Railtown Lab Launches

Off the Rails #1
by Mary Beach

“This is our Lab, we need to be able to fall on our faces.”

When you walk in the door at 245 Alexander Street, you leave the rest of the world behind. It is cool, dark and one hundred per cent alive. It is a place where things grow.

There is a luxury to having your own space, said founder Kate Twa. “You know that when you walk in these doors, it’s all about the work, not about the results.”

And the work is intense. After one of those full days of teaching, co-artistic director John Cassini said he has a hard time locking up and leaving the studio. He likes to sit and listen to the “echo” of the day in the room – all the struggles and transformations and breakdowns and celebrations – of actors at work.

And now, with the launch of the Railtown Lab, that echo is getting louder. In addition to actors it features the original voices of writers and directors too – all who feel safe enough to fall on their faces and trust that one of their collaborators will put out a hand and they can climb back up. 

Far from falling on their faces, though, Lab co-curators Anthony Shim and Bryan Demore, writer-in-residence Raul Inglis and a stellar cast had a sold out run at the Studio last month with Inglis’s original play For The Record. Shim and Demore produced, Shim directed and Demore took the lead.

“It really couldn’t have gone any better,” said Shim. For him, the Lab is about being bold, experimental, even risky – without worrying about budgets or failure.

Now “on the hunt” for the next Lab production, due late August, Shim and the Railtown company of actors are doing table reads of more of Inglis’s plays and others.  

Another upcoming Lab initiative will bring people in the industry into the Studio to “open our eyes and minds” to how others in the industry work and collaborate, said Shim.

So watch this space. Something is cooking in the Lab at this very moment.


Mary Beach