Recommended by Larry Rinkel

  • DISMANTLING PROSPERO
    15 Apr. 2024
    Tom Rowan knows dance, knows Shakespeare, and knows the culture wars dominating college life today. Plays about dance are rare, and this one will require casting from actors who are also capable dancers. Plays about today's academic environment are perhaps less rare, but Rowan creates a compelling drama in which racism and cultural appropriation dominate this story of an uncompromising college professor determined to choreograph a version of Shakespeare's "Tempest." Although the outcome leads to the destruction of the professor's career, this timely play should lead audiences to question all sides of this contentious debate.
  • Vegetables are Revolting!
    10 Apr. 2024
    Though I hate the word "veggies" and have never been on speaking terms with an eggplant, Morey Norkin offers a sprightly and very punny tour through the produce section. Read this cute little TYA play and die, con, laughing.
  • Intricacies, Death and the Oxford Comma
    8 Dec. 2023
    "A horse, a horse, my kingdom ..." As a firm proponent of the Oxford comma and an amused observer of British royalty, I enjoyed Sickles's implication that the royal family is no more worthy of rule than a bunch of equine posteriors. Sickles nails the characters of the poor King who has waited all his life only to be near the end of it, as well as his horsey sister. And he does so in much less time than "The Crown." PS: Note the absence of the Oxford comma in the title, and its presence on page 4 - clever!
  • Leave It
    11 Oct. 2023
    No doubt we all have fond memories of those dopey 1950s TV sitcoms where the stakes were never more serious than who forgot to clean the dishes that night. With similarities to Bert Royal's Peanuts-based "Dog Sees God," Bill Goodwin brilliantly updates "Leave it to Beaver" to recreate an angry and bitter imaginary meeting between Lumpy and the Beave at the Vietnam Memorial in DC, after Wally's death in the Vietnam War. There is no reconciliation between these two survivors, but watch for the healing touch of Wally's jacket at the end. Perfect punning title too.
  • Not Like Us (a ten minute play)
    11 Oct. 2023
    Drawing from a tradition that started with Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein" (who was in fact the doctor, not the monster in the original novel), Mark Levine's Arthur gives his wife a present that goes horribly wrong. Little Topsy, the innocent scientifically manufactured Neanderthal, doesn't understand simple commands and as a result is treated horribly first by the husband and then the wife. Funny as the play is, it is also a parable about how racism and speciesism and other such isms begin, and how well-meaning people are oblivious to their own cruelties. Levine has created a very necessary play here.
  • Trigger Warning
    29 Sep. 2023
    In today's hypersensitive age, when college students incessantly proclaim their feelings of oppression and victimization, and will censor anyone who makes even a mildly "offensive" statement, we need plays like this to remind us (to quote one of Mark Paykuss's characters) that "it’s healthy to laugh at our own problems." The students in Paykuss's bitter short play who demand "safe spaces" for themselves are all too eager to destroy the career of the comedian they've hired. Are comedy and satire still possible today? Remember Orwell: “Freedom is the right to tell people what they do not want to hear."
  • Not Getting Old
    18 Sep. 2023
    Rachel's characterization and gift for language just leap off the page. Edna's decision to put off the inevitable comes across with wit, irony, and humor. Part of the fun of the monologue is that you can't be sure how much Edna is in on her own jokes. If you think the play is poking fun at Edna, you'd better realize that she's probably at least two steps ahead of you.
  • After Happily Ever After
    18 Sep. 2023
    Do we feel a little sorry for poor Prince Charming? So handsome, so clichéd, so shallow, so DUMB. Poor schmuck just wants his story to turn out right and sassy, independent Princess refuses to play along. Rachel Feeny-Williams turns the tables on her title's cliché with verve, wit, and economy. But just as Princess has her woodsman waiting, so Prince Charming can always find the Duchess he cares about just as much (or as little) as he cared about Princess.
  • Urashima Taro
    14 Sep. 2023
    While Morey's exquisitely dramatized Japanese folktale offers a variety of options to stage for a well-equipped theater, it should also be within the reach of any small company that follows the author's recommendations for a stylized/spare staging. Possibilities for doubling (e.g. mother/princess/fisherman) are present as well, as several of the secondary roles have a few lines each. The story, with its version of Chekhov's gun, is both touching and enigmatic. Moral of the story I suppose: don't open any boxes when you're told not to, and if you see a turtle in distress, call animal control.
  • It's Not Blood
    10 Sep. 2023
    A powerfully written short play with numerous layers of subtext and symbolism. Neither of these brothers can openly express their grief at younger soldier brother Billy's passing, yet the "not blood" painted on the ironic "lucky quarter" as well as the references to Playboy and "Pulp Fiction" say everything for them as neither brother can escape the legacy of military service they feel compelled to continue. Not only would this subtle play be a powerful experience on stage, it would also be an exemplary candidate for any playwright to study in how to imply multiple meanings without being heavy-handed.

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