Recommended by Matthew Weaver

  • TOADS!!! (an amphibious nativity play)
    27 Dec. 2023
    OH. MY GOD. You didn't realize you needed an "amphibious nativity" play until right this very moment, but trust me. You do. You really, really do.
    Blevins knocks a holiday Secret Santa title swap out of the park with this in-depth take on nativity stories, legends about amphibians and fertility and body horror. It's breathtaking to behold and literally sidesplit-inducing. There are so many layers to be peeled back here, and it's hilarious to boot. Awe-inspiring.
    If Blevins can do THIS, with a title like THAT, just imagine what a force she can be for any theater producing her words.
  • The Puzzle
    8 Oct. 2023
    THE PUZZLE has all the trademarks of a Jennifer O'Grady play: Adorable, heartfelt, undercurrents of sadness shaded in by the heartache of reality, and then a seemingly simple and straightforward message that becomes more and more nuanced and intricate and complex as you reflect upon it.
    O'Grady finds heart and grace in any small nook or corner she decides to explore, including crossword puzzle boxes. I would love to see an expanded universe following the further adventures of the rest of the letters, as O'Grady does an exquisite job whenever, however she arranges the alphabet.
  • Jennifer Finds God, a monologue about abortion
    16 Jun. 2023
    I hold Ruben Carbajal, and his writing, in very high esteem. It is plays like this, and monologues like this, that completely prove me correct in this regard.
    JENNIFER FINDS GOD is important and compelling and necessary. It provides we in the audience that sort-of immediate catharsis of seeing someone so dogmatic and rigid awaken to an honest reality.
    Include this monologue in your festival, your collection ... your worship service. I highly expect it will (deservedly) be the monologue that dominates the discussion. And such an important conversation for teenagers to be able to have safely!
  • The Hiding Place
    9 Jun. 2023
    And here Hageman writes about survivor's guilt, and trauma, and what do you do with such big feelings? Such feelings of hopelessness? Of rage?
    You talk about it. You let others know they're not alone. And you keep talking about it.
    If people get uncomfortable, if they get mad -- GOOD.
    Hageman's words will change the world, are changing the world. I think she would be the first one to wish she didn't have to write THESE words, to change the world this particular way.
    I'm very glad she wrote this play. I wish she didn't have to.
  • Molly Bragg, Best Hall Monitor Ever
    9 Jun. 2023
    I have said before on here, and I will keep saying until I am blue in the face: Emily Hageman's words are so important. MOLLY BRAGG is a shining, devastating example of this.
    This play could/should/must be shown in every classroom and every political venue. Lawmakers should go to bed with it ringing in their ears and be forced to watch it when they wake up in the morning. Better that than still more needless, senseless, stupid headlines about the latest school shooting.
    And it should be shown to those still processing such trauma. Emily Hageman gets it.
  • Salem
    8 May. 2023
    A revolution, a revelation. THE CRUCIBLE if the characters spoke like modern-day teenage girls, and it's electrifying. The expression "tour de force" exists purely for plays like this. And I haven't even gotten to Marmalade yet.
    A wholly unique and original mash-up of setting and language. We might not actually be churning butter in the barn alongside these characters, but we understand their journeys wholeheartedly and profoundly.
    If your theater wishes to present a new and exciting playwright who will re-energize theater, look no further. Sam Walsh's other plays on NPX are essential reading, but SALEM is her magnum opus.
  • The Incident
    8 May. 2023
    Uggggggghhhhhh. We have all sat in on this meeting, or meetings like it.
    Walsh traps her characters, and we the audience, in a corporate breakroom and just lets all of the personalities (or lack thereof) bounce off one another. It's the mundane turned fully alive, played like an orchestra, every co-worker sounding his or her own precise, vibrant notes. It's also horrifically cringe, in the most wonderful way! And the ending --- utter perfection.
    (Also, bonus points for her exquisite stage directions, which are a sight to behold. I dare not say more, I'll let you discover them for yourself!)
  • The Smiths
    8 May. 2023
    A very important play that lets anger have its voice. Walsh paints a true-to-life, harsh tale and laces it with years of heartbreak. THE SMITHS reflects an existence many audience members will recognize: These are the people who live on your street, in your own house. Not for the faint of heart, especially if you recognize your family in these characters.
    Walsh asks the hardest of hard questions. She honors the truth - the ugly and the honest - with her words. She lets us sit with Terri and Stephanie's helplessness as long as we can bear it, plus some.
  • the stranger
    8 May. 2023
    Sam Walsh is your new favorite playwright you just haven't read yet.
    the stranger is a lovely, thoughtful play that wears its heart entirely on its sleeve. Walsh takes the unique tactic of literally revolving her whole play around a quiet man who is uncomfortable with showing emotions. In her capable hands, both Roy and the people surrounding him are three-dimensional, fully realized real people who just happened to wander onstage.
    She also is a theatrical magician, deftly managing scene changes in ways that would make even the most grizzled, world-weary stage technicians jolt anew with revived spark and wonder.
  • Heart Stop or, The Obesity Play
    1 Nov. 2022
    Time and again, Gonzalez puts his entire heart upon the page and the stage, and HEART STOP is absolutely no exception. Self-examination? Gonzalez gives us BLOOD. This is raw, and brilliant, and raw, and demonstrates why he is one of the most vibrant voices working in theatre today.
    As much pain and self-recrimination as Gonzalez shares, each word comes laced with love - for his family, for his craft, for audiences fortunate to see this work in progress unfold before our very eyes. May we all prove equal to the exquisite privilege as he bares his very soul to us.