Recommended by Donna Latham

  • In My Tribe
    21 Apr. 2021
    John Mabey’s gripping, taut drama begins in media res. Although we don’t know the precise circumstances that brought two radically different characters together, but we can imagine their encounter. The short play is layered and nuanced and powerfully explores fleeting moments of connection and humanity. A balm for the soul.
  • Coping with Autumn
    11 Apr. 2021
    I’d love to see this chilling exploration of Autumn’s psyche. A powerfully theatrical ensemble piece about mental health, domestic violence, and childhood sexual abuse. Autumn’s trauma-bonded to her abusive boyfriend. He lures her with love-bombing and escalates abuse: Isolation from her flawed but devoted friend Kasey, beatings, rape, a knife to her throat. Autumn murders her abuser in self-defense. Manifestations of coping mechanisms, a trio of characters (excellent roles for women), swoop to her aid. Autumn discovers the long-secret story of her childhood abuse and truth of her mother’s weakness for monstrous men with beautiful eyes.
    18 Sep. 2019
    Gripping and theatrical. This haunting Southern Gothic play’s desperate outliers break your heart. I love the audacious hope in pre-teen Rudolph’s aching need to fulfill dreams of becoming the first Merman in an underwater show, as he struggles to overcome loss and grief and discover what actually occurred the night his mother died. The trailer park setting at the edge of a canal, elements of magical realism, and richly drawn characters offer delicious staging possibilities and multi-generational casting opportunities.
  • Second Death of a Mad Wife
    2 Mar. 2018
    Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos is a world-building wonder; see her other works. From the play’s first moment, she immerses us in an atmospheric, surrealistic world. The unfolding relationship between crazy-cat-lady-with-a-gruesome-past Bunny Maybrick and creepily intrigued schoolboy Theo Voss is chilling and compelling. His morbid fascination with a murderess is riveting, and I did not see the delicious and spine-tingling twist coming. This play is a designer’s dream. An actor’s delight, it offers an exceptionally rich roles, including one for a mature woman. Highly recommended!
  • Shadow Play
    20 Jun. 2017
    Rich in subtext, this play boasts multidimensional roles for women. Foul-mouthed, tart Lucinda suffers no fools and sips spiked lemonade. She meanders in and out of realism, ever connected to a long-lost love. Daisy, a reporter for a mega-church, is ostensibly a dutiful Christian wife and mother. She carries secrets of an intense affair and a love child. Dialogue crackles with tension and wit. Though they hold opposed viewpoints, the women grudgingly cobble a friendship. A poetic parallel structure reveals clandestine love affairs in which the women engage—and ultimate realizations secrets won’t provide consolation at life’s end.
  • A Poison Squad of Whispering Women
    1 Mar. 2017
    This play of white supremacy/nationalism, abuse, gossip, and vengeance is ripe with theatrical potential and unfolds at a taut, compelling pace. During a thunderstorm, Sylvia stumbles into a KKK-infused “model American town” that conceals nefarious activities behind community do-gooding. Through vibrant, strong female characters, powerful language, and a breathtaking sense of impending danger, a brewing whirlwind unfolds. Both the weather and Sylvia’s moral compass go haywire when an unlikely gaggle of women unexpectedly unites to create its own tornado. The play and its rich subtext deeply resonate with our “post-truth” and increasingly nationalistic times.
  • To Tread Among Serpents
    29 Jul. 2015
    Sex and violence sell. In sweltering swamplands, opportunistic reporter JC Cohen sensationalizes a female murderer’s hideous slayings. She tarts up Violet Haight, pig farmer and Pentecostal snake handler. Violet transforms from demure poof-haired gal to sexpot in feathered heels—ideal for lurid images in True Crime magazine. As events unfold and the creepy mood intensifies, the audience wonders, “Who is using whom?” Vivid characters, suspenseful theatricality, and excellent use of regional and colloquial speech. Explorations of sensationalized crime, dubious celebrity, and mutual exploitation. A highly recommended scalp-prickling piece.
  • The Hall of Final Ruin
    28 Jul. 2015
    The Americans are coming, the Mexicans are leaving, and Death is patiently waiting….
    The Hall of Final Ruin is ripe with theatrical atmosphere. From the opening, when Doña Sebastiana hauls her death cart onstage, the stacks are high, and the audience is perched on the edge of their seats. The pace is quick; the dialogue, both English and Spanish, sizzles. With wicked humor, magical realism, and fierce female characters, the play is at once stylized and historical, with resonance for today’s audiences. Explorations of female identity, religion/morality, and colonialism, as Death hovers. Highly recommended.