A lot of people who know me now don’t know that I was a full-fledged theater kid in high school. I spent pretty much every weeknight hanging around at rehearsal, doing homework backstage in between scenes, lending a hand in the shop. I wrote about some of my feelings about acting/theater after taking an acting class at the Rep last fall, but the reason this comes up now is because I attended the (sold out!) opening night of Rep Lab yesterday, and it brought so many nostalgic theater feelings up for me.
Rep Lab is a short play festival that features the Rep’s Intern Ensemble. If you’ve attended shows at the Rep this season, you’ve seen some of them performing on stage (usually in bit parts), some of them moving furniture, but this is the night that they take center stage. Short plays, like short stories, are an art form that I don’t think gets the kind of respect and attention that they deserve. Sometimes a story is all the better for being short, in my opinion. It makes it punchier, plus, it’s sort of like going to the buffet. You’ll always like some more than others, of course, but you also get the chance to see stories that you may not have chosen on your own. And sometimes the ones you wouldn’t have chosen turn out to be your favorites.
Speaking of favorites, I had a hard time picking my favorite pieces of the night! I think in the end, I’ll say my top three were People are Dancing (mini-musical!), hysterical and the devised piece that makes up the finale, but there wasn’t a piece that I didn’t enjoy. I loved having the opportunity to see each actor in multiple roles through the night, and the stripped-down black box theater and minimal sets really put the focus on the acting (although there were some great moments of lighting design as well).
Tonight’s show is sold out, but there are still two shows on Sunday and one on Monday. Tickets are only $10, so there’s pretty much no reason to miss it! The shows are general admission, so make sure you get there early if you’re particular about where you’d like to sit or you’re bringing a big group.
Rep Lab runs through April 13 in the Stiemke Studio at the Milwaukee Rep.