New play contest set to 'break a leg'

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Mon., Feb. 18, 2013
(L-r) Phaedra Beckwith and Lisa Eaton rehearse the drama, 'Autobiography,' set to be performed Thursday, Feb. 21. Photos by Colin Rajala.
(L-r) Phaedra Beckwith and Lisa Eaton rehearse the drama, 'Autobiography,' set to be performed Thursday, Feb. 21. Photos by Colin Rajala.

The Valley Repertory Company of Enfield is producing its fourth annual "LabWorks," a 15-minute new play contest, on Feb. 21, 22 and 23. The new play contest provides a unique perspective for members of the audience, who watch newly-written and never-before-performed plays and decide which plays move on to the finals and ultimately which playwright wins the contest.

More than 400 submissions from across America and nine countries were narrowed down to 12 semifinalists: six dramas and six comedies. On Thursday, Feb. 21, and Friday, Feb. 22, the company will present three dramas and three comedies each night, and audience members will vote to advance two dramas and comedies per evening to the finals on Saturday, Feb. 23. During the finals, the audience will watch the eight plays and vote again, selecting a winning drama and a winning comedy whose authors will receive a $150 prize.

“It was a big blind leap of faith for this company to take a chance that playwrights would even extend new scripts to a little community theatre,” said Janine Flood, Lab Works director and producer. “It’s incredible to see how much it’s grown.”

Tickets for individual nights cost $10, while a special package for both semi-final nights of Feb. 21 and 22 can be purchased up until a few hours of the show for $15.

The contest features 24 actors, 10 making their debuts with the company, performing 12 scripts from 11 different playwrights.The 15-minute comedies range from period comedy-of-manners to bawdy contemporary farce and wild absurdism, and the dramas run the gamut from social drama to romance and suspense. Flood says that the semifinalist plays were selected because of their snappy dialogue and unique characters, noting that each character plays a significant role in each performance. Some plays may also contain adult themes and strong language.

“We want the audience to know how important it is to give playwrights a forum to create new plays,” said Jeffrey Flood, Lab Works director and producer. “It’s hard to get new plays produced, and a lot of community theatres literally never do an un-produced play as long as they exist. We are thankful for our audience that they not only come to see them, but really embrace the new plays.”

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call 860-810-6152. The Valley Repertory Company performs at The Village Center of Thompsonville, at 100 High St.


Excellent article!!

I think the Labworks Group is much to be praised for their performance of new material! Bravo, Colin Rajala and the Reminder News, for their support of the Arts in our community!

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