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PRESS

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FUGUE

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[A] striking innovation … Parallel elements of the three stories are underscored by impressively choreographed simultaneous delivery of words, phrases and, on occasion, orgasms … Playwright Tommy Smith’s drama is elegantly geometric in its construction and viscerally potent in its staging.”

The Los Angeles Times

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Fascinating … A fugue, in music, is a melody repeated in complex patterns; in psychiatry, it’s a dissociative state of mind  – playwright Tommy Smith infuses both meanings into his ambitious new play … the movement, the timing and the brilliant staging of sex, suicide and slaughter make [FUGUE] extraordinary.”

LA Weekly

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“Smith leavens his dark, brooding meditation on the mystery of creativity with large doses of wit and humor … at times the same lines are spoken simultaneously in all three of the separate stories, then amplified in counterpoint, with one voice following another, as in a fugue. The result is a play about music which becomes a piece of music itself.”

Total Theater

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“The beauty of this play is that these Echo actors and director have all agreed to come together and explore not only the words, but the subtle idea that creative individuals, in some cases, have elements of craziness that influence their flights of genius … an excellent production.”

OnStageLosAngeles

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“[A] formally virtuosic new play about three visionary composers from the Western classical music tradition … By overlapping and interlacing three historical narratives in which emotional trauma is resolved in a defining work of radical artistic transformation, Smith draws an uncomfortably fine line between our darkest, most sociopathic compulsions and the violent discontinuities that shape artistic discourse.”

Stage Raw

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“[A] mesmerizing meditation on music and madness … one of the most provocative evenings of theater you’re likely to experience for some time to come.”

StageSceneLA

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Harrowing … [FUGUE] may haunt you well after the lights go up … A couple of audience members sharing my row were audibly offended and left at intermission.”

StageHappenings

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Renaissance Italy, Tsarist Russia and early-20th-century Austria provide the settings for Fugue [but] geography is the least of the complexities on tap in Tommy Smith’s new play … the tripartite narratives move at once, much like the interlocking themes evoked by the play’s title.”

– interview in American Theatre

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WHITE HOT

“[Tommy Smith] is writing in the shadow of our most daring and politically incendiary of martyred playwright saints, Sarah Kane and Edward Bond … White Hot is bleak terrain, a buried cesspool of self-loathing and unseemly, sadistic yearnings in love. The play can be read as a critique of the deadening fallout of our reactionary, materialistic, exploitative and soulless era. It can be read as a bad dream or a soap opera about the banality of evil. However you read it, it doesn’t go down easy.” — Craig Lucas, NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW

“” **** Incendiary … [Tommy Smith’s] dialogue has brass on its knuckles … WHITE HOT brands Smith forcefully as a talent to watch and to stomach.” — Adam Feldman, TIME OUT NEW YORK

A beautifully written study in nihilism … revealing why so many marriages, based on such blind attempts at controlling another person and some understandably devious responses to it, lead to duplicitous affairs.” — Steven Leigh Morris, LA WEEKLY

[White Hot] is excellent … What makes the show great are the script and the stomach-churning performances … We know this can’t end well—we knew from the start. But to make stories about awful, broken people watchable, there has to be something to recognize or something to surprise. You’ll find both here. There’s no intermission, and the sounds and lights startle and seethe as the shitshow unfolds. The audience staggered a bit on the way out. You’ve been warned.” – Anna Minard, THE STRANGER

White Hot is a fever blister of a play. It’s not nice. It’s not pretty. It’s raw and tough and meaty, grown up theater for adults who crave intellectual and artistic drama.” – Michael Strangeways, SEATTLE GAY SCENE

A condensed burst of theatrical malevolence … Only an hour long, White Hot achieves an electric unpredictability on the strength of its production elements; specifically it is in the realm of its cast and Smith’s script that make this a production that sticks to the memory.” – Jose Amador, SEATTLE STAR

A powerful play … Mamet, Pinter, Beckett: We see all these influences in Smith’s writing. But he adds something of his own which deviates from the Absurdists, and which makes his technique an actor’s play.” – Ed Farolan, REVIEW VANCOUVER

