1. The Myopia
The theater season started on an unmatchable high when David Greenspan, a very busy character actor of a different feather, performed his bizarre and ultimately unclassifiable one-man show, a play within a play within a play that has made a profound impact on both fellow playwrights and theater audiences.
2. The Passion Play
Sarah Ruhl's pan-historical three-play cycle of Biblical proportion finally saw its New York premiere in April with the Epic Theatre Ensemble's thoughtfully designed, perfectly cast and beautifully executed production at the oh-so-appropriate Irondale Center in Fort Greene's Lafayette Avenue Presbyterian Church.
3. Engaging Shaw
Working with an impossibly small space and an erudite, demanding text, the Abingdon Theatre's production of John Morogiello's play about the romantic life of George Bernard Shaw proved that fine, memorable work can be accomplished on a low budget.
4. Once And For All We're Gonna Tell You Who We Are So Shut Up and Listen
Belgian groups Ontroerend Goed and Kopergieteryâ€™s explosive portrait of youth from the 2010 Under the Radar Festival explored teenagersâ€™ everyday tragedies and triumphs. It provided an exciting reminder that yes, itâ€™s all been done before, but each of us needs to feel that their experience is unique.
Brooklynite Will Eno showed us why many consider him the next great American playwright when this sensitive tale of small-town American malaise opened at the Vineyard in November. Other critics thought the second act fell short, but we think they just couldn't handle the shift from sweet satire to teary earnestness.
6. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson (the Public Theater production, not the Broadway transfer)
Vulgar, anachronistic and totally emo, Bloody Bloody burlesqued the life of our seventh president while skewering the American voter, from Tea Party knucklehead to Obama-adoring naif. It depicted the country, and its leaders, as insecure adolescents, unfit to govern or be governed in return. Democracy suuucks!
7. MUST: the inside story
One of the singular pleasures of tracking performance artists over the years is watching them live through and interpret different stages of their lives. This show added a chapter to Peggy Shawâ€™s ongoing narrative, one focused on the history and meaning that the body carries both in life and in death.
8. In The Footprint
This People's History of the Atlantic Yards—poignantly performed within walking distance of the site—attacks the development from every angle, giving voice to the displaced and forgotten. It's political vaudeville that's stunningly relevant, resolutely local yet nationally scoped in its tragic implications.
9. My, Myself & I
Though it was dismissed by most critics, Edward Albee's new play about twinship and its discontents proved a worthy addition to his late run of challenging theatrical experiments.
10. The Artist Is Present
Everyone Downtown knew someone "reperforming" Marina Abramovicâ€™s pieces at MoMA, and stories of odd audience behavior abounded. But what was most striking about their quiet endurance was the transformation of the live body and thinking person into a performative automaton, and the troubling layers added to the original intent of Abramovicâ€™s work.
Top 10 Things We Saw On Stage in 2010
Our ten favorite things performed for New York City audiences in 2010, from seasoned vets' peculiar late works to rising stars, experimental happenings and canonical performance art.