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Playwrights’ Center announces expanded season for 2014-15


The Playwrights’ Center has announced the plays and playwrights to be featured in its 2014 PlayLabs festival and 2014-15 Ruth Easton New Play Series. This year, the Ruth Easton New Play Series will grow from one reading of each play to two.

“The 2014-15 season has something for everyone, with genres from hip hop to historical and topics from gun control to gospel music,” said Producing Artistic Director Jeremy B. Cohen. “I’m so inspired by this season’s brilliant slate of diverse playwrights from around the country, and excited to share their work with our standing-room-only audiences. To see the demand grow so intensely for a chance to see this new work—such that we’ve added a second performance to each of the Ruth Easton readings—is a real testament to the level of excellence of our writers, and the hunger of Twin Cities audiences for new American plays.”

All events in the Playwrights’ Center season are free.

PLAYLABS, October 20-26

For more than 30 years, the PlayLabs festival has been energizing playwrights and wowing audiences. Over 75% of the plays featured in PlayLabs over the past decade have gone on to production, such as Dan O’Brien’s “The Body of an American” (Portland Center Stage), Allison Moore’s “Slasher” (Humana Festival), and Mat Smart’s “The Royal Society of Antarctica,” which was developed at PlayLabs 2013 and will premiere at Chicago’s Gift Theatre in March 2015.

PlayLabs is one of the nation’s most intensive play development programs, giving playwrights 30 hours of vital workshop time with a team of collaborators, and two public readings with time for rewrites in between.

PlayLabs 2014 runs October 20-26 at the Playwrights’ Center. In addition to the three featured plays, audiences are invited to a showcase of work by the Center’s playwriting fellows and a Saturday night party. All events are free and open to the public.

The 2014 PlayLabs festival will feature “Cocked” by Sarah Gubbins, “The Absence of Weather” by Ken Urban, and “Le Switch” by Philip Dawkins, all Core Writers at the Playwrights’ Center.


This season, the Ruth Easton New Play Series is expanding from one reading of each play to two. Five new plays by Core Writers will be featured between December and April. Participating playwrights receive 20 hours with collaborators to workshop their script—to write, rewrite, experiment, and shape their work.

Plays recently seen in the Ruth Easton New Play Series that have gone on to production include “The Way West” by Mona Mansour (Steppenwolf), “The Few” by Samuel D. Hunter (Old Globe Theatre), and “Brahmani: A One-Hijra Stand-up Comedy Show” by Aditi Brennan Kapil (Mixed Blood Theatre).

The 2014-15 Ruth Easton New Play Series will feature “Forget Me Not When Far Away” by Kira Obolensky (local writer), “Dust” by Qui Nguyen, “Marie and Rosetta” by George Brant, “The REALNESS: the second break beat play” by Idris Goodwin, and “Romeo & Naomi Ramirez” by Kathryn Walat.

For ticket information, see or contact the Playwrights’ Center at (612) 332-7481 or





Monday, October 20 at 7 p.m. Cocked by Sarah Gubbins
Tuesday, October 21 at 7 p.m. The Absence of Weather by Ken Urban
Wednesday, October 22 at 7 p.m. Le Switch by Philip Dawkins
Friday, October 24 at 8 p.m. Cocked by Sarah Gubbins
Saturday, October 25 at 1 p.m. The Absence of Weather by Ken Urban
Saturday, October 25 at 7 p.m. Le Switch by Philip Dawkins
Saturday, October 25
following 7 p.m. reading
Festival Celebration
Sunday, October 26 at 12 p.m. Playwriting Fellow Showcase

COCKED by Sarah Gubbins
Director: Jeremy B. Cohen

Taylor and her girlfriend, Izzie, have always been staunchly opposed to gun ownership, especially as they see the effects of gun violence on their city. When Taylor’s brother, Frank, comes crashing into their lives unannounced, he disrupts their well-ordered home and exposes their unspoken anxieties and betrayals. An existing conflict escalates to dangerous heights, and the three find themselves testing the definition of self-defense.

Director: Lee Sunday Evans; dramaturg: Jill Rafson

United States Secretary of Defense James Forrestal enjoyed a meteoric rise to power during World War II. By 1949, he has been forced out of office and committed to Bethesda Naval Hospital, convinced that Soviets are infiltrating the U.S. government. As the hospital staff struggle both to treat and protect their patient, Forrestal worries that he has betrayed those he loves in pursuit of ghosts. An American tragedy about the wages of fear.

LE SWITCH by Philip Dawkins
Director: Stephen Brackett

Marriage equality finally reaches New York, and commitment-shy David finds himself unsure how to react. Nervous in the face of “wedding fever,” he retreats to his home full of unopened books and his grieving activist roommate. When his best friend’s bachelor party takes him to Montreal, he is unexpectedly swept off his feet by a beautiful young florist. In the months that follow, David and his non-traditional family have to decide for themselves what it really means to be committed, what it means to be married, and what it means to be queer.


The perfect way to get a taste of the work of 2014-15 Playwrights’ Center Jerome and McKnight playwriting fellows: staged readings of scenes from a new play by each writer.


Join us for a huge party to celebrate the artists and local theater community, featuring pop-up playwright appearances.





December 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. Forget Me Not When Far Away by Kira Obolensky
January 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. Dust by Qui Nguyen
February 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. Marie and Rosetta by George Brant
March 2 and 3 at 7 p.m. The REALNESS: the second break beat play by Idris Goodwin
April 6 and 7 at 7 p.m. Romeo & Naomi Ramirez by Kathryn Walat


John Ploughman returns from war to find his hometown very much changed. After ten years thriving without men, the town has little place for an aging Don Juan—much less one who has been counted on the list of the dead. In order to regain his place among the living and find his lost love, he is forced to confront both the mistakes of his past and the unromantic reality of his present. A tragic comedy about shifting gender politics and the ways we learn to adapt.

DUST by Qui Nguyen

Sixteen-year-old Thuy dreams of joining her GI father’s American family and escaping her life in post-war Vietnam. The problem is, most of her new family doesn’t know she exists. Her arrival in their small Arkansas town causes a rift in the household and brings up years of buried secrets. Always in search of a place to belong, Thuy discovers that she isn’t the only one searching.


Bringing fierce guitar playing and swing to gospel music, Sister Rosetta Tharpe was a legend in her time and a huge influence on Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, and Ray Charles. Marie and Rosetta chronicles her first rehearsal with a young protégée, Marie Knight, as they prepare to embark on a tour that would establish them as one of the great duos in musical history.


Thomas has escaped the ‘burbs and come to the city to savor authentic hip hop culture. He falls madly in love with Prima, a super-dope MC, and he is willing to lie, cheat, and scheme to win her well-guarded heart. But is he after real love or fulfilling a middle class rap fantasy? A meditation on authenticity and class collision, The REALNESS follows a young man’s journey for his heart and true identity.

ROMEO & NAOMI RAMIREZ by Kathryn Walat

She’s a rookie cop on her first undercover narcotics assignment. He’s an Honors English student trying to live up to his Shakespearean name. And this is Florida, with some of the toughest drug laws in the nation. So is it a love story...or a tragedy? Whose version are you going to believe?

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