Sometimes raw. . .Sometimes polished. . .The Lab @ Horse Trade is a workshop and reading series created to help novice and veteran playwrights/production groups develop projects by presenting work to a live audience. Artists draw upon this critical feedback to refine and develop dialogue, characters and concepts. November 18, 7pm Horse Trade Theater Group and Edge of Insanity presents a book-in-hand staged reading (minimal blocking) of The Show, in anticipation of its full 2003 run @ The St. Marks Theater. Written and directed by Marc Morales, The Show is dubbed "a variety show for NOW," and features the Edge of Insanity ensemble: Christopher Frankie DiGennaro, Robert Kennedy, Charley Layton, Aida Lembo, Jennifer Lieberman, Roxane Policare and Josh Mertz. Writer/Director Marc Morales and Edge of Insanity develop fresh, original work based on a worldview created by the music and politics of their formative years: The 1980s. Edge productions are not mere nostalgia trips. Instead, 80s touchstones are invoked in ways that recontextualize their meaning, to provide critical analysis of contemporary politics, pop culture, sex & society. THE TIME---You?re living in a present-day America where an evil dictator (george bush) wages a bloody campaign of violence against the peasant class by, among other things, outlawing a genre of entertainment that threatens to foster revolution and topple his oppressive regime. Set in the present but haunted by the past, The Show asks us to reflect upon where we?ve been, consider where we are and choose where we?ll go next. THE PLACE---A clandestine underground safehouse. After being frisked at the door, you?re led down a dimly lit stairway and seated in a raw, makeshift theater. On stage, back turned from you, is the DJ---a faceless prophet who advocates political change by filtering ideas through Corporate Trash: a group of revolutionary entertainers who perform satirical commentaries on life under a government that has taken away freedom of speech. They offer you this secret, underground, variety entertainment in hopes that you?ll take the DJ?s message when you go, and work to change life top side. THE SHOW: It?s not a rave and it?s not a party: It?s the pulse of a new revolution. Dec. 3 & 9, 7pm Tom X. Chao's The Relationship Expert Dec. 3--Staged Reading / Dec 10--Music Workshop Downtown veteran Tom X. Chao returns with his most ambitious project yet--a musical in which the titular character helps Tom find a relationship with a real live human female! The score features stick-in-your-head songs about human degradation, unendurable loneliness and brief anonymous sexual encounters.