Recommended by Nick Malakhow

  • macbitches
    26 Oct. 2021
    In this piece, McIntosh captures the inelegant natural rhythms of human speech so well and gives us a sizable ensemble of distinct and dynamic roles for young women. The play's descent from lighthearted, sharp satire to something more sinister is compelling and earned. The exploration of misogyny, double standards, and ways inequitable and corrupt systems pit women against one another within academic theater, the theater industry as a whole, and the world at large is complex and nuanced. The thematic/figurative connections with MACBETH itself come to a brilliant head in the final moments!
  • White People by the Lake
    25 Oct. 2021
    The lines this play treads between absurdity, satire, and uncomfortable, gutting truth are so fine and powerful. The out-of-time and startling hyper-theatrical moments both destabilize and so effectively render the cognitive dissonance of someone living at so-called marginalized identity crossroads and taking in the perplexing and infuriating individuals and systems that surround them. So many unexpected things even within an already-unconventional piece. I love the thread of satirizing the scarily indulgent, voyeuristic, performative, and masturbatory nature of white suffering. I'm eager to follow this piece's developmental trajectory and the robust future life that it deserves to have.
  • Ballad of the White Tiger
    23 Oct. 2021
    What a gorgeously rendered set of human beings. I love how successive layers of narrative and character unfold at an intentional yet propulsive pace. I was engaged throughout, yet, I never felt as if I was being led or pandered to by some contrived plot. Learning the complex and nuanced story of Yuki and Hana's sisterly relationship and tensions, thorny history, and the ways they've impacted and shaped one another was the central, tight focus of the piece. The supporting ensemble was supremely interesting, as were the literal and figurative connections to White Tiger and the Aizu.
  • The Elephant Play
    20 Oct. 2021
    What an original, funny, poignant two hander about mental health, the complexities of family relationships, the foster system, and queer identity and love. The initially unseen elephant is such a deftly used and hilarious theatrical conceit that is never simply a gimmick. Lots of interesting possibilities for direction and movement with the onstage identity of the elephant. The latter half of the piece went in unexpected but well-earned places. I loved how information about Sasha and Jill's history unfolded as the piece progressed. I'd love to see this onstage!
  • how to catch a ghost
    17 Oct. 2021
    A beautifully rendered, intimate story that explores grief, the fallout of religious trauma, and queerness in a complex and multi-faceted way. I appreciate how Turner acknowledges the multi-pronged challenges queer Black folks and trans folks of all races face without resorting to exploiting and commidifying their traumas. The love story between Wesley and Lark at the center of this is beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful. Amos' presence is, at turns, poignant then unsettling and, eventually, a source of healing. I'd love to see this original, creative piece developed and staged!
  • Knockout Mouse
    11 Oct. 2021
    A potent, super-quick read that crackles with hilarity and explores the ways ambition warps and distorts one's behavior and worldview. High-speed volleys of dialogue alternate with thoughtful and thought-provoking monologues. The stakes start high and stay high--ramp up even--as the play progresses. Each character, even as they do contemptible stuff, remains three dimensional and complex. I appreciated that the couple of large, physical grand gestures of violence feel justified, human, and complex in their sloppiness.
  • A Real Boy
    8 Oct. 2021
    A super compelling and original satire that examines parenting, the school/teacher/parent relationship continuum, acceptance of difference and unconventional families, and much more. The use of puppets and puppeteers is bold and exciting, and it would be a treat to see it realized onstage. The extended metaphorical connection to LGBTQ families or other "outside the norm" family dynamics was brilliantly executed. Funny, poignant, and unique.
  • Un Hombre
    7 Oct. 2021
    This is a poignant and original meditation on grief and family and coming of age while grappling with the trauma of loss. Alejandro the golem is a wonderful central metaphor (and character) for the ways Josh and Rebecca are looking to fill the void of loss. The relationship between mother and son is true and complex and well-rendered. I'd love to see some of these stage images on their feet!
  • wyrd
    3 Oct. 2021
    A stunning, startling, genre-bending piece that explores power, agency, connection/intimacy, and their intersection with gender and sexuality. This piece is absolutely hilarious at times. It's also beautiful and lyrical and includes some of the most compelling stage images I've been able to envision in a while and some of the most spare yet profound language I've read as well. The destabilizing force that is Jan really propels this piece forward in a fantastic way, and her probing of the sisters' life purpose and agency is moving and thought-provoking. I'd love to see it staged!
  • Webster's Bitch (Full-Length)
    30 Sep. 2021
    A spectacular, witty, fast-moving, and incisive play about language, gender, the wage gap, and the big-little battles of everyday office life. Gwen is such a fully fleshed out character with an incredibly dynamic journey--and every other character in this wonderful ensemble piece is just as human and rounded as well. The propulsive movement of the play never lets up as well and Bircher balances tension and comedy wonderfully. I'd love to see this fully realized onstage!

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