The Northampton Playwrights Lab proudly presents their 2023 Play By Play Festival

November 30 – December 3, 2023

APE Gallery Space, 126 Main Street, Nothampton


Thurs 11/30 @ 7:30PM: PORT OF ENTRY by Talya Kingston

Friday 12/1 @ 7:30PM: THE FADE-AWAY ADVANTAGE by Meryl Cohn

Sat 12/2 @ 2:00PM: THE BUILDING by Betel Arnold

Sat 12/2 @ 7:30PM: HAUNTED HOUSES by Peter Kennedy

Sun 12/3 @ 2:00PM: THE FADE-AWAY ADVANTAGE by Meryl Cohn

Sun 12/3 @ 7:00PM: HEDGES by Stephanie Carlson and THE BIRDS THE BIRDS THE BIRDS by Harley Erdman

The Northampton Playwrights Lab, originally founded by Meryl Cohn, is a development workshop and creative laboratory for professional playwrights with an 18-year history in  Northampton. Members have had their work produced at theatres in New York, Boston, Cape Cod,  Provincetown, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, the Berkshires, and the Pioneer Valley. Play by  Play, which features local professional actors and directors, is a celebration of local talent and a new way to introduce theatre audiences to the innovative work being created by playwrights in the Valley.  Each new featured play will be performed in  Northampton’s beautiful A.P.E. Gallery, a popular space for art exhibits, literary readings, and  theatrical performances. Tickets will be available online at . Additionally, very limited seating will be available at the door on a first come, first-served basis.  Early arrival is recommended.


Port of Entry by Talya Kingston

In the back office of a small New England airport, TSA agent Hank is training newbie Chloe on the day a new law—commonly known as “The Muslim Ban”—is suddenly enacted. When Jana arrives on a flight from the Middle East, they all become entangled in the chaotic fallout from this new government mandate. In a rapidly shifting political landscape, this new play questions who is protecting our country and who are they protecting it from?

The Fade-Away Advantage by Meryl Cohn

A writer and her lifelong best friend meet at a Provincetown Airbnb to discuss an emergency plan they made years ago… but which plan is it? The plan to live together for the rest of their lives? Or the plan that would separate them forever? How far would you go to keep a promise to a friend? 

The Building by Betel Arnold

Step into the world of The Building, where trouble looms and secrets hide. Join matriarch Agnes in her desperate attempt to rescue her granddaughter, Catalina, from the notorious Romero family. When Agnes learns Catalina has been secretly dating Arturo Romero, she conspires alongside squabbling neighbors Maggie and Lincoln to get Catalina far away from the struggles and hustles of people in The Building, no matter what it takes. But has Catalina already fallen victim to the same forces that have limited the lives of the women before her?  

Haunted Houses by Peter Kennedy

What is the true nature of a ghost?  What does it mean to be haunted?  It’s 1978, and New Yorker journalist Zachary Noel is investigating reports of paranormal activity at The Sunflower, a small inn owned by the Crane family in the heart of the historic “burned-over district” of upstate New York. Madame Irene, a psychic with ties to the nearby Spiritualist community of Lily Dale, is convinced that a poltergeist has attached itself to troubled teenager Rachel Crane.  As disturbing incidents mount, the Cranes agree to a seance to put their ghosts behind them– once and for all.

Hedges by Stephanie Carlson

A 10-minute play about beloved pets, high hedges, and a little bit of Northampton history.

The birds the birds the birds by Harley Erdman

Things are really messed up on earth. So three birds take to the heavens to build a better world there. Will they succeed? How high will they need to fly? And what happens when a stubborn human being pursues them to the stratosphere? Add in a dash of Alfred Hitchcock and some original songs: the result is a madcap exploration of the climate crisis that seems to be coming sooner than we thought.


(Playwrights are also available for interviews or press appearances.)

“I’m excited by the range of plays in this festival. It’s our first time as a lab sharing our work publicly since the pandemic. I’ve been privileged to see that work as it’s taken shape over the last few years, and I’m thrilled we’re finally sharing it with a larger audience. There’s really something for everyone.” – Harley Erdman

“I’m thrilled that Northampton Playwrights Lab is returning to our  live performance after a few isolating covid years. There’s no substitute for hearing a laugh in real time, or feeling the silence that comes after a line that resonates. Or what you learn when a line just doesn’t work. It’s the audience response and interaction that makes work come to life. Our Play-by-Play Festival is also a wonderful and affordable way for community members to see new plays.” – Meryl Cohn

“This festival is exciting to me because it is a synthesis of local playwrights, directors, actors and audiences.  By presenting our work-in-progress in a festival format, the playwrights in the Northampton Playwrights Lab encourage each other to bring their work to the next level, in a supportive, collaborative and enjoyable environment. I am honored to be a part of it.” – Stephanie Carlson

“Play by Play is always exciting to me because it’s an opportunity to get my characters off the page and on to the stage.  Playwrights exist in a vacuum for so much of the creative process, and we need the energy and momentum of a live audience to see what’s working and what’s still rough around the edges.  The Northampton Playwrights Lab is an amazing cross section of local artists with different styles and viewpoints, and the festival is a great window into the creative process for our area theatre-lovers.” – Peter Kennedy

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