Best Stage Actor

Scott Plate, Thom Pain (Based on Nothing)

The most intense hour onstage in the past year was the 60 minutes during which Scott Plate twitched, railed, and sweated his way through the intriguing Thom Pain (Based on Nothing) at Dobama Theatre. Playing a dorky guy who avoids eye contact doesn't sound like a riveting assignment. But Plate fully embodied this character, tossing off his quick asides and hairpin changes of direction with such alacrity and nimbleness that it seemed almost mystical. Playwright Will Eno provided plenty of great lines, and director Joel Hammer kept the pace relentlessly engaging. But it was Plate who turned what could have been pretentious posturing into an evening of intellectual stimulation and sheer delight.