Recommended by Hallie Palladino

  • Serious Adverse Effects
    21 Jul. 2019
    Serious Adverse Effects blends history with science fiction condemning the way black women have been exploited by the medical community, both historically, and specifically within the world of this play. An epidemic that stems from the perfect storm of stressors, including grief, triggers the onset of physiological and psychic disintegration. As Dr. Vye atones for her involvement in grievously unethical trials, she battles a system that wants to suppress her miraculous discovery. A character driven tale of violence, science and a quest for redemption exploring big questions about the substance of the spirit the nature of being.
  • Small World - co-written with Joe Lino
    2 Jun. 2019
    This dark comedy takes on the commercialization and corporatization of storytelling (especially the way Disney has co-opted, appropriated and regurgitated some of our most fundamental human narratives), but more than that, Leff & Leno address the epidemic of hate-based domestic terrorism by showing us our predicament in miniature, reminding us we're all trapped together on this small spinning world facing our shared mortality. As to how we choose to act in the fleeting moments we are granted, we always have a choice. This zany and terrifying play argues it is imperative to choose radical compassion.
  • Will
    31 May. 2019
    Just got a sneak peak of this play at a table read. Kander tells the story of how tricky it is to put together a viable sexual assault case by showing us what the power differential between accuser and accused means in terms of access to representation, and burden of proof. A play with some mystery and plenty of surprises.
  • HOW TO PICK A LOCK
    28 Apr. 2019
    I had the honor of attending a workshop of this play at Prop Thtr in Chicago with a packed house and it was a uniquely magical experience. This incredibly smart, engaging play dramatizes inequality in a way that is dynamic and dangerous. But it goes beyond merely the logical conclusion of the Amazonification of America, commenting not only on the conventions of performance, specifically performance in the context of teaching, but also on the agreements, both implicit and explicit between performer and audience. A story of people heroically resisting the extreme commodification of their individual selves including their own resistance.
  • Sugar On The Floor
    18 Apr. 2019
    This clever play mixes comedy, drama and romance to great effect. As we shift between the 1970s and today we piece together the story of exactly what happened between Tilly and Katherine. RiChard makes important connections and comparisons between second and third wave feminism, exposing the failure of both to address the specific needs of black women. But the true gift of this play is a beautiful and unexpected love story that deals with desire, plus aging, motherhood, loyalty and grief. It's a play about embracing your loved ones flaws and giving them second chances. Elegantly plotted, hopeful and poignant.
  • Cardboard
    18 Apr. 2019
    Cardboard examines toxic masculinity and bro culture in the context of exclusively male spaces. It explicates the growing pains of five men trying to keep up with changing social expectations of male behavior. There is tension and conflict in this group as they reexamine their shared youth through the lens of a certain brand of post-Trump, post-Metoo nascent wokeness. Some of their past behavior is merely cringy, some is deeply troubling. At its heart this play explores the social barriers to male emotional intimacy when avenues of expression are constricted to the old stalwarts of drink-fueled competition and aggression.
  • Monica: This Play Is Not About Monica Lewinsky
    17 Apr. 2019
    This story of very private moments in the life of a very public woman highlights the disconnect between the public narrative and the person. This play is an examination and condemnation of how we define women by their sexual relationships with men, especially when they are connected with a powerful man, however briefly. The Monica in this play is an woman who is trying to move on and do good work in the world and forge meaningful, intimate relationships, but she's hindered by the weight of her name. Nora interrogates our society's collective fear and loathing of female sexual agency.
  • How to Blow Off a Group Project
    9 Apr. 2019
    This charming one act is a fresh take on the high school romance between smart girl and the trying too hard player guy. As Kate and Kurt work on a project about gender roles and societal expectations in "Taming of the Shrew" they also have to learn to look beyond the labels they've put on each other in order to truly connect.
  • The Worst Mother in the World
    4 Apr. 2019
    When a mother blames her daughter for something that isn't the daughter's fault the fallout can result in some serious intergenerational trauma. Quinn dives into this uncomfortable subject by giving us a window into the emotional upheaval surrounding new motherhood leaving us with no easy answers. There are some great roles for women in this all female cast play and some gentle humor to offset the heavy subject matter.
  • Dance and Crawl and Sing and Fall (formerly Tales from Tent City)
    2 Apr. 2019
    I just saw the Prop Thtr reading of a revamped version of this play complete with original music. It's a slow burn character driven piece about chosen family that explores what makes a community and asks what does safety mean? Can emotional safety and physical safety sometimes be at odds? It's a little remencient of "Balm and Gilead" in that it's an empathetic look into the emotional lives of people living on the margins. This would be great for colleges especially because of all the roles for young people.

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