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FIREMEN

“A nuanced and penetrating portrait of the tragic dynamics of [an] illicit and illegal liaison. … Smith writes with an easy and natural touch, but seizes on the painful and dramatic truth of this dangerous affair.” – Huffington Post

“Masterful, mesmerizing … Smith has gift for exposing dark truths with seemingly superficial dialogue; his take on middle age as a developmental stage rivaling adolescence in its confusion seems right on the money.” – LA Times

“[A] bedeviling and stimulating play … Playwright Tommy Smith at no point tips his hand and even at the play’s finale offers no unequivocal resolution of his various contending tones of menace, unease, dependency and control, all of which remain disquietingly fluid within and among each of the characters.” – The Hollywood Reporter

“[A] darkly funny and disturbing new play … a disarmingly appealing ensemble strike just the right balance between uneasy laughter and unpalatable titillation to drive home Smith’s unsettling portrait of society.” – LA Weekly

“This is no walk in the park, this is a disturbing and morally complex story and playwright Tommy Smith has achieved the most important objective in writing something of this nature, he has almost completely removed his own opinion on the matter, leaving the work up to us, the audience. And it demands some work. But more importantly, because this show makes us care, we also care about doing that work and that, again, is an extraordinary achievement.” – Bitter Lemons, 92% Sweet

“Playwright Tommy Smith has a way with words … the incendiary yarn tells the tale of forbidden love and the flames that fan it, leaving everything in its fiery wake torched and in ashes.” – Stage & Cinema

“Smith really shines at creating characters whose appalling behavior can absolutely unnerve an audience of morally responsible adults.” – LA Post

“‘Firemen’ by Tommy Smith is a show I’d like to drag anyone to who’s never attended a live theatre production … It is a sharp, smartly written play that frames a precise selection of human foibles in a fashion neither formulaic nor fawning.” – Working Author

Read Charles McNulty’s LA Times article responding to the controversy surrounding FIREMEN

 

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THE WIFE

“Excellent … ‘The Wife’ is a brew all Mr. Smith’s own … a sort of warped, contemporary La Ronde.” – NEW YORK TIMES
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Thrilling … a sad, frightening and often extremely funny drama” – L MAGAZINE
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“Haunting … THE WIFE will leave you well entertained and thoughtful – a great thing to achieve.” – REVIEWS OFF BROADWAY
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Unnerving and intense … what we are watching is a world coughing up on the lines of separation that we have created throughout the years.” – THE BROOKLYN RAIL
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Sure to leave you reeling. Through the dark and crazy plot connections are made, paths crossed, and lives destroyed.  All this and more bat-shit-psycho crazy in 75 minutes with no intermission.  The acting is top notch and the writing is superb.” – ACT III
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“The Wife is a shattering slice of life that will stay firmly implanted in your memory for a long time to come.” – SHOW BUSINESS WEEKLY
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An engagingly grim play … The Wife has a raw energy that is engrossing, along with a yearning and disgusted sincerity that haunts even after the surprisingly surreal and (only marginally) hopeful final scene.” – THE JEWISH DAILY FORWARD
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Jody Christopherson interview, NEW YORK THEATRE REVIEW
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GHOSTLIGHT
“[Smith’s] words open up onto haunting and darkly grotesque psychic landscapes unreachable by more pedestrian dramatic entertainments, [ranging] in feeling from the experimental flash fictions of Donald Barthelme to the early schizophrenic-styled writing of Peter Handke.” – LA Weekly.
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ptsd web
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PTSD
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“Tommy Smith’s PTSD is an account of a young man’s return from the Iraq War. The titular post-traumatic stress disorder turns out to have less to do with the soldier’s nonexistent battle experiences than the shattered relationships he left back home. William Carden stages the piece with appropriate hyper-realism; at one point, an actor cooks an actual breakfast onstage. All four cast members seem to plumb the depths of their expertly shaded characters—often wordlessly. The coda to this rich playlet contains only about six lines, yet is one of the most eloquent pieces of theater I’ve seen in a long time.” — VILLAGE VOICE
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