Michael Perlman’s At the Table is a feast, although there’s no actual moment when everyone in the play sits down to a meal together. Instead it’s a feast for the actors, who get interesting, full-bodied characters to play, and a feast for the audience, which gets two substantial acts, plenty of intrigue and laughter, and most important, the sense that an important new voice has entered the great conversation of American theater. Until now, the dynamics of shaming within identity politics have been made the target of superficial criticism and shallow satire, but in At the Table, the subject gets a treatment worthy of Henrik Ibsen and Anton Chekhov. Thanks to Kate Bergstrom’s outstanding direction, the talent of this excellent cast shines through in every scene.
A Likely Pair, Julia Izumi’s postmodern mystery play, hinges on what seems to be an allegory of addiction but never quite resolves into any specific meaning. Finally, Outcry, the heartfelt new work by Thais Francis, takes on history, race relations, and the afterlife in a whirling, dancing, and at times shouting-out-loud collage of stories of bloody profiling. It’s a must-see for anyone interested in either the subject or the future of community theater.