Recommended by Britt A Willis

  • Shady Grove to Glenmont
    23 Jul. 2018
    In Shady Grove to Glenmont Johnson recreates the Red Line in DC, evoking visuals and moments I recognize and am drawn to in my own commutes. For me, this is a play that feels like home. Johnson employs dialogue well, the lines a mix of poetry and prose that evoke the cadence of humanity and, specifically, humanity in DC. Visually I love the idea of using characters looking through train windows as a type of interior thought.
  • Take
    10 Jul. 2018
    A great read - Grays' lyricism in dialogue is moving on its own; I can imagine hearing these two women speak over and around and at and beside each other. The eventual context brought to light reframes so much of the beginning of the play. I especially love seeing LGBTQ+ characters in situations that have nothing to do with coming out and everything to do with the overbearing weight of just being human.
  • Ariadne on the Island
    6 Jul. 2018
    McNickle deftly handles the exploration of complicity, agency, and a fight against fascism in 'Ariadne on the Island', and does so with lyrical dialogue and stage directions. McNickle's stage directions are refreshing - as interested in evoking a mood as giving us a literal description. I can't get 'Via a thing growing up from the ground trying to grab fistfuls of sky' out of my head. Choosing to start the play after the 'action' of the escape allows for a deeper exploration of each character and their relationships/interactions with each other and the off screen characters.
  • MUSEUM 2040
    5 Jul. 2018
    Our National Museum... asks what truths are uncovered and deliberately hidden or softened in the curation of our national stories in museums. Like many of America's history, the instigating massacre that inspires this museum is born of our nation itself, a self-caused problem reflective of the many times America has harmed itself on its path to destroy others. The dog display (and uncomfortable call out) is perfect, as is setting the play in an immersive museum/environment. Calarco also explores an eerie example of how, especially for the marginalized, aligning ourselves with people in power will not protect us.
  • the cowboy is dying
    5 Jul. 2018
    A coming-of-age and coming out play equal parts melancholy, joyous, mighty, and vulnerable. Grays captures characters' interiority skillfully through Bulldagger's musical interstitials and Donnetta's narration. I especially loved Donnetta's relationship with power and control, her desperation to control nature, and laughing at God before feeling called by God. I'd love to see this performed; it's a one-actor show that gives many opportunities for clever and moving designs, direction, and performance.
  • Dee
    3 Jul. 2018
    I was lucky enough to see DEE at Live Art in a Day 2017 (the very day after this play was written!) DEE confronts the often basic and dehumanizing understanding of a marginalized person's agency by others, even in progressive spaces with people who consider themselves friends. The use of the closing of Dee's Mancala game as a scene change and moment of introspection for Dee works so well on stage AND on the page.
  • Coop in the Yard
    3 Jul. 2018
    A lovely short play that evokes feelings of distance, melancholy, and joyful discovery. I really enjoy the way Thembi employs stage directions and movement to say as much (and more!) than just dialogue - especially the juxtaposition of Cooper and Ms. Thompson dancing while the Sgt yells silently and the Marines cheerfully destroy themselves in the background.
  • 3 Conversations
    3 Jul. 2018
    A fun one act about lizards, pianos, and tummy-aliens. I'm a sucker for vignettes. In this case the vignettes easily allow each pair of actors to reach their own contained height in scene, but also make my brain start sizzling with the potential connections & themes between the scenes. Easily produceable, hope to see it's onstage somewhere soon!
  • Cricket Woman Mother Earth (or) A Nasty Comeuppance
    1 Jul. 2018
    Cricket Woman Mother Earth explores the anxiety caused by an overwhelming amount of access to terrifying, dehumanizing, and hope-killing news. As some tweet supposedly quoting someone's therapist said: our brains didn't evolve at the same rate as our technology, we are not built to handle this much daily trauma. The best moments in Cricket Woman question our tendency (especially in Trump! Era! Theatre!) to see current events as new, awful developments instead of more of the old, but the womb-horror aspects were a close second for me. More horror theatre, please!
  • Bird Brains Puts The Dog To Sleep
    24 May. 2018
    An unapologetically queer and melancholy play with collage-like dialogue reminiscent of someone trying to describe a dream, or a memory that reminds them of a memory that reminds them of a memory. Bird Brains battle the tangible and intangible people and circumstances killing them and erasing them in a room suspended in time and space, where they can exist and commiserate, 'a bird in flight, twice at once.' So, basically, extremely my shit and very worth the read!