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labworks 2015 title boxBAD MOON RISING

staged reading

written by Karen Howes
directed by Mary Lou Rosato

IIt’s 1974 in Euphora Springs, Mississippi. A black saxophonist is accused of murder, and several people are to blame: a corrupt politician, the white woman who loves him, an unprincipled journalist and a guitar player on his way to California. This play is about culture and time and being connected to a way of life that we’re born into and part of who we are.

Cast in Alphabetical Order:
Haskell Vaughn Anderson III, Daniel Bess, Bo Foxworth, Dylan McTee, Sallie Merkel,
Elyse Mirto, Chandra Lee Schwartz, Gyasi Silas, Brian Tichnell, Sarah Yarkin

Skylight Theatre / SkyLab

5 QUESTIONS FOR WRITER, Karen Howes

1. What inspired you to become a writer?Karen Howes, writer - Skylight Theatre Company

Pen and paper.

What inspired me to create characters I knew nothing about and stories that were not even a glimmer?  --  The coloring books and boxes of 24 count Crayola Crayons that my mother would buy me to keep me from reverse engineering my toys when I was 4.  I was fascinated with each uncolored page and the story that was hidden in the smile on the puppy’s face and the scowl on the little boy sitting alone on the park bench. Stories emerged from those two-dimensional outlines. Each had its own inciting incident, character goals and arcs, conflicts, and especially backstories. That was the beginning. In elementary school, my parents involving me in community theater and the NJ Shakespeare Festival turned me into a playwright. Later – my studies in philosophy sealed the pact.

2. What's the one piece of advice that you were given that's really stuck with you? 

It came from an acting teacher when I was 16 and studying for a BFA. I was told that I’d have a much better chance at reaching a high branch on a tree if I overshot it and caught it on the way down than if I took small jumps and kept inching my way towards it, not knowing exactly where it was.

3. What's your favorite thing about writing for the theater? 

Collaboration. Wait – it’s the best and worst. When I emerge from my cave with a script (or something that could be a script), there’s nothing more meaningful, purposeful and enlivening than working with a supportive and creative team of theater artists who “get” the vision and add expertise and talent to prepare the play for an audience. On the other hand —

4. What's the best play you've seen in the last year (and where)?

Maybe – Tovarich (NJ) 

5. Where's your favorite place to go in L.A? 

Annenberg Space for Photography (when it’s open). Free admission ($1.00 to park on weekends. $3.50 for three hours of parking during the day). It’s a small, focused and pristine space where people tend to be nice. The exhibits are typically theme-based. They capture a time, place and mood that inspires curiosity and imagination.  There’s also a video component and evening lectures.


LAb WORKS is a festival of new plays by our resident PLAYlab writers performed as workshop productions and as readings in our 'black box' theatre. These are truly new plays; each year the PLAYlab writers begin and complete a new play from scratch. 

Join the creator IN-Konversation immediately following. This moderator assisted chat allows the writer to immediately solicit audience feedback to further advance their project. It's a unique opportunity for the writer to ask pointed questions about what works and what doesn't.


INKubator is our development program and includes:
    ▪    Play Reading Series, works from across the greater Los Angeles area
    ▪    PlayLab, invitation only professional play writing laboratory
    ▪    LAb Works, annual festival of new plays from the PlayLab writers
    ▪    INK Works, extended workshop series
    ▪    SOLOmojo, solo performance intensive
    ▪    unAUTHORized, writing workshop for 18-28 year olds
    ▪    The Lyric Project, teen lyric writing workshops taught in LA high schools and detention centers culminating in a Concert of new songs