The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday October 27th


LAB!'s "30 Plays" committed to honest emotion

30 plays. 60 minutes. A whole lot of emotion.

UNC’s LAB! Theatre brought “30 Plays in 60 Minutes” back to campus this weekend with an interactive, relatable and unpredictable show. The audience has the responsibility to pick the order of these two-minute plays, which vary in content, props, dialogue, number of performers and more.

The last two performances for “30 Plays” will be tonight and Oct. 10, both at 10:30 p.m. in the Center for Dramatic Art.

Junior Miles Bonsignore, a returning performer in this year’s show, said one of his favorite things about “30 Plays” was the range of emotions the audience and performers experience.

“I just love that you can feel so many things,” he said. “One play will break your heart, and the next one will be something so stupid that it’ll make you laugh right after you just cried.”

Between all 30 plays, there is a good balance of funny, serious and sad pieces, said Margaret Burrus, the show’s producer.

But what sets this show apart is how honest it is.

“The basic thing is that we (the performers) have to be honest,” Burrus said. “We’re not allowed to pretend we are anywhere else but the room we are in. We’re in that moment with you.”

The show, which was inspired by similar shows in Chicago and New York, is based on neo-Futurism, a school of thought in theater that emphasizes honesty and brevity, Burrus said.

“It’s a chance for people to be able to talk about things in creative or expressive ways without freaking anyone out or being over-dramatic,” she said.

Because of the performers’ commitment to honesty, the show is relevant to the audience. Kristi Stout, another performer, said it was what made the show successful its first time running last year.

“It’s us talking about us and things we’ve experienced, which a lot of people relate to,” she said. “It’s very much about here and now and who these people actually are.”

After each show, audience members will be chosen to roll a die and determine the number of plays that will be cut. Different plays will run the next week in an order picked by the audience.

Kevin Spellman, the artistic director of the show, decided to bring the show to UNC after seeing it in Chicago in 2012. He said the diversity and relevance of the show would make it exciting for the students on campus. “30 Plays in 60 Minutes” sold out all shows last year, which encouraged Spellman to direct it again and improve it for this year’s crowd.

“The audience can expect to laugh. They can expect to be loud. They actually probably shouldn’t expect anything,” Spellman said.

The show will run for three consecutive Fridays before a three-week break. Bonsignore, Burrus and Stout all suggested arriving early to guarantee getting seats.

“This is something that’s really new, really current with everything that is going on on campus and in the world,” Spellman said.

“This isn’t your Grandma’s theater.”

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