Recommended by Scott Sickles

  • The Juggler
    10 Jul. 2024
    This Gotham Vaudeville confection is a sweet contradiction – both dark and light, it presents a wannabe psychopath will ill intentions and even more ill conceived M.O. with a wonderfully calm straight-man archnematode. You can't help feel for the villain while still applauding our hero.

    A scherzo of malaprops with a surprising arc and wonderfully playable characters.
  • The United Plays of America - North Carolina - The Kindred Spirit Mailbox
    10 Jul. 2024
    What a gorgeous short play for two young actresses. There's a beautiful sense of pathos balancing the sense of loss. While there is mourning, there is no keening or bemoaning. The separation is permanent, both lifelong and irreversible. But things need to be said, even if the other can't hear. A beautiful reckoning.
  • The Devils' Spawn
    10 Jul. 2024
    We think we know our parents. Even when we do, there are limits. Walls we can't see through, corners we can't see around, but we hear the muffled voices.

    It's fascinating when someone tries to explain them to us, like they know something we don't. That their comparatively momentary, even fleeting, experience can shine a light on a life we were imbedded in.

    What if they're right?

    Miller's monologue gives us a great character, hardened by time and a dearth of love, confronted by "evidence" that belies lifelong truths. The economy and scope of storytelling is masterful.

    A helluva piece!
  • The Best Decade - 2 minute monoloue
    10 Jul. 2024
    Maturity has its privileges. Not *emotional* maturity, though I'm sure there are benefits. Chronological maturity. The life lived, well or not. When things go well, experience brings a practical knowledge of the world, memories of triumph and mistakes great and small, a modified sense of hope – an individualized world map of you're doing, where you've been, and where you do and don't want to end up.

    Miller captures all of that in this two-minute turning point later in life. One that happens the younger guy couldn't get rid of the bugs.

    Sometimes, you need a man with experience.
  • Better Call Shoenstein
    10 Jul. 2024
    The anachronisms, bad jokes, terrible puns, and Bullwinkle-worthy historical references are so sadistically funny, it's like it was written by a Borscht Belt Marquis de Sade.

    Make that TWO Borscht Belt Marquises des Sades.

    The antipodal alliance of Norkin and Busser is what would happen if Sherman and Mr. Peabody returned from a sentence in hell thirsty for revenge.

    The confluence of characters from their previous plays provides the foundation for a colosseum of comics, agents, Karens, lawyers and lions. You'll root for the cats.

    It reeks of disappointment and lamb but you'll laugh and lap it all up!

    HEY-OHHHH!
  • Better Call Shoenstein
    10 Jul. 2024
    The anachronisms, bad jokes, terrible puns, and Bullwinkle-worthy historical references are so sadistically funny, it's like it was written by a Borscht Belt Marquis de Sade.

    Make that TWO Borscht Belt Marquises des Sades.

    The antipodal alliance of Norkin and Busser is what would happen if Sherman and Mr. Peabody returned from a sentence in hell thirsty for revenge.

    The confluence of characters from their previous plays provides the foundation for a colosseum of comics, agents, Karens, lawyers and lions. You'll root for the cats.

    It reeks of disappointment and lamb but you'll laugh and lap it all up!

    HEY-OHHHH!
  • staring at his face: monologue from THOUGHT I’D CALL
    10 Jul. 2024
    This monologue is hard to classify. Masterpiece, while accurate, is too broad. Stream of consciousness is apt to a point because the consciousness in question is acutely aware of SO MUCH; it's less a stream and more a flash flood. A hurricane of time leveling a landscape, ending in a beautiful, placid eye.

    Line by line, thought by thought, word by word, it's elegant jazz. Cameron captures decades of life in a singular moment, all of it urgent, critical, catastrophic, with nothing to be done. The elegiac notes it ends on are simple, true to life, tragic, and unspeakably beautiful.
  • Overqualified
    10 Jul. 2024
    Oh the PTSD flashbacks! Any young person looking for their first job or any not-young person who once looked for a job but blocked it out of their memory will relate to this piece down to their bones. Vansant's clever use of a mom and masks is a perfect personification of how parental voices help screw up a situation we're perfectly capable of screwing up on our own without their imaginary input! A job search is always dehumanizing but this play triumphs over it with its instance upon even a flawed humanity.

    Bonus: I now know what Riverboat Red is!
  • Let Me Know If I Hurt You
    5 Jul. 2024
    Queer people often endure a "second" adolescence, experiencing dating/romantic initiations well after our peers. Add a neurodivergence: reality is experienced differently, subtext is lost, manipulations go unnoticed, and we're easy marks.
    Osmundsen captures Bob's belated coming of age in riveting detail, heartbreaking because we recognize Alex's machinations while Bob can't. And it's a feeding frenzy.

    Anyone who's given their heart to someone who then treated it as a food source will feel like their diary is being read aloud.

    It's also a testament to resilience and growing up, even when our own brains make us bigger targets. Bravo!
  • Is This All This Is
    3 Jul. 2024
    What a question! It's the kind of question you ask when you've stepped in something wonderful... but only a little of it. Is also the question you ask every time love ends... or takes a pause.

    In this play, it's both.

    Osmundsen captures the complexities of mixed neurodiverse relationships, familial and romantic, through well-drawn characters who represent different points of view yet are never mere stand-ins for those perspectives. These are fully fledged human beings each of whom we can empathize with regardless of how our brains and hearts work.

    The ending in particular is sublime.

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