WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Williams College Summer Theatre Lab has begun its ninth season in residence at the CenterStage Theatre of the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance. This summer’s season of theatrical work, created, produced and performed by Williams students and visiting theatre artists, will include new work from emerging playwrights Mallery Avidon and Dipika Guha; student and alumni-generated projects; and a new theatrical adaptation of a short story by Williams Professor Jim Shepard.
The Lab provides a unique offering in the region’s summer theatre scene. Since its inception in 2004, it has served as an opportunity for Williams students, as well as returning alumni professionals, to work in a supportive and nurturing theatrical environment free from commercial and critical pressures.
The season began July 1 and culminates in the Open Lab Weekend - a festival of productions and projects from the company’s time in residence - Aug. 15, 16 and 17. All performances will be in the CenterStage of the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance, 1000 Main St. Admission is free.
"We are incredibly excited about our ninth year here at the CenterStage" Artistic Director and co-founder Kevin O’Rourke ‘78 said. "We’re gearing up for two new scripted projects as well as a collection of student-generated work.
O’Rourke, a director and award winning film and theatre performer, is currently appearing as Mayor Edward Bader in the HBO series "Boardwalk Empire." The 2013 season is his ninth season as artistic director.
The Satori Group, a regionally recognized and critically acclaimed theater ensemble, collaboratively generates new work aimed at exploring the audience experience with curiosity, commitment and consideration to the world of each piece. Members of the Satori Group will work with playwright Mallery Avidon ("Mary-Kate Olsen is in Love"), to begin a new play inspired and developed by this year’s Lab ensemble. Avidon’s play "O Guru, Guru, Guru" premiered at the Humana Festival earlier this year.
On Sunday, July 28 at 7:30 p.m. the Lab will present a staged reading of Shepard’s "Courtesy for Beginners." This new stage adaptation of Shepard’s short story, originally published in the collection "Like You’d Understand Anyway," is being developed in a two-week collaborative workshop with the 2013 Lab.
On Sunday, Aug. 4 at 7:30 p.m. the Lab will present "The Read Thru." This informal reading represents a first step in the four-week development of the scripts selected for performance at the Open Lab Weekend, and will allow the public an insight into the preliminary rehearsal process, the directorial and design concepts, and the projects’ starting points.
The Open Lab Weekend, Aug. 15, 16 and 17, will conclude the season with works from the 2013 Lab performed in repertory. These projects will include the full production of "A Brief History of America" by Dipika Guha, student-written one-acts selected from the July play-writing workshop, readings of alumni scripts and selected student-initiated projects.
Performances will take place on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, and Saturday afternoon. In addition to the scheduled performances, there will be panel discussions, and talk-backs with visiting alumni and other theatre professionals.
The Lab’s goal is to nurture theatrical projects that foster creative experimentation, artistic risk taking, and the collaborative process. In the past seven years, the Lab has produced over 30 theatrical works involving over 75 undergraduates and 40 visiting alumni. These projects have included staged readings of student work, the first presentation of a new one-man show starring Gordon Clapp ‘71, a new musical in development from Michael Winther ‘85, new plays from Adam LeFevre ‘72 and Jay Tarses ‘61 and the critically acclaimed 2007 Williamstown Theatre Festival/Summer Theatre Lab collaborative production of Friedrich Durrenmatt’s "The Physicists," starring Roger Rees and John Feltch ‘80.
The 2013 Williams College Summer Theatre Lab’s student company: Matthew Conway ‘15, Gabrielle DiBenedetto ‘16, Kimberly Golding ‘16, Jonny Gonzalez ‘15, Jenny Helinek ‘15, Gideon Hess ‘16, Connor Lawhorn ‘16, Paige Peterkin ‘16, Sarah Sanders ‘14 and Carina Zox ‘16.
All performances are free.
For reservations: 413-597-4839.