Recommended by John Minigan

  • Paradoxysm
    6 Oct. 2018
    This is a stunning short play, set in a beautifully imagined place and time, and focused on a heart-breaking dilemma. The space becomes a gorgeous visual/aural metaphor for a timeless place of loss, and the protagonist's struggle with grief over a tragedy is deeply felt. What lengths would we go to in order to save a friend? What sacrifices are worthwhile? And how far must we remove ourselves from daily existence to find a place to contemplate questions so large? There is tremendous life and heart in these ten pages.
  • PRACTICE HOUSE
    4 Oct. 2018
    A wild ride that begins with the energetic language of a play like Bald Soprano while confronting the way pop culture, advertising, and media blend with the "rules" by which women are expected to behave. These characters live in their school's and their society's "mock-up" of what their lives will be, and their mix of "how to toe the line" and the desire to rebel is real and resonant. It's very funny and then it's not--as we move from the 1930's to today, and the characters experience the legacy of those years as it plays out all around us.
  • Community Garden
    2 Oct. 2018
    This is a powerful, TOUGH play. Jolivet gives us an engaging, meta-theatrical concept, in a theater and about a theater piece, that's deeply challenging. What does it mean to try to do good in the world--and what does it take for real political action to reach its targets? Can art be a force for positive change, or is that naive? How do we avoid falling into cynical despair? By the end, it's a hard play to watch (in the best possible way), because our assumptions have been so fundamentally questioned. An important play that "disturbs the comfortable."
  • Talk to Me About Home (a ten minute play)
    25 Aug. 2018
    This is a clear and affecting short play about the challenges of reconnecting and rediscovering a friendship that has faded. Years have passed for Kat and Beth, but the good and bad they experienced together and apart have stayed with them. The play also looks at the way a single aspect of a person or a personality can dominate our memory and how, in the same way, a single aspect of a shared past can help to bring together those who have been apart for a long time.
  • Recessed! Or When the Mortgage Goes Upside Down
    25 Aug. 2018
    This fierce one-act takes on the worst days of the Great Recession with strong theatricality and a surprising but totally effective mix of pathos and humor. The middle-aged parents in a family struggle to maintain the appearance of the American Dream (if not the reality), and the characters around them, including their two kids, are a mix of savvy and clueless about the realities Mom and Dad face. A lively, ironic look at some very dark days, with a brilliant visual metaphor at its center.
  • If You Could Go Back...
    25 Aug. 2018
    I saw this gloriously funny piece in a recent festival of shorts. It's ingenious, with time-lines (and characters) looping back on themselves, continuous reversals, and hilariously sharp dialogue. There is virtuosity in the craft, a string of hilarious complications--and all effectively teasing out the absurdity of thinking we understand what we would do (and SHOULD do) when faced with th big moral choices. It's an outstanding, fast-paced play.
  • To Love and Be Loved in Return
    19 Aug. 2018
    "To Love and Be Loved in Return" is a beautifully constructed spiraling in toward the middle of an affair--but not the affair you think you are hearing about. It's a devastating, clear portrait of people who, in the midst of losing their sense of love, are finding one another and finding a truth that, maybe, will sustain them in through the lies they have been told. Lovely, surprising, carefully wrought work that gives us a final moment in which one of the characters feels exactly what we feel watching her.
  • Sunday Sauce
    14 Aug. 2018
    Sunday Sauce is delicious. The play captures the way comedy and tragedy can play off each other in times of grief, and the five characters--especially the three sisters of a(n un)certain age--are clearly, lovingly, and hilariously drawn. Like the opera in the background of this play, the stakes and drama are always high and the passions intense. At the same time, the characters are lovable and rich in their own right and in their connections to their culture and one another. A warm, true, funny, wonderful play.
  • Burst
    13 Aug. 2018
    Burst is relentless in the best possible way. The characters and dialogue grab you from the first minute, and it's clear from the start that it's heading to a moment that will bring together the moral and emotional issues of the play. When it happens and we get a full understanding of the "tactics" these characters employ, we're left with the gut-punch of not only a character's guilt, but our own complicity. Clear, compelling, important, and thoroughly engaging.
  • SAM KNOWS HOW TO USE THE COFFEE MAKER: A TYA MONOLOGUE
    8 Aug. 2018
    A clear and powerful piece. The circumstances of the monologue unfold in layers as Sam tries to figure out how to process grief and carry on with life for him/her and for the rest of the family. Builds with exquisite care, detail, and structure to an end that feels like it could be a beginning--and that maybe Sam is ready for that beginning. So much for an actor to work with here!

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