Recommended by Scott Sickles

  • Shitty Shitty Bang Bang (A Phillie McDougal Play)
    23 Sep. 2020
    I love a holiday play where the holiday is at best the second most important thing going on. Here, so much is happening with this family, Christmas might not make the top five. But it’s still Christmas and there’s a contract with joy that must be upheld for those who can still be protected from loss.

    But with McDougals, every deception no matter how well-intended is met with a bitchslap-and-a-half of cold hard truth and a negotiation. Lifetimes of love, bitterness and loss unfold in an IHOP booth. This is no O. Henry fable. This is f-ing life!
  • Death is a Star
    21 Sep. 2020
    The less you try to figure out what Coran is talking about, the better. Just trust the writing and the writer and all will be revealed. That great moment where it all comes together and hits you in the gut.

    I imagined the performance as described. Glitzy!
    I read the speech as I thought this suddenly famous dude would. Then, I was as surprised by his reality as he was, just from the other direction.

    And it totally works as a treatise on the complexities of fame. Then, damn! Context and collision. Maximum impact. Surgical cuts. Helluva ride.
  • Drawing for Dad
    21 Sep. 2020
    Well, that was disturbing!

    I read little Aiden as upbeat and very matter-of-fact about his artwork. There are probably as many ways to interpret the character as their are talented young actors!

    It’s beautifully creepy story reminiscent of the best horror narrative surrounding children. Bravo!
  • Thank You, Two
    21 Sep. 2020
    In addition to transporting the audience back to high school theater (high school *Shakespeare* no less), Minigan captures life in the booth, the nerve center of any production. There’s a lot of heart in this nerve center, both in these kids’ love of theater and their affection, personally and professionally, for each other.

    Minigan gives us kids who are not only skilled at what they do but are eager to learn more. No bumbling here, at least not with the technical aspects. The interpersonal...

    You just have to see!!!

    Thank you, John! And LIGHTS!
  • Used Time
    21 Sep. 2020
    It’s the kind of play you read again because, like the characters, you’re desperate for a different outcome even though you know it’s impossible. The script doesn’t change and it’s not yours to rewrite.

    Which, for us if not for the characters, is a profoundly good thing. Salant picks a crucial moment and, as with any great time travel story, pins fate on both what’s happening and when. This gives us a tiny glimpse into a relationship from which we can extrapolate everything we need to know.

    Stirring, resonant, heartbreaking.
    Every time.
  • I mean...meow?
    20 Sep. 2020
    So real it feels like it’s happening to you while you’re reading it! If you have or have ever had a cat, you know the truth Jacobs speaks! The hilarious, maddening, undeniable truth!

    (And we know Kayla’s dual agony of having to work with someone who, for whatever reasons, always has bigger, more important problems that the rest of us couldn’t possibly understand!)

    Great roles for a female actor with great comic timing and a male actor/dancer adept at physical comedy.
  • The Checkout Line
    19 Sep. 2020
    Sometimes, the clearer the allegory, the sharper the statement. Hendricks takes a conversation so many people are forced to have and gives it just the right twist to make it universal. He also shapes his characters with just enough personality and detail to make them people rather than mere sides of an issue. But it’s the content of the conversation that makes you want to shout, “Yes! This!” or eek out an “I’m sorry and I will never do that again.”
  • The Pineapple Line
    18 Sep. 2020
    There are some lines that should never be crossed... and this play passed it about a hundred miles ago, full throttle, and there is no going back!

    Hayet sneaks up on you and presents a universe or at least a subsection of society with different rules than the ones to which we've grown accustomed. While some may find this world objectionable, there is the undeniable presence of love -- be it for food, our four-legged friends, or each other.

    So wrong it's right and I wouldn't have it any other way.
  • Overeater: A Monologue
    16 Sep. 2020

    Body image, body weight, body shame. They can be an endless cycle of torture.
    Deray captures the triumph of succeeding in reaching one's goals and, especially, the devastation of backsliding. One doesn't have to wolf down a buffet to feel like Ethan; even a small scale relapse feels like abject failure. It's all in here.

    Fortunately Deray and Ethan find strength in the ebb and flow of their extremely difficult journey. A great piece for actors of any size, especially those in need of a lesson in empathy or resilience.
  • Sports, Weather, Murder
    16 Sep. 2020
    My dad used to do this when I first moved to New York City. Every time he heard about a murder here, he would call. He assumed that because it was in the same city I was it had to be close by. (One time it actually kind of WAS!)

    To children, especially adult children, there can be nothing quite so overbearing as parental concern. It is intrusive. It is unwelcome. But sometimes...

    Well, you'll see.

    A powerful piece that changes direction and sneaks up on you. Bravo!