All shows are free for the audience, and the group does not raise any funds.
Almost half of the group’s annual budget goes toward acquiring the rights to various scripts.
Of the 10 announced plays this season, two cost the company nothing. August’s performance of “Three Days of Rain,” was co-produced and funded by the New York-based theatre group Ground UP, and “Stick Up Kids” is a student-written piece being produced in February.
The funds left over after acquiring rights are stretched to cover the cost of advertising, sets, lumber, props and costumes for each of the group’s dozen shows.
Jess Adams, the president of LAB!, said the value of the group lies in what it offers to its members.
“It is all about learning,” Adams said. “What we do is really process oriented. We focus mostly things without a lot of technical demands.”
David Navalinsky, director of undergraduate productions and an assistant professor in the dramatic art department, said putting on so many shows restrains the individual budget for each one.
“(Our budget) is significantly lower than what a typical show budget is,” he said.
“We’re not on the edge, but we are certainly on the low end of a university production.”
While the managing members of LAB! are not at all deterred by a tight budget, they conceded they are very conscious of it.
“We do have to be frugal,” said Kristen Brews, managing director of LAB!
“Sometimes that means asking the actors to look in their own closets for their costumes. We just do our best to use our own resources.”
Adams said frugality does not necessarily reduce quality — rather, she said it can enhance the experience.
“Of course you have to come up with some creative solutions, but that just spurs creativity in another way,” she said.
“Good theatre doesn’t necessarily mean expensive theatre.”
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