Best Stage Production - 2004
In a Little World of Our Own
Gary Mitchell's explosive drama about three brothers conniving and surviving in battleground Belfast has the worst title of any play to receive its American premiere in St. Louis during this (or probably any other) year. Even the actors had trouble remembering the awkward title. In time, it simply came to be known as "the Irish play." The Irish play may have offered a plot only a notch or two removed from melodrama, but Mitchell's writing was lean, sinewy and rhythmically charged. The ferocious HotHouse Theatre Company production, spearheaded by a supercharged and astonishingly brave performance by Joel Lewis, left audiences exhausted and stunned. In a Little World of Our Own was a watershed event in St. Louis theater, for it showed that, when given the opportunity, a local company can rise to the challenge of staging theater as compelling as anything you're likely to see anywhere.