Recommended by Brian James Polak

  • Los Tequileros
    2 Nov. 2019
    I really love Los Tequileros. It's is a fantastic historical drama, depicting the ongoing challenges at the border and is smartly constructed with a central narrator/guitarist carrying the audience through a powerful and resonate story.
  • His Shadow
    16 Sep. 2019
    His Shadow shows us the journey of compliant athlete to engaged activist and left me hoping more athletes start using their voices to engage issues important to them. I saw the production of this play at 16th Street in Berwyn, IL. Anybody who doesn't believe people like Colin Kaepernick should be applauded for their activism needs to see this play and empathize with a character who, like Kaepernick and others, begins to see the importance of using their voice to shine a light on issues that might be a tad more important than what ends up on a scoreboard.
  • Strange Heart Beating
    29 Jul. 2019
    I love how this play uses a familiar detective-noir structure and combines magical realism to create a story feels like a horror, but one very much connected to the world we live in today. The all-knowing lake narrates with gorgeous language, heightening the mystery of missing girls in this midwestern town. This is an intensely dark story told with great empathy for those impacted by tragedy. Idaszak is a brilliant writer who deftly crafts layers upon layers for the reader (or in my case, audience member) to excavate for a good amount of time following "end of play."
  • Hitler's Tasters
    17 Jul. 2019
    This play is smart, funny, and surprisingly moving. The intentional use of anachronisms was a brilliant way to connect a story from WWII with contemporary human behavior. This is an excellent play for ensembles.
  • Mouthpiece
    10 Jul. 2019
    Despite the fact the play tells you explicitly what to expect during its brisk running time, you still find yourself shocked at every turn of this dark comic/horror play. That is because Chris Vanderark is a wizard and this play is mesmerizing. Perform it in the round. Place it in a seedy warehouse with only one lightbulb hanging overhead. Put it in a traditional theater space. This play can flourish anywhere.
  • Treif Play
    3 Jul. 2019
    That restaurant life is all too familiar in Eva Friedman's Treif Play, but the story is far from simple. I love plays about chosen family and the complications that come with them. This play has that plus plus plus. There's an element of fish-out-of-water when a new employee arrives after leaving an oppressive life, and then a former employee dramatically returns to confront and abuser, kicking the drama up several notches. Eva brilliantly weaves together the stories of two woman standing up to abuse, and does so with a sophisticated dramedic style.
  • The Vanishing Point
    1 Jul. 2019
    Imagine if the lives we curate through social media came to life... yeah, it would be frightening and that is the world Dave Narter is showing is in The Vanishing Point. This play is scary in the way the best Twilight Zone episodes are scary. The writing is hilarious until you catch yourself asking “what if this was real?” Perfect for an ensemble (hey Chicago, Dave’s a local).
  • Mothers
    18 Jun. 2019
    Mothers imagines a near-future world wear parenthood is no less terrifying than today. It leaves you questioning how you would behave in these given circumstances and perhaps questioning (if you are a mother or parent) how you do behave now. This is a fantastically smart play that will leave remnants on your mind for days after.
  • Catherine Forever (the parasite)
    10 Jun. 2019
    This play is a hilarious and surprisingly touching Millennial existential fever dream, and this Gen-Xer was cry-laughing throughout it.
  • Ideal House (In Development)
    29 May. 2019
    This play deftly dramatizes the pressures American society put on people to value the dollar and property as a symbols of success and achievement. The pressures on the Millennial generation are as severe today as they were on post-WWII generation when Death of a Salesman was written. Yet in "Ideal House" Cara Beth Heath gives agency to a character Arthur Miller left holding the bag at the end of his play. Heath suggests things have indeed changed, and a woman can exert control if life has become less than... ideal. Oh, and JK Rowling is always there for guidance.

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