The Theater Project, September 2021

streaming producer, leanna keyes smiling inside a green bordered circle

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I almost said ‘no’ to working on this project, and what a mistake that would have been! How do you do a digital production of a play that’s about moving furniture and painting a room (and other plot-spoiling but extremely physical bits)? It turns out: you spend a lot of time creating paintings of rooms, manipulating color, and borrowing the languages of film and abstractionism. I learned so much about how to use digital staging and design to replicate the audience’s experience of looking around a space or the experience of a camera following an actor around a movie set.


A script that calls for intense physicality, done digitally! A playground for physical design.

Part character study, part dark comedy, Labor is the story of two Black working men, house painters John and Ryan. For the older John, house painting is the final destination; for Ryan, it’s a stop along the way to something better. We learn about their lives as they banter over the course of an average workday, painting the home office of a man who flips houses/rents apartments in gentrifying neighborhoods. They have obstacles ahead to getting paid: Ryan bought a flat instead of eggshell finish paint, and by the end of the day, the boss has committed suicide on the floor above. Made possible in part by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

The Theater Project aims to provide a forum to express ideas that spark the imagination and challenge the mind. They are actively encouraging audiences to think beyond the status quo and elevate the discourse around important contemporary issues.

Labor Creative Team:

Mark Spina – Director

TyLie Shider – Playwright

Shanjala Irving – Stage Manager

Mary Iannelli – Prop Master

Transcend Streaming – Streaming Producer

Labor featured the following performers: 

Brian Anthony Wilson, Arron Lloyd, Emily Brown, and Anna Marie Sell.