Best String of Theatrical Stunners

The last four plays at Trap Door Theatre

Critics' Picks

Trap Door Theatre is almost literally a hole in the wall: you reach it through a deep, narrow crevice between two buildings. And the programming can seem equally inaccessible. Under founder and artistic director Beata Pilch, the company specializes in what their mission statement calls "challenging yet obscure" works, often by European playwrights with avant-garde sensibilities, dangerous politics, and/or histories of awful behavior. You don't go to Trap Door for an easy time. But you can very definitely go there for a good one. And lately, an astonishing one. Although the ensemble have had successes in the past, their four most recent shows seem to be signaling a new level of mastery—canny choices, vividly realized. I've seen three of those shows: Peter Handke's acerbic They Are Dying Out, Werner Schwab's gleefully nasty Overweight, Unimportant: Misshape—A European Supper, and the latest marvel, directed by company member Kate Hendrickson, Anger/Fly (through 6/30). Of the one I missed—The Word Progress on My Mother's Lips Doesn't Ring True, by Matei Visniec—Reader contributor Justin Hayford wrote that the "production is relentlessly provocative, impossibly beautiful, and apt to haunt you long after it ends." Based on experience, I can absolutely believe him.