Recommended by Dave Osmundsen

    7 Feb. 2024
    A riff on the Frankenstein mythos, a speculative Shakespearean tale, and a coming-of-age story rolled into one delightful and surprisingly poignant package. I don’t generally care about Shakespeare, and sci-fi can be a hard sell for me, but the theme of wanting to be an independent person on your own terms while learning to articulate and define thorny human emotions resonated profoundly here. I was deeply engaged by William’s quest to become the person (or automaton) he was meant to become. I highly recommend this play for theaters seeking an accessible yet moving new play.
  • THE ARIA OF JULIE D'AUBIGNY, the cross-dressing, sword-fighting, opera singer, wherein she seduces men and women alike, wins numerous duels, must be twice pardoned by the King, and eventually finds true love.
    4 Feb. 2024
    Julie d’Aubigny’s life has become fodder for half-truths, exaggerations, and outright fabrications. Monica Cross acknowledges the myths and legends through five gadfly gossips who act as an incorrigible and unruly Greek Chorus, and then returns the narrative to the flawed, yet deeply principled human at its center. While lengthy, the play consistently intrigues and entertains, then wallops you with one of the most emotionally intimate, vulnerable, and moving love stories I have read in quite some time. A perfect play for colleges and universities.
  • Impossible Theories Of Us
    12 Jan. 2024
    An intimate epic of the cosmos, “Impossible Theories of Us” has the mystery of a “Black Mirror” episode, the poetic economy of a Caryl Churchill play, and the wonder of Nick Payne’s “Constellations.” This play, in its own unique manner, is a memory play. Not the kind where a character relives memories, but rather about trying to recapture one’s own memories, complicated by the question of whether the objects of our memories have agency. Compelling moral/ethical questions, fused with an emotionally engaging and charming pas de deux, make this play a stunner.
  • Mere Waters
    29 Dec. 2023
    “We hear a rush of water—a waterfall, an ocean, a surging river. It is the sound of the WOMAN’s life.”

    In the midst of some truly dark horror, this stage direction breaks forth like a beautiful beam of light.

    Stark, brutal, but ultimately hopeful, MERE WATERS is about the impossible choices and risks one woman takes in order to not just ensure her survival of Auschwitz, but other women as well.

    Theatrically and visually rich and ritualistic, it is not an easy play to read or sit through. Good! More plays should be as uncompromising as this.
  • The Flight Patterns of Migratory Birds
    21 Sep. 2023
    A lovely story about small town life, body image, and self-acceptance. Boyd displays a fine ear for dialogue and character dynamics. I thoroughly enjoyed following the evolving shapes the characters’ relationships took throughout the play, and yearned that they would all find their places in the world by the end.

    The birds also present a fun challenge for designers—I would love to see how they’re represented in different productions!
  • John Proctor is the Villain
    10 Jul. 2023
    This play has been hyped up like nobody's business. I'm pleased to report that it lives up to the hype, and then some.

    At once a feminist critique of "The Crucible," a coming-of-age story centering a group of teenage girls, and a rallying cry for change, this play features fast-paced dialogue and intriguing dynamics that believably shift over the course of the play. Each character feels flawed, human, and real. And the final monologue is one of the most beautiful and galvanizing in contemporary theatre.

    If I ever teach "The Crucible," I will happily teach this play alongside it.
  • No Present Like the Time
    8 Jul. 2023
    A play that transcends time and space to explore the kinetically contradictory memories of a mother and her son, this is a story about love misplaced within a family—a son who craves his father’s acceptance, a mother who wants her son to see and value her, and how both cope with a tragedy perhaps a long time in the making. So much is left unsaid in this play, but Ollett gives you just enough information to pull off a disturbing, horrifying conclusion. Fantastic work!
  • The Dog
    8 Jul. 2023
    Two unnamed characters (referred to only as A and B) dance around the questions that most, if not all, couples are forced to confront about their loyalty to one another and what both are willing to sacrifice for each other. Their avoidance, captured with fast-paced, artfully inarticulate dialogue, is aggravated when A's dog violently attacks B. In addition to the back and forth between these two, there are razor-sharp monologues about love and devotion--the monologues to the dog are particularly strong, as well as the opening monologue. A messy play about messy, flawed people.
  • Triptych - A Love Story in Three Acts
    16 Jun. 2023
    An unconventional love story with a touch of whimsy, Sam Heyman has given us a trio of endearing yet complex characters who believably fall in love with each other over the course of three acts. I had so much fun bouncing around time with these characters, and was engaged in their burgeoning exploration of polyamory. A narrator adds a lovely and delightful tone to the story. Wonderful work!
    16 Jun. 2023
    This slow-burn thriller encompasses grief, loss, and cults. At its core, however, it’s about three parents—one grieving the loss of their child, one trying to reunite with their child, and another trying to keep her family together—grappling with their roles in their children’s lives. Gibson treats her characters with grace and empathy, even while they do horrific things to each other. The pacing of the story is deliberate, the revelations shocking the audience without overwhelming them, building to a high-stakes climax and a revelation more sinister than imaginable.