Recommended by Claudia Barnett

  • BLACK AND BLUE (OR THE MAN IN THE PANTRY)
    20 Jul. 2019
    This play reminds me of Harold Pinter saying his plays are about "the weasel under the cocktail cabinet"--except here the weasel's a sobbing, gnomish man, and the cocktail cabinet is a kitchen pantry. Which is all to say that Black and Blue feels at first like a realistic, serious drama about our time--and it is that. But then it's also something more.
  • Fan Me With a Brick: The Story of an American Family
    6 Dec. 2018
    Fan Me With a Brick takes us on an unforgettable journey to a past both lucid and surreal. Set at once in the near present and the Jim Crow south, this dual-narrative captivates us with vivid characters and the love and cruelty they inflict on one another. This play is filled with poetic language and images, as well as memorable horrors and moments of grace.
  • Paradise
    7 Apr. 2018
    This is a brilliant play about science and religion, youth and age, hope and fate. Yasmeen is utterly compelling, combining bright scientific genius with unflappable faith. Dr. Royston is equally intriguing, toeing the line between integrity and desperation. With a single set and two characters, this play achieves remarkable complexity, the kind that makes you ponder it for days.
  • Silent Sky
    23 Jan. 2018
    Lauren Gunderson tells this complex tale with utter (and enviable) simplicity. And charm and grace. She celebrates science with passion. And she's a master of pacing. SILENT SKY is a bright and bittersweet play.
  • Photograph 51
    8 Jan. 2018
    I've wondered about Rosalind Franklin's role in the discovery of the structure of DNA--but I wonder no longer: Anna Ziegler has educated me. And as importantly, she's presented this lesson as a beautiful play, one with a cast of distinct and memorable characters and conflicts.
  • THIS LITTLE LIGHT
    23 Nov. 2017
    This Little Light is poetic, provocative, and funny. It’s a subtle yet deeply thoughtful examination of identity, of what shapes us. Four Sadies—women (or not) from four different time periods—meet up in and outside a tent in the woods. One’s been shipwrecked, one’s stolen a horse, one’s conversing with aliens, and one’s just taking a break from working at Macy’s. The writing is smart and tight, the stage is filled with striking images, and the whole play is bright with light.
  • LIFE JACKET
    13 Jun. 2017
    I saw LIFE JACKET last year at The Seven, and since then I've been worried about Galia and her children. Seriously. This short play packs a punch. Its high stakes and meticulous detail bring the refugee crisis to life.
  • Jilt
    11 May. 2017
    Water is a hot commodity in this "post-rape" culture. Jennie Webb establishes the world of JILT so simply, while including a bunch of super-important issues and intriguing, conflicted characters, making me care about them, and making me laugh. Great things are going on here with movement and communication and visuals. This play is brilliant.
  • SELF DEFENSE, or death of some salesmen
    3 May. 2017
    Kreitzer has created a bold, visual, and deeply moving experimental play that highlights a criminal as the only character with integrity. I teach this play in my Women Who Kill class (a survey of American drama by women), so I've read it at least 15 times, and I've seen students absolutely transformed by it. Many thanks to Carson Kreitzer for bringing this story to life, with all its humor and brutality.
  • The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart
    28 Apr. 2017
    THE CONSUL, THE TRAMP, AND AMERICA'S SWEETHEART is so damn SMART. And funny. And timely. It's also deceptively simple, so it's a great lesson in playwriting. And it's super political ... in the most endearing ways. Three of the four characters are historical, and they'll stay with you, but the fourth, the fictional Miss Hollombe, will break your heart,