The Public Theater will use a $2.7 million grant to inaugurate the Public Lab, a new program to develop plays through two- to three-week runs of pared-down workshop perfs. All tickets will be $10.
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will pay out the $2.7 million over five years. Initial slate, presented in association with resident Public troupe LAByrinth Theater Company, will stage six new works (by Adrienne Kennedy, John Belluso and downtown collective the Civilians, among others). One will be presented each month beginning in February (plus an additional two-night run of a seventh show).
Mandy Hackett, associate a.d. at the Public, will oversee the operations of the Lab. Public a.d. Oskar Eustis said he hopes eventually to present nine or 10 shows a year through the program.
According to Eustis, the initiative will allow the Public to attract younger auds with the low ticket price and also to stage topical work with increased immediacy. “At this point, theater is slower than TV in addressing relevant issues, which sucks,” he said.
Popular on Variety
Program also allows scribes the benefits of seeing their work in front of an aud quicker than in the longer development process now typical in the legit world.
Budget for each production will likely be $125,000-$150,000. Pilot program for the Lab was a well-attended run of Winter Miller’s “In Darfur” last year.
The spring slate for the Lab includes the following:
- “Mom, How Did You Meet the Beatles?,” a biographical look at the life of playwright Adrienne Kennedy in 1960s London, written by Kennedy and son Adam P. Kennedy. Helmed by Peter DuBois, show runs Feb. 4-23.
- “The Poor Itch,” the last play by the late John Belluso. Running March 7-23 and directed by Lisa Peterson, show centers on a soldier just back from Iraq.
- “The Civilians’ Paris Commune,” a musical look at the revolutionary government formed in Paris in 1871, by Steven Cosson (who also directs) and composer Michael Friedman.
- “The Fever Chart: Three Visions of the Middle East,” Naomi Wallace’s play set in a trio of locales in the Middle East. Jo Bonney directs the production, which runs April 25-May 11.
- Tracey Scott Wilson’s “The Good Negro,” about three emerging black leaders, directed by Liesl Tommy and running May 16-June 1.
- “Penalties and Interest,” presented by LAByrinth from June 10-28, follows life in an office. John Gould Rubin directs the play by Rebecca Cohen.
- Scott Hudson’s “Sweet Storm,” a two-night LAByrinth presentation running June 28-29, about newlyweds in a tree. Padraic Lillis directs.