Recommended by William Triplett

  • Moving On
    13 Jun. 2020
    Andrea Carey has a wonderful touch with characters, especially the trio featured here in this bittersweet look at a woman dealing with divorce and middle-age along with the death of her mother and putting up (as well as putting up with) her needy, often overbearing father who no longer can live in his own house. And the painful portrait of her parents' marriage that comes through is very moving. But in the end there is hope -- hard-earned, to be sure, but that's the best kind. Enjoyed it very much!
  • Asterion
    11 Apr. 2020
    A moving update of the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur, which, thankfully, brings Ariadne to the foreground. The witty mix of verse-like dialogue with contemporary, fragmented speech is a pleasure to imagine in the mouths of good actors. But it's the gradual revelation that dawns on both Ariadne and her brother, the Minotaur, that leaves you wondering who the real monster is and where your sympathies should lie. Simultaneously funny and sad, poetic and gritty. A beautifully executed work of pure theater.
  • Counting in Sha'ab
    26 Feb. 2020
    Caught this on "Playing On Air," and was immediately drawn into a zone of war we don't often see -- the neighborhoods of everyday Iraqis trying to carry on their lives despite having forcibly been made targets. Where bombs go off with so much regularity they don't stop a daily trip to the grocer, even if one bomb just nearly obliterated the shop. The characters here are both hardened by and terrified of the reality besieging them. Routines become rituals of survival. And the need to find meaning somewhere manifests itself in the simplest of acts. Powerful and moving.
  • Crusade
    18 Oct. 2019
    Not with a bang, or a whimper, but with the sound of a helicopter swooping overhead: this is how the world might end. Or at least the world as we know it. Bruce Bondafede’s hand-grenade of a play envisions a future that could already be on the horizon, a time when Christian fundamentalism has seized power and is hunting down and “re-educating” (read: crucifying) all resistance. But don’t think this is a fight between simple good and evil. It’s more a look at the blurring of both sides. A tense and harrowing look. Riveting!
  • O, For a Muse of Fire
    16 Oct. 2019
    Good lord, this is heartbreakingly existential, a picture of a man disconnected from himself and possibly the one person who ever loved him. Our hero has gone emotionally numb, thanks to a recent traumatic brain injury, and like his memories, everything in his own home looks the same but has lost all true meaning for him. And despite his ex-lover’s attempts to reconnect him with himself, he only seems to become more isolated, remote, alienated. How does one go on? Scott Sickles has done an amazing job of making you feel the void that could trap anyone.
  • Stagefright
    13 Oct. 2019
    A sly and witty piece of meta-theater that had me laughing out loud in places. Imagine a play that takes place amid the audience, the actors sitting next to patrons, and arguing among themselves about why they won't get up onstage. Wonderful pacing that, in the hands of a good director, would make Larry Rinkel's clever script a delight to ride along with.
  • Down Deer
    8 Oct. 2019
    This short play is long on painful family history and its lingering damage. Its setting – in the heartland of America – resonates on more than one level, and the characters’ individual strengths and weaknesses are plain to see. An undercurrent of sadness runs through the piece, but Diane Hightower makes it dramatic and involving. A moving piece, and a great vehicle for three actors.
    5 Oct. 2019
    Yep, I'm another one who caught and admired this at the 2019 Midwest Dramatists Conference. Rachael Carnes has a gift for mixing quirky humor with dark themes and questions, and this is yet another triumph. Four women -- four generations -- a picnic, and what should be something of a happy occasion eventually yields a lot of pain, fear, and guilt. But who's ultimately responsible? And why are they interested in what those kids are doing nearby? A wonderfully mysterious piece that's easily staged.
  • Buried
    2 Oct. 2019
    Audrey Webb has written a poignant mix of elegy and drama – with the right amount of humor laced in – about a teenage boy trying to come to terms with the looming death of his cancer-stricken twin sister, who’s already accepted her fate. We watch as he tries, with her help, to work through his guilt and fear as well as a need to apologize for something he did long ago. Webb has built the kind of fragile, charged atmosphere that touches the heart. A lovely, sad piece that leads to a sense of grace.
  • Storm Watch
    30 Sep. 2019
    Arguments between couples about seemingly small things are never about those things -- but about far bigger and scarier problems underneath. Problems many married people don't want to face. Bill Goodwin doesn't let his characters escape the larger, emotional storm that refuses to be contained when a tornado is forecast. And there is no shelter that can protect them from what they must face in each other. Catching this was among the highlights for me at the 2019 Midwest Dramatists Conference.