Sunday, August 10, 2008

In the Works: Improbable Plays

About ten days ago Playlab NYC got a group of friends together to have an informal reading of a collection of short plays by our Lab Assistant Jon Steinhagen.

Titled THE IMPROBABLE PLAYS, the collection includes eight short plays:

“Everything But…”

An unhappily married couple have their daily antagonism kicked up a notch when their crafty kitchen sink let’s its special knowledge overflow.

“The Last of the Intruder”

The story of Goldilocks gains a new perspective when Papa Bear and Mama Bear tell their side of the story to a nosy reporter.


A dieting woman at a fancy restaurant has the misfortune to order Jell-O for dessert while in the presence of all her favorite sweet treats sitting on a nearby dessert cart.

“Panda Expressed”

New methods for increasing the world population of pandas lead to the sordid humiliation of a panda porn star.

“Reunion of the Reserve Heads”

Solid limestone reserve heads over five thousand years old are discovered in an Egyptian tomb and end up reacquainting themselves to life in the British Museum.

“Typical Abnormal Behavior”

An adulterous couple is treated to a shocking display of giraffe hi-jinx while having a rendezvous at the local zoo.

“Second Line of Defense”

A Southern belle and a queen bee relate the mysterious events leading up to a Yankee’s death during the Civil War.

“The Tempest Prognosticators“

Six leeches find themselves trapped in a mid-19th Century device for predicting storms and begin to question the meaning of life.

We had a last minute addition to our informal get together in a form a new play titled “Shelf Life.” In shelf life three movies on a shelf, including a silent movie, an early talkie, and blockbuster action film try to figure out what they have in common.

Reading for us were: Kirsta Peterson, who played Lady Macbeth in the Red Door Theater production of Macbeth that I had directed back in October; long time friend John Pieza, who was a part of April’s Loss Breath workshop; and from Playlab NYC’s inaugural production The Tempest, Bob Stack and Jonathan Weiner. And because we lost an actress at the last minute our own Managing Director, Jennifer Wilcox joined in the reading.

The reading while cold was very productive and we received great feedback from the actors. Of the nine titles, the highlights of the evening were “Layers,” “Panda Expressed,” and “Second Line of Defense.” Playlab NYC is passing along the actors’ notes and questions to the author. I’m sure this isn’t the last we have heard of Jon Steinhagen’s IMPROBABLE PLAYS.