Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • Stand Your Ground
    4 Dec. 2023
    There is a lot tackled here with alternatingly devastating and sharply hilarious brushstrokes. Vermillion explores "bleeding heart liberal martyrdom," masculinity, violence, pride, the fear of losing ground from both sides of the political aisle, and more. Like Vermillion's other work, these characters manage to live simultaneously as interesting and plausible humans with unique wants and desires as well as representations of volatile socio-political conversations. I'd love to see this on its feet!
  • The Good Boy Game
    4 Dec. 2023
    Phew! What a wildly astute, sharp, and unsettling play about masculinity, violence, and radicalization. This is one of the few plays in which the characters both have these specific and compelling (albeit heightened and satirical) character arcs and truths, while also being finely drawn metaphors for huge, topical social issues and political discourse. In James, Vermillion illustrates just how close beneath the surface of real "normal" men is the capacity for hatred and violence and how that is tied to social expectations of masculinity and manhood. The ending is quite a gut punch!
  • The Bed Trick
    15 Nov. 2023
    This play deftly weaves together ideas and themes from Shakespeare's truly bizarre "All's Well That Ends Well" with an engaging, contemporary, character-driven plot about consent and relationships and reevaluation of the past. Like that thematic thread of reevaluation, Keiko reexamines and contextualizes the original play. So many juicy moments and character decisions here and all of the characters manage to emerge both sympathetic yet shouldering blame and the consequences of their actions.
    9 Nov. 2023
    A gorgeously subtle, intimate, character-driven play full of beautifully realized humans. The scenes are tenderly observed, poignant, and funny. The connection we see between Tino and Bernadette is specific and organic. I loved the way the scenes at school were punctuated by Tino's visits to church, mirroring his quest to find connection and community. This is deserving of multitudinous productions!
  • How to Draw a Triangle
    24 Oct. 2023
    Aaron is such a charming and relatable nucleus to this story of emerging queerness, awkward friendship, and coming of age. Ms. Jimenez is also smartly drawn and you understand where she is coming from even as she brushes up against and crosses boundaries and goes through her own journey with addiction, identity, self worth, and more. I loved the fluidity of time and space--this is a play that begs to be staged (with ALL of the glorious musical interludes), and the final scene is a poignant piece of punctuation to the narrative.
  • Tracy Jones
    23 Oct. 2023
    I can easily see why this funny and poignant comedy is getting so much love. It works beautifully as a farce--the setup is hilarious and the various gags and laughs throughout land beautifully. What is most impressive is how much all the humor so organically arises from the well-drawn characters and their competing/intersecting wants and needs. This is a very human meditation on loneliness that punches you in the heart as much as it does in the funny bone (which it does so repeatedly and effectively). Here's to many more productions of it in the future!
  • Bite Me
    22 Oct. 2023
    I just saw the Colt Coeur/WP Theater production of "Bite Me" and thoroughly enjoyed this tightly-written two-hander. I especially appreciated how all of the intricacies of Melody and Nathan's identities were subtly woven into the was clear to me just exactly how who they were contributed to their life experiences without an abundance of/relying on "telling us" about their identities--subtext was key. Beyond that, I also appreciated the exploration of odd couple friendships, "safe havens" in hostile places, and the volatile, impactful, and potentially harmful relationships that can come from the combination of those things.
  • Joan of Arc in a Supermarket in California
    19 Oct. 2023
    This is a play rich in character, clear and unique in its theatrical world and rules, and with vividly explored themes. I love how the text transitions between the lyrical and the mundane and how Xtina bends genre to explore the multitudinous ways women and girls are impacted by both misogynistic and patriarchal expectations and emotional and physical violence. The whole seance/possession/horror sequence plays extraordinarily with both rage and quietness. All of these characters are compelling and distinct. Lots of work with here for a creative production team!
    19 Oct. 2023
    What a tightly, cleanly structured play that zeroes in on a profoundly interesting constellation of people. Accuardi illustrates the interconnectedness of humanity and other major themes--upward mobility, identity, the ways people tie socio-economic class to self worth, definitions of home--in a series of well-observed and intricately detailed scenes. While the focus here is definitely on drawing vivid characters, forward momentum of narrative and theme (using the word "forward" is ironic with the backwards chronology, of course!) is never sacrificed. A play of real beauty and subtlety.
  • A Jumping-Off Point
    18 Oct. 2023
    Complex, well-rendered characters, with a particularly delicious dynamic between Leslie and Andrew. The exploration of plagiarism vs. inspiration, cultural appropriation in storytelling, the creative process, and ambition is complex and fascinating. This is a briskly moving play with clever dialogue that always feels organic to the circumstances; Craig-Galvan's propulsive rhythms and humor always flow directly from dramatic action and character intention.