Best New Play (2013)

Smokefall by Noah Haidle

LA Bitter Lemons, the best aggregator (if not best website devoted to Southern California theater) of local theater reviews, gave powerhouse playwright Noah Haidle's latest work, produced by South Coast Repertory, a 54 percent on its Lemon Meter. Only three of the nine reviews of Smokefall came in as sweet, with six either bittersweet or bitter. What's that mean? Most local critics have their heads up their asses. Or they just missed the honesty and grace in this mesmerizing play about a family whose home serves as perhaps the most important character. Echoes of T.S. Eliot, Samuel Beckett and even Sam Shepard reverberated in the play, with its allusions to time, existential angst and wanderlust. Haidle's ideas soared into the ether, and the play's inventive structure kept the audience on its feet. It was also a play with an enormous heart, which made the breaking of that heart all the more emotionally arresting.


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