Recommended by Toby Malone

  • Ask Me Anything and Other Short Plays
    12 Jul. 2020
    A delightful collection of character-driven (in a couple of cases, literally!) plays which run the gamut in scenarios but always maintain a great sense of humanity and purpose. Each of these plays are taut and well structured, and many of these pieces are so rich they beg for expansion and exploration, but the wonderful thing here is that Philip Middleton Williams trusts his form and hears his characters so clearly that he knows what they need, and never labors the point. Read the plays individually, but also enjoy the chance to bounce through this collection too.
  • To Change a Tampon: How It Is, and How It Should Be
    11 Jul. 2020
    Hilarious, savage, and pulling no punches, Hageman skewers the very fact that a natural process that happens every single month to just about half the planet is still an area of discomfort. Aware, funny, and ruthless.
  • Hamlet: Abridged (and Possibly Improved?)
    3 Jul. 2020
    An absolute blast of an adaptation that is very well aware of how iconic the source material is, but also just how silly it is too. With a rebellious Ophelia and some clueless Rosencrantz and Guildensterns, a healthy dose of meta humor where the genuinely hilarious is effortlessly interspersed with so many dad-joke groaners that they too become hilarious, 'Hamlet: Abridged (and Possibly Improved?)' would be perfect for young audiences and even those who take Shakespeare way too seriously. Read it, right now. It'll revive your long-forgotten ambition to play a hearty game of Curtain Ghost.
    3 Jul. 2020
    'Halfway to the Middle' is a well-crafted time capsule that shows us the many beats in the dreaded 'long-distance relationship'. Over a series of meetings in a motel halfway between DC and Cincinnati, Jessie and Logan meet for what begins as hot-and-heavy reunions and quickly evolves into existential fears and missed opportunities. Most welcome is the fact that Sheaff trusts her reader enough to not entirely spell out what happens in between meetings, where a lot of baggage remains unpacked. Even in the tentative resolution, we fear disaster, but that's okay. That's what life can give you.
  • Fuck Your Motivation, Fuck Your Productivity, But Most Of All, Fuck Your Quarantine Play
    1 Jul. 2020
    Rachel Bykowski speaks for every one of us who sees the Facebook posturing of ‘productive artists’ in quarantine for what it really is. Oh, and my favorite play summary this year.
  • Old Forward
    30 Jun. 2020
    A searching exploration of what happens when trauma reemerges in unexpected ways, with sensitive portrayals of the ordeals that returned officers face, and in particular the additional challenges for women in the military. Liz Dooley takes on a difficult subject and offers wisdom and sensitivity when following Jettie's trauma. An important subject.
    29 Jun. 2020
    Nick Malakhow is fast becoming one of my favorite playwrights. With a sensitive, deft hand, he creates human, complete characters who live real lives and struggle to come to terms with what it is to manage their own existence. Here, Malakhow uses temporal shifts and the deceptive safety of the home town to paint a beautiful picture of Markey and Pete, two boys in a PA steel town dealing with endemic racism and the horrific secret they share. Masterful in its temporal structure, heart-breaking as a character study. Produce this play.
  • In the Slush
    25 Jun. 2020
    Just when you think you know where you're going in this energetic comedy, Daniel Prillaman takes another turn and demands you stay on your toes. Beginning in Kaufman and Hart territory, Prillaman takes a wonderful right-turn out of the comedy into a horrified warning letter HP Lovecraft would be proud of, and then doubles back again to bottle the narrative into a tense stand-off. Crisp characters, high stakes, and memorable lines abound. This script would be a blast to workshop in a development process.
  • this is not the reunion
    25 Jun. 2020
    A fresh, energetic take on multiple tropes - slashers, reunions, friendship - where Maddie Dennis-Yates does the reader the great service of not over-explaining, but allowing the characters and situation to coalesce gradually, resulting in a full, satisfying, creepy conclusion. A great character study for an all-female cast.
    25 Jun. 2020
    A stunning, intimate portrait of the complexities of teen relationships, never played for sentiment or laughs, but always unerringly honest, raw, and impactful. Malakhow's mastery of character brings us four fully-formed, highly-flawed young people who will all be much better off in their twenties, but just have no way of knowing that just yet. The politics of friendship, high school, and identity all come to the fore, where conflicting narratives threaten to crush this struggling group beneath its weight. Honest, loving, breathtaking work. A true joy to read.