Recommended by David Valdes

  • Loneliness Was A Pandemic
    17 Jan. 2020
    In this quietly devastating play, Haller raises a number of existential questions (about human connection, art, the tech-heavy moment we live in), through the conundrum faced by its protagonist. The play also is designed to be impacted by casting, so that gender and ethnicity informs how the dilemma plays out, making it a work in which form (not just text) can serve its ideas about the nature of the human condition.
  • The Rendering Cycle
    8 Oct. 2019
    I love the breadth of this play, the way it starts with the familiar and the present, and then crosses time and miles to encompass a long legacy. I return in mind to the early characters, thinking of all that follows in the text, and they are enriched by it--just as the playwright intends.
  • Refuge
    8 Oct. 2019
    The poetics, the theatricality, the impossible complexity of everyone's situations--I thought about the play well after I finished reading.
  • Jeune Terre
    8 Oct. 2019
    Having spent a lot of time in rural communities outside N.O., I find this play incredibly truthful about local life and culture, and the voices are distinct. I think it’s a theatrical, fresh way to take on climate change (as one topic) while tapping into universal notions of individual vs society, home/place, what art does or doesn't do, and the struggle of choosing between evils.
  • Last Ship to Proxima Centauri
    19 Jun. 2019
    Even in this early draft, it's clear Greg Lam has created something special. The premise is killer, the conflicts fascinating, and the questions raised are sharp. I can't wait to see this up on its feet.
  • The Book of Mountains and Seas
    18 Feb. 2018
    Liu takes the quieter personalities on either side of a colorful character and throws them together in the wake of his loss to see what combusts when they meet. The audience gets its own loss too as the play’s visible characters dwindle from three to two, and we see the gulf between them. It’s a play about answers that can’t be found, and how we make and remake family in unexpected ways.
  • World Line
    18 Feb. 2018
    This is so lovely. Lerch takes a familiar narrative—coming of age during the loss of a parent—and repopulates the story with characters who too rarely share the stage in American theatre. Eddie’s internal language is beautiful and external language appropriately clipped in sullen teen fashion.
  • FRIENDS WITH GUNS
    28 Nov. 2017
    Friends with Guns offers just what a contemporary play should: discomfort for everyone. By turns hilarious and dark, it constantly turns the tables on its characters and its audiences.
  • Skin and Bones
    1 Jul. 2017
    You've never met anyone exactly like Katherine or Marly, the characters in Skin and Bones, and yet you've met (or been) them in a thousand other guises. Boasting, cowering, lying, connecting in a conversation made possible by being strangers, they're complicated humans who expose their feelings more nakedly the more fully they try to disguise themselves. A character jokes that something is bittersweet; audience members would be hard pressed not to extend that description to the entire play.
  • THE HOUSEKEEPER
    20 Jun. 2017
    The Housekeeper is a touching drama that wrestles with big themes--loss, grief, broken families, and how we shape our sense of self. But Lazarus never gets bogged down: the scenes flow along with grace and agility thanks to the sharp dialogue and the author's restraint. Treating the supernatural element as equal to the naturalistic material, the play feels round, rich, and moving.

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