Recommended by Hallie Palladino

  • Koalas
    22 Sep. 2017
    I heard a reading of Koalas at the Something Marvelous Festival in one of its early incarnations and I was delighted and touched by the playwright's tender treatment of all these lovingly crafted characters. The play is a slow burn that sticks with you long after you hear it.
  • The Siblings Play
    22 Sep. 2017
    I was with Ren at the Ojai Playwrights Conference and I was so charmed by this play about three siblings looking out for one another. Ren really captures the ways we make meaning through caretaking and how deep our need to care for other goes, often at the expense our own aspirations. The siblings compete to sacrifice for each other with surprising results. This is a lovely coming of age story about family and loyalty.
  • Evanston Salt Costs Climbing
    22 Sep. 2017
    I was with Will at Ojai Playwrights Conference 2017 and had the pleasure of hearing this play read twice. It is endearing and the world of the play so specifically realized. The character of Maiworm is instantly relatable because she is stuck in a situation where she is forced to do right by the city (progress) or do right by her friends. Evanston Salt Costs Climbing perfectly encapsulates the dilemmas of our current situation where environmental concerns (which have a human cost) and economic concerns (also with human cost) clash wrecking moral havoc. Will's crafting of comic dialogue is masterful.
  • Claustrophile
    22 Sep. 2017
    Claustrophile is a quirky and surprising play that cleverly deconstructs staid tropes in American drama and manages to surprise at every turn. The characters are bizarre (in a good way) and the situations outrageously funny. But the more ridiculous the play gets the more profound it feels. This play is both smart and amusing.
  • Ready Steady Yeti Go
    22 Sep. 2017
    This play is charming and funny with a sharp edge of heartbreaking truth. I also saw it at OPC and found it clever, moving and ingenious. It takes on our assumptions about people's character and the painful sacrifices we make for love and family. At its heart though it is an uplifting story about young star-crossed lovers wrapped in a comedy wrapped in a satire with a healthy streak of political commentary.
    21 Sep. 2017
    This play manages to be hilarious and terrifying at the same moment so your heart is always in your throat. The way Walker showcases women's use of humor as a strategy of resistance is brilliant. The way she demonstrates that with tyranny the most terrifying threats often come from within our own communities and social networks is urgently timely. This play needs to be seen by audiences right now.
  • Ballast
    11 Sep. 2017
    Ballast is a beautiful play about marriage, love and self-preservation. All the characters are appealing and their stories converge around the theme of becoming one's true self. This play is exquisitely emotionally honest and thoughtfully composed. The complexity of the ideas presented is mirrored by the poetry of its language. And the subject matter is urgently important. It is a play about characters in transition but it manages not to be an issue play and remains at all times a powerful, character-driven story.
  • Ripe Frenzy
    11 Sep. 2017
    I had the pleasure of seeing the OPC workshop of Ripe Frenzy which ranges from brilliantly funny to bone chilling. Barclay's disquieting play tackles the question: how can a parent continue to love a child who has done the unthinkable? A beautiful meditation on maternal love, friendship and gun culture in America, Ripe Frenzy is also a clever commentary on the way America has seized on Wilder's version of who we are, often willfully misunderstanding the project of Our Town, perhaps the most American of American dramas, which like this play, undertakes to expose our cultural blind spots.
  • Twin Set
    11 Sep. 2017
    Cozzola does a bang-up job of giving us the flavor of the 70s in this quirky period piece. A play about two women living in a small world that collides with the big one explodes questions about women's agency, feminism, sexual politics and religion. Ultimately though it is a disquieting play about friendship and the ways it can sometimes hold us back and other times propel us forward.
  • Dance for Beginners
    11 Sep. 2017
    This lovely two-hander is about taking a chance on love and embracing the things that frighten you. Dance for Beginners is one of those rare love stories that shows people falling in love past middle age. Cozzola does a beautiful job of showcasing the unique vulnerabilities of her characters. Through dance Jerry and Jenni are able to express themselves, challenge each other and test the seriousness of each other's investment in the relationship. Their tenderness along with the boldness of their choices pulls us into this charming romance.