Recommended by David Hansen

  • Rubbish
    12 Apr. 2018
    The setting is modern Singapore, where a law has been established making the collection of trash for the purpose of sale illegal. There are so many words for trash; rubbish, yes, and garbage, waste, and refuse. This last seems best to communicate that which is worthless, discarded. It can be a verb; something turned away, refused. The protagonist, an eighty-eight year old woman for whom this law means the end to her livelihood, selling scavenged cans and cardboard. In the end, it is clear that people can be refuse, too. A surreal story told with humor and heart. Highly recommended!
  • Blowout
    11 Apr. 2018
    An elderly stylist in Del Carmen’s play comments on how everyone wants their hair to look like someone else's. "Lo general nadie está feliz como es," she says. No one is happy with the way things are. But I was delighted with this script (written in Spanish) about transition, change, and gentrification at one neighborhood salon, which includes a variety of charming women characters, great humor, beautiful monologues, and hope for the future.
  • The Big Fuckin' Giant
    10 Apr. 2018
    Bykowski creates a trio of men who are each sympathetic in their own way, and in turn each of their weaknesses are exposed by the others. Women are absent, a couple defined for us by these men, as types -- an African-American who is fetishized and feared, the aloof, white cuckolder. These collegiate athletes channel their aggression and practice their dominance on the women they cannot understand and lives they feel they cannot control on a blow-up doll, and on each other. It is an aggressively physical and painfully eloquent parable for our time, or for all times.
  • Goat Song
    9 Apr. 2018
    On one Galápagos island, Rahn-Lee creates her own Petri dish of compelling characters to stir up a fascinating and even humorous philosophical debate on who lives and who dies, who gets to stay and who is forced to leave, and who has the right to decide. It is a cunning metaphor for today's immigration debate with a chilling conclusion. Highly recommended.
  • The Witches' Tower
    8 Apr. 2018
    New Orleans playwright James Bartelle spins an original, compact and compelling tale of persecuted witches in a classic, lyric style. We are left to imagine whether the accused are truly servants of a malevolent power, or if their only crime is that of being women, punished for actions inherent in the human condition, actions for which no man in their time, or ours, would receive comparable treatment. Bartelle has a way with repetition which is poetic, the condemned women's ruminations either actual spells, or an expression of madness imposed through institutionalized oppression. A powerful period piece reflecting our modern moment.
  • Fuck Cancer
    7 Apr. 2018
    Much cancer treatment, in the West and elsewhere, are merely treatment. The palliate. To soothe. To provide energy, and strength, and hope. Because cancer will win.

    Jagernauth’s play, however, is not so much about the patient, but the provider, whose struggles are a reminder that you cannot take care of the patient if you do not take care of yourself.

    She has created a dreamlike, grounded, and heartbreaking piece about the helplessness we feel in the face of the most insidious and prevalent of maladies. Strongly recommended.
    6 Apr. 2018
    This tale is one of epic absurdity, a relentless and raucous send-up of Elizabethan and high school drama, and above all a tribute to the thankless theater parent, without whom the show would not go on. The pop culture references come at you fast and furious, hip-deep with turns of phrase both classic and current, as a troupe of teens unintentionally strive to produce several productions at once. It's smart, silly, and even subversive, as the playwright has created a Shakespearean showcase where the Bard himself is entirely absent!
  • People of the Book
    5 Apr. 2018
    Taken literally, El Guindi's play is about deception, professional and personal jealousy, and the effect of American wars in the Middle East. It's a great read, with playful and cutting dialogue, and it is also a metaphor for how American has played itself, chaining our fate to the region. Each of the four central characters reflect a different point of view, about art and writing, the war and its worth, and what responsibility the United States has yet to take for its actions. And each of them had my (shifting) sympathy. Highly recommended!
  • I Go Somewhere Else
    4 Apr. 2018
    Our narrator, as a child, asks, "Aren't we supposed to love everybody? No matter what they've done to hurt us in the past?" When someone we love hurts us, we assume it is something we have done to deserve it. Even a blameless child thinks this. In this moving and insightful play, the playwright deftly lays out the story of a troubling mother-figure, leaving it squarely at our feet to understand her and to forgive her, as we strive to understand and forgive our own mothers. The way we hope our children may one day understand and forgive us.
  • The Tallest Building in the World
    3 Apr. 2018
    Schatz tells an expansive story with great economy, utilizing a small number of interesting characters who debate and kvetch with wit and passion to build a dream for the future. The tragedy as they see it is the predetermined ephemera of architecture. As the playwright points out, "architecture might be the only art form where the art is destroyed as a means of progress." We are sadly aware of the flaws in the logic of their design, and how the techniques employed to make the thing possible are also elements which will contribute to its eventual destruction. Highly recommended.