Recommended by Jillian Blevins

  • Wherever You Go
    24 Mar. 2023
    Studying Torah, Ruth’s pledge of devotion to her mother-in-law Naomi has always stood out. Her sacrifice is often interpreted as an act of duty or of morality—but to me (and clearly to Erin Proctor) it feels like something much deeper.

    With frank, yet poetic language and thoughtfully deployed anachronism, the playwright reframes this female-centered biblical narrative as an intergenerational queer love story, rich in its own kind of holiness. I can’t wait to read the next act (how will Boaz figure in this???) and to explore more of Proctor’s fresh, feminist takes on Jewish stories.
  • Wendy and the Neckbeards
    22 Mar. 2023
    WENDY AND THE NECKBEARDS is a deceptively moving, metatheatrical thrill ride through some of the creepier corners of the internet. Along with her Greek chorus of neckbeards, Kati Bentley-Quinn guides us into the depths manosphere like Aristophanes took us to Hades in The Frogs, with just as much scathing social satire and fourth wall-breaking absurdist comedy.

    WATNB is perhaps the best theatrical treatment of the internet I’ve yet encountered, both in form and content. KBQ’s savvy and nuanced play explores the ways chronically-online misogyny infiltrates mainstream culture—“normal guys” aren’t immune, our “online selves” are still us.
  • Fifty Years
    20 Mar. 2023
    I was rocked by this urgent ten-minute political parable. In its few pages, Mayingi’s play focuses the American crisis of reproductive freedom into a deceptively cozy visit between three women divided by age and class, and united in their shared need for safety and autonomy.

    These women aren’t symbols or mouthpieces: despite its allegorical nature, FIFTY YEARS is warmly human, alive with nuanced, original characters. The play is propelled by empathy and a distinctly feminine approach to narrative. Drama isn’t always communicated with shouting or physical action—more often, cataclysmic events happen, quietly and tenderly, over tea.
  • Triptych - A Love Story in Three Acts
    8 Mar. 2023
    TRIPTYCH—with its earnest romanticism, insightful narration, and comic misunderstandings—hits every note of a traditional relationship-oriented short play. The twist is the polyamorous nature of this romance. Bisexuality and polyamory (both frequently misunderstood) are represented with both humor and respect: a delicate dance that playwright Sam Heyman executes with aplomb. The multi-perspective structure supports the play’s thesis: the more people in a relationship, the more care needs to be given to each person and their experience. I have hope for these three. A rom-com for the modern era.
  • The Garden Party
    8 Mar. 2023
    THE GARDEN PARTY creates a unique world full of dazzling imagery and fantastical lore shot through with an underlying menace, evoking the picturesque daylight horror of Midsommar. The Garden’s Fleurs seem to be living in a fairy-land, a cottagecore dream; in truth, they’re imprisoned, and murdered when they refuse to conform. Audiences are left to interpret this dark fable. My take: deFrates’ Garden is the prison of traditional femininity, the trap that women and girls fall into, set by a world trying to contain us. But some of us are weeds, persistently refusing to be tamed.
  • Captain Flash & Major Bang (working title)
    7 Mar. 2023
    A little bit A.R. Gurney’s SYLVIA, a little bit of the rom-com “Must Love Dogs”, CAPTAIN FLASH AND MAJOR BANG is feel-good, funny and wholesome. The episodic structure is refreshing for a 10-minute play, and the dialogue is engaging and fun. This would be a joy for actors and audiences of all ages.
    7 Mar. 2023
    Theatre should always be an exercise in empathy; I can’t think of a more direct answer to that call than DAUGHTERS OF ABRAHAM. Bound by womanhood, oppression, and their common ancestor, Goldman-Sherman’s queer American Jew and Palestinian refugee seek to understand each other by entering each other’s lives and candidly discussing their struggles, joys, and differences. Especially moving is American Racie’s longing for more simplicity and community, despite the material luxuries she’s left behind. Neither character is a stereotype, nor a victim—it’s clear that like her characters, the playwright’s aim is understanding.
  • The Wonderful Out There
    6 Mar. 2023
    This play wrecked me. The theatrical imagery, the well-constructed mystery, the tenderly drawn adolescent characters—and most of all, the unflinching way it confronts the discrimination and cruelty faced by autistic/ND children.

    Osmundsen’s parable resonates on a universal level—is the joy of life worth the potential, inevitable pain?—but his perspective as a neurodivergent playwright brings an extra layer of meaning and specificity to this devastatingly beautiful play.

    I’m the parent of an autistic child; I read TWOT with him in my arms, shedding more than a few tears and promising to protect him. Powerful piece.
    6 Mar. 2023
    Lyrically twisted in the best way, HOLD ONTO YOUR HATS explores the ways we mythologize our own relationships. Cleverly exploring genre by casting his two couples as writers of different stripes (and all unreliable narrators), horror writer Darko and romance novelist Jezzie’s “how-we-met” story morphs from meet-cute to meet-funny, to meet-surreal, to meet-terrifying. Is Jezzy an answer to a prayer? A demon? A cursed maiden? Jones’ one-act ends right at the unsettling climax, its ambiguous ending leaving us wanting more. Poe would be proud.
  • January 21
    5 Mar. 2023
    In JANUARY 21st, DC Cathro’s characters face off against despair; one by ignoring the holiday season and feeding squirrels, and the other by listening, earnestly, even if he doesn’t fully understand. I admire the playwright’s ability to create conflict without cruelty. So rarely do gentleness and compassion get their due onstage, as it’s much easier to create tension (and too-easy edginess) by showing people treating each other badly. Cathro writes with nuance and empathy, capturing the delicate dance of navigating our own existential dread and allowing those we love to sit beside us while we do.