TiG Short Play Series #1: SHOTZ!

The TiG Short Play Series is an effort to cover the various festivals, showcases, and groups producing short form theater in NYC, to highlight the many artists and producing models at work in independent theater. To learn more, click here for the introduction to the series.


AMIOS Logo from FB

What It Is

Produced by AMIOS Theater since 2009, SHOTZ! is an ongoing short play series that produces six original short plays on the first Monday of most months of the year, now at the Kraine Theater in the East Village. Unified by three conditions along a theme, all six plays are conceived, written, and staged in the month prior.

Founded by graduates of the now-defunct National Theatre Conservatory in Denver, SHOTZ! has grown into a roiling nebula of theater-makers, from fresh-faced artists coming up, to grizzled vets between stints on larger stages and screens. The short plays live up to the name, rarely running too long, delivering hour-long sample platters of theater at 7:00 PM and 8:30 PM showings. A highly advertised “free beer!” and post-show discount at the neighboring Gray Mare bar / restaurant make the $13 ticket ($15 at the door) a pretty solid starting place for a night out, even with the grab-bag nature of this “theatrical pressure cooker.”

Over the last few seasons, AMIOS has been expanding earlier SHOTZ! plays into a full-length reading series called — in keeping with the boozy convention — “First Draughts”. Winter 2018 will bring the first full production of one of these expanded scripts with Lizzie Vieh’s The Loneliest Number, to be directed by Maria Dizzia.

Next Show:

Ghosts of Shotz Past!
December 4th, 7 & 8:30 PM
85 E. 4th St. NYC
$13 in Advance/$15 at the Door
Tickets | Facebook | Website

Keep reading for our impressions of the most recent show, and details about what’s coming up next!

Continue reading “TiG Short Play Series #1: SHOTZ!”

Introducing: The TiG Short Play Series!

Introducing: The TiG Short Play Series!

As any theater artist can tell you, short form theater is generally a mixed bag. I recall a conversation with a playwright who scoffed at the idea of setting out to write a 10-minute script; useful for students, they contended, but pointless for a real writer. But the form endures beyond the amateur, so there must be something of value — after all, the popularity of short films and stories, flash fiction and meme culture, speaks to the impact of efficient storytelling. A pointless short play, indeed, is the failure of the playwright.

Beyond the form’s potential itself, the abundant short play festivals in New York and elsewhere have become hubs of independent theater creation and community. Generally billed as affordable and accessible theater options, these showcases provide countless opportunities for up-and-comers to hone their crafts, be produced, and meet other artists. And the grey area around “short play / skit / sketch” sends the form sprawling into disparate performance arenas, with varying degrees of seriousness.

Beginning this week, we at Theater is Good will be embarking on a year-long mission to cover the various festivals and showcases of short form theater, and collecting an overview here. In addition to shining a light on the many artists involved, we hope to provide an overview of the various producing and curation models the festivals use, to help audiences find what interests them, and let aspiring producers know what’s out there.

Festivals, showcases, and groups on our radar include: Samuel French OOB Short Play Festival, EST / Youngblood Brunch, UCB Maude Night, Red Bull Short New Play Festival, #serials, NY Neo-Futurists’ Infinite Wrench, 1MPF, NY Madness, SHOTZ!, Love Drunk, 7×7, Spring Fling, Our Bar, TinyRhino, and LiveWire — if you don’t see your festival or series here, let us know at TheaterIsGood@gmail.com, and we’ll do our best to work you into the season!

– The Editor

Hunger & Thirst Presents: “Pericles: Born In A Tempest”

Hunger and Thirst Theatre - Pericles_Born In A Tempest - PosterWhat It Is:

Pericles: Born In A Tempest, produced by Hunger & Thirst Theatre with The Guerilla Shakespeare Project at the West End Theater on the Upper West Side, is an approachable and fast-paced re-imagining of Shakespeare’s Pericles, now playing until November 18th.

Relying on a tight ensemble of storytellers, and a keen eye in adaptation by director Jordan Reeves, this production breathes life into one of the Bard’s lesser-known works, reinventing its historically clunky frame into a touching meta-narrative.

