The 2014 Houston Theater Awards: A Year Filled With Sound, Fury and Laughter

Houston Press
Wed, 08/20/2014

Best New Play
clean/through by Miki Johnson
(Catastrophic Theatre)

Many Houston fans (us included) miss seeing Miki Johnson, an extremely talented actor, perform on stage. These days, she’s Catastrophic Theatre’s playwright-in-residence. The trade-off has been that she’s written some breathtakingly beautiful and well-crafted plays, including this year’s winner for Best New Play, clean/through. (Johnson previously won this award for her debut play, American Falls.) The story of a couple struggling to stay together as they get clean and sober wasn’t pretty (drug addition rarely is), but gosh was it powerful. Directed by Jason Nodler, Catastrophic’s artistic director, the obviously complex story was seamless. Johnson kept the construction of the work — the nuts and bolts of how she created living, breathing characters and how she built intricate, intense scenes — firmly beneath a layer of emotion and, at times, desperation. There wasn’t a happily-ever-after ending; instead, Johnson left her characters at a new beginning.

Finalists: Middletown by Will Eno (Catastrophic Theatre) and Rome by John Harvey (Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company).