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The Subtext: Plays That Fill You Up

This month Brian surveys playwrights, directors, dramaturgs, and critics about the works they just can’t shake, and why.

Usually, once a month Brian James Polak talks to a fellow playwright about what irks, agitates, motivates, inspires and—ultimately—what makes them tick.

This month, inspired by a recent Twitter thread, Brian tries something different: He connected with several playwrights, dramaturgs, critics, and directors to hear about the plays they’ve read or seen in their lives that have stuck with them, that they’ve never been able to shake—or, as Brian calls them, plays that fill you up. The result is an inspiring list of excellent contemporary plays.


04:30 Dani Oliver on Guards at the Taj by Rajiv Joseph
10:03 Sarah Cho on Buried Child by Sam Shepard
13:03 Lily Janiak on Gloria by Branden Jacobs Jenkins
16:25 Daniel Olivas on Zoot Suit by Luis Valdez
23:53 Jer Adrianne Lelliott on A Kind of Weather by Sylvan Oswald
27:26 Kari Bentley-Quinn on Scarcity by Lucy Thurber
32:08 Robert Firpo-Cappiello on 4:48 Psychosis by Sarah Kane
34:09 Kristin Idaszak on Far Away by Caryl Churchill
43:36 Charly Evon Simpson on Bright Half Life by Tanya Barfield
46:46 Ray Yamanouchi on Caught by Christopher Chen
51:25 Anne G. Morgan on Vietgone by Qui Nguyen
1:00:19 Caridad Svich on Hedwig and the Angry Inch by John Cameron Mitchell and Stephen Trask
1:05:15 Deb Hiett on The Ferryman by Jez Butterworth
1:07:30 Inda Craig-Galvan on The Nether by Jennifer Haley
1:13:15 Vicki Meagher on The Wolves by Sarah DeLappe
1:15:09 David Valdes on Wolf Play by Hansol Jung
1:19:00 Alix Sobler on Mary Jane by Amy Herzog
1:24:12 Dominic D’Andrea on MilkMilkLemonade by Joshua Conkel

The complete episode can be downloaded here.

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