Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • Soundscapes
    13 Dec. 2021
    A creative TYA piece about a topic that I don't think I've read or seen a play, book, movie, or tv show about! Claudia anchors the piece with Iris, a compelling and sympathetic protagonist whose journey both feels specific and representative of a range of experiences of outsidership, gendered assumptions about ability and behavior expectations, and more! The use of a sizeable group of young folks as the central characters plus flexibility to expand the ensemble using creative movement, choral, and tableaux work make this an exciting piece for middle and high school directions to look at!
  • En Las Sombras
    24 Nov. 2021
    Absolutely beautiful piece! It marries the grandiosity of myth with the everyday specificity and intersectional identities of the specific humans at the center of this--Xenia and Luz. The storytelling is propulsive and fast-paced and this is an exciting piece to put my "director brain" to work on from a visual and aural and design standpoint. Jordan tackles weighty and current and relevant themes in a fabulistic way. The level of remove makes the connections to current day immigration issues visible and potent for a wide spectrum of audiences.
  • GLUT
    17 Nov. 2021
    A compelling piece that offers an exploration of and commentary on sizism, queerness (both literally and somewhat allegorically), the evolution of social momentum and bias, and much more. By setting it in a world that feels so familiar, yet is a half step removed from our own, Doolin does an amazing job of incisively digging into an issue that for many is in the realm of unconscious bias and shines a mirror on assumptions and beliefs and attitudes that audience members might not have questioned. The characters are human and funny and interesting. Love to see it staged!
  • American Woman
    5 Nov. 2021
    A complex ensemble piece with a sizable group of compelling characters and nuanced discussions of feminism (white feminism, intersectional feminism, and the intricacies between) all throughout. I enjoyed the historical trajectory of the piece and the ways in which Flayton captured essential moments and truths and social norms from an evolving timeline. The balance of moments where the characters both challenged and expressed warmth towards one another propelled the piece forward at a consistent and intentional pace without resorting to contrived theatrics. I'd be excited to see this piece live.
  • Classic Six
    27 Oct. 2021
    A super compelling set of characters rendered with complexity and nuance throughout. Structurally, I loved seeing Frankie/Frances' history with the McGuires unfold over several scenes in the first act, and then the tension-filled single scene of the second act. The theatricality of the few moments of monologue helped to punctuate the second act, in particular, in a compelling way. Frankie was a character to follow throughout, and Flayton easily illustrates both the broader social structures and intimately interpersonal forces that impact her relationships with the McGuires. Frankie's separate relationships with Frank and Patricia are complicated and well-illustrated.
    26 Oct. 2021
    This is a compact but loaded piece that examines grief and friendship and moving on. I so appreciated how each character's identity so clearly impacted their experiences and those impacts were threaded through the text in a complex and multi-pronged way--from Malik and Thaddeus' connection to their hopes and dreams for themselves and each other. The liminal space occupied by Wren and Thaddeus is super inventive and I'd love to see it created onstage.
  • Can You Not
    26 Oct. 2021
    This is such a human, intimate moment captured here. The nuance, comedy, and poignancy of Jess and Ryan's connection makes this serendipitous moment feel well-earned and organic. A brief but thoughtful rumination on grief, mental health, and the ways that intersecting identities of various kinds impact one's struggles. I appreciated it ending on a note of hopefulness while not undermining the real struggles of its protagonists.
  • macbitches
    26 Oct. 2021
    In this piece, McIntosh captures the inelegant natural rhythms of human speech so well and gives us a sizable ensemble of distinct and dynamic roles for young women. The play's descent from lighthearted, sharp satire to something more sinister is compelling and earned. The exploration of misogyny, double standards, and ways inequitable and corrupt systems pit women against one another within academic theater, the theater industry as a whole, and the world at large is complex and nuanced. The thematic/figurative connections with MACBETH itself come to a brilliant head in the final moments!
  • White People by the Lake
    25 Oct. 2021
    The lines this play treads between absurdity, satire, and uncomfortable, gutting truth are so fine and powerful. The out-of-time and startling hyper-theatrical moments both destabilize and so effectively render the cognitive dissonance of someone living at so-called marginalized identity crossroads and taking in the perplexing and infuriating individuals and systems that surround them. So many unexpected things even within an already-unconventional piece. I love the thread of satirizing the scarily indulgent, voyeuristic, performative, and masturbatory nature of white suffering. I'm eager to follow this piece's developmental trajectory and the robust future life that it deserves to have.
  • Ballad of the White Tiger
    23 Oct. 2021
    What a gorgeously rendered set of human beings. I love how successive layers of narrative and character unfold at an intentional yet propulsive pace. I was engaged throughout, yet, I never felt as if I was being led or pandered to by some contrived plot. Learning the complex and nuanced story of Yuki and Hana's sisterly relationship and tensions, thorny history, and the ways they've impacted and shaped one another was the central, tight focus of the piece. The supporting ensemble was supremely interesting, as were the literal and figurative connections to White Tiger and the Aizu.