It’s love at first sight, or really love at first maiming, for West Virginia University LAB Theatre’s second show of the season, “Gruesome Playground Injuries” by Rajiv Joseph. This recent off-Broadway success follows the lifelong friendship of Kayleen and Doug and their mutual tendency for physical calamity.

The show runs Nov. 15-16 at 7:30 p.m. and Nov. 17 at 2 p.m. in the Vivian Davis Michael Laboratory Theatre located in the Creative Arts Center.

“Gruesome Playground Injuries” takes a look at relationships in all their complexity and explores why we hurt ourselves for the ones we love and how that affects our view of the world as we get older. Beginning when Kayleen and Doug are 8-year-olds in a school nurse’s office and jumping back and forth at different intervals in the friends’ lives, we see them establish a very powerful connection through the years. The show had its New York premiere in 2011 and followed on the heels of Joseph’s Pulitzer Prize finalist work “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo.”

Professor Jim Knipple, new resident artist at WVU, is the director of the LAB Theatre Program and has brought some fresh ideas to the table about how students can be involved in creating their own theater, providing even more creative opportunities within the School of Theatre & Dance.

“I’m extremely excited to be presenting this show,” said Knipple. “It will make audiences laugh, gasp, and squirm in their seats, but at the same time it is a touching story of a connection that transcends time and space.”

“Gruesome Playground Injuries” stars Bachelor of Fine Arts acting students Megan Schreiber and Ben Forer and is directed by Master of Fine Arts acting student Vincent Pelligrino, who most recently finished his stint as the Master of Ceremonies in the main stage production of “Cabaret.”

“This show is an attractive play for a LAB setting,” said Pelligrino. “Ironically, no playgrounds are involved and the show calls for minimal sets with only two actors. The main focus is on the relationship between these characters. Audiences should come see ‘Gruesome’ because it speaks to all of us on some level, no matter what stage of life we are at. We all experience pain, whether physical or psychological, and we all have people who are there to get us through.”

Admission is free for “Gruesome Playground Injuries,” but seating is limited. Attendance forms for classes will be available during intermission. Note: The show contains strong language.

For more information on this production of “Gruesome Playground Injuries” please visit, call 304-293-2020, or email

An ongoing rehearsal blog is available on the School of Theatre & Dance website at



CONTACT: Charlene Lattea, College of Creative Arts

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