Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Good News Theatre Awards

Regular readers of this blog and its predecessor and other stuff I've written know that I'm not a big fan of theatre awards. I think that putting up a slate of five actors in five different performances, and then selecting just one of those as the "best" of the season, is reductive and not particularly interesting or valuable.

But I do think that recognizing outstanding and memorable work, publicly and enthusiastically, is always worth doing. So I think it's useful to pause, as we near the end of the 2008-09 season, and as numerous bodies begin bestowing awards on this and that, to acknowledge some of the shows that really mattered to me this year. Note that while I liked and admired and enjoyed literally hundreds of shows and performances this season, I am writing here about the rare few that felt cathartic and transformative to me.

On three occasions this season I found myself moved beyond expectation or description. The first was when I saw All My Sons, which featured performances by John Lithgow, Dianne Wiest, and Patrick Wilson that got to the heart of the family in peril at the center of Arthur Miller's tragedy. The second was the night I saw Kirk Wood Bromley's it has no title, which I thought and thought about for fully a day and night before I appreciated what it was about--what an extraordinary work of art he created. The last was the extraordinary revival of Our Town, staged by David Cromer at Barrow Street Theatre.

So that's MY New York Theatre Experience. What's yours? I hope you will post a comment here to share the show(s) that mattered most to you during the past 12 months. Together we can compile a list of notable theatre that deserves our collective respect and gratitude. Hopefully we can inspire artists to give us more of the same in 2009-2010.

1 comment:

Duncan Pflaster said...

The best stuff I saw this year was mainly off-off-Broadway: The Real Thing at T. Schrieber Studios, The Chiselers by Emerging Artists Theater, American Rapture by Oberon Theatre Ensemble, Shadow of Himself by Rabbit Hole Ensemble, and Women Beware Women by Red Bull Theater.