Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • INFERNA
    29 Jun. 2022
    A powerful, intimate, and sharp piece about abuse, the ways women and femme identifying folks are harmed in theatrical and spiritual places, the ways society pits women against one another, and the intersection of religion/art/more. Joanna's testimony of her unsettling, abusive relationship with Jack and how it impacted her as a teenager and later is so nuanced, complex, and vulnerable. The dark and complicated themes are also balanced out with a dose of wry, sharp comedy that uses absurdity and observation to put into stark relief the difficult events addressed here. Read and produce!
  • the pigeon.
    27 Jun. 2022
    I really enjoyed this melancholy, natural-yet-magical character study that explored the lives of an eclectic ensemble of queer people. I appreciated how the mystery of Declan's disappearance and his relationships with Nate and Adam evolved throughout the piece, and that each character had some sense of ambiguous closure in the end. There are also some lovely theatrical and extended metaphors that communicate the larger themes of identity, the ways we're constrained by it and yearn for peace within our own identities, and loss.
  • rachel, nv
    26 Jun. 2022
    I was super drawn into this theatrical world from the start, and found each character so distinct and compelling and with clear and potent wants and needs (from themselves, from each other, from ghosts in their lives...). I also loved how Alberdi always went for nuance and complexity in both character actions/choices and theatrical devices. Such huge and varied themes--faith, intimacy, grief and loss, belief, identity--are handled with originality. This piece manages to be funny, unsettling, poignant, intimate, and sensual all at once! I'm eager to follow its developmental path and would love to see it onstage.
  • The Emancipation Consummation
    19 Jun. 2022
    I really found the speculative world crafted here so compelling. Details about it were doled out at such intervals as to sustain mystery and tension, while still feeling like the world building was satisfying and well-rendered. I also appreciated how this play examines privilege, reparations, race, and more in a highly intersectional and complex fashion. The ending is haunting and ambiguous as well. Foster also really captures the irregular rhythms of human speech so well. I'd love to see it in production!
  • In a Clearing
    17 Jun. 2022
    A trim, well-paced, character-driven play that explores recovery, grief, the push-pull of home, family, and what happens when all of those things intersect in a complex fashion. I appreciated how each character was flawed while also having their own personal moments of redemption. Saari also provided an insightful window into the town, its culture, and its tensions with the particular cross section of characters selected--an impressive feat to render the town with such detail with just four humans! Lastly, I appreciated the humor/drama balance here. I'd love to see it on its feet in production.
  • John Deserves To Die
    16 Jun. 2022
    A wonderful, sharp, ensemble-piece filled with nuanced and complex femme characters. It also contains a spectacular reading of "Oleanna" that everyone who thinks they're familiar with the play or who thinks it's actually "good art" should take a listen to. The constellations of relationships we see--Andy and Jen, Jen and Laura, Andy and Laura, Leah and Andy, and, of course, all of them and their prof--are all very specific and fleshed out. An important examination of male privilege and abuse in academia, rehearsal rooms, and the world at large, and of what it takes to start dismantling it.
  • Say NO to One Paseo
    16 Jun. 2022
    A nuanced, complex, and comprehensive examination of two humans and the ways their lives intersect with one another as they come of age and more fully understand their identities. I loved the irregular rhythms here that captured natural speech and the little seismic changes that make life what it is--short, revealing moments alternated with longer and more tension-filled and fraught scenes. I also loved the malleability of space and time and the theatricality of the piece. The focus on the characters is so razor-sharp, a creative production company would have a field day creating all of these different spaces.
  • Somebody is Looking Back At Me
    15 Jun. 2022
    I enjoyed the theatricality of this piece--malleable space/time, inventive use of a changing, abstract unit set, and the two sets of characters in different timelines. The conversations had here are all interesting and demand to be seen onstage--exploring dynamics of the individual and multi-armed struggles of an ethnically diverse group of people society lumps together as "same" based on the fact that they're Asian ...the ways people of historically marginalized identities are asked to either compromise for the sake of comfort OR stand their ground and eschew success. Gorgeous exploration of past and present.
  • The Black & Brown Guerrillas
    15 Jun. 2022
    The speculative world of this play is rich and fascinating and feels like a potent response to the moment we're in. At the same time, it manages to explore more broadly the successes and challenges of enacting social change through a variety of means--politics, violence, guerrilla movements, etc in any social climate. The characters are all supremely compelling and Cato really captures so many key issues at play that make visible why we are where we are now and what we COULD be as a country in the future both in good and bad ways. Prescient, exciting work.
  • backstroke boys
    15 Jun. 2022
    A beautiful queer coming-of-age story. The interactions between Quentin and Zia are so delicately rendered. The escalating tensions and ways in which they gauge one another's identities and needs feel so organic and follow such a natural trajectory. I also loved the deeply intersectional nature of their conversations and how their experiences dovetail with and diverge from one another. Ayse, who could be portrayed as a "villain" in less skilled hands is sympathetic, and her loneliness and isolation is effectively illustrated and adds a necessary dimension to her arc. So many beautiful stage images as well!

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