2. The Good Negro, DTC. Another world premiere, Tracy Scott Wilson's drama explored the beginnings of the Civil Rights movement, with fictional (but recognizable) black minister characters squeezed between FBI wiretappers and Klan members. Powerful stuff made more so by current events of election season.

3. Neat, AART. Actress Regina Washington played everyone important, young and old, male and female, in the life of actress-playwright Charlayne Woodard. An exhaustive, exhilarating tour de force.

4. Edmond, Second Thought Theatre. David Mamet's one-act about one man's fall from normalcy to felony in the course of a day gave actor Regan Adair a chance to go to all the dark places we only want to visit vicariously.

5. The Pillowman, KDT. Lee Trull, Cameron Cobb, Michael Federico and Ian Leson were on a mission in this harrowing Martin McDonagh drama about tyranny and censorship. They showed that Dallas actors can kick the hell out of the toughest script and scare the bejeebers out of jaded theatergoers. Oh, the nightmares this dream cast produced.

And finally, a new rule for theaters for getting more people into seats in 2009:

Produce no play originally written with a feather. No Shakespeare, no Marlowe, no Molière no more. Let dust gather on these musty works and bring us more premieres of new scripts that move, amuse and challenge actors and audience. Enough with the classics; a new class of young playwrights needs the exposure.

Oh, and let us bring our drinks to our seats. That would be nice too.

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