If you’re looking for some absolutely fresh theater, or just want to take in something for free, the 32nd annual PlayLabs festival at the Playwrights’ Center will fit your bill.
The weeklong festival offers new works by a trio of the center’s core writers. Each one gets 30 hours to work with actors and a design team to prepare their work for a pair of public readings. These, in turn, help the writers hone their works-in-progress.
Over the years, many of these plays have gone on to full productions. This coming season, several recent works — Christine Evans’ Can’t Complain, Philip Dawkins’ Le Switch, Mat Smart’s Tinker to Evers to Chance, and Sarah Gubbins’ Cocked — will be seen on stages across the country.
This season's lineup looks promising as well:
Small Town Values
Kathryn Walat’s play follows a quartet of old friends who reunite in their home town after years apart. Will the love affairs and friendships of the past continue, or has time changed it all? Adrienne Campbell-Holt directs, with Emily Grodzik, Larissa Kiel, Matt Guidry, and Sara Marsh taking on the roles. 7 p.m. today and Friday.
Ken Weitzman looks at what American football does to the players who toil in the trenches of our most popular sport with a work centered on ex-player Don Devers and his most devoted fan. The cast features Brian Anthony Wilson, Hope Cervantes, Kris Nelson, and Emily Gunyou Halaas. Jeremy B. Cohen directs. 7 p.m. Tuesday and 1 p.m. Saturday.
The Hidden People
In Joe Waechter’s play, the world’s “first family” has to face a string of troubles after twins Fred and Frieda run away. The cast features Sun Mee Chomet, Jim Lichtscheidl, Tracey Maloney, Michael Wieser, Elise Langer, Miriam Schwartz, Sean Dillon, and Cristina Castro. Direction is provided by Kip Fagen, and Alison Heimstead serves as puppet consultant. 7 p.m Wednesday and Saturday.
There will also be a Playwriting Fellows Showcase at noon Sunday, which will feature scenes from a number of playwrights, including Ryan Campbell, Cristina Castro, Carson Kreutzer, and Erik Ehn. This will be followed by a panel discussion at 2:30 about “Collaboration and Interpretation.”
All events occur at the Playwrights’ Center (2301 E. Franklin Ave., Minneapolis) and are free. For more information, call 612-332-7481 or visit online.