Recommended by Sarah Tuft

  • FRIENDS WITH GUNS
    20 Mar. 2019
    FRIENDS WITH GUNS is a powerful portrait of progressive parents in the era of polarization and post-Trump panic. Especially poignant is its portrayal of a mother’s isolation, out of which grows her desperation for adult company. Equally truthful is the play’s portrait of that timeless need of married couples to “couple” with other married couples. FRIENDS WITH GUNS veers toward satire but only briefly as a sort of gotcha for what lies ahead. Because, there is an obstacle to all this kumbaya. It explodes, along with all the other carefully constructed tensions in this nail-biter of a play.
  • EIGHT NIGHTS
    20 Mar. 2019
    EIGHT NIGHTS is a master class in “less is more” speaking volumes. The play examines family, heritage, and trauma in a lyrical portrait of ties that bind. How does trauma get passed down through generations even when actively guarded against? How does resilience, born of trauma, also get passed on, even if only subconsciously? Is it possible to move forward without looking back? These are the questions that Maisel asks in her stunning EIGHT NIGHTS. The play is brilliantly constructed, effortlessly engaging-- thanks to Maisel's character work and poetry-- and heart-wrenchingly beautiful. And so timely. World premiere this beauty now.
  • TEACH
    20 Mar. 2019
    On one level, TEACH is a ruthless exploration of how gender and sexual preference impact power dynamics in psychosexual relationships. But only a few minutes into the play and the examination falls away leaving behind a story about people’s lives with consequences that matter. I know how I feel about imbalance of power in romances. But what I enjoyed most about this play, is that Hoke doesn’t. Or at least, she doesn’t show her hand. She just shows her heart. Staging this gem would be an engaging experience for both theaters and audiences!
  • Through the Eye of a Needle
    20 Mar. 2019
    THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE is the Christmas story that rings true every day of the year. But don’t let its farcical moments and holiday spirit fool you. While being a perfect time capsule of a post-9/11 world-the Iraq War, 2008 recession and Occupy Wall Street-the play avoids the era’s politics and instead looks at faith and how we manage loss. Ultimately, the play encourages us to face our grief and through it, find each other. THROUGH THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE offers a perfect storm that provides its characters with an opportunity to do just that.

  • Wolves At The Door
    28 Feb. 2019
    WOLVES AT THE DOOR is a searing window into the personal tragedy behind the headlines of gun violence. The play centers on the mother of a little girl murdered in a mass shooting. Despite a series of well-meaning interventions from her husband, her ex, a pastor, a psychic, and law-enforcement, her grief cannot be unabated. Meanwhile, her rage is further inflamed by the violent harassment she is forced to endure. WOLVES AT THE DOOR which dramatizes the futility of “thoughts and prayers" while also giving us a simple and heartbreaking portrait of grief, packs a punch.
  • The World's Next Tooth Fairy Is Marci Peterson
    14 Jan. 2019
    THE WORLD'S NEXT TOOTH FAIRY IS MARCI PETERSON is absolutely one of my favorite ten-minute plays ever! The story perfectly captures the contrast between the exuberant confidence of youth and the seasoned skepticism of experience. These powerful insights are expressed with sidesplitting laughs and rapier wit but also tremendous compassion. In an age where identity politics is the go-to topic for authors and artistic directors alike, ageism remains a terrain where few dare to go. Bravo to this brave playwright!
  • around and around and around the static sun
    14 Jan. 2019
    “around and around and around the static son" is an exhilarating examination of gender politics. The play, with its compelling characters—their yearnings and acts of desperation—brings home how our deeply engrained sexism affects us all, and especially how it dims how women see themselves in the world. This important theme is expressed so playfully, and with such wit, one is tempted to call it “a fun romp into the nature of oppression,” until the playwright goes even deeper to explore how ultimately, no matter in whose hands, patriarchal power corrupts.
  • The Lady Demands Satisfaction
    24 Sep. 2018
    I had the pleasure of seeing the LA premiere of Arthur M Jolly's THE LADY DEMANDS SATISFACTION. Though ordinarily I'd resist the temptation to make so obvious a pun, to say the play has rapier wit is a huge understatement. The play crackles with humor, humanity and sly winks to the audience. The actual swordplay is fantastic. And Jolly has scripted each duel so it's distinct in ways that reveal character and move the story forward. Although a period piece, the play's portrayal of powerful women makes it amply relevant. Touché, Mr. Jolly!
  • Black Super Hero Magic Mama
    17 May. 2018
    BLACK SUPER HERO MAGIC MAMA is that rare topical play that comes from the heart, not the head, which allows it to have a power beyond this moment in time, while being exactly that play for this time. Written before a “Black Panther” movie was even a thing, the play updates mainstream superhero mythology with images of African and female empowerment to show the power of mothers, black mothers in particular, and sisterhood. A tour-de-force of writing power, BLACK SUPER HERO MAGIC MAMA is a devastating tragedy that weaves humor, wit and fury into a story that breaks your heart.
  • The Forest
    12 May. 2018
    Like its namesake, THE FOREST grows quietly and imperceptibly into a powerful immovable force that examines the interdependence of life and the ties that bind. Its characters-- Juliet, Pam, Miguel and Andrew-- each seek the light in their own tangle of branches and brush, occasionally coming together for a moment in the sun. I found this play to be an exceptionally empathetic and perceptive about what it is to be in another’s shoes. THE FOREST is a story about mothers and daughters, about the mistakes we all make, about dreams lost or deferred and most of all, about love.

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