The 2007 Lab had a very contemporary focus. It began by asking many questions: "How do playwrights and actors communicate in the creation of new work today?" "Do they communicate directly, or is the director always in between?" "How exactly does the communication between all the collaborators in new play development work today?" "How are the roles defined and what does each role expect in terms of input and feedback?" "Has the 'new play development movement' that is the way many new artists enter the field now in the American theater changed the way young artists collaborate together?" "Is the experience of making theater the same for young artists today as it was for the generation of Mamet, Fornes, Wasserstein, Shepard, or Wilson when they began?" "Are young artists participating in the process with adequate rehearsal time?" "Has this had the effect of changing the playwright-actor relationship?" "As a result of all this, do young writers today understand the actor's process as well as writers did in the past?" "Do directors understand it as well as they would like to?" "Are young theater companies being formed to provide an alternative to the opportunities provided young artists in the institutional theaters?" "Are gifted actors joining these theaters?"

We have been talking a lot about the realities of play development today. As the American theater has professionalized itself over the last 40 years, we have changed from an apprentice system where young theater artists learned their craft by working alongside their more experienced peers. It has been of concern to many of us, how much of the experience of young writers and directors in our theaters has been increasingly limited to readings and workshops with short rehearsal periods, away from the main stages, and how much the models of theater collaboration have been formed in training - not in the theater itself. With the 2007 Lab, we wanted to explore whether the downside of this professionalism is an environment now where everyone is trained to do their job alone and discouraged from loosening the definitions of how they contribute to a collaboration. Can young directors and playwrights learn their craft in a substantive fashion without the opportunities of production? Without using a rehearsal style of their own devising?

The Directors Lab this summer delved into this challenging area to explore the realities of the process of presenting new plays today and the ideals of what that collaborative process can be. How does the process affect the artistry of each of the participants? We investigated how we work today in theaters small and large, in showcases, and commercial situations, and in the making of various kinds of work - writer-driven, music-theater and devised work etc. Specifically, we started with the actor-playwright collaboration in the creation of new work. Are actors marginalized in the creative process today? Are their creative abilities underused? Why are playwrights criticized so much? Why do many directors feel they have to be "in charge" alone?" Are young writers given an opportunity to spend time with actors in a rehearsal process that they have some say over? Are young writers getting to work with really good actors in a way that gives them an insight into the actor's process? How do both playwrights and actors function in the rehearsal room today - how is this different than it was in the past - or might be in the future? Where do young directors fit into all of this?

Our three weeks together attempted to open this dialogue about new play development with rehearsal work. With the help of playwrights and actors' organizations here in the city, young writers, designers, a company of actors working alongside directors, and master artists with experience discussing other alternatives, we hoped to create some models for change and figure out how to get them out into the world.

Lab Directors

Arespacochaga, Chari
Arnette, Meghan
Aryal, Saroj
Bechtel, Doug
Berezowsky, Taras
Berger, Suzana
Bes, Karina
Bondarin, Dev
Bonvissuto, Leah
Bowen, Glory
Day, Steve
Etzold, Lee Ann
Fazio, Phillip
Fillion, Shannon
Furtado, Pia
Gonzales, Kathleen
Graci, Sharon
Halvorson, Nathan
Heimbuch, John
Howe, Doug
Jamias, Tess
Karsten, Adam
Kasiou, Athina
Keating , Lauren
Keller, Dina
Kelly-Tata, Ashley
Kerrick, Ben
Kvale, Helene
Landaker, Jill
Lee, Indy
Lemoine, Nathan
Lobel, Brian
Lydic, Jeremy
MacMillan, Shannon
Margineanu, Ana
Marple, Adam
Melamed, Michel
Neal, Corinne
Neale, Grant
Neff, Esther
Redish, Jessica
Reitz, Gwenyth
Rudnick, Pesha
Sawyer, Jocelyn
Schwartz, Michael
Sharon, Shanae
Shenoy, Nandita
Smiley, Erin
Soto, Vanessa
Student, Daniel
Tarasco, Matteo
Ujda, Halina
Upchurch, Gaye Taylor
Van der Aa, Michel
Vitolo, Andy
Watson, Jared
Wilkinson, Mark
Williams, Alexis
Witlen, Jake
Woodard, Tamilla
Zimbler, Jason