Website | Tickets | Facebook

Pericles: Born In a Tempest

Remaining performances:

Saturday, Nov 11 @ 8 PM
Sunday, Nov 12 @ 2 PM
Wednesday, Nov 15 @ 7 PM
Thursday, Nov 16 @ 7 PM
Friday, Nov 17 @ 8 PM
Saturday, Nov 18 @ 2 PM
Saturday, Nov 18 @ 8 PM
Continue reading “Hunger & Thirst Presents: “Pericles: Born In A Tempest””

Dzieci Theatre presents: “Makbet”

Dzieci Theatre Presents: "Makbet" - Photo by Geo Geller
Photo by Geo Geller

What It Is

Lesser than Macbeth and greater.” – First Witch

Thus the witches speak to the fated king-to-be, setting in motion the tragic betrayals of the plot. The quote also captures something about Dzieci Theatre‘s newest incarnation of Makbet, playing through October 8th at Sure We Can in Brooklyn: in their stripped-down version, minimally produced with only three principle performers backed by a chorus, the elemental truth of the Scottish Play is brought forth in a profound, vivid, and completely unexpected way.

Steeped in Eastern European folk and theatrical traditions, and set deep within a funky recycling and community center in Brooklyn, the Dzieci ensemble transforms into a riotous band of storytellers who welcome you around a fire, and then lead you through the depths of human nature via an abridged version of Shakespeare’s Macbeth, staged entirely within a shipping container.

The company follows “Rules of Engagement” for Makbet, which serve as a template for endless unique iterations conjured by the airtight ensemble:

  1. Actors must know the entire text
  2. Actors may not play the same role in successive sequences
  3. Roles can be taken or given, embraced or refused
  4. Three actors alone will play the principle roles
  5. We begin and end in ceremony
  6. Nothing else is planned

Each rule is carefully crafted, and their combined success is something to behold. Read on to find out more!

Website | Tickets | Facebook

Thurs-Sat @ 7pm, Sun @ 4pm
Sure We Can
219 McKibbin St
Brooklyn, NY 11206

Continue reading “Dzieci Theatre presents: “Makbet””

Public Works Presents: AS YOU LIKE IT @ the Delacorte Theater

Public Works Presents: AS YOU LIKE IT
Public Works Presents: AS YOU LIKE IT

What It Is

Shakespeare in the Park, presented by The Public Theater, is a veritable New York institution, providing free theater of the highest caliber every summer at the beautiful open-air Delacorte Theater in Central Park. Rain or shine, hundreds of locals and tourists alike line up every morning for the chance to see immortal classics given new life and new context.

But a more recent addition to The Public’s programming at the Delacorte has been the successful “Public Works” series, which combines the world-renowned institution with community engagement and ardent support of local artists into a transcendent form of community theater. As the program explains: “Blending elements of song, mass spectacle, and dance, community masques seek to both tell the story at hand, and also to serve as an occasion for larger civic celebration.”

AS YOU LIKE IT, which ran September 1st – 5th as the culmination of the 2017 Public Works program, achieved these lofty goals and more. It truly captured, from the individual to the communal level, everything that makes theater an important and wonderful art form.

Continue reading “Public Works Presents: AS YOU LIKE IT @ the Delacorte Theater”

Recent Cutbacks presents: “KEVIN!!!!!”

Recent Cutbacks Presents: KEVIN!!!!!
Recent Cutbacks Presents: KEVIN!!!!!

What It Is

Recent Cutbacks, acclaimed for their signature stripped down style of theatrical movie parodies, returns to The PIT with their third and most ambitious show to date, KEVIN!!!!!, a multimedia send-up of perennial holiday classic Home Alone. Playing through January 7th at The PIT, KEVIN!!!! combines puppetry, live projection, a four-part choir, and the free-wheeling ensemble spectacle we’ve come to expect from Recent Cutbacks in a majorly satisfying hour-long show.

And in case you missed their previous shows, they’re offering one-night-only reprises of both Hold Onto Your Butts and Fly, You Fools! as a part of two double-feature evenings, listed below. Both classics are highly recommended — you can even read this blog’s very first review, of Fly, You Fools!, if you need any more convincing!

Website | Tickets | Facebook

Remaining performances:

Friday, December 30 @8pm
Thursday, January 5 @8pm
   (followed by Fly, You Fools! @ 9:30pm)
Friday, January 6 @7pm
   (followed by Hold Onto Your Butts @ 8pm
Saturday, January 7 @9:30pm

Continue reading “Recent Cutbacks presents: “KEVIN!!!!!””

TiG Spotlight: The Where Project

TiG Spotlight

In addition to reviews and essays about theatrical productions, Theater Is Good is embarking upon a quest to cover the array of developmental, festival, and non-traditional work that happens in the broader theater scene. So much important work and creativity goes on at other kinds of events, with so many worthy organizations empowering and connecting artists, but they don’t seem to get nearly the attention of production runs. The Theater Is Good (TiG) Spotlight is here to shine a light on this truly valuable work!

