Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • The Reservoir
    6 Jun. 2022
    Equally funny and heartbreaking, "The Reservoir" is an absolutely amazing piece about family, addiction, mental health and how those things intersect with one's identity when grappling with recovery. This manages to have the raw, confessional feel of solo performance with Brasch's protagonist making such a clear and unique connection with the audience, while also taking full advantage of having several bodies in theatrical space. I cannot emphasize just how hilarious this piece is...until it made me catch my breath with some potent (and never sentimental) heart punches. The exploration of recovery is deep, comprehensive, complex, and important.
  • American Hunger
    3 Jun. 2022
    Such a beautifully observed, delicately rendered piece that explores huge themes--immigrant/first-gen experiences, queer coming of age, gentrification, adult and adolescent friendship and fellowship and more--with fine and gentle brushstrokes. So many of the scenes didn't end with huge dramatic flourishes, but small little seismic shifts and ellipses and open-ended questions. I especially appreciated the potent queer storyline that eschewed trauma in favor of examining how the two boys supported and cared for one another. The sense of place of this particular city block was also crystal clear--I'd love to see it all fully realized onstage.
  • Tomorrow and Tomorrow
    1 Jun. 2022
    A super compelling, in-the-microscope view of a tempestuous and powerful relationship. Evelyn and Raymond are infinitely compelling characters, and I loved seeing the core of who they were remain consistent even as they changed and evolved throughout the piece--all this done very subtly through dialogue, small moments, mannerisms, and lots of deft theatrical "showing." Raymond's highly logical approach to the relationship becomes all the more poignant later in life when they realize the ways they need each other despite the "logic" of their relationship not working out. It's heartbreaking to see their impact on Annie; her coda is wonderful!
  • The Jersey Devil Is a Papi Chulo
    30 May. 2022
    A sharp, hilarious satire that that examines white privilege and allyship, friendship, reality tv, the multitudes within the Latinidad that are often conflated together by the white American POV, and more! All of the characters, buffoonish papi chulos and all, are uniquely rendered. I so delighted in the irony of Tony and Brad developing their own white savior narrative that they kept to themselves while the audience is privy to the true wants, hopes, dreams, and needs of Jenni, Gloria, Celia, Sophia, and Maria. The comedy is a perfect vehicle for Reilly to skewer these problematic assumptions and behavior.
  • Nightwatch
    28 May. 2022
    A gorgeously rendered and infinitely human story that is an equally compelling personal narrative as it as an historical and political one. The pliability of time/space and the impactful double casting make for theatrically/visually striking storytelling. Each character Yu examines in this family constellation is well-rendered. He certainly doesn't let any of the characters and their flaws and challenges off scot free, but shows remarkable compassion for them throughout, even as they hurt and push away one another. The end reflects the irregular, unresolved nature of grief while showing a path forward for Leo.
  • More of a Heart
    27 May. 2022
    Touching, sharp, and highly specific, this piece covers huge and heavy topics--terminal illness, family, caretaking, advocacy vs selfishness--without getting bogged down at all. It's a clever sleight of hand that we're introduced to the passionate, imperfect, and overbearing Mary-Ellen and make our own judgments of her before we slowly start to see the full effects that her behavior has had on her son Zachary, who becomes our equally complex and sympathetic hero. Indeed, all of the characters are well-developed and full of grey areas, and the piece builds to a wholly affecting, heartbreaking, but nuanced conclusion.
  • Break
    12 May. 2022
    A multi-faceted and fascinating exploration of relationships (platonic and romantic and sexual), what brings people together, keeps them together, and tears them apart. Along with this dissection of several very different relationships comes some fun satire on reality tv and the commodification of others' misery. The representation of a variety of relationships--friendships, polyamorous relationships, interracial relationships--makes for a nuanced and intersectionally compelling narrative. I'm eager to follow the trajectory of this play --it's a simultaneously entertaining and thought-provoking piece!
  • The Good Brother
    5 May. 2022
    The biggest strength of this piece is the way Nieboer renders the irregular, complex rhythms of grief and family. He also balances naturalistic and nuanced reactions to Eoghan's death with some major theatrical overtures that underscore the unexpected ways grief haunts and infects. Moments of comedy also feel true to the story. The sizable ensemble is full of such well-defined and eclectic characters--each would be an actor's delight to portray. I also really enjoyed just how much this felt like a major journey for each individual without resorting to melodramatics. The end is poignant, heartbreaking, and so very subtle.
  • Acetone Wishes and Plexiglass Dreams
    5 May. 2022
    Beautiful and immensely theatrical play that looks at family baggage, inherited trauma, grief, recovery, and the complex meaning of "home." I just loved how all of the characters were rendered with depth and humanity and nuance, and these scenes containing small seismic character shifts coincided with some bold theatrical strokes in terms of visual design and double/triple/quadruple casting of the adults. There is a vivid sense of place provided even with very few actor bodies onstage. The tensions and growth between Celina and Inky (and within themselves) were majorly impactful while subtly-drawn. I'd love to see it produced!
    3 May. 2022
    A funny, human coming-of-age story that explores universal feelings of belonging, growing up, and family refracted through an intersectional lens that thoroughly explores its central character's multi-faceted identity. Christine is a sympathetic and realistically rendered teen, and I found it especially impressive how Cho kept all characters sympathetic while maintaining the simmering adolescent/adult tension. The family dynamics were hilariously rendered; the inclusion of Melissa Joan Hart (and some quality early aughties TV references) brought me back to childhood and my own experience of both looking up to and feeling like an outsider because of media depictions of teens.