Recommended by Vince Gatton

  • Pandora's Box of Donuts
    26 Jul. 2023
    "Hope is desperation wearing deodorant."

    Aly Kantor's gorgeous two-hander about suicidal ideation and friendship walks boldly into its heavy subject matter with a breezy spring in its step, and earns a huge emotional payoff. The warmth and humor in the dialogue is matched by Kantor's masterful sure-handedness with her metaphors: Cal and Em argue so smartly, so lovingly, and so well that it's a joy to behold. This play's clear-eyed view of the challenges of mental illness, the dangers and benefits of hope, and of the real, day-to-day praxis of friendship make it a charming and powerful wonder.
  • The Tipping Point (short)
    24 Jul. 2023
    Set a bit into our future, this satire hits several juicy targets about The Way We Live Now: the disaster of climate change inaction and the schadenfreude-rich spectacle of reckless mega-rich tourism chief among them. But it's also just a very funny survival (or not) story, with dumb people dumbing dumbly as their circumstances get increasingly dire. Fun, funny, and delightfully, daffily dark.
  • Lost Starlet
    20 Jul. 2023
    Well, you can inject Scott Sickles' LOST STARLET directly into my veins, please and thank you. This brilliant homage/spoof/loving tribute to classic Hollywood pictures and the TCM interstitials who love them is 100% up my alley. Every word of the pastiche work here is perfect, from the character names to the movie titles to the bits of dialogue we see played out; and through it all we get a delightfully structured and executed story of thwarted ambition and unearned glory that feels like a mini-Amadeus. Magnificent.
  • Billionaire Mindset
    18 Jul. 2023
    I dream of a world where dramaturgs study this play as a relic of the horrors of late-stage capitalism run amok -- but today is not that day. Instead, this hilarious and savage satire is only a slight exaggeration of the absurd dystopian present. Hilarious, sickening, and with a terrific ticking-clock premise ratcheting up the tension (for those of us raised in tornado country: prepare to shout at the screen/page), Billionaire Mindset is effective as hell in all the right ways.
  • The Folly of Prometheus
    13 Jul. 2023
    A delicious, bracing, melancholic, philosophical, righteous, terrifying, and altogether beautiful extension/variation of the Frankenstein myth. The histories, desires, and intentions that Adam and Helen each reveal are unsettling, unexpected, and thought-provoking, giving you plenty to chew on as the lights dim.

    I expect this one will linger.
  • Space Laser, In Space!
    13 Jul. 2023
    Jillian Blevins could have written a hilarious Jewish Space Laser sketch and left it at that, but her brain and heart have a lot more to say. Here she takes one of the stupidest anti-Semitic conspiracy theories of recent times and spins it into workplace-comedy gold...and then takes it a step further, shifting slyly into a deeply serious -- even Talmudic -- debate on the nature of Jewish identity, obligation, and history, before hurtling toward a rivetingly intense conclusion. Excellently executed, all around.
  • Splinters In My Blood
    11 Jul. 2023
    Pull up a chair and let Simon tell you a little about his grandfather. It's a wonderful and wonder-filled tale of the legacies passed down through one quietly wondrous family. There's mystery here, and terror; also pathos, and enormous helpings of (multiple kinds of) love. A warm and magical meditation on family, and the costs and joys of knowing one's purpose.
  • Tesseract
    2 Jun. 2023
    Scott Sickles' TESSERACT is many things: a pulse-pounding international-intrigue thriller, a heartbreaking family drama, a horrifying dystopian nightmare, and above all else: a warning. Sweeping in scope and unbearably intimate, the story alternates between propulsive, stylized action and tiny moments of grace, courage, and devastation. An urgent howl of rage and cry for help, TESSERACT is a must-read, must-see tour-de-force.
  • Ever-Fixed
    18 May. 2023
    Taking its title and inspiration from Shakespeare's Sonnet 116, Sara Jean Accuardi's Ever-Fixed examines the romantic notion of constancy and finds something profoundly threatening. A smart and uncomfortable short play that questions the premise of that kind of ardor, and the way our culture valorizes and perpetuates toxic ideas of romance.
  • Come Back Right
    18 May. 2023
    If you read only one short Zombie/Frankenstein/Demon Possession/Lesbian Romance/Mental Health Drama/Comedy/Thriller this year, make it Aly Kantor's Come Back Right. Its thoroughly entertaining blackout scenes wittily rewind and remix to play with different horror tropes, all while telling a real and touching story about loss and fear and doubt. A great ride.