Recommended by Eric Pfeffinger

  • Kill Move Paradise
    20 Jun. 2020
    Unrelentingly brilliant. Feels like it was written 5 minutes from now. It's like Beckett but funnier, and more gutting, and somehow both despairing and hopeful at the same time. An immediate and incandescent portrait of our nightmarish now.
  • Heroes of the Fourth Turning
    3 Jun. 2020
    I love this kind of play: characters who are smart and screwed-up, dialogue that's stuffed with ideas, a story that smuggles life-changing stakes into seemingly idle chatter. The fact that the characters all inhabit a brand of conservative spirituality that never gets dramatized in today's American theater makes it all the more compelling. Urgently contemporary and eloquently timeless.
  • The Suicide Play
    24 May. 2020
    Such a brilliant use of theatrical conventions to enact how, even at our most despairing and alone, we're inextricably intertwined with other humans. Driven by the playwright's ear for language, this is an unsparing exploration of darkness and connection and the perils of honesty, leavened by laugh-out-loud humor and concrete particularity and, ultimately, hard-earned optimism.
  • School Girls; Or The African Mean Girls Play
    25 Apr. 2020
    This play is such a sly and lively entertainment it's a playwriting masterclass -- effortlessly accessible in its universality yet durably rooted in geographic specificity. You're so compelled in the moment by the choices and fortunes of these engagingly multidimensional characters (and the surprising ways in which your feelings about them shift the more you learn), you may not even notice the thorny and uncompromising themes this play's exploring until after the curtain falls on its pitch-perfect ending.
  • Une Comédie Française
    17 Apr. 2020
    A sharply funny satire about power and governance with more than a few contemporary resonances. It also packs some welcome surprises: all the characters -- the feckless leader, the manipulative conniver, the cynical fixer -- reveal by play's end an achingly relatable humanity under their fatal flaws.
  • Smile, Baby
    14 Apr. 2020
    Everything about this play is ingenious: its brevity mirrors that of the abusive behavior it dramatizes, with a similarly lingering impact. The staging possibilities are extensive and tantalizing, giving an ingenious director much to work with and the audience a lot to work through.
  • Alabaster
    3 Apr. 2020
    It's an eloquent and heart-rending exploration of tactics for dealing with loss and trauma, and the role of art in enabling or hindering recovery. But it's also a thorny, absorbing, and often very funny story about four brave and damaged women, two of whom just happen to be goats.
  • Teenage Dick (vaguely from Richard III)
    3 Apr. 2020
    The logline "Richard III in high school" sounds like a gimmick, but instead it's an inspired springboard that launches a compulsively watchable story of adolescent toxicity -- relatable, heartbreaking, and funnier than any mainstream teen comedy movie. This play knows both how to land a joke and how to bring you up short with an unexpected revelation of character depths.
  • CoVid
    22 Mar. 2020
    I don't know if this is the first digital videoconferencing play in theatrical history, but it's deft and lively and a hoot. The play masterfully deploys the rhythms and glitches of online conversation to tell the story of low-level officials using their fear of the present moment to justify all manner of dysfunction in a low-stakes, high-tension civic negotiation. An ingenious accommodation of theater's current logistical challenges.
  • Clown Bar, a clown noir
    21 Mar. 2020
    Hard-boiled, red-nosed, big-shoed. A relentlessly delightful exercise in funny and fanciful absurdity that's anchored in attentive worldbuilding and characters drawn with real integrity and surprisingly deep-rooted pain.

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