Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • The Volunteer
    13 Sep. 2019
    A chilling parable/"what if?" that so thoroughly explores the tendency towards dehumanizing one's enemies in exchange for survival and perpetuation of self-interest. Through her alternate reality, Rose effectively captures the fears and questions raised during the Cold War. The structure of the "guest lectures" gives a unique and theatrical framing to the piece without at all being didactic or obvious. On the contrary--this piece is subtle and full of humanity and nuance!
  • The Mermaids' Parade
    10 Sep. 2019
    The humans in this play are so exquisitely rendered with unique and distinct voices that I can practically hear all of their different cadences and rhythms in my head. The juxtaposition of Islande's and Biron's trauma is so beautifully navigated and sensitively handled, as wrenching and gutting as some moments are. The stage magic on display is also magnificently conceived of! What a joy to read such fantastical stage directions and actions that seem at once so far-fetched, but that evoke about 10 different possible staging iterations in my director-brain. It would be a pleasure to see this staged!
  • Bruise & Thorn
    9 Sep. 2019
    An extremely important and underrepresented example of pursuing "the American Dream." This play uses fierce humor and wrenching tragedy to illuminate the opportunities its central characters most desperately crave and deserve but are prevented from achieving at every turn. From ball culture to cockfighting to wild animals run loose, full throated and passionate theatricality is on display here. I would love to see how this lives off the page. I appreciate its transcendent and forward-looking ending.
    6 Sep. 2019
    I really appreciated how well-developed this large ensemble of characters was. Each human had a super distinct voice that made their relationships and personalities incredibly clear even on my first read-through. A nuanced look at mental health. In examining the theme through historical fiction, the progress and lack of progress in the treatment of those struggling with mental health issues is made potently and powerfully clear. I look forward to following its development trajectory.
  • oh to be pure again
    4 Sep. 2019
    After seeing a reading of an early draft, I am floored as I read this updated version! What a beautiful and potent examination of faith, organized religion, how society commodifies women's bodies and virginity, and spaces where folks are able to rebel and ways those spaces are invaded by the oppressor in subtle ways. In lyrical and gorgeously irregular/natural scenes, Rockwell tackles the above themes through powerful and captivating young women. She writes teens so astutely, and always has an eye on her characters' intersectional identities. I hope to see this continually developed and produced soon!
  • Indelible
    3 Sep. 2019
    This is a witty and charming romantic comedy without falling in the trap of being too precious. What a treat! Bavoso has many wonderful one-liners in here, but always in service of the story, as he keeps the plot moving. Preston's "errand" from earlier in the day is a perfect metaphor for depicting the turning point in these two men's relationship. A pleasure to read and, I imagine, so very stageable and dynamic.
    3 Sep. 2019
    This piece provides a unique angle of looking at the fallout behind major mass tragedy. It raises fresh and original questions about how we cope and process in the wake of such tragedies and the ways in which events can haunt spaces other than the direct sites of impact. Silvia and Cat's central question about deciding to start a family provides a distinct and powerful axis around which these other characters (and their griefs that need outlets and processing) rotate. The piece is full of warm and tender humanity as well. Hope to see a production of this soon!
  • A Play about David Mamet Writing a Play about Harvey Weinstein
    2 Sep. 2019
    Seriously brilliant! Pitch-black and vicious in its comedy, but never bleak or heavy-handed. What reads as sort of free-flowing (as indicated by its own characters), is on the contrary really well structured and put together while always being consistently surprising (and shocking, and entertaining, and hilarious, and frightening). Extremely theatrical and the entire sequence from "All the World's a Stage" through the end was gutting and so extremely powerful. I was glad to see it end with hope and eyes towards the future. This needs to be staged now!
  • We Are A Masterpiece
    30 Aug. 2019
    Wow! I knew this would be affecting, but did not realize how often during reading I would ugly-cry on public transit! This play is a veritable masterpiece itself. The nuanced and so-carefully stitched together and chosen scenes were the ultimate example of powerful "showing vs. telling" in script writing. I felt even for the characters I disagreed with. Though this tale was fairly geographically and socially self-contained, it pulsed with such incredible universality and truth--really moreso than other canonical AIDS crisis plays that I've seen or read. I'm eagerly awaiting the chance to see this in production.
  • Deal Me Out
    29 Aug. 2019
    The residual casualties of the 2016 election--complicated or torn friendships and socio-political reprioritizing on an individual and group scale--are vividly on display here in engaging and nuanced characters. All of the characters are rendered with a subtle and fine paintbrush, and their personalities are illustrated so adeptly in their relationships to and way of engaging with gaming. The games and the characters relationships to them are skillfully handled metaphors! The twists and turns both make sense but are satisfyingly surprising. I love seeing the genesis and evolution of this social microcosm both in the past and present scenes.