Top 12 Drama/Comedies of 2015
by Tom Williams & Jacob Davis
Tom Williams’s Picks
“If you have no intention of loving or being loved,
then the whole journey is pointless.”
Fabulous children’s play extremely adult friendly
Side Man is a look at the foibles of jazz musicians
10. The Herd
Family Drama Questions Love and Sacrifice
Modern Revenge Tragedy is
Brutally Honest, but Fascinating
Theatrically endearing play with music
and dance ripe as a satirical retelling of a tragic true story.
A Captivating Winter Story this July
Shanley Finds Love at Northlight
Intimate production honestly presents the fears,
the terror, and the blind hope of young Anne Frank
4. The Revel
Damon Kiely’s The Revel is an adaptation of The Bacchae
by Euripides, but you don’t need to know that to enjoy it.
A Masterfully Told Story about Hope
No Need for Digging with This Treasure
We see his take on the story, it’s a marvel of stagecraft,
and our hearts pound with excitement. What could be better?
Jacob Davis’s Picks
Will remote posterity say Matt Groening was our Euripides? Playwright Anne Washburn imagines they will.
The tenth year since August Wilson’s death provides a fitting time to honor the author who wrote a play for each decade of the twentieth century. Across the city, the ten plays Wilson considered part of his “Century Cycle” are being presented in various forms and venues. Leading the productions is the Goodman Theatre, which had a particularly close relationship with him. Chuck Smith’s production of the 1993 play Two Trains Running demonstrates Wilson’s greatest strength as a poet and a chronicler of black men’s daily ambitions and fears, as well as his warm heart.
Though I’ve encountered great hospitality in theatre, I have never seen a production as warm and intimate as The House Theatre’s marathon performance of The Hammer Trinity. It was clear from my interactions with the staff and cast how much they loved this story, as they would have to after all the effort they put into producing it.
Nick Sandys’s production veers between Stoppard’s frantic vaudeville elements and philosophical arguments, creating as dizzying a whirlwind of ideas as we today associate with the World War I climate of revolution and chaos.
There are a number of ethical issues the script explores, but in the hands of director Gary Griffin and his leading actors, the play remains grounded in the humanity of two people the rest of the species still prefers not to be associated with.
While less otherworldly than something straight from Strindberg’s mind, this adaptation would do him proud.
With athletic, versatile actors and delightful costumes and props, All Our Tragic showcases the imagination, innovation, and sense of sharing unique to live theatre.
Outdoor theatre always carries some risks, and we are now at the end of an unusually cold, damp spring, but if you pick the right day to visit Austin Gardens, you will find an amazing production that utilizes the nighttime atmosphere in innovative, and often unnerving ways.
I think it’s fair to say that of Shakespeare’s well-known plays, productions of The Winter’s Tale may be some of the most anticipated, because there are so many ways a director could choose to interpret it. The First Folio version delivers all a Shakespeare fan could hope for, and is an excellent opportunity for those unfamiliar with the work to fall in love with it.
The comic relief and the heavy satire makes not only for rich entertainment but makes it easier for us to cope with the utter injustice of America in the 1930’s. How better to dramatize and tell an important story that through strong narrative with loads of song and dance? It sure works here.-TW
In 2010, Scottish playwright David Greig revisited the old story to explore the ramifications of elites getting in trouble beyond their personal fortunes. The result was Dunsinane, a tragedy for two whole countries, which draws from Shakespeare and real Scottish history, but most of all from the modern wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
We see his take on the story, it’s a marvel of stagecraft, and our hearts pound with excitement. What could be better?