Recommended by Vince Gatton

  • Octavia
    22 Aug. 2023
    As is often the case in Prillamanland, Octavia is both deliciously right and horribly, horribly wrong. The characters are vividly drawn, the dialogue crackling, the stakes suitably high; and when the power shifts and counter-swerves arrive, they are unexpected, icky, exciting, and unsettling. Prillaman knows uncomfortable truths about the human condition, and is unafraid to play them out. We are all better for it.
  • Colic
    10 Aug. 2023
    The Exorcist meets It's Alive meets Desperate Housewives in this hilarious horror comedy about post-partum challenges, the vagaries of maternal attachment, and all the material and sexual jealousies that can lurk behind the neighbors' windows. Plus there's a hot priest. (And if you get a little something more out of it, too, something about the peace that comes with taking a leap out of the life you know in order to find your right place in the world...I'm betting that was 100% intentional.)
  • Chestburster (a monologue)
    4 Aug. 2023
    Ah, how wonderful this is! Not just the adorable fact of What's Just Happened (which is indeed adorable, as far as we can tell), but the right-now, in-this-moment, glorious blend of emotions Sydney is experiencing in relating this breaking news. Urgent, joyous, rueful, this short solo piece has got plenty for an actor to play, and plenty for us to think about later: about young love, parental love, and the optimistic sweep of history.
  • The Female Gaze
    3 Aug. 2023
    If you liked Madeline Miller's novel CIRCE, you're going to lose your mind over Jillian Blevin's THE FEMALE GAZE. Reframing Medusa and Metope's stories through a feminist lens, Blevins calls out some enraging bullshit, uncovers new insights, and delivers a remarkably moving and redemptive story with immense humor and grace. (Bonus credit for the challenge of presenting Medusa's hair, which here is effectively a supporting character.) Great characters, sharp and witty dialogue, and small, telling gestures make this a winner. Lovely.
  • Exit, Pursued by a Bear
    27 Jul. 2023
    The opening of this wild short play fires off like a starter pistol, and it maintains its zany energy even as it veers into more thoughtful territory. Leave it to DC Cathro to write something this madcap and ridiculous and still infuse it with unexpected beauty, heartbreak, and kindness. Jump in the car with Steve and Victoria and enjoy the ride.
  • 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.

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