Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • The Elephant Play
    20 Oct. 2021
    What an original, funny, poignant two hander about mental health, the complexities of family relationships, the foster system, and queer identity and love. The initially unseen elephant is such a deftly used and hilarious theatrical conceit that is never simply a gimmick. Lots of interesting possibilities for direction and movement with the onstage identity of the elephant. The latter half of the piece went in unexpected but well-earned places. I loved how information about Sasha and Jill's history unfolded as the piece progressed. I'd love to see this onstage!
  • how to catch a ghost
    17 Oct. 2021
    A beautifully rendered, intimate story that explores grief, the fallout of religious trauma, and queerness in a complex and multi-faceted way. I appreciate how Turner acknowledges the multi-pronged challenges queer Black folks and trans folks of all races face without resorting to exploiting and commidifying their traumas. The love story between Wesley and Lark at the center of this is beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful. Amos' presence is, at turns, poignant then unsettling and, eventually, a source of healing. I'd love to see this original, creative piece developed and staged!
  • Knockout Mouse
    11 Oct. 2021
    A potent, super-quick read that crackles with hilarity and explores the ways ambition warps and distorts one's behavior and worldview. High-speed volleys of dialogue alternate with thoughtful and thought-provoking monologues. The stakes start high and stay high--ramp up even--as the play progresses. Each character, even as they do contemptible stuff, remains three dimensional and complex. I appreciated that the couple of large, physical grand gestures of violence feel justified, human, and complex in their sloppiness.
  • A Real Boy
    8 Oct. 2021
    A super compelling and original satire that examines parenting, the school/teacher/parent relationship continuum, acceptance of difference and unconventional families, and much more. The use of puppets and puppeteers is bold and exciting, and it would be a treat to see it realized onstage. The extended metaphorical connection to LGBTQ families or other "outside the norm" family dynamics was brilliantly executed. Funny, poignant, and unique.
  • Un Hombre
    7 Oct. 2021
    This is a poignant and original meditation on grief and family and coming of age while grappling with the trauma of loss. Alejandro the golem is a wonderful central metaphor (and character) for the ways Josh and Rebecca are looking to fill the void of loss. The relationship between mother and son is true and complex and well-rendered. I'd love to see some of these stage images on their feet!
  • wyrd
    3 Oct. 2021
    A stunning, startling, genre-bending piece that explores power, agency, connection/intimacy, and their intersection with gender and sexuality. This piece is absolutely hilarious at times. It's also beautiful and lyrical and includes some of the most compelling stage images I've been able to envision in a while and some of the most spare yet profound language I've read as well. The destabilizing force that is Jan really propels this piece forward in a fantastic way, and her probing of the sisters' life purpose and agency is moving and thought-provoking. I'd love to see it staged!
  • Webster's Bitch (Full-Length)
    30 Sep. 2021
    A spectacular, witty, fast-moving, and incisive play about language, gender, the wage gap, and the big-little battles of everyday office life. Gwen is such a fully fleshed out character with an incredibly dynamic journey--and every other character in this wonderful ensemble piece is just as human and rounded as well. The propulsive movement of the play never lets up as well and Bircher balances tension and comedy wonderfully. I'd love to see this fully realized onstage!
  • Skin Song
    29 Sep. 2021
    Gorgeous, lyrical piece that combines movement, ASL, music, exquisite poetry, and incredibly "human" (I only put in quotations because of the fantastical elements of the piece) characters. Undine's relationships with both Doug and Gwen are complex, nuanced, and exciting, and the exploration of the trespasses in the relationship between Gwen and Undine is heartbreaking. I'd so love to see this realized onstage!
  • SYZYGY, or the ceasing of the sun
    27 Sep. 2021
    An exquisite piece that tackles such huge ideas and themes--climate change, family, the challenging of all kinds of binaries and scarcity mentality, identity, existential dread of the near future--in such a gentle, creative, engaging, and comprehensive way. taveras doesn't rely on melodramatics to tell their story, and their world-building of this reality is so complex and nuanced and organic as the always-compelling action of the play propels forward. Lyrical language coexists here with the inelegant and beautifully captured rhythms of human speech. So many gorgeous monologues--especially an urgent one from Kai near the end of the piece. Stunning!
  • Memories of Overdevelopment
    27 Sep. 2021
    A gentle and profound piece that would be a spectacular challenge and showcase for two versatile actors. Caridad's exploration of fascism, tyranny, and the intersection of the personal and political is so beautifully arranged and theatrically compelling, and it moves at a propulsive yet thoughtful pace. It captures a distinct socio-political context of its own while also destabilizing audience members' notions of what political upheaval or distress might look like in its nascent or bourgeoning stages.

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