Best Of 2020

Best Play Held in an Unconventional Setting: "The Flick"

The Flick won the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for its playwright, Annie Baker, but it’s been a logistically challenging production to mount. Set in a somewhat retro Massachusetts indie movie theater, it demands that its cast — playing young workers who love movies enough to tolerate their mundane duties, but not to suffer them in silence — move around the set with great physical stamina for some three hours. And they also perform Baker’s wonderful dialogue, revealing their characters’ hopes and dreams as they do their janitorial tasks. But Ella Eggold, a University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music acting graduate, thought Clifton’s Esquire movie theater would be perfect for a staging. And so she produced and acted in a site-specific presentation for two nights in July, having the audience sit on the stage of the cinema’s biggest auditorium while the cast had the run of the rest of the place (including the production booth). The actors — her, Graham Rogers, Leonard Peterson and Kristina Steinmetz — were spectacular, and the direction by Gabriella DiVincenzo and stage-managing by Jennelle John-Lewis were also outstanding. Eggold is now a manager for Theatrical Management Corp., the Esquire’s owner, and has also started — with DiVincenzo and Landon Hawkins — a collective called Cincinnati Artists’ Theatre to present edgier, innovative work. Cincinnati Artists’ Theatre, Liberty Exhibition Hall, 3938 Spring Grove Ave., Northside, cincinnatiartiststheatre.org.