Every September the print and online theater critics of Dallas and Fort Worth eat chicken and brownies together and hash over the previous year’s productions on local stages. (The “season” for voting purposes runs from September 1 to August 31.) We think it’s a nice thing to do, recognizing the best individual and ensemble performances, direction, design and writing. Winners get nothing but their names in print and our gratitude for making live theater a joy.
“It was about doing the work, using text you knew was really good, and using really good actors,” McCreary says. “We were rehearsing in my living room and it was some of the best acting I’d ever seen. That that could occur in my living room made me think I was on to something.”
This was the impetus for House Party Theatre, a group of actors, directors and writers who don’t wait for the ideal space to produce work. With McCreary leading, they steer their original work and more recognizable plays anywhere they can.
Of late, a small group of young thespians have been popping up all over the city producing plays in galleries, in warehouses, in houses. Really, whatever they can get their hands on. This weekend, a new piece by playwright Claire Carson takes over a house on University Blvd. Here's her description: A short play about three fellas, self-immolation, and a young lady with weapon skin who may or may not be keeping up with her eyeball drying. See it in preview at 8:30 p.m. Thursday for $5, or Saturday through Monday for $10.
All painting isn't an act of theater, but it can be. Which is why the next Prism Co. show sounds as much like a live painting event as it does a play. That's the wonderful thing about this young, upstart company: They aren't just stretching the definition of what theater in Dallas looks like, they are also incorporating movement and materiality into their work in surprising, immersive ways.
A collaborative effort between Jeffrey Colangelo and Katy Tye, Prism is an enigmatic, primal, playful, ultimately spectacular, preverbal event, fusing darkness, shadow, light, color tracking the elemental history of mankind.
In a parallel love story of the feline kind, Gabriela’s cat, played by newcomer Elizabeth Berkman, and a wild coyote (Seun Soyemi, previously seen in Cara Mía’s Zoot Suit) intertwine a secondary conflict based on disparate desires and a similar misreading of each other’s sexual seduction vs. love theme.
“Mark Lowry found some promising trends in 2014. With a Top 10 list of the best local productions, and a few more lists.”
“I operate on the premise that a theatre’s job is to prevent people from leaving their seats before the entertainment is over…”
“This was the year DFW’s favorite theater kids grew up. No longer newcomers on local stages — as actors, playwrights…”
It’s a really fantastic play by one of the most talked about playwrights of the last five years, Tarrell Alvin McCraney . It’s the middle piece of a trilogy and Jubilee is actually going to do the other two pieces. It was directed by Tre Garrett, Jubilee’s artistic director. This play is a beautiful lyrical work. It’s a great piece about brotherhood. And it speaks to what’s happening with young black males, the protests that are happening around the country with the Garner case. It really, really speaks to you in a way I didn’t expect.
Theater is a mysterious thing. Usually, companies decide on a season of shows more than a year out, and they have no idea what the casts will be and how the shows will fit the mood of the audience. Sometimes we’re in the mood for farce, sometimes melodrama, sometimes just a campy musical. The 10 shows that make up my year-end list range from musicals (lots of ’em) to comedies to dramas, from contemporary to period pieces.