Recommended by Peter Fenton

  • Dove
    28 Feb. 2024
    Every person grieves differently and DOVE by Brigid Amos illustrates a powerful magical realism character study for a mother grieving her daughter who died as a child. Amos does excellent work setting the homespun Nebraska scene and grounds both Effie and Grant as real people approaching grief differently. The posthumous appearance of the eponymous Dove (retaining her childlike spirit but appearing in death as a 20-something) asks her mother the tough questions and adds brilliant levity. This play explores religion, generational trauma, and has some well-timed punches of humor along the way! A charming, engaging, human drama!
  • SANCTITY
    26 Feb. 2024
    I had the honor of sitting in on a February 2024 reading of this play at the American Theater Group in Rahway, NJ, and I can't recommend this character drama enough. SANCTITY offers a woman over 40 the sort of meaty role she's craving to play, and offers an entire ensemble the chance to play multiple different roles in a non-traditional theatrical narrative structure. I especially appreciate throughout this play how Kerr Lockhart so beautifully draws the parallels between attorney/client privilege with a Catholic priest's duty of confidentiality in confession. Excellent work, can't wait to see a full performance!
  • Watercolors
    10 Feb. 2024
    Watercolors by Philip Middleton Williams is an intriguing example of a character study of an unseen character. I always appreciate that while Philip’s plays have a lot to say (and what they have to say is profound), the characters are incredibly grounded and allowed to be real people. Watercolors is no different: Nick is learning to deal with the ramifications of learning unsettling posthumous truth about the love of his life and is still allowed to be funny and petty and angry. Watercolors comes highly recommended for black box or immersive theater venues, this set will be gorgeous!
  • (Un)Drinkable
    7 Feb. 2024
    I had the opportunity to listen to an audio production of this play on the Open-Door Playhouse podcast. Dana has well-drawn characters in such a short piece who face the reality of the horrible situation with the water quality in Flint, Michigan, set to a dripping faucet and a haunting melody of the classic spiritual "Wade in the Water". An excellent ten-minute political drama.
  • Maria Rasputin in Spangleland
    24 Jan. 2024
    In the very best way possible, I'm having trouble placing a comp title for Kelly McBurnette-Andronicos' wonderfully absurd Rasputin-inspired historical drama circus play! What I know for sure: it's an absurd premise with elite turns of phrase in the dialogue and plenty of room for spectacle for the set designer, director, costume designer, and actor to really sink their teeth into. I would love to see this play staged, if only to witness the immersively frightening experience laid out in these circus acts. I imagine my vision only scratches the surface of potential for this show!
  • Three Blind Mice
    18 Dec. 2023
    Powerful and Lifelike. Those are the two words that come to mind when I read THREE BLIND MICE by Darrin Friedman. I so appreciate Friedman's illustration of adult male friendship through the characters of William, Seth, and Javie—we're seeing three men brought together by grief and navigating the struggles of life, both day-to-day and big-picture, being vulnerable with each other and having deeply honest and sometimes uncomfortably direct conversations with each other. Highly recommended for any reader (or producer) wishing to see a counter-narrative to the idea that adult men can't make meaningful friendships.
  • Carolee's Closet
    9 Dec. 2023
    What a wild ride this 10-minute piece was! I saw a reading of the piece at the playwright's memorial service earlier this afternoon. The pile up of reveals lurking inside Carolee's Closet just build one on the other on the other and Marjorie was able to craft a poignant statement about life passing you by and the necessary steps of growing up, all while landing joke after joke after joke in expertly timed, yet completely unexpected ways. Marjorie Bicknell is a treasure, and always will be.
  • No More Flowers
    3 Dec. 2023
    This is a ten-minute two-hander that could've only been written by a therapist, and I mean this in the very best way. Dana Hall expertly captured the voices of Sigmund Freud and Georgia O'Keeffe in such a real (and unexpectedly comedic) banter. Dana's no-nonsense portrayal of Georgia O'Keeffe was the highlight of the piece for me and I enjoyed seeing her win the day!
  • A Kreutzer Sonata
    3 Dec. 2023
    I adore this play. Several other recommenders have noted it's constructed like a symphony, and I have to agree: the unique, classical music-esque structure to this piece heightens its impact. Having grown up very religious myself and coming of age in college trying to figure out where I end and the rest of the world and my own religion conviction begins, I deeply resonate with David's arc through the piece. His closing monologue is beautiful. Rinkel has drawn very human characters that manage to also get at larger, abstract points about humanity and religious identity. Excellent work!
  • The [C]Han[n]uk[k]a[h] Play
    3 Dec. 2023
    I generally advise against introducing your new partner to your parents at a holiday, and David Lipschutz has illustrated perfectly why in less than ten minutes! The [C]Han[n]uk[k]a[h] Play is a dark cringe comedy that has so much room for fun for the actors and director at the masterful discomfort of the audience. I loved seeing what this family is NOT horrified by juxtaposed with what they ARE horrified by. A very, very fun short holiday play!

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