Recommended by Peter Fenton

  • JOLLY, HAPPY SOUL
    1 Dec. 2023
    Jonny Bolduc has illustrated the darkest, grittiest answers to many of the questions I've had about the Frosty the Snowman special since childhood. The forlorn singing at the very end is the cherry on top--and I highly recommend reading the piece imagining the voices of Frosty and Karen from the 1969 special, it makes Bolduc's piece that much more jarring. Fun!
  • Can You Hear Me Now?
    27 Nov. 2023
    This piece is short, sweet, clever, and hilarious. Morey Norkin is strongest when writing comedy, and his power is on display in full force with this short piece! The best comedy leaves you with something to ponder, and this one leaves me considering how absurd smartphones are, and is making me rethink whether connecting paper cups with string ever actually did anything. A fun, jaunty read!
  • ANTIGONE, Always Here
    24 Nov. 2023
    I hadn't read Antigone since 9th grade English class but I'm so glad to be reintroduced to the narrative through Jodianne Loyd's adaptation ANTIGONE, ALWAYS HERE! In a time where we've been blessed with such work as Hadestown and Percy Jackson, it's nice to get an earnest adaptation of this classic play in plain English that has taken its source material with such evident care. It re-energizes the story to make for a malleable production, which is exactly as the playwright intends. Excellent work.
  • The Mantegna Effect
    24 Nov. 2023
    It's a piece set in the afterlife and someone got hit by a bus--Brent Alles knows the way to my heart! Jokes aside, this ten-minute two-hander is clever and hilarious. I love the clever exploration of the Mandela effect and how blasé an attitude the Office Worker takes toward reality bending. Lots to explore here for the actors and director in this quick treat of a piece!
  • Memorial Day (Full Length)
    24 Nov. 2023
    I have to imagine if you are a gay man under the age of 40 (which I am), MEMORIAL DAY is a must-read to get a taste of what life was like in the late '80s and early '90s for us. What's especially remarkable about this play as a work of human drama is how Donnelly leverages soft comedic dialogue that ironically underscores how bleak and tragic the scenario really is. George is an incredibly complex, well-drawn character and I especially appreciated his arc through the piece.
  • An Honest Lesson in Self-Defense
    18 Nov. 2023
    I love the interplay between these two characters! Patricia Lynn has explored a dynamic between amicable-enough exes who were high school sweethearts and raises some intriguing questions about what exactly self-defense is... it has a broader definition than you may think. I really enjoyed the history and relationship between Missy and Carter and love the visual image of a debutante throwing punches in a ball gown and high heels!
  • CLIPS
    18 Nov. 2023
    Gut-wrenching. Adam Richter's CLIPS is short and to the point specifically about local journalism and broadly the futility of dreams--and I loved every line of it. The two characters illustrate perfectly the battle between the young and ambitious against the rich and powerful. This story is bleak, but it is one that has more than justified its darkness.
  • We Were Happy
    18 Nov. 2023
    This play absolutely must be heard out loud! I just love the back and forth between these two little old Italian-American ladies recounting their childhood and the good and the bad of it all--but they were happy (maybe?). Jennifer O'Grady has masterfully captured the voice of her Italian grandmother and takes the reader on a walk through the lower Eastside. And we were happy.
  • France is Bacon
    18 Nov. 2023
    I can't say I expected this piece to go where it did, but I adored the journey it took me on. I'm honestly amazed at how real of a family history Julie Zaffarano was able to seamlessly weave into the father/daughter dialogue over jumper cables and that silly malaproper "Knowledge is power, France is bacon". A touching exchange that left me with a little more hope than I started.
  • Hebrew Holy Man
    18 Nov. 2023
    This conversation between two old, spiritual men of different traditions is beautiful. While I myself am neither Jewish nor Lakota, it moved me to see these two characters find common ground and be moved by each other's stories. While the piece is set in 1955, it's especially prescient in the current moment of history (November 2023). Thank you, Peter Langman, for this piece.

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