Jan 23

Bombasted by Science: COPENHAGEN

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copen

Presented by Porpentine Players
By Michael Frayn
Directed by Jon Taie

January 21 – 31, 2015
Nave Gallery
155 Powderhouse Blvd
Somerville, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville, MA) Science is having a moment in the public sphere; thanks to actors such as  Eddie Redmayne and Benedict Cumberbatch, physics and math are sexy and everyone wants a piece of these oh so marketable, oh so male institutions. Suddenly it’s very chic to flout one’s comprehension of STEM studies. While I’m grateful that movies such as The Theory of Everything  and The Imitation Game exist, the media forget that the theories discussed in these films aren’t as digestible as the script treatments suggest. Science and math are complicated beasts. So complicated that most American elementary and high school students have difficulty grasping remedial skills. Thus, a delicate balance must be maintained when explaining scientific and mathematical theory via the media to the hoi polloi. It must  educate while still communicating the advancement of skill required for application. Hollywood tends to over-simplify. Frayn’s Copenhagen, as produced by the Porpentine Players keeps in complicated. Continue reading

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Jan 20

A Resounding Meh: A FUTURE PERFECT

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Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Beers were harmed in the making of this play.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Written by Ken Urban
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 9 – Feb. 7, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Inside every adult there is an 18 year old wondering what the Hell just happened. It feels like just yesterday you were a shy teenager prepping for college. You blink and there you are, 38 and wondering how you got into this mess. It’s a surprise to discover that we’re the adults now, the guys in charge. We’re the very people we protested against in our teens and 20’s and now we have to pretend it’s OK. While the initial money/freedom is nice, the rest feels like strange and unusual punishment for our childhood sins. Adulthood blows. Continue reading

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Jan 16

The Truth Always Gets Out: MUCKRAKERS

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Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented as part of the Next Rep Black Box Festival
Written by Zayd Dohrn
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

January 10 – February 1
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Trigger warnings: sexual assault, nudity, sexual situations, adult language, suicide, depression, politics, implied violence

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Watertown, MA) This is the 30th season of New Repertory Theatre and the first show in the 2nd annual Next Rep Black Box Festival.  Despite all of the trigger warnings I would highly recommend Muckrakers for adults, particularly those folks interested in exploring the moral issues that are attached to the digital age regarding transparency versus privacy.  Here are the trigger warnings that New Rep provides:  nudity, sexual situations and adult language.  I add onto that these trigger warnings:  implied violence, suicide, depression and politics.  Also, I add on a big, honking trigger warning for people who have been sexually assaulted: you might experience some unpleasant flashbacks. Continue reading

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Dec 19

No NPR Regurgitation Here: WRITING HOME

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Presented by Ministry of Theatre
Written by Donna Daley, Alexandria Victoria Wong, Denice Lowery, Renee Luv, Pris Olivia, Veronica Pruitt, Shorty, Jes Ryan, Odelle Weaver
Music directed by Marissa Wahkuna
Choreography by Angelica Potter
Created and directed by Misch Whitaker

Dec. 18 – 21, 2014
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA
Ministry of Theatre on Facebook
On The Rise on Facebook
More Than Words on Facebook
Stories Without Roofs on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) During the height of Occupy Boston’s reign in Dewey Square, a friend told me a story about the transition of Dewey Square into public park space. Her story goes that the question of homeless people was brought to the Board managing construction. The Board almost unanimously decided that the Homeless shouldn’t be considered in their planning. One lone soldier of justice spoke up to say that the Homeless needed to exist somewhere. The soldier continued that Rich people didn’t want them in the private sector. Rich people didn’t want them in the public sector either. Should the Board kill them? The Board was shocked. No, of course the Homeless shouldn’t be killed. The Homeless should simply be somewhere else so the Rich wouldn’t have to think of them. The soldier of justice demanded to know where the Homeless should exist in order to please the Board. The Board then unanimously decided that maybe it was beneficial to consider the Homeless in their plans.

I have no idea if this story is actually true or if it’s a fantastical story created during a time when Boston was at its most activist. The moral still rings true: there are no worthless people; there are only people willing to treat others like they are worthless because it’s convenient. One doesn’t have to be rich think ill of someone in differing circumstances than their own. We’ve all done it and we should all make the conscious, continuous effort to stop. Class warfare is real. Continue reading

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Dec 15

No, Thank YOU Susan: NECCESARY MONSTERS

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Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By John Kuntz
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Walt McGough

Dec.5, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe lighting, smoking, unsexy sex, murder, drugs, wiring from an electrical engineer’s worst nightmare

