Recommended by Toby Malone

  • A Widow Walks into a Bar
    4 May. 2022
    An intriguing concept beautifully realized, Lee R. Lawing takes us inside the main players in just about every '...walks into a bar' joke you've ever heard, and gives them all life, as sometimes weary, sometimes entitled, quasi-unionized for their role in the gags they are part of that day. And then, the Widow shows up and changes the entire paradigm. Quick witted with a surprising conclusion, this is an excellent piece of work.
  • 1,2,3,4 Go Tiger Titties!
    4 May. 2022
    In this delightful ten-minute play, Stephanie Grilo expertly takes what many playwrights would stretch to a full-length or one-act, and gets right to the meat of the situation, set in a bowling alley in 1971. Each team member is clearly defined with a strong personality, and the scenario (the installation of a computer-driven scoring system) offers plenty of texture to play with. I appreciated this as a ten-minute piece, which just leaves us wanting more of this world. Nicely done.
  • Cleveland (short play)
    29 Apr. 2022
    So much can be said in so few words, particularly if you share a regional dialect and mutual understanding of how it's used. Even for someone with zero knowledge of Clevelander expressions, David Hansen's short play is clear as a bell and would be a delightful acting exercise, particularly for young actors from the area!
  • Hey
    29 Apr. 2022
    A lovely play that beautifully dramatizes that moment of awakening that every queer teen has had at some point or another, where suddenly something they see hits them like a lightning bolt of a glimpse at what the world could be. Here, Wade spots a pair of Calvin Klein underwear, played by a monosyllabic actor who draws on his fascination. Worst of all, mom is right THERE. This is a piece that tugs at those confusing days, but in the piece's conclusion, we're certain that there are brighter, steadier days ahead for Wade. Well done.
  • They Bumped the Lantern Over Just Before the Play Began
    29 Apr. 2022
    I love a play that removes one of our senses and forces us to heighten the others. Here, a play in a claustrophobic cave setting lets the mind run wild since, as the title suggests, the lantern was kicked over just before the play begins, and the two boys are thrown into a panic as they are trapped underground. Sinister, spooky, and entirely relatable. Great work.
  • 33 AD - a ten minute play
    29 Apr. 2022
    A delightful short that poses a new question: since Jesus was known to heal the sick, does this mean every irritating fool in town with a slight cough or unexplained lesion on their body would be bugging him for a quick miracle? And would they let a little thing stop them like the fact that Jesus is in the middle of being crucified? Just like every doctor and nurse puts up with, the demand for 'hey, can you take a quick look at this?' is nowhere more problematic than in 33AD. Nicely done.
  • The Great Hunger
    29 Apr. 2022
    A brilliantly unexpected take on the Irish Potato Famine that is a metatheatrical delight. Dana shifts time, space, and intention effortlessly, from Irish workhouse to immigrant ship to Australia to modern-day eating disorder outpatient groups, linked by the overarching theme of hunger: for companionship, for food, for meaning. Wily Emer tricks her way onto an immigrant ship to Australia in place of her better-read friend Aoife, as the hunger never seems to be sated. I especially love the shifting from stereotypically bad Irish accents into modern American accents to represent truth and inner thought. Terrific stuff.
  • Purpose & Intention (or, three people with four chairs)
    29 Apr. 2022
    I've been so privileged to have watched 'Purpose and Intention' grow over the last year or so through workshops and readings. Anastasia West has a unique voice and is always willing to take a risk rather than tell the story you think is coming. From what begins as a 'friends in New York making theatre' play, West takes hard turns, uses difficult tropes, plays with time, form, and structure, and presents something that's truly breathtaking. I am certain we're not at the final version of this script yet: I am excited to see where it continues to grow to.
  • juice (Colloquially Known to Friends and Family as "That Juice Bar Play")
    29 Apr. 2022
    I love Mollie Gordon's writing. With a wonderful knack for characterization, Mollie crafts an incredibly relatable look in at a group of young people working in a NYC juice bar over the course of a summer. It's inclusive, varied, and funny, with a brilliantly simple device of nominating each scene to be represented by one of the characters as DJ, as they have their phone plugged in to the store's speakers, which would bring an entirely new level not present in a read. It's a wonderful story of hope and potential: I hope this will be produced often.
  • Shakesqueer
    21 Jan. 2022
    A delightful series of scenes queering the works of Shakespeare (or, more properly, taking the queer subtext in Shakespeare's work and expanding them to their natural conclusions): here, we see such never-were couples such as Hamlet/Horatio, Mercutio/Benvolio (with shades of the National Theatre's recent production on PBS), and Helena/Hermia, pushing back against the heteronormative bias most Shakespeare tends towards. Knowing and witty, and inquisitive about what might be, this is a clever set of shorts that might easily be expanded out into longer pieces that would become something very different to Shakespeare: and very interesting indeed.

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