Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • Natural History
    1 Oct. 2023
    A sneaky, slow-burn of a play that, at first read, is a superbly paced real time heist. On second, third, and fourth consideration, the ways that it explores the intersection of history, legacy, climate change, nature, and the human impact on the world unfurl like a uniquely beautiful flower of sorts. Three thoughtfully chosen and constructed characters come together and brush up against one another with their own urgent needs and circumstances. The comedy and intriguing speculative future setting serve to disarm and prime the audience to consider truths about the sustainability of our current way of life.
  • Amputations
    27 Sep. 2023
    What a beautiful play. Jan demonstrates such a generosity and sense of love for their characters all the while not letting them off the hook for the ways they harm and complicate one another's life. Everyone in this tight ensemble piece has such potent needs, desires, and wants...Jan explores issues related to forgiveness, addiction, family trauma, and small town life, fully utilizing and fleshing out their characters' intersectional identities while centering their human souls in the process. Raw truths unfold through the disarmingly human, poignant, funny dialogue. I'd love to see this on its feet!
  • The Flight Patterns of Migratory Birds
    24 Sep. 2023
    A surprising, nuanced, and poignant exploration of family, body image, and relationships. The unassuming and well-drawn scenes seem to just float by, all the while propelling us towards larger conversations and truths about the characters and issues at play without devolving into unnecessary melodramatics. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about all of these characters, but Jenny in particular was a compelling nucleus to follow and her evolving relationships with her mom, herself, and her hopes/dreams was so beautifully plotted. Her body image journey was specific and detailed and tied beautifully with her connections to others.
  • The Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx/Latine Vote
    27 Aug. 2023
    So, so funny and truthful. This is the perfect political play for this very moment, but it also explores issues of identity, conflict, and the multiplicity of the Latinidad that resonates and is relevant far beyond this one election cycle. In addition to really deftly exploring the "myth of the monolith" with regards to Latinx/e identity, Bernardo also hits the nail on the head about the Catch-22 of the two-party US political system and how media and technology have all but eliminated the existence of nuance in contemporary political discourse...and how that harms everyone. Brilliant!
  • Crabs in a Bucket
    27 Aug. 2023
    This play is a hilarious and poignant exploration of systems and structures that are, on the surface, based on upward mobility but that merely serve in actuality to pit the most disadvantaged against one another. Like all great satirical allegory, it is potently plotted storytelling when taken at face value, but also figuratively applies to so many different socio-political and socio-cultural structures that exist in our world. Hilarity is built into this both at a textual and physical theater level. I'd love to see this performed!
  • Impossible Theories Of Us
    21 Aug. 2023
    A beautiful, beautiful play about loss, memory, grief, identity, relationships, technology, and the very essence of humanity--some weighty stuff! I appreciated how huge existential themes were explored through this charming, intimate, deftly-rendered relationship. I also so appreciated how Gina existed as a trans character and her world and life were so clearly shaped and influenced by various bits of her identity, but we saw her journey in an extremely intersectional manner. How her gender was discussed with Keith as he and Gina contemplated his fate and impending transformation in the "past tense" scenes was nuanced and lovely.
  • OTP
    20 Aug. 2023
    Loved this hilarious, absurd, and highly theatrical play. I appreciated how, on one level, we were treated to a window into this very specific and individual friendship but, on a higher level, Wien explored social and political ideals, leadership, practicality, ambition, and the tension between all of those things. I would so love to see this performed!
  • I Am Not My Motherland
    19 Aug. 2023
    A beautifully rendered exploration of both a few small, specific relationships, as well as larger socio-political themes and issues related to belonging, home, Israel, Palestine, and more. The highly theatrical and shapeshifting use of double-casting works so well, as do the different perspectives we slowly get to peek at this world from throughout. The final scene is an understated but effective knockout of a last moment. I'd so love to see this performed!
  • CHINESE REPUBLICANS
    19 Aug. 2023
    A hilarious and sharp exploration of these four women and the particular sacrifices, privileges, battles, and more that they've had to navigate at their particular identity intersections. On a larger scale, it's also a biting critique of capitalism and of the ways capitalist systems oppress and shape and pit against each other those within them. Most importantly, it was really, really funny...while managing to be so intriguingly theatrical as it wound its way through time and realities. It ends with such a poignant and powerful stage image as well. I'd love to see this on its feet!
  • Wellesley Girl
    8 Aug. 2023
    Really intelligent and startling speculative fiction that offers darkly comedic and pressing insight into the political woes of our current era. Pelsue explores American tribalism and what happens when actual discourse and progress are cut short by monolithic approaches to politics, justice, and the pursuit of what is 'right.' The world building unfurls at a judicious pace, illuminating the state of things in a way that feels organic and far from serving as simple exposition. The subtly rendered coda is a gutting epilogue. One thing Pelsue does excellently is dole out truths through both comedy and terror.

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