Best Play: 'Garbage, Death and the City of Baltimore' by Ric Royer

Psychic Readings, 219 Park Ave., psychicreadings.church

The whole thing with plays is the tension between what is real and what we imagine—the act of suspension in the willing suspension of disbelief. And too often, plays seem so play-y, you know? When Acme Corporation did 12- and 24-hour version of Samuel Beckett's 10-minute “Play,” after a dozen hours, the actors had burned away all the acting. Ric Royer's adaptation of Fassbinder's “Garbage, the City, and Death” achieved the same effect by opposite means. Royer cast many non-actors, held few rehearsals, and had an insanely short run. But the energy that the cast, including CP contributor Michael Farley, brought to the play made it the most exciting thing we saw all year. It spectacularly addressed the concerns surrounding gentrification as more artists are forced out of Station North and move into the new Bromo District, where Psychic Readings is newly located. So new that at the time of the production, the third floor was still full of construction stuff and the titular garbage. It was meta and smart and quick and dirty and everyone gave their most. That's what our stage scene does best.

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