Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • BAD CHINESE DAUGHTER
    14 Jun. 2022
    A super theatrical epic that explores assimilation and belonging for several generations of Chinese and Chinese American women and manages to capture three (more technically!) very unique and historically vital socio-cultural and political contexts. The throughline of witty, funny, human dialogue keeps you engaged throughout and serves to really differentiate a huge ensemble of impressively eclectic personalities. The theatrically heightened moments that punctuate each scene thematically tie together what at first might appear to be disparate moments in time. I'd love to see this funny, insightful, compelling piece realized onstage!
  • Scratching the Surface
    14 Jun. 2022
    Deeply unsettling--all the more because of how much the violence is perpetrated in search of belonging, normalcy, what Win is prevented from having in society. This would definitely be intense viewing, and I'd be interested to see a daring production team handle it with a nuanced hand.
  • You Are The Blood
    13 Jun. 2022
    A lot of unsettling themes and realities are explored here with a deft hand. Ashley Rose Wellman's eye for rendering complex characters navigating very particular forms of strife is fully employed here! Wellman's ability to juggle comedy with darkness is also so well utilized. Shelby is a compelling nucleus for the piece (in fact each of the characters is eternally fascinating and nuanced) and her journey is both hard to read about and handled with care. I appreciated that the ending felt like a messy and hopeful reminder that "normal," per se, isn't necessary for healing to begin.
  • amémonos // let us love each other
    13 Jun. 2022
    A gorgeous, glorious exploration of family and intergenerational relationships and, ultimately, healing. I so loved how delicately drawn the characters were and how the slightly heightened and fabulistic exploration of the wildfires both heightened the stakes of the human story and served as a well-chosen extended metaphor--especially in the illustration of breath, breathing. Queerness and its intersection with family and religion is poignantly explored too in a way that casts aside huge fireworks and theatrics for little subtle, seismic shifts in relationships. I'd love to see this visualized onstage!
  • The Body
    10 Jun. 2022
    A tightly written, unsettling theatrical exploration of grief and loss and how those things shut you off from and infect your relationships with others. The sparely written scenes are economic with their language but contain multitudes in their silences and specific word choices. The horror is palpable, psychologically taut, and builds slowly throughout to a few well-chosen grand gestures. The use of the doll is absolutely brilliant as well, and I'd love to see it manifested onstage. Abby's revisit of Joe in the future is haunting and a poignant punctuation to Joe's arc when he retreats inside himself.
  • Revelation
    7 Jun. 2022
    The simmering tension that pervades this piece is evident at every moment, particularly in the well-constructed, lengthy silences and periods of non-verbal action. Neither Brandon nor Michael, each complex and flawed, are "exonerated" by the piece, which makes room for a thorny and uncertain kind of hope and path forward at the end. I appreciated experiencing the narratives of two queer men from different generations and backgrounds and the ways their paths intersected and so clearly diverged. I also appreciated the illumination of the specific traumas of conversion therapy that Brandon gave voice to subtly, concretely, and powerfully.
  • the dance
    7 Jun. 2022
    A potent and highly theatrical exploration of a woman's scars and trauma connected to her dance instructor. The refraction of the relationship through the lens of her child, teen, and adult selves provides such compellingly and elegantly visualized insights into the way it formed and impacted her identity throughout the years. "Him" is certainly not left off the hook in the slightest, but he is rendered with disarming complexity and nuance. I loved the alternation of gorgeous theatrical moments and sequences with microscopically painted moments of layered, human, and often unsettling naturalism--particularly the final scene between girl and Him.
  • Dirty Laundry
    7 Jun. 2022
    An absolutely beautiful and human exploration of grief, loss, family, inherited and learned behaviors and coping mechanisms. It is also *extremely* funny, and I love a play that will make me alternate laughing and crying! I can totally see how well this would work as an audio play--especially the chorus. That said, it would be super compelling fully staged as well. By the end of the piece, I felt well acquainted with the family portrayed and appreciated how they were rendered--warts and all--seemingly without judgment because of the narrative self awareness of the messiness of family, love, and loneliness.
  • Saturday Mourning Cartoons
    6 Jun. 2022
    A beautiful, subtle, and vividly-drawn portrait of a family in mourning as the world slowly slides into the early stages of the pandemic. I really appreciated that the play captured nuanced elements of the first year of COVID without drowning in them. To see seasons pass and Jessica's world transform and evolve along with the needs of her abuela, mother, brother(s), and the world was to observe a masterclass in fine character-defining brushstrokes. I'd love to see the visual conventions of the piece realized onstage! The ending is cathartic, beautiful, and yet a satisfying "ellipsis" of sorts.
  • galatea 2.0
    6 Jun. 2022
    Boldly theatrical exploration of the objectification of women and the male gaze, and the silencing and repression of female sexuality and agency and desire due to those things. The piece manages to intricately explore the humanity of Eliza, in particular, but others in this theatrical world, while also making some huge theatrical grand gestures utilizing powerful visual metaphors. I would so love to see some of these bold stage pictures fully realized.

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