Recommended by Larry Rinkel

  • 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.
  • Recipe
    9 Sep. 2023
    It is rare that a Zoom play actually needs to be a Zoom play. This one could be produced live as well, as it is a family meeting over Zoom that could be represented on an actual stage. It's clear from the start that Dylan is the trans son who takes on a new name with his unsympathetic mother's first initial, while his siblings still have names beginning with C. Less obvious is that the father, who for most of the play seems disengaged, is actually the parent with most sympathy for his trans child. Well done, Bob Weibezahl!
  • Melt
    8 Sep. 2023
    One never knows what's in the food we buy or how it's made. Brenton Kniess builds his clever little play with a number of increasingly subtle revelations until we finally see how girlfriend Stacy is just not going to let boyfriend David escape her clutches. Does anyone else sense a kinship with "Sweeney Todd"?
  • DANCING WITH UNICORNS-a very short play
    9 Mar. 2023
    While Mom fantasizes about the cooperative and pleasant family she would like, the reality is that her husband, daughter, and two sons take her for granted and speak to her abusively. But in this clever short play, Mom by the end takes a subtle revenge on the family members who expect her to do their bidding. Unicorns help.
  • A Hundred Years
    10 Jan. 2023
    A sweet and original take on the Sleeping Beauty story.
  • One Job Thou Hadst: Giovanni (Monologue)
    16 Dec. 2022
    Excellent! so often these pseudo-Shakespearean monologues and sequels fall flat, but not this time. Hansen does a splendid job in capturing this minor character from R+J, while implicating the foolish Friar Lawrence who fails to tell him of the importance of his mission. Who's next, the Apothecary?
  • What to Expect When You're Expecting Our Lord and Savior
    3 Oct. 2022
    I just saw this charming and often hilarious short piece (extremely well-performed) at a 1-act festival in Long Beach, Long Island, NY. With overtones of "Angels in America," Garcia's play plays with concepts of faith, relationships, and mental illness, with a sly wink at the idea that men can get pregnant too. Is Marcus truly pregnant, or is he just self-deluded? After all, if God can do anything. . . .
  • HolyMarriage.com
    14 Aug. 2022
    Kate McLeod has written a lovely and quietly humorous play about a marriage on the rocks between an American man and an East Indian woman. Mark's idea about using an Internet questionnaire to help save the marriage is resisted on all points by his estranged wife Mittie, and yet at the end there is a suggestion that all is not lost between them. Mittie's sardonic witticisms are a high point in this insightful marital drama, which I saw well acted at the Secret Theatre in Queens, NY, in August 2022.
  • Penance:
    8 Aug. 2022
    The sexually corrupt Confessor-Priest and their Penitent is not an unknown device in drama or other literature, but Hodges gives it new life through the intensity of his dialogue, as well as the relentlessly accusatory tone taken by the Penitent towards the Confessor who apparently abused the Penitent's brother. Who's really the Confessor here, who the Penitent? I'm reminded of Melville's line: "Who's to doom, when the judge himself is dragged to the bar?" Powerful stuff here, as the Confessor at the end is left with nothing but rationalization for his sins.
  • Prior Engagement (or the Stairwell Death Play)
    2 Aug. 2022
    Don't concern yourself overmuch about all the plot details; the situation is somewhat surreal, even dreamlike, and the characters (all named for flowers) and their dialogue are what's most compelling in this quietly understated one-acter. A lovely piece, and I look forward to reading more from DeFrates.

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