Lake George Theater Lab and Women’s Project to Collaborate at Wiawaka
For one week in July, three women playwrights will live, work with directors and actors and hear excerpts from their scripts performed at Wiawaka, the historic women’s retreat on Lake George.
The experiment is a collaboration of the Lake George Theater Lab and Women’s Project Theater, a New York City-based company dedicated to producing theater by women.
“The Women’s Project sent me a number of scripts they were interested in seeing developed further, and I chose three,” said Lake George Theater Lab founder Lindsey Gates.
“I think of this collaboration with Wiawaka more as a retreat for the writers, less as a workshop, although rehearsals will be open and the week will include a reading of portions of the works-in-progress and a discussion with the artists of the process of writing a new play,” said Gates.
The readings and discussion will take place on July 20 at 7:30 pm at the newly-restored Wakonda Lodge, where the women will both live and work.
“Tricia Burt is bringing up her one-woman play, ‘How to Draw a Nekkid Man’ and Kristen Palmer will work on a play titled “Gloucester Point.” The third playwright has yet to be selected,” said Gates.
According to Gates, Tricia Burt is a writer, performer, and artist who lives in New England and who appears frequently on the Peabody Award-winning NPR show, The Moth Radio Hour.
Kristen Palmer is a playwright whose work has been produced in New York, Los Angeles, Seattle, Washington DC and New Haven, among other cities.
“I’m thrilled that the Lake George Theater Lab been able to bring together two historic institutions dedicated in their own separate ways to serving women,” said Gates.
The Wiawaka retreat is funded with support from the Lake George Kayak Company, the Lake George Mirror, the Charles R. Wood Foundation, Columbia Properties, Capital Region Orthopedics, the Lower Adirondack Regional Arts Council, Stewarts and the Sandy Hill Foundation.
For the first time since the Lake George Theater Lab was founded in 2004, a free performance of a Shakespeare play will not be part of the season.
“There were some scheduling conflicts and unresolved questions about the location, so we thought it would be best to take a hiatus,” said Gates. “Leaving out ‘Shakes on the Lake’ from the schedule this season also freed up some time and resources to bring Women’s Theater Project to Lake George.”
This year, the Lake George Theater Lab will serve its mission of incubating new work by hosting playwright Bill Cain and song writers and performers Micah Bucey and Nicholas Williams at its Lab Retreat.
The artists will work at turning Cain’s play, ‘Open Season,’ into a musical. A stripped-down version of the piece will be performed on Saturday, August 3 at the Bolton Community Center at 7:30 pm.
Cain’s best-known work is “Equivocation,” a play in which William Shakespeare is commissioned by one of King James’ ministers to write a play about the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. Cain is also a teacher and a Jesuit priest. After opening in Los Angeles, he play was produced in New York’s City Center in 2010
“Allowing seeds to grow has become something the Lake George Theater Lab has become known for, and why we’re in demand,” said Gates. “I recently attended the opening of Aaron Posner’s adaptation of Chekhov’s The Seagull, Stupid F*ing Bird at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in Washington, which we hosted last year. Already, theater companys and schools across the country are adding it to their seasons, and it’s received incredible reviews. I was so proud that it was heard first here on Lake George.”
As it grows more expensive to stage plays and less time is available for rehearsals, the freedom to develop new work, which the Lake George Theater Lab offers, is highly valued by writers and directors, said Gates.
“We’re in demand, and I want to continue to build upon our reputation as a true lab. I’ve been overwhelmed by the requests from some very prominent theater people, who want to come to Lake George and take advantage of what we have to offer,” said Gates.