If we can agree that most playwrights are mediocre, I sort of feel like they fall into two giant pools at opposite ends of a continuum. At one end there are those with great ears for the music of dialogue, for how we sound when we speak but without much of any depth fueling their desire to write. At the other end of the spectrum are the theme builders who load their plays with big issues but maybe lack some of the finesse in terms of crafting dialogue. And then in the middle, between these two extremes are the really great playwrights, the ones who have a subtle ear for dialogue but also have something devastating to say about the human condition
Two such writers have plays up in 99-seat houses right now. And I was lucky enough to enjoy them both virtually back to back.
Both playwrights write very funny dialogue. I was laughing out loud throughout both plays. But between the laughs, something else was going on. Dark ideas were bubbling to the surface. Poetry was emerging in the most seemingly mundane bits of dialogue.
I don’t want to “review” either play. I just want you to jump up and buy a ticket to both. So here are the links to the two plays.
Honey Fist by Gus Schulenburg. Produced by Flux Theatre Ensemble at the 4th Street Theatre, NYTW’s tiny space.
Core Values by Steven Levenson. At Ars Nova.
Both plays close May 18th.
In that instant when we let our bodies give in to laughter, I think a door is opened inside us and we’re suddenly free. Through their humor, Gus Schulenburg and Steven Levenson expertly waltzed right through that door and into my soul. And I am so grateful to both of them for that.