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The Year in Theater


Daniel Beaty in Emergence-See!  

3. Actor-Playwrights Got Over Themselves
Solo plays tend to be exercises in narcissism in which actor-writers keep the spotlight fixed on me-me-me. This year delivered three extraordinary exceptions to the rule, as public-minded artists used solo plays to embrace the city. First Sarah Jones brought her panoply of New York immigrants to Broadway in Bridge & Tunnel. Then, at the Barrow Street, Nilaja Sun’s funny and heartfelt No Child explored life in one of the city’s worst-performing schools. Last and most impressive was Daniel Beaty’s astonishing Emergence-See! at the Public. His play about a slave ship surfacing in New York harbor revealed him to be a dynamic and forceful performer, as well as an intelligent and provocative new writer—on both counts, the strongest debut of the year.


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