Recommended by Bethany Dickens

  • Phillie's Trilogy
    23 May. 2020
    Authentic and aching, grounded and transportive, Phillie's Trilogy addresses a myriad of resonant topics with confident craftsmanship and highly effective dialogue. There is not one false note in this play and the characters' voices are consistent and empathetic - though, importantly, DeVita refrains from glibly excusing their flaws. Phillie's relationship with his mother is particularly well-realized. A joy to read - one of those works that excites possibilities for staging.
  • Brian's Poems
    7 May. 2020
    Magical, compassionate, well-paced and full of meaningful conflict, Rinkel's work here is sublime. In just ten minutes, he treats us to a rich, deep backstory without ever losing track of the central conflict. A thoughtful piece on the strange and unexpected power of memory.
  • Hallmark Doesn't Make Cards for Us
    7 Feb. 2020
    A compelling scene, all the more powerful for the fact that Martin refuses to create false consensus or an easy ending. Instead, we are left with the truthful impression that the relationship between mother and daughter will need constant attention and hard work, and a Hallmark-esque relationship is never promised. The conversation is grounded, truthful, and painful, without ever veering into melodrama or caricature. These are two grieving women with a very human story to tell.
  • Big Brad Wolf
    7 Feb. 2020
    Ava Love Hanna is sure-footed and hilariously funny in her approach to this take on fairy tales and the stories we tell ourselves. Unlike many broad comedies about fairy tale characters, this piece finds real depth in the characters and their relationships, while still delivering wonderfully bizarre twists and comedic moments. The audience was in stitches when I saw the play performed at Playwright's Round Table in 2020, and there was an audible gasp at the twist ending!
  • Dying Laughing
    7 Feb. 2020
    Lovers of puns, gallows humor, and dry comedy will all find much to love in this simultaneously hysterical and heartfelt piece. Thayer's grounded (haha) characters might be in a strange situation - and speak mostly in jokes - but the play is remarkably truthful. The ending strikes the perfect note, reflecting the ideas of the whole: humor can be useful in grappling with tough situations, but it can only take you so far before reality sinks in.
  • Hedda the Hopper
    7 Nov. 2019
    During a reading of this piece at the Midwest Dramatists Center, I was in the unfamiliar but pleasing position of being totally bewildered and taken off guard by its deliciously strange style. Two months later, I am extremely excited to report that I still don't know what I make of it, which is absolutely wonderful. Munter has a strong and surefooted style and I greatly appreciated getting to know her voice.
  • ROUGH WATERS
    7 Nov. 2019
    Lovely, subtle, and yet unflinchingly grounded in the world of familiar sorrows, Rough Waters is a thoughtful piece that accomplishes so much in ten short minutes. The audience is bestowed a rare opportunity to see a true-to-life relationship begin and develop in that time, with all its specifics and awkward moments. Silence plays a key role in the piece, providing plenty of opportunities for audiences to sink into O'Neill-Butler's gorgeous dialogue.
  • A Life Enriching Community
    7 Nov. 2019
    Delicate, sweet, and deeply meaningful, Williams is a master at drawing realistic dialogue that actually tells and reveals so much more than the words themselves. The relationship between the two men is both familiar and specific and slowly opens up to reach the audience in a profound way. It certainly got dusty in the room when I heard the piece at the Midwest Dramatists Convention.
  • VALERIE: A COSPLAY MONOLOGUE
    7 Nov. 2019
    Visceral and unflinching, this monologue is capable of reaching insane heights of drama and passion. Wyndham has clearly researched every bit of the world of cosplay and its all on display here: lovers of anime and superheroes will be further drawn in, while the rest of us will feel the emotional bombardment of this culture, either of which plays a role in elevating the narrative. It's a physical experience and one that the audience will be talking about long after the blackout.
  • Lost, yet Forever Here
    7 Nov. 2019
    A fascinating theatrical concept - which opens up wonderful possibilities for staging - balanced with real warmth and compassion. Esposito's dialogue is smart and grounded but allows itself to grow into key moments of lyrical beauty. Sure to be a conversation-starter about the presence of the past.

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