Recommended by Vince Gatton

  • The Eighteenth Quinquennial Endlings Picnic
    1 Mar. 2023
    I love a play that works on many levels, and Jillian Blevins has given me a banger with this one: The Eighteenth Quinquennial Endlings Picnic is at once an environmental parable, a political allegory, a mournful family drama, and a warmly hilarious character-driven comedy. The distinctiveness of these characters' personalities and points of view is rich and charming, and the innocent playfulness of the set up (It's animals! Having a picnic!) combines with the deadly weight of the issues at hand (Creeping disaster! Death! Revolution!) to terrific effect. I wanna see this live, please. Someone see to that.
  • Mendacity
    21 Feb. 2023
    Y’all. Sara Farrington’s brain is magical and a little scary. Her avant garde film/play hybrid MENDACITY is astonishing: she’s taken Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, puréed it, and strained it through January 6th and The Big Lie. The parallels she finds between Tennessee Williams’ family drama and the state of Democracy now - the resonances about lies, self-delusion, and power - repeatedly took my breath away. Plus the deranged, mad theatricality of it all! A gripping, weird, and wonderful dissection of where we are.
  • Special Extra Treatment
    13 Feb. 2023
    OK, this is delightful. Funny, meta, all those things, yes...but is it odd that I also found myself weirdly moved? If drama lies in characters making choices with high stakes, there's a courageous big swing someone takes at one point in these few short pages, and it's thrilling and kind of beautiful. And whether you find yourself feeling oddly "Awwwww...." about it like me or not, I'm pretty sure you'll find Special Extra Treatment a charmer.
  • The Polycule: A Comedy of Manners
    13 Feb. 2023
    In THE POLYCULE, Jillian Blevins has given us the modern comedy Moliere would write were he around today, observing the sexual and gender politics of the 21st century. A perfect marriage of form and content, Blevins rhyming couplets mine comic gold from the complex rules, taboos, and self-identifications of this non-monogamous circle of characters, as well as the secrets, self-deceptions, and hypocrisies that lie underneath. The real marvel is she does all this without belittling anyone's gender identity or sexual interests: though set in a specific demi-monde, it's a remarkably warm-hearted skewering of universal human foibles. Brava!
    8 Feb. 2023
    I played Fred in this play at Boomerang Theater’s Rock-n-Roles event, where Shelley McPherson first spun this unexpected and marvelous story out of George Thorogood’s rock classic. Bias noted, this thing is a joy: the physicality is comedy gold, the characters’ needs are strong, their obstacles challenging, their history and pain and love laid bare. McPherson generously leaves enormous space for directors, actors, and choreographers to play, following her subtle breadcrumbs to fill in movement, history, and subtext they discover for themselves with every step. This is a play that invites you to explore, build, and inhabit it.
  • Stupid, Fat, Ugly
    8 Feb. 2023
    Jesus, what a hard road this play travels. Hard, but important: this is a warts-and-all deep dive into the twisted and twisting effects of body shame, gay beauty standards, and homophobia (both the internal and external varieties). Mandy's quest for answers about her brother Eric's death leaves no one unscathed or unindicted, including Eric himself. But Osmundsen's compassion for his characters is apparent alongside his righteous wrath, giving us moments of tenderness and grace that allow us to feel for all of these wounded and wounding people. Hard, sad, and strangely lovely.
  • Chekov's Gun
    7 Feb. 2023
    A smart, sly, self-aware hoot of a microplay, serving up a winsome dialectic about Chekhov's work in general, layered over its wonderfully urgent meta-plot. Браво!
  • He's My Son!
    6 Feb. 2023
    Plays of this short length usually have time to do One Thing; here Debra Cole does the One Thing…and then she gets you with Another Thing. And in the process she manages to do Yet Another Thing, taking a pointed-but-affectionate poke at our specific cultural moment - one of shifting assumptions around gender - and the eternal war of teens against dad jokes that spans generations. A lot of layers in a short, tasty bite.
  • The Unkissed
    6 Feb. 2023
    I really love this play, the story of a moment of casual cruelty that hits a wall. Powerful, poignant, and so, so dramatically tight, it gives us two terrifically-drawn characters going toe-to-toe in a quiet cat-and-mouse game with ugly emotional underpinnings, one that somehow allows for humanity and vulnerability, needs and at-least-somewhat valid points, pride and hurt feelings, in both predator and prey. In The Unkissed, Matthew Weaver proves that incredibly high stakes can happen in small moments. Sharp, unsettling, and moving, this one leaves a mark.
    4 Feb. 2023
    Jane Elias’ wonderful GIRL IS MINE is full of familiar plot elements taken in unexpected directions, littered with proverbial Chekhov’s Guns that resolutely, stubbornly, and delightfully keep not going off. A uniquely close relationship between a teacher and teen student sets off alarm bells for the people in their lives (and in the audience), but nothing here is as simple - neither as guilty nor as innocent - as any of them think it is. A quirky and questioning spirit animates this humane, sad, hilarious, and refreshing play.