The Group Lab presents: The Where ProjectThe Where Project

presented by The Group Lab

At the heart of almost all great theater — all great media, perhaps — is a well-told story. There are exceptions that prove the rule, but in the end, in some way, it’s all about the meaningful journey or lessons of a story. Not the plot, to be clear, which is a series of events — a plot won’t take our hand, show us around the world a little bit, and then leave us alone in the supermarket. But a story will.

The art of storytelling grows ever more complex with the technical opportunities of the stage and screen. It has become thrilling to pare it back, subversive in its simplicity, and leave a lone performer the noble task: “Tell us a story.” Synthesizing, becoming all the strategies and skill that make stories work across media, a good performer can make you feel what it was to be ancient, and to need oral stories the way you needed the next hunt.

The Where Project, presented by The Group Lab, has grown to be such a gathering, bringing together various storytellers in a two-act presentation framed by the questions, “Where are you from?” and “Where are you going?” These are prompts for stories we’d find in a circle of newly acquainted friends, and the Lab inspires this atmosphere throughout their events. There’s time to grab a drink and chat, while the company loosely MCs the evening.

Continue reading “TiG Spotlight: The Where Project”

The PIT presents: “Room 4” by Marina & Nicco

"Room 5" by Marina & Nicco @ The PIT
“Room 4” by Marina & Nicco @ The PIT

What It Is

The question of representation in entertainment is a front-and-center issue of our time, even if you’re not working in the industry. With trending topics like #OscarsSoWhite, the raging back-and-forth around Hamilton’s non-white casting call, audition room role reversals, and a recent surge of Asian awareness in Hollywood, it’s pretty familiar territory to anyone with a finger on media’s pulse.

Room 4, by Marina and Nicco, and playing twice more at The People’s Improv Theater (5/26 & 5/27 at 9:30 PM) takes an extended look under the hood, moving deeper than hashtags and taking full advantage of comedy and theatrical history to deconstruct depictions of black characters and the use of black actors in America. Four actors stuck in an existential time loop play out their most stereotyped role, tortured from beyond time and space by the twin fantasies of white supremacist media — the Angry Black Guy and the Magical Negro.

The piece moves as a series of comedic scenes spiraling on a theatrical framework that draws variously from Beckett, commedia dell’arte, and Groundhog’s Day. To quote the aptly worded release, “It’s funny, but a little angry, but mostly funny.”

Website | Tickets | Facebook

Continue reading “The PIT presents: “Room 4” by Marina & Nicco”

UglyRhino Presents: “Okay” by Taylor Mac

UglyRhino Presents: "Okay" by Taylor Mac @ Central Arts
UglyRhino Presents: “Okay” by Taylor Mac @ Central Arts

What It Is

If you set out to the multi-purpose Central Arts space in Bushwick, Brooklyn, you may find yourself transported to a suburban prom circa 2003 for the duration of your visit, before and after the production of Taylor Mac’s “Okay”, now playing through May 28th, by UglyRhino Productions. The arena stage is ringed by seating, a DJ booth pumping early-Aughts beats all night, and a bar with beer, wine, and cocktails — including a spiked punch.

The intimate arrangement brings the audience inside a high school bathroom, where all the action swirls around one girl’s stall as she deals with the oncoming birth of her baby at prom. Originally conceived and performed by Mac as a solo piece, UglyRhino has created an expanded vision of the world with tight direction, impressive design, and a solid ensemble of performers.

It’s a social affair, so consider arriving early for a drink, or staying after — you might need one.

Website | Tickets | Facebook

Continue reading “UglyRhino Presents: “Okay” by Taylor Mac”

Recent Cutbacks presents: “Fly, You Fools!”

"Fly, You Fools!" by Recent Cutbacks, @ The People's Improv Theater
“Fly, You Fools!” by Recent Cutbacks, @ The People’s Improv Theater

What It Is

Given just a one-line description of Recent Cutbacks’ “Fly, You Fools!”, currently extended through July at The People’s Improv Theater, it feels like a bit of a joke: a nearly shot-for-shot parody of The Fellowship of the Ring starring just three actors and a Foley sound artist, sending up the first installment of Peter Jackson’s historic The Lord of The Rings trilogy in about an hour-and-a-half.

And after all, it’s being produced at one of the preeminent comedy centers in NYC, which until recently hasn’t necessarily been known as a breeding ground for traditional theater. But this show, along with some of the other recent offerings at The PIT, should challenge that assumption pretty directly.

Running at The PIT through July, “Fly, You Fools!” will also include limited run / double-feature presentations of Recent Cutbacks’ original production, “Hold On To Your Butts” on 6/28 & 7/12. 

Website | Tickets | Facebook

Continue reading “Recent Cutbacks presents: “Fly, You Fools!””