From singing to haikus

This is Eavesdrop, a series of conversations between artists, playwrights and audience members. Below, we listen in on a conversation between Associate Artists Mare Trevathan and Eryc Eyl as they prepare to pump the audience up before each Local Lab reading through Co-Lab.

Join us for one, two or all three shows this weekend at Dairy Arts Center. Tickets are $5 for students, $10 for Under 30, and $20 for adults. Limited seats remain. Buy online here.

And, we're looking for audience members interested in participating in an open mic before the Sunday performance of Paper Cut at 1pm. To sign-up, contact

Mare Trevathan

Hey, hubby, we almost never take the stage at the same time! Looking forward to co-hosting Co-Lab at Local Lab with you this weekend!

Eryc Eyl

Yes, except for when you ditch me to perform Natural Shocks on Saturday.


It’s a good cause. And a good play, too.

(Editor’s Note: Natural Shocks is Lauren Gunderson’s new one-woman play about gun violence in America. Local is producing it as an add-on to Local Lab, in partnership with BETC and The Catamounts. The production is part of a national movement, on the 19th anniversary of Columbine, and raises funds for Safehouse Progressive Alliance for Nonviolence. )


Just save some energy for the party that night. Do you think people know what Co-Lab is?


Ah, right: Co-Lab is the creative collaboration we have with the audience during Lab. It’s us digging in to the fact that a group of beating hearts are sharing the same space. We eat and drink together. We discuss the plays. This year, we sing, we write haikus, we tell jokes, we dance.


We connect!

The unique advantage that live theater has over, say,  Netflix is that, if only for a short time, everyone in the room—audience, actors, crew, and DJ—is sharing an experience that will only happen once. And Co-Lab really makes the most of that by inviting everyone into the process of developing new plays and new artistic experiences. It turns an experience that could be passive into one that’s active, inviting spectators to be creators.


I hate being told in a curtain speech that I should, “Sit back, relax, and enjoy the show.”

That said, I sympathize with audience members who cringe at being asked to participate. We scale this stuff so their involvement can be anything from an anonymous writing contribution sent via cell phone, to an interpretive dance performed on stage.


We’re both really interested in finding authentic ways to bring out everyone’s genius—whether it’s to engage with art or to engage with social issues. I’ve definitely been that guy who refuses to engage in hokey audience participation, and I love that we’ve constructed something very different with Co-Lab. You don’t have hop on stage, but we’d love it if you, at least, leaned forward instead of sitting back.