Theatre Lab At FAU Hosts Week Of New Play Readings By Horovitz, Laufer & Cliff Burgess

comtrag2lgSome of the most prominent names in playwriting today – plus a local actor and writer – headline an intensive series of readings May 11—14 at Theatre Lab, the professional resident company of Florida Atlantic University headed by Louis Tyrrell.

The New Play Festival on the Boca Raton campus features staged readings of works-in-progress by playwrights whose work has appeared under Tyrrell’s auspices at Florida Stage and Arts Garage including Israel Horovitz, Deborah Zoe Laufer, Michael Hollinger, Ken Weitzman, Michele Lowe and well-known Florida actor Cliff Burgess.

All shows will be presented in Theatre Lab or Studio One Theatre, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus. Tickets are $15 for each show, and $70 for an all-access Festival Pass, which includes access to all readings and receptions. Admission is $5 cash at the door for students for each event. For tickets, call (561) 297-6124.

Each reading is accompanied by a post-show discussion, where audience members can interact with the playwrights themselves and learn more about their process, inspiration, and plans for future development.

A Subtle Bent on Destruction by Cliff Burgess
Wednesday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m.

After a two year absence, Jack’s son returns to his father’s home. The plan is to attend the burial of Jack’s nephews who were killed during a botched bank robbery. But his son has other plans. Jack learns that sins of the past always rise to the surface. His wife learns that secrets brushed under the rug are embedded in the fabric. And Jack’s stepdaughter is reminded that bad habits aren’t easily broken. Burgess received his Master of Fine Arts degree in theater from FAU and earned his Actors’ Equity Card in 2010 after appearing in Christopher Demos Brown’s world premiere play, When the Sun Shone Brighter at Florida Stage. He is a four-time Carbonell nominee. His film The Last Ditch Effort won him Best Director in the 2010 Voices of Local Film of the Palm Beach International Film Festival. He is the producer, director and co-creator of the alternative comedy webseries Gang of Babies, which is featured on YouTube and Funny or Die.

Spin Moves by Ken Weitzman
Thursday, May 12 at 7:30 p.m.

In 1996, the inaugural year of the WNBA, Maja dreams of playing basketball.  But having escaped to the United States from Bosnia, panic attacks, as well as her fiercely protective mother, prevent her from playing. That is, until a new coach mysteriously appears at her high school. Weitzman is an award-winning playwright whose plays have been produced nationally and internationally.  His plays include “The Catch,” produced at the Denver Center Theatre Company; “Fire in the Garden,” produced by Indiana Repertory Theatre; “The As If Body Loop,” produced at Humana Festival for New American Plays; “Arrangements,” produced by the Atlantic Theatre Company; and “Hominid” produced by Out of Hand Theatre at the Oerol International Festival in the Netherlands.  His plays have been selected multiple times for workshop productions at the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center.

I Sing the Body Electric by Michael Hollinger
Friday, May 13 at 7:30 p.m.

It’s 1980, and Mount St. Helens just blew up, succumbing to subterranean pressures.  Meanwhile, in a Florida town, two teens and their parents are drawn inexorably together by equally powerful physical forces.  A play about lightning, love and sex — the positive and negative charges that control our destinies. Hollinger’s plays include “Opus,” “Under the Skin,” “Ghost-Writer,” “Tooth and Claw,” “Red Herring,” “Incorruptible,” and “An Empty Plate in the Café Du Grand Boeuf,” all of which premiered at Philadelphia’s Arden Theatre Company, and which have subsequently been produced  in New York (Primary Stages and Ensemble Studio Theatre) and abroad (London, Paris, Tokyo, Athens).  Plays premiered elsewhere include: “Hope and Gravity at Pittsburgh’s City Theatre;” “Cyrano” (translated, and co-adapted with Aaron Posner) at Washington’s Folger Theatre; and “A Wonderful Noise” (co-authored with Vance Lehmkuhl) at Creede Rep.

22 Seconds by Michele Lowe
Saturday, May 14 at 3 p.m.

22 Seconds” is the story of two sprinters, friends since college, who are now in competition for Olympic gold.  Who can they trust to train them and how much can they depend on those they love? A dramatic story set against the high stakes world of track and field where the difference in being a winner and a loser can be a millisecond. Lowe’s work is widely produced across the country and around the world. She received the Francesca Primus Prize for her play “Inana” and was a finalist for the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize. Both “Inana” and “Victoria Musica” were finalists for the American Theater Critic’s Association/Steinberg New Play Award, which marked the first time in the ACTA’s 33-year history that a playwright was nominated for two plays in one season. Michele is the author of “The Smell of the Kill” (Broadway debut), “String of Pearls” (Outer Critics nomination), “Map of Heaven,” “Mezzulah 1946,” “Backsliding in the Promised Land,” and the original one-act musical “A Thousand Words Come to Mind,” which she co-wrote with composer Scott Davenport Richards.

The Three Sisters of Weehawken by Deborah Zoe Laufer
Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m.

Olga, Masha and Irina have dreamt of returning to their childhood home of Manhattan all their lives. There it lies, gleaming, a mere ferry ride away from their provincial home in Weehawken, N.J.  Though their sister-in-law, Natasha, tries valiantly to help them realize their dream with offers of work, tickets, maps, guidebooks, even anti-depressants, old patterns are hard to break. And that 15-minute ferry ride may as well be a mission to Mars. As they remain, decade after decade stretching into old age, the walls of their world move in tighter and tighter, until it becomes nearly impossible to move at all. Borrowing as much from Becket as Chekhov, “The Three Sisters of Weehawken” wonders at the forces that keep us from following our dreams, and begs the question – how little can one live, and still have lived “a life?” Laufer’s plays have been produced at Steppenwolf Theatre Company; Cincinnati Playhouse in the Park; Cleveland Playhouse; Geva Theatre Center; Actor’s Theatre of Louisville; Portland Stage; Florida Stage and 80 other theaters around the country and in Germany, Russia and Canada. Her play, “Informed Consent,” opened in New York City at the Duke on 42nd Street in 2015. “End Days” premiered at Florida Stage, directed by Lou Tyrrell, and was awarded The ATCA Steinberg citation and an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Grant. It received an NNPN rolling world premiere and more than 50 productions after that. Other plays include “Leveling Up,” “Sirens,” “Out of Sterno,” “The Last Schwartz,” “Meta,” “Fortune,” “The Gulf of Westchester,” “Miniatures” and “Random Acts.”

The Day Before Yesterday, by Israel Horovitz
Sunday, May 15 at 3 p.m.
Studio One Theatre

This brand-new play is based around the terror attacks in Paris. Horovitz’s plays have been translated and performed in more than 30 languages worldwide.  His 70+ plays include “Line” (now in 39th year of continuous performance, off-Broadway, at 13th Street Repertory Theatre), “The Indian Wants The Bronx,” “Rats,” “Morning,” “The Primary English Class,” “The Wakefield Plays,” “The Widow’s Blind Date,” “Today I Am A Fountain Pen,” “Park Your Car In Harvard Yard,” “North Shore Fish,” “Fighting Over Beverley,” “Lebensraum,” “My Old Lady” and his newest play “Gloucester Blue.”

Patrons are encouraged to come early to enjoy beer, wine, drinks and snacks and explore the gallery exhibition space that houses the lobby for Theatre Lab. For a full schedule and more information about the Theatre Lab at FAU, call (561) 297-4784, email or visit

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