(Boston, MA) The proverb goes, “some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them*.” The majority of the people who advertise that they apply this statement to their life philosophies are frequently ignorant, bigoted and deeply stupid. One just doesn’t say such things (lest your friends and loved ones think you’re one of them. No one wants to be considered one of them). That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t agree. On the contrary, we frequently do but refuse to publicly admit it because our Mommies taught us better than that. We only admit we agree with this proverb in the quiet of the night, privately and alone. But it’s true isn’t it? There are certain people that we believe are bad and therefore must be stopped. Sometimes it’s a terrible man like Hitler, and sometimes it’s Celia in 24B across the hall with her 4 incessantly yapping corgis, 2am vacuuming, and magazine stealing habits. Sometimes Celia, and what she represents, must die. It’s thoughts like these that fuel Necessary Monsters. Continue reading

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Dec 08

“Distant Neighbors” and Close Encounters

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Sheldon Brown (Adams) & Louise Hamill (Talia). Photo by E. Milanovich Photography

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Liz Fenstermaker

December 5 – 13, 2014
Boston Playwrights Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA
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Review by Gillian Daniels

Fresh Ink Theatre’s Distant Neighbors hits at the heart of what the best science fiction is about: people reacting to technological advancement.  If you read (or watch the film adaption of) Jurassic Park, you’re not just consuming entertainment to see how people create dinosaurs, but how people react to creating dinosaurs.  Similarly, the characters of Distant Neighbors react to a change in an intimate environment.  Here, however, the source of upheaval is the wing of an apparent spacecraft that comes crashing down into the backyards of Adams (Sheldon Brown), Talia (Louise Hamill), and Griffin (Daniel Boudreau), three neighbors who know nothing about each other.  It’s a wonderful starting point for a story about intimacy and paranoia, but I’m not sure it pans out well.

Continue reading

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Nov 18

Emotional Complexity on a Beige Stage: THE TROJAN WOMEN

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trojan ladiesPresented by Theatre@First
Written by Euripides
Translated by Edith Hamilton
Directed by J. Deschene

Nov. 14-22, 2014
Unity Church of Somerville
Somerville, MA
T@F on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel
In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I did audition for this play and was not cast. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow this to taint their review.

 

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”

Margaret Atwood

(Somerville, MA) The Trojan Women was first produced in 415 BCE but might as well have been written last year. In it, the women of Troy (now Turkey) are grieving over their beloved fallen city, and the men who have died defending the city from the Greeks. Euripides so captured the trauma of a country torn by war, that his play has been made into a very famous 1971 film (featuring the alluring Katharine Hepburn as Hecuba, a brave and unusual choice) and has survived several adaptations and manipulations. The translation by Edith Hamilton remains the most popular for staging. The movie featuring Hepburn, Irene Papas, and Vanessa Redgrave, etc. is a classic. Continue reading

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Nov 14

Where’s the Scandal? : “Mary Shelley”

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mary-shelley

Presented by Wellesley College Theatre
By Helen Edmundson
Directed by Nora Hussey

Nov. 12 – 16, 2014
Wellesley, MA
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Review by Nick Bennett-Zendzian

(Wellesley, MA) My hat goes off to any company that is mounting a new or otherwise under-produced script. Helen Edmundson’s Mary Shelley received its première staging in Leeds in 2012, followed by a national tour and a run at the Tricycle Theatre in London. Near as I can tell, it has not been mounted in the United States prior to the production currently running at Wellesley College, and I commend director Nora Hussey for bringing this well-crafted play to us. Continue reading

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Nov 13

Looking at the stars is looking at the past: “Chosen Child”

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http://www.bu.edu/bpt/files/2014/10/2014-10-29-CHOSEN_CHILD_035.jpg

Photograph credit: Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Written by Monica Bauer
Directed by Megan Schy Gleeson

October 30-November 22, 2014
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Boston Playwright’s Theatre deftly handles heavy subject matter to thoroughly explore one family’s patterns in Chosen Child.  Cleverly overcoming technical limitations, intertwined histories emerge and recede amidst light and shadow in this production. Continue reading

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Nov 11

Audience Trust Issues: TURTLES

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Photo by Joan Mejia

Photo by Joan Mejia

Presented by Boston Public Works
By John Greiner-Ferris
Directed by Jeffrey Mosser

Oct. 24 – Nov. 8, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Dear crew of Turtles: What the heck was the squeaky noise we heard during the entirety of Act 1? I’m not particularly sensitive to repetitive noises but the sound of metal rubbing on metal kept pulling me out of the play.

Turtles is a play about single-Mom, Bella (Jackie Davis), and her two kids Foos (Lauren Foster) and Finn (Elle Borders). They are squatters living on/in garbage by a billboard advertising the next Rapture. They are surviving when Jesus, who may or may not be the magical zombie-savior of lore (Alexander Castillo-Nunez), falls into their laps. Jesus lacks any sort of social context (this dude could be anybody), gives no explanation for his presence, and has serious boundary issues. Yet, together they decide to move to Boston for its turtle sanctuary. Boston becomes a metaphorical sanctuary for all of them. Continue reading

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