adds, is to look on the first page of a published play script and see the words “developed by Cincinnati LAB Theatre.”

WORKSHOP SERIES (semi-staged):  

Chase the Dragon by Kirk Sheppard explores the lives of at-risk youth and what happens when we don’t have a handle on our own history. Peter wants to make a difference; his chosen career path should allow him to do so. But sometimes people run from their past, and other times they chase it. Directed by Jared D. Doren. Cast: Carter Bratton, Rupert Spraul, Bob Allen, Tess Talbot, and Henry Howland. Performances Aug. 4, 6, and 12 at 8 p.m.

Judas by Elizabeth a. Harris asks how would our views of Christianity and the Messiah change if we discovered Judas was actually Jesus’s most trusted disciple? Based on the Gospel of Judas, the drama examines the limits of love and self-sacrifice and asks the question: “What would you do if the person you loved most in the world asked you to perform the ultimate betrayal for the good of all humanity?” Directed by Elizabeth a. Harris. Cast: Brian Berendts and Derek Snow. Performances Aug. 5, 11, and 13 at 8 p.m.

DISCOVERY SERIES:

Guest speakers and/or panelists will lead pre-show discussions that focus on social themes and current topics related to the productions. Pre-performance lectures are scheduled at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 (Chase the Dragon) and Aug. 11 (Judas).

Guest speakers and/or panelists will lead free pre-show discussions in a “Discovery Series” that focuses on social themes and current topics related to the productions.  Pre-performance lectures are scheduled at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 (Chase the Dragon) and Aug. 11 (Judas).

PLAY READING SERIES:  

LAB approached two local playwrights with a new script in the works and invited both “give us something you may want to develop,” Doren said, and asked for an hour-long script.

3some by Brian Griffin. Expectations are shattered and lives are changed when three strangers meet one evening and get something none of them bargained for. Griffin is a longtime local playwright and actor. Aug. 5 at 5:30 p.m.

Medusa in You by Valetta Anderson, who moved to Newport from Atlanta just over a year ago.  The drama examines the murder of innocents and remembering, according to the press release. “It’s is very timely,” Doren says, “in terms of the Black Lives Matter movement.” Aug. 12 at 5:30 p.m.

2016 New Works Festival, Cincinnati Lab Theatre, Falcon Theatre, 636 Monmouth St., Newport. Tickets: Workshop Series, $15 adults, $10 students; Play Readings, $5; Discovery Series free and open to the public. All-access pass $25. Tickets: www.brownpapertickets.com/profile/762706

Written by Jackie Demaline, RCN Arts