Recommended by Ryan Bernsten

  • Dive Buddies
    12 Jan. 2022
    This is a claustrophobic gem of a short play. With endless options for staging, including inventive opportunities for real in-water performances, this two-person sparring match blends comedy and drama as it explores the dysfunction that lives in all early relationships through a high-stakes situation.
  • The Gift
    8 Nov. 2020
    This play is a chilling tour de force. Watching how seemingly rational, innocent young characters in the pre-Civil War South allow white supremacy to infect their mind and drive them mad is horrifying, but deftly explored with shrewd dialogue and fully-formed characters. The elements that are period-specific are well researched and excellently executed. Lewis creates a layered, dramatic piece that I couldn't stop reading.
  • Bang
    28 Jun. 2020
    A funny, emotionally-fulfilling piece of Beat history - Bang manages to combine accurate historical storytelling with a likable, fully-realized narrator. BANG is well-researched for those with extensive knowledge of the Beat generation and entertaining those who are less familiar. With great flexibility for music to be involved, this monologue would make an excellent evening of theatre or a tour-de-force monologue for an ambitious actress to tackle.
  • 108: A Grieving Session and a How-To on Rebirthing Peace
    25 Jun. 2020
    What an incredible gift for an actress to perform, either in a graveyard or, frankly, anywhere. McCoy has a real gift for language - he paints equally memorable portraits of each child, managing to find a line between fairy-tale whimsy and scarring war savagery. 108 finds a lovely conclusion involving the audience, appealing to their better angels among the heaviness. For actresses looking for monologue material, this is a rich source.
  • 'Rain on Fire
    23 Jun. 2020
    A lovely, sensitive meditation on loss at the hands of the opioid epidemic. Saari creates an effortless sense of place in Michigan's UP and writes characters who we like and root for, even when they show flashes of intolerance. This play refreshingly illiterates the pains and hopes that exist in forgotten parts of America.
  • The Octogenarian Players: A Good Night Kiss
    4 Jun. 2020
    A gorgeous story of love in the twilight of life. The characters jump off the page of this play instantly. Within a few lines, each character becomes clear, and then they constantly surprise you. They trade barbs, they reminisce, they rediscover themselves, but it never feels expositional. It's loving, sensitive writing, and pays brilliant homage to the source text of R&J in a new, surprising way. There's a lot of love packed into this incredible 4-person play, and it feels accessible for all ages.
  • Legacy Land
    2 Jun. 2020
    I was fortunate enough to see an early production of this play at KC Rep, and it was more than worth another read. The way the trauma of the past unflinchingly unfolds into the drama of the present is unexpected, often funny, and always courageous. It meticulously takes on the responsibility of painting a fully-realized picture of abuse and trauma unfolding from childhood and manifesting in adulthood with care while always staying inherently dramatic.
  • #CaseyandTommyGetHitched
    31 May. 2020
    Right off the bat, this play sparkles with great dialogue and relatable characters. Not only does this feature relatable, realistic female and LGBTQIA characters, but it makes heavy issues feel light yet still complex. #CaseyandTommyGetHitched and is always funny, frequently touching, and never didactic and aces the difficult task of making characters actually talk like friends. ("Blabberfat Waddleworts" is one of the funniest lines I've read in a play in a long time.)