PlayLab Festival returns May 4 – 7

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Florida Repertory Theatre will hold its PlayLab Festival May 4 – 7 in the Historic Arcade Theatre.
The 2023 PlayLab lineup includes five plays reflecting Florida Rep’s mission to produce a wide variety of work by emerging and well-established writers.
Selected works include: See Monsters of the Deep by Mark Shanahan, Trouble (at the Vista View Mobile Home Estates) by Audrey Cefaly, One-Shot by Andrew Rosendorf, Long Layover by Michelle Tyrene Johnson, and Mountain Mamas by Daryl Lisa Fazio.
Each of the festival playwrights works with a professional director and cast of actors and receives 15 hours to workshop and develop their piece before it has one public reading during the intensive weekend festival. The plays are each in consideration for a future premiere production in a subsequent Florida Rep season. The festival culminates with a playwright panel session moderated by Jason Parrish, Florida Rep’s associate artistic director.
“Each reading performance includes a talk-back and a discussion with the playwrights, directors and actors,” said Jason Parrish, the festival organizer. “Audience feedback is instrumental in the development process and helps the playwrights perfect their scripts and helps guide Florida Rep as it decides whether to include one of these plays in a future season.”
Examples of past plays selected for production by Florida Rep include Alabaster by Audrey Cefaly (produced in 2019), Damascus by Bennett Fisher, The Dingdong by Mark Shanahan (in 2016) and Split in Three by Daryl Lisa Fazio (produced in 2015).
Selected plays were chosen from an open call for submissions to literary agents and playwrights – some affiliated with the National New Play Network, of which Florida Rep is an associate member.
Tickets are $25 per reading or $120 for an all-access pass that includes admission to five readings plus the playwright’s panel. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 239-332-4488 or toll-free at 877-787-8053.

Festival schedule:

OF THE DEEP by Mark Shanahan
Thursday, May 4 at 7 p.m.
There are such things as monsters. Aren’t there? August, 1937. A strange creature has been spotted swimming in the waters off Massachusetts. Are the local fishermen’s reports to be believed? And what of the giant footprints recently found on the shore? Determined to confront his fear of the unknown, a young man from Brooklyn journeys to a small island off the coast of New England to learn the truth about the mysterious and elusive beast. Instead, his quest provides more questions than answers, a roller coaster ride filled with impenetrable mystery, enchanting characters, the thrill of romance…and the adventure of a lifetime.

TROUBLE (at the Vista View Mobile Home Estates) by Audrey Cefaly
Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m.
An electrifying new play from the author of Alabaster and Maytag Virgin! In small-town Alabama, ex-mill worker, Euba, desperately does not want the birthday party her mother insists on throwing for her. On the eve of the celebration with their mutual friends, underlying tensions erupt to the surface in this surprising and compassionate dramedy of generational scars and the complicated relationship between mothers and daughters.

ONE-SHOT by Andrew Rosendorf
Saturday, May 6 at 2 p.m.
It’s 1999. Ellen has already come out on her TV show. Jack’s about to do the same on Dawson’s Creek. And David and Martín – two young video store employees, film buffs, and best friends – are waiting to hear about a film scholarship to NYU that could change the trajectory of their lives. An exploration of privilege, identity, and the ever-present celluloid closet, One-Shot examines who gets the space to tell what stories.

by Michelle Tyrene Johnson
Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m.
Lorraine is a single black woman at a crossroads. Unhappy with her life in Dallas, big decisions weigh her down. Kelly, her therapist, wants Lorraine to picture herself in her safe space when she’s in a therapy session. Oddly for Lorraine, her safe-space is an airport waiting room. Facing a layoff, Lorraine has the chance to start over – should she move to Africa with her boyfriend…or Amsterdam to start a new career in cosmetics…or back to Memphis to care for her aging father? Long Layover is a powerful and inventive play about a woman trying to figure out what she wants, what she’s become, and how to step into power, happiness, forgiveness, and love.

by Daryl Lisa Fazio
Sunday, May 7 at 4 p.m.
A moving and humor-filled portrait of women coal miners in West Virginia. Patsy Armstrong is a coal miner. Just like her daddy, Earl. And just like her mother, Wanda, who was one of the first women ever hired underground in a union mine – who’s still there at 60 years old. Patsy’s back in mother and daddy’s house after a mining accident that left her unable to move or communicate. When the family gets news about the settlement from Patsy’s accident, Livvy (her bright 18-year old daughter) jumps into the fray. And Patsy, now forced to listen and observe more than she ever did as a healthy person, is plagued by nightmares and revelations she’s able to share only with us. In this story of resilience and redemption, it doesn’t take long for Patsy to realize she has to learn a new way of being if she’s going to save her entire world.

Sunday, May 7 at 6:30 p.m.
Following the final reading of the 2023 PlayLab, audiences will hear from all of the festival playwrights in a roundtable discussion. Moderated by associate artistic director Jason Parrish, the playwrights will talk about their plays, their work as writers, and what it takes to make a living as a playwright in the American Theatre. The playwrights will be joined by special guests from the literary world and the National New Play Network.


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