Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • bad things happen here
    31 Aug. 2021
    Structurally speaking, this piece is fascinating in the way it builds an entire world out of two-person scenes. This would be an excellent vehicle for two versatile actors. The speculative theatrical reality that Marlin builds feels like a sibling to the allegorical, war-torn world of Caryl Churchill's "Far Away" but, in this piece, we see a broader and more nuanced spectrum of humans. It is at turns lyrical, poignant, and unsettling. Marlin has written some incredible stage images here with distinct clarity, while also leaving much of the vision up to the creative production team that stages this piece!
  • Power Play: A Full-Length Play about Consent, Bodies, and Fat Liberation
    27 Aug. 2021
    I loved how this piece explored the unique toxic dynamics present in theater in higher ed while also commenting on the ways they're informed by professional theater and society as a whole. The women's voices centered in this piece are nuanced and complex in their differing relationships with fatphobia and self-image, and Greene examines the ways cis-hetero-patriarchal society pits women against one another so frustratingly as obstacles to their own liberation. I love the questions Sarah asks both the other people in the piece and the world as a whole. Her powerhouse of a monologue is stunning.
  • Kill Shelter
    25 Aug. 2021
    What a superb piece! The four characters in this tightly written drama (with delightfully comedic elements) are so vividly-rendered that they jump into the mind's eye with crystal clarity. Colleen is such a dynamic and compelling nucleus for the piece and her human, messy, and relatable internal and external struggles as she nears a milestone with her almost 18 year old daughter, Ellie, unfold with propulsive movement. The animal shelter itself is a lovely and apt extended metaphor for the relationship crossroads both Colleen and Ellie face. The puppetry offers room for inventive and highly theatrical staging. Beautiful!
  • The Aleph Complex
    24 Aug. 2021
    A beautiful, exquisite piece about mental health, family, and escaping from cycles. The relationship between Naomi and Nicky is so vividly realized, recognizable, and specific. I especially loved how human and real the central driving forces behind this piece were, even when it veers into fabulistic territory. Deborah's use of visual and theatrical metaphors to capture Naomi and Nicky's specific struggles with mental health and anxiety are so original and thought-provoking. A lot of clever comedy also undergirds the poignant and powerful moments of evolution and change. I'd love to see this realized onstage!
  • Bone Records
    20 Aug. 2021
    I loved the malleability of time and space in this piece. A poignant and funny memory play that manages to really build in stakes and tension consistently throughout its progress, even as it winds back and forth through time in a nonlinear fashion. Tasya, Moriz, and Anton are a compelling trio of central characters, and to watch the constellation of their relationship evolve and complicate over time is always engaging. The dialogue is human and tender and the historical context is threaded throughout well without unnecessary exposition.
  • Let's Have a Seance
    19 Aug. 2021
    A darkly comedic play about fanaticism, the supernatural, and the human need to belong, have a place, and something to believe in. Each of the eclectic characters is super well-defined, and so much humor is derived from the irregular, awkward human interactions between these people just looking to connect and have purpose. I'd love to see this realized onstage!
    18 Aug. 2021
    A specifically told and compelling narrative that explores the intersections of desire, sexuality, history of family repression, faith, intimacy, the internet, and much more! Hazel's journey is unique and told with complexity. Werle manages to make all of the characters sympathetic while still creating palpable tension. The theatricality of movement sequences, Hazel's imagined mother interludes, and the lens of spectatorship and audience serve as wonderful foils to the naturalistic, funny, and poignant human interactions. I'm eager to follow this play's journey!
    15 Aug. 2021
    Loved this genre-bending piece that combines movement theater, dark comedy, satire, and some lyrical, poignant poetry to explore the ways in which society impacts Black womanhood and identity formation for Black women. White feminism, toxic masculinity of men/masc forces from various backgrounds, family pressure/expectations, and more are all explored here in scenes and sequences that are incisive, entertaining, and original. I'd love to see a creative production team tackle this piece--it's a beautiful blueprint that leaves such room for individual companies to make their mark on the piece.
  • Temperance in Reverse
    14 Aug. 2021
    A complex family drama with aching, hurting characters whose conflicts feel poignant, understandable, and frustrating in their truth. I appreciated Halton's exploration of addiction, healing from trauma, and family with an intersectional lens. All of the characters who could've been archetypes--addicted mom, angry daughter, distant father--are in fact rendered with dimensionality and compassion. I'm eager to follow this play's trajectory of development and would love to see it realized onstage.
  • Augusta and Noble
    11 Aug. 2021
    Well worth a purchase and a production--Murillo's "Augusta and Noble" is a compelling dual narrative of Gabi's waking journey as a new student at an elite prep school, and her subconscious journey of coming to terms with what she does and doesn't know about her family and how that informs or might inform her identity. Gabi is a great protagonist, the other characters are eclectic and colorful, and the storytelling uses theatrical conventions in a lively, engaging way.