Lab Master Artists

Christopher Bayes
Blair Brown
Ben Cameron
Carolyn Cantor
Lynn Cohen
Bob Crowley
Colman Domingo
Richard Eyre
Kate Forbes
Peter Gerety
Michael Krass
Ben Krywosz
Oni Faida Lampley
Pam MacKinnon
J. Michael Miller
Bruce Norris
Jennifer Roszell
Seret Scott
Lois Smith
Alex Timbers
Ron Van Lieu
Frank Wood
Grace Zandarski

Lab Actors

Acheson, Dana Powers
Clow, James
Cole, Jimonn
Craig, Michael Kadin
Cuervo, Alma
de los Reyes, Carlos
Delate, Brian
Dingman Evans, Julie
Dowdeswell, Shana
Eichenberger, Rebecca
Fernandez, Peter Jay
Forbrich, Joe
Genet, Michael
Glymph, Avery
Hagan, Justin
Heidami, Daoud
Klein, Lauren
Knight, Susan
Kubinski, Cassandra
Manis, David
Marcus, Lauren
Masur, Richard
Palmer, Sean Jeremy
Petrilla, Joe
Polk, Andrew
Purcell, Annie
Rosenthal, Mark
Thinnes, Roy
Van Dyck, Jennifer
Walker, Jasmin
Wells, David Christopher
Whyte, Blake

Michael Albanese
Sarovar Banka
France-Luce Benson
Deron Bos
Michael Bradford
Sergei Burbank
Bathsheba Doran
Charles Forbes
Christina Gorman
Rob Handel
Michael R. Jackson
Aaron Jafferis
Joseph Keckler
Scott Klavan
Erin Markey
Rogelio Martinez
Megan Mostyn-Brown
Rodney Lee Rogers
Zohar Tirosh
Daryl Watson

Abbandandolo, Brenda
Aktanov, Raul
Bartek, Ann
Benghiat, Joshua
Cubbage, Sarah
Fisher, Catherine M.
Healy, Meghan
Lee, San Yveyi
Monaco, Robert
Newell, David
Otto, Driscoll A.
Park, Kina
Shannon, Sidney
Withrow, David
Yew, Jeanette Oi-Suk
Zhao, Greta TT

Lab Staff

Lab Director: Anne Cattaneo
Lab Coordinator: Anita Ross
Lab Assistant: Jill MacLean

Panel on Playwrights and Actors: What is Their Relationship Today? Where Do Directors Fit in? with Blair Brown, Michael Krass, Seret Scott, Alex Timbers, Lois Smith, Bruce Norris, Colman Domingo, & Pam MacKinnon

Ben Krywosz: Collaboration Principles, The Director as Collaborative Leader

Richard Eyre, Director & former Artistic Director of the Royal National Theater

Michael Miller and Daniel Swee: The Actor as Artist

Approaches to Acting with Ron van Lieu

Clown Work with Chris Beyes

The Actor?s Voice with Grace Zandarski

A Conversation About Devised Work

Anne Cattaneo: A Discussion on Dramaturgy

International Directors Discuss Directing in Their Countries, Moderated by Isaac Butler

Playwriting Exercises with New Dramatist Writers: Zakiyyah Alexander, Jason Grote, David Grimm, Sung Rno, Chiori Miyagawa

Playwrights Round Table with Pre-Lab, New Dramatists & Dramatist Guild Playwrights

Andre Bishop: New Play Development, Then and Now

Ben Cameron, Former Executive Director of TCG: Play Development Around the United States

Ira Weitzman: Developing Musical Theater

Carolyn Cantor: On Emotion in Essential Self Defense and The Thugs

Daniel Swee: All You Want To Know About Casting at Lincoln Center Theater

Lab Participants Exchange Information: Finding Funding for Directors/Play Development

Creating a Not-For-Profit Theater

THE MAESTRO'S GARDEN by Bathsheba Doran; Directed by Nathan Halvorso

MINOR GODS by Charles Forbes; Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch

GREEN ZONE by Rob Handel; Directed by Alec Duffy

ONLY CHILDREN by Michael R. Jackson & Rachel Peters; Directed by Matt M. Morrow

THIS BLOODY MESS by Zohar Tirosh; Directed by Suzana Berger

THE REST OF YOUR LIFE by Megan Mostyn-Brown


THE FIRST by Daryl Watson

MY FIRST RADICAL by Rogelio Martinez

LOOKING FOR LIMBO by Erin Markey & Joseph Keckler

SALT AND SUGAR by Michael Bradford


CHARITY by Scott Klavan

FAIR GROUNDS by Rodney Lee Rogers


SACRED GROUND by Christina Gorman


JETLAG by Sarovar Banka

STUCK ELEVATOR by Aaron Jafferis