Best Argument for Devised Theater (2010)

The Debate Society

Resolved: New York is currently enjoying an unprecedented wealth of devised theater as established companies such as the Wooster Group and Mabou Mines give rise to newer collectives: the Builders Association, Elevator Repair Service, the Collapsable Giraffe, Radiohole, etc. In recent years, a fresh round of experimental companies has emerged: Banana Bag & Bodice, Waterwell, Nature Theater of Oklahoma. They're all excellent, but The Debate Society has made a particularly fine case for the genre. Writer/performers Paul Thureen and Hannah Bos and director Oliver Butler form an unlikely triumvirate, crafting skillful and gently absurd meditations on art, life, and bingo. In the past year, they've triumphed with two shows. First, there was You're Welcome, a cycle of deliciously bad plays such as Is That Sharks in That Smoldering Moat?! and Monster Trucks: A Reading. Secondly, there was Buddy Cop 2, a strange and strangely moving study of small-town policing that featured numerous racquetball games. How delightful were they? Let's just say there's ample room for Debate.