Recommended by Vince Gatton

  • Playing on the Periphery: Monologues and Scenes For and About Queer Kids
    2 Mar. 2021
    Scott Sickles often goes where no one else has thought to, and does so with tremendous humor, pathos, and generosity of spirit. The four queer kids in Playing on the Periphery are such complex, funny, interesting individuals, and abundantly make the case that they are who they are well before sexual attractions enter the picture. Their needs, desires, tastes, and peculiarities, the losses and victories of these remarkable young humans (particularly at each other's hands), make for deeply compelling and entertaining drama. The Ring of Keys is right there, waiting, and Sickles is shining a light.
  • And This is My Assistant Beaker (Beauregard and Zeke #3)
    2 Mar. 2021
    This recommendation really goes out to the whole series of Beauregard and Zeke short plays. They're all about sexual curiosity between two teenage boys, so there's a lot of sexual content -- but the frankness and specificity of the action keeps it well clear of feeling prurient. The care and attention paid to what's happening story- and character-wise in every moment, physical and verbal, sexual and non-, is what make these plays such a rich, sweet, romantic, funny, and moving rom-com mini-saga. If you've ever been there, the realness of this will get you where you live.
  • A Quarter Placed on Railroad Tracks
    8 Feb. 2021
    On the cusp of big life changes, two young men meet by the railway track for what will clearly be a goodbye. Martin does a terrific job of letting us understand what's unsaid and at stake between these two, eschewing clunky exposition and giving us dialogue that feels true to the ease and mutual understanding of two people whose lives have been deeply intertwined -- and are about to diverge. Simple, clear, sad, and lovely.
  • I Knew Him
    8 Feb. 2021
    If you've known grief -- and who hasn't? -- you'll recognize immediately the yearning to share, to explain, to list and catalogue who this person was; and how this inventory of facts is an act of love, meant to keep a memory alive by sharing it. To distill an entire, beloved life into a gap in a prop's teeth is an impossible task, but the effort makes for tender, worthy drama, sweet and deeply moving. I Knew Him does something sad and beautiful and kind with this liminal moment at a stage door.
  • No Right Time, a virtual play in 10 minutes
    26 Jan. 2021
    I hate this —- by which I mean I love it, but man, my stomach hurts. My sister is an ER doctor, and the reality of these conversations is a true horror of our time; yet the human drama at this play’s core makes it compelling far beyond the specifics of Covid-19. If you’ve ever had to have this kind of talk with your spouse in any context, you’ll feel this one in your bones.
  • THE WONDER
    26 Jan. 2021
    Susan Ferrara's solo play THE WONDER is a gutting, hilarious, gorgeous, crushing account of the morning of 9/11, told in such a cockeyed, odd, funny, fragmented, and truthful form that it avoids every pitfall of sentiment or maudlin self-pity you might expect or fear. Zooming away from the unendurable big picture to focus on the tiniest, weirdest, and most specific details of the day, THE WONDER captures how our trauma response protects us and keeps us moving. The costume and prop concept is wonderfully strange, a visual effect that is as entertaining as it is devastating. A brilliant piece.
  • BUZZ
    25 Jan. 2021
    Much more than a biography of a shouldn't-have-been-forgotten artist, Susan Ferrara's BUZZ is a form-shattering exploration of a creative mind who did everything outside of every box. At once a history lesson, an evisceration of sexism in the arts, a rebel yell against organizational calcification, a love letter to collaborative artists, and an existential meditation on madness and death, BUZZ is as challenging, brilliant, and unforgettable as Buzz Goodbody herself.
  • Midsouthern Night Dreams
    25 Jan. 2021
    I got to do a reading of this script a couple of years back, and I'm happy to say it's a delight. Palmer sticks tight to the original plot, but recasts these characters into contemporary groups and tribes that one wouldn't ever imagine colliding -- yet they do here, magically, creating satisfying and thought-provoking frictions throughout. Shakespeare fans will find themselves impressed and delighted with the adaptation's many smart choices, and newbies will enjoy a wildly entertaining ride on its own terms. Kudos also for capturing diverse aspects of Appalachian life and people that many outsiders don't know exist.
  • Dead House
    24 Jan. 2021
    The pressure cooker of small town high school football and the hormonal hothouse of teen tragedy combine in this highly theatrical and entertaining exploration of ambition, power dynamics, and psychological manipulation. Secrets, Iies, and petty cruelties abound, but the aching needs that fuel them are real and deep, giving us compelling characters along with the high 80s-horror style. A script that I imagine will excite and inspire directors to be their boldest.
  • A.V.A. (An ExtrAVAgantly Romantic Comedy)
    22 Jan. 2021
    What am I, made of stone? I'm a sucker for wordplay and romance, and this short winner is loaded with both. It's a freaKen' delight.

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