Off-Broadway Recommendation: 38TH MARATHON OF ONE-ACT PLAYS (Ensemble Studio Theatre)

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by Gregory Bernard on August 5, 2022

in Theater-New York

Ensemble Studio Theatre (EST) has the the lineup for the 38th Marathon of One-Act Plays, works from artists who identify as Black, Indigenous & People of Color (BIPOC). This year’s selection of eleven plays was curated by Co-Artistic Directors Mike Lew (Teenage Dick) and Colette Robert (Behind the Sheet). Ten plays will be presented across two different series from Sunday October 16, 2022, through Sunday November 13, 2022, at EST, 545 West 52nd St). An eleventh play, Yan Tután, will be streamed throughout the entire four weeks in collaboration with Perseverance Theatre in Alaska.

The biennial Marathon of One-Act Plays has been a landmark New York theatre festival since 1977. Praised by critics and beloved by audiences, it launched an industry-wide revival of the short play form, breaking new ground by putting emerging and established writers together on one stage. In its earliest days, the Marathon was key to sustaining the careers of writers like Horton Foote and Romulus Linney, while providing essential early opportunity for then-new voices like Christopher Durang, Richard Greenberg and Aaron Sorkin.

That mix of ages and cultures remains at the Marathon’s core, with each subsequent generation – now including Julia Cho, Stephen Adly Guirgis, Amy Herzog, Qui Nguyen, Taylor Mac, and many others – taking their turn on the festival’s Hell’s Kitchen stage. Recently produced Marathon playwrights include Clare Barron, Leah Nanako Winkler, Anna Ziegler and Lloyd Suh. Martyna Majok was awarded the 2018 Pulitzer Prize for Cost of Living, a play which originated in the 2015 Marathon of One-Act Plays.

Casting, creative teams, and ticketing information will be announced in September. For more info, visit EST.

The 38th Marathon of One-Act Plays are:


By Harron Atkins

Noah and Jeremy bonded over music, fell in love over music, then fell apart over music. Can music bring them back together? Still… is a play that follows two people over 50 years as they struggle to love two things at once: each other and their dreams.

Intro To

By Vivian J.O. Barnes

Three very different women take a writing class.

Tr@k Grls (pt1)

By Bleu Beckford-Burrell

Raeni Bailey and Anita Gordon have four things in common right now: living in Far Rockaway, Queens; the High School Track team and being Black Girls. A homage play to the Lady Seahorses of Far Rockaway High School.

Prospect Avenue or The Miseducation of Juni Rodriguez

By Dominic Colón

Two young men from the Bronx meet on a downtown number 2 train. This brief encounter sparks a meditation on life, love, and McDonald’s.

Los Complicados

By Cusi Cram

It is 1984 and 15-year-old Manca is having a truly abysmal day. Will her pot-smoking, free spirited god-brother, Pedro be able to lift her up out of the dumps? The jury’s out because with these two everything is muy complicado.

Brass Knuckles

By Yussef El Guindi

As Maysoon puts on her hijab she tries to steel herself against the possible verbal, even physical assaults she might have to endure during the course of the day for wearing a hijab.


By Keiko Green

Global warming, tidal waves, and tornadoes have destroyed all of humankind as we know it…well, all except Troop 4337. Set in the not-so-distant future, the only survivors of the apocalypse are a troop of boy scouts led by an eccentric Scoutmaster. They soldier on, fighting off the all-consuming cosmic loneliness, as they attempt to make peace with a vengeful Mother Nature.

Breath of Life: A choreoplay of Black Love

By Goldie E. Patrick

When Toni and Drew, both Black community activists, are hit with the double pandemic of COVID-19 and Police Brutality, the decision of whether to protest in their community or stay home becomes more than a political choice. Separated from each other for the first time in months, each has their own confrontation of the fears they’ve been holding onto about their new life.


By a.k. payne

Ten minutes before their shift at the grocery store, Leticia tries to prove to Kim that love exists; Kim wishes she could rearrange the world.

Younger Battles the Possible Ghost

By Shannon Tyo

There is almost certainly a ghost in Younger’s bedroom. What to do, what to do…

Yan Tután

By Vera Starbard

*Streaming in collaboration with Perseverance Theatre

An Alaska Native group faces a leadership crisis and must decide whether to continue their traditional practice at all.

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