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Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, WLRN has brought you the stories of how South Florida's arts organizations had to change the way they connected with their audiences during shutdowns. Now that the curtain has gone up once again at so many local venues, our reporting series called Second Act will cover the possible lasting impacts of those changes.If you've got a story for us, please send an email to talktous@wlrnnews.org with the words "Second Act" in the subject line.

FAU's Theatre Lab back with play it was doing when COVID struck

 Matt Stabile and Niki Fridh seated on stage during Theatre Lab's production of Jennifer Lane's To Fall In Love
Julia Andreasen/Julia Rose Photo
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Julia Rose
Matt Stabile and Niki Fridh in Theatre Lab's production of Jennifer Lane's "To Fall In Love"

The company got in just one preview performance of "To Fall In Love" when the pandemic hit.

In March 2020, Florida Atlantic University's professional resident theater company, Theatre Lab, had just previewed a play about an estranged married couple trying to reconnect after tragedy.

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A day later, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Theatre Lab to halt its live performances. Before long, online events calendars were listing the play as "postponed."

At the time, neither director Louis Tyrell, or the actors, could have imagined how long the show would be on ice.

"I remember standing on the stage for the first preview welcoming that audience," said Tyrell. "And I blinked and last week I was standing in the same spot, welcoming the audience to the opening night — 20 months later — that we never had."

Lou Tyrell.jpeg
Steve Anthony
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Louis Tyrell is the Founding Director of Theatre Lab, FAU's professional resident company

Theatre Lab has resumed the run of Jennifer Lane's play "To Fall In Love." It stars real-life husband and wife Matt Stabile and Niki Fridh as the couple struggling to save their marriage.

Tyrell, who is also the founding director of Theatre Lab, says the company learned a lot during that long hiatus and looked for other ways to connect with audiences during the shutdown.

For example, Theatre Lab commissioned a series of audio plays, a format Tyrell says the company plans to stick with, pandemic or no pandemic.

"While all of us had to be separated during that time, there was a spirit of togetherness knowing that we would come out the other side and meet again in the theater," he said.

IF YOU GO:

“To Fall In Love” by Jennifer Lane
Theatre Lab on FAU's campus
777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

All patrons, regardless of vaccination status, are expected to wear masks while indoors in any FAU facilities.

Please visit fauevents.com for more information.

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This interview is part of WLRN's reporting series called Second Act — an in-depth look at how South Florida's arts organizations have adapted during COVID-19. And how long-lasting those changes might become.

If you've got a story for us, please send an email to talktous@WLRNnews.org — with the words Second Act in the subject line.