Recommended by Matthew Ivan Bennett

  • Circa 1976, or Somewhere in the Suburbs of a Swing State Shaped Like a Mitten
    29 Apr. 2019
    You can smell the Elmer's glue and hear the plastic recorders in the play. It brings you back to elementary in the warmest and worst ways through its battered, relatable characters. What I dug most in "Circa 1976": its tragicomic take on bullies; its witty breakdown of American culture wars and how they echo the hierarchies of our school days; but above all, I admire the gentleness and subtlety with which Jones treats these people we all know. It's a shot of nostalgia plus humor plus politics plus the reckoning we fear for ourselves and want for others.
  • Ripped
    20 Mar. 2018
    Here is a piece that deftly juggles its timeline, keeping us on the edge of our seats as the story unfolds. It's written with a spareness that underlines, rather than de-emphasizes, the play's ideas. "Ripped" moves along at a jog while never skimping on interiority. The final image is one that Americans need to see.
  • To Fall in Love
    9 Mar. 2018
    A taut, richly developed, two-hander that understands the pit of grief.
  • The Frequency of Stars and Other Matter
    27 Mar. 2015
    In the tradition of writers like O'Neill, Palmquist gives us a lyrical working-class story that connects us to a feeling, and fear, beyond class and even time—the feeling that we're not in control of our lives. FREQUENCY... is a risky, and sometimes funny, play with a vibrant and moving structure.