Saturday, July 25, 2009


New dramatic works that are “topical but freshly imagined”that was our plea two years ago at the end of our omnibus review of that season’s Virgin Labfest.

We meant plays that examined society as much as the self in contemporary light, stripped of easy sloganeering or default flag-waving. Stories that combined public urgency with private griefs in ways that avoided the simplistic Manichean comforts of tidy talking points or grim propaganda.

Plays, in other words, that engaged the times while remaining true works of drama rather than bald sociopolitical theses or full-throated screeds.

It is our happy duty to report that the best offerings of this year’s Virgin Labfest were that kind—fresh works of vitality, insight and imagination that reflected the present unblinkingly, without being blinded by it.

-- “Socially engaged theaterminus the speeches,” in the coming Monday issue of the Inquirer. PLUS: “My favorite Virgin Labfest 5 performances” appears as a sidebar.

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