BEST THEATER FOR DRAMA (1998)
Penumbra has hardly been the most adventurous local theater company of late, relying largely on revivals and family-focused sure things. Still, this African American theater isn't afraid of drama; in fact, unlike too many theaters both big and small, Penumbra actually embraces it. And while a few other small-to-midsize companies also provide consistently high-quality drama--the Jungle and Hidden Theatre, for example--Penumbra's art is both politically provocative and deeply informed by female sensibilities as well as male, more so than any other major company. The acting and directing at Penumbra are impressively consistent, and recent productions such as A Raisin in the Sun, Jar the Floor, and Canned Goods have been presented with a simplicity, clarity, intensity, thoughtfulness, and narrative musicality that have truly borne out the company's mandate to provide theater for the soul.