Theatre Lab at FAU to Take Production to Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse

Thursday, May 11, 2023
“To Fall in Love” directed by Louis Tyrrell

Image: “To Fall in Love” directed by Louis Tyrrell

Theatre Lab, the professional resident company of Florida Atlantic University, will perform its critically acclaimed and award-winning production of “To Fall In Loveby Jennifer Lane at Martha’s Vineyard for a two-week run during the summer. The New England Premiere production will be Wednesday, July 26 to Saturday, Aug. 5 at the Patricia Neal Stage, 24 Church St., in Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts. Tickets are available  at .

The production of “To Fall in Love” was directed by Louis Tyrrell, founding director of Theatre Lab, and featured Niki Fridh and Matt Stabile, producing artistic director of Theatre Lab, as estranged married couple Merryn and Wyatt. The play takes place in “real time” as the couple navigates a series of questions first published in the New York Times in an attempt to save their marriage which was splintered by tragedy.

Stabile and Fridh, who are married in real life, had been eager for an opportunity to explore the show since Stabile first read it.

“Jennifer Lane was part of Theatre Lab’s first New Play Festival in late 2015 and I was fortunate enough to direct her play and get to know her during that time,” said Stabile. “She sent me an early draft of this play and I immediately called her and said, ‘I want to be in this play and I know the perfect person to play the other role.’”

The production was first scheduled to open in March 2020 as the final MainStage in Theatre Lab’s 2019-20 season. There was one preview performance on Thursday, March 12, 2020 before the theater closed its doors due to the COVID-19 pandemic the following day.

“We knew we had something special,” said Tyrrell. “So it was a fairly easy decision to just wait until the time was safe for us to share it with our audiences.”

That day finally came nearly 18 months later when in November 2021, Theatre Lab was able to remount the production.

“The set, lights, costumes, even the stuff on our dressing tables, just stayed exactly as they were the day we closed,” said Stabile. “When we first returned to the space, it was like walking into a time capsule. And remounting the production actually proved to be like a form of therapy. The play is all about processing grief and there had been a lot of grief during that past year and a half.”

In addition to critical acclaim, the production was recognized in several categories by the Silver Palm Awards in November 2022, including “Outstanding Direction” to Tyrrell, “Outstanding Performance” to Fridh and “Outstanding Intimacy Direction” to Nicole Perry.

“We went back into rehearsal for a week prior to the opening of that remount,” said Fridh. “We thought we were just ‘brushing up,’ but the production, particularly what we were bringing as actors, actually changed quite a bit during that week. At first, we were asking ‘Okay, what did we do in this part?’ But because, like the rest of the world, we had changed so much over that past year, that pretty quickly turned into ‘Yeah. That’s what we did, but what are we doing now?’”

A supporter of Theatre Lab and member of its Inner Circle recommended the show to Martha’s Vineyard’s Playhouse for consideration in its 2023 summer season. After brief negotiations, both companies determined it would be most beneficial to bring the Theatre Lab production to Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse with a few minor alterations.

“The connection to the struggle to move through grief and somehow find your way back to beauty became so much clearer,” Tyrrell said. “Everything we did focused on the love these two characters have for one another and how focusing everything on that love was the only way through the pain. It was one of the more memorable processes of my career and I’m so grateful to have shared it with family like Matt and Niki.

“The set will have some slight modifications due to the space and because of that, the lighting will be redesigned,” he said. “But the rest of the production will be presented as it was at Theatre Lab in 2021.”

Theatre Lab is dedicated exclusively to new work and several of the plays it has developed and or produced over the past eight seasons have moved on to additional productions at theaters across the country. Although their digital production of Vanessa Garcia’s “Ich Bin Ein Berliner” was streamed to venues in Miami and Atlanta, this is the first time the company will present its version of a stage production in a new venue.

“This show is so incredibly special to us,” said Stabile. “And we couldn’t be more grateful to Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse for the opportunity to revisit it and share it with their community.”

For more information about Theatre Lab, visit .