Recommended by Toby Malone

  • 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
    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.
  • Batman Vs. The Person Stealing Out of the Work Fridge
    18 Jan. 2022
    A completely ridiculous (in the best way!) caper for the Dynamic Duo which presses on all of the utter ridiculousness of the entire Batman thing. Here, Batman is a ludicrously deluded maniac throwing out nonsensical catchphrases and denying that he's the guy under the mask everyone says it is: all of this in the face of a unionized set of supervillains and some suspiciously disappearing Wayne Foundation yoghurt from the break room. I kept imagining this performed in the Christian Bale gravel voice which just made it funnier. Plenty of fun!
  • Park & Play
    18 Jan. 2022
    So many plays that feature speaking dogs as characters dumb down their language and turn them into caricatures: the achievement with "Park & Play" is that both Archibald and Lucy the dogs speak intelligently and with forethought, seamlessly blended with the casual interjections of Jessie the uncomprehending human. This would be a hugely fun piece for the dog actors, and it holds a valuable lesson about the benefits of letting one's guard down. Nice work.
  • A 3-act, centuries-long love affair (abridged)
    18 Jan. 2022
    Every relationship goes through its ups and downs, but when you're immortal, the stakes (so to speak) are raised considerably. John Mabey cleverly takes the idea of a vampire couple who get tired of each other over the course of 300 years and condenses it to a page: a less assured writer would try to do all the work for us and make us slog through 120 pages to hit the goal. Here, we leave satisfied and amused in only a minute, encompassing hundreds of years' history in no time.
  • Stickers Over My Eye
    18 Jan. 2022
    In this haunting, mysterious short, Samantha Marchant beautifully crafts a history between Decmessa and Anella, both cursed in different forms, and finding one another after a long period of absence. There is desperation, fear, and hopelessness in their unity, and only through savage betrayal is freedom possible. This is described as a "fairy tale of love and betrayal told through voice", which unleashes it from the physical space and gives the director and actors so much to play with. Very nicely done.
  • The Furniture Store
    14 Jan. 2022
    A typically unhinged Daniel Prillaman short, “The Furniture Store” features an embattled furniture salesman presiding over a store with no visible furniture. When you have a play when the playwright goes so overboard in the stage direction that a character chooses to murder the stage directions with an imaginary gun, you know you’re on the right track. Great stuff!
  • the wild ones
    14 Jan. 2022
    When Gina Femia calls this "high concept" into which she's "leaning in", you know you're in for a brilliant ride. Smashing different time frames together while creating a "Thursday Next"-style out-of-book life for fictional characters, who react when they are read in the real world, is hugely satisfying. Slipping seamlessly between different eras of "wildness" and finding new ways to explore topics of identity, sexuality, and self-expression, this is a massive achievement which culminates in a furious, thunderous finale that compels you to listen and learn. This is more than an adaptation of Little Women: it is an eruption.