Oct 13

Pretty is Currency: “Miss Penitentiary”


Photo credit requested from Maiden Phoenix.

Presented by Maiden Phoenix Theatre Company
Written by Laura Neubauer
Directed by Alyce Householter
Choreography by Kaitee Tredway

Oct. 2 – 17, 2015
Boston Playwrights Theater
Boston, MA
Maiden Phoenix on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Feminism

Disclaimer: Ms. Drexel auditioned for Miss Penitentiary and was not cast. She firmly believes that only an ass would allow something like this is taint a review.

(Boston, MA) The prisoners of the International Penitentiary of the Individually Incarcerated are us. If Miss Penitentiary is a creepy show, it’s because western society’s standards of beauty for women are creepy. If the characters remind you of inmates in a mental health facility, it’s because women are held to such impossible beauty goals that they make themselves crazy attempting to obtain them. Like the guests of the “Hotel California,” women can check out any time we like but we may never leave. Continue reading

Oct 06

The Government Has No Jurisdiction in A Uterus: DRY LAND

Photo credit: Paul Fox

Photo credit: Paul Fox; Detergent should only be used to clean clothing, not a uterus.

Presented by Company One
Written by Ruby Rae Spiegel
Directed by Steven Bogart
Dramaturgy by Jessie Baxter

October 2 – 30, 2015
Plaza Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
C1 on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) For as long as there have been uteruses, there have been abortions. For almost as long as there have been abortions, there have been people desiring to control the contents of a uterus that isn’t theirs. Everyone, regardless of gender, deserves to know the capability of their body. Everyone with a uterus deserves to choose what is best for that uterus whether that means ending or beginning a pregnancy. A uterus shouldn’t be political. It is privately owned. No one gets to make decisions about my body but me. I support Planned Parenthood because I believe that everyone else deserves that freedom too.   

Company One’s production of Dry Land is about the consequences of abstinence only education, institutionalized ignorance, and socialized body shaming. Amy (Stephanie Recio) is a pregnant teenager. She doesn’t give us any specifics but it’s implied that she had consensual sex with a boy. Unfortunately, Amy lives in Florida. This means a safe, regulated surgical abortion is impossible for her to acquire without a parent’s input because Florida believes a teenager 16 or older is old enough to engage in sexual congress with someone up to seven years their senior but not to make their own decisions regarding the consequences of that sexual activity*. Instead, Amy has engaged Ester (Eva Hughes) to be her confidante in self-administering an at-home abortion. They are acquaintances through the high school swim team. Continue reading

Sep 29

On Rye: “Salomé”


Welcome to the gun show.

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater of Boston
Written by Oscar Wilde
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio

Sept. 24 – Oct. 18, 2015
First Church Boston
Boston, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It is fitting that the performances of Salomé coincide with the supermoon lunar eclipse aka Blood Moon. The night’s full moon took a red hue from the shadow cast on it by the Earth. It was a match for the moon image used in the production by Bridge Rep. on Sunday night. As heard through my social network after the performance, both moons were the unhappy source of chicanery on and off the stage. Continue reading

Sep 29

Falsely Upbeat Conclusion Makes “Mr. Joy” Hard to Enjoy

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Photo by Paul Marotta

Presented by ArtsEmerson.
By Daniel Beaty
Directed by David Dower

September 22nd-October 18th, 2015
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at the
The Paramount Center
ArtsEmerson on FaceBook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Black box theater is traditionally a great medium for experimental productions, so when I, along with other audience members of Mr. Joy, was told that the play would speak to us and that we were expected to talk back, I was quite excited—I’m a sucker for audience par-tish. And while my expectations for live audience feedback were never met (don’t anticipate improvised scenes, but rather, a couple moments of audience contribution) what I did manage to enjoy about Mr. Joy was how it addressed current issues in a loud way. Continue reading

Sep 28

For Better or Worse, “The Thing on the Doorstep” is a Shambling Beast

Artwork by Dan DeRosato

Artwork by Dan DeRosato

Presented by Salem Theatre Company
Adapted from the H.P. Lovecraft story
Directed & Adapted by Isaiah Plovnick

September 17 – October 4, 2015
Salem Theatre
90 Lafayette Street
Salem, MA, 01970
Salem Theatre on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Salem, MA) Devoted H.P. Lovecraft fans should prepare themselves for a sojourn to Salem before the end of this week. The Thing on the Doorstep has been lovingly adapted to stage, giving voice to one of the most foundational science fiction writers of the early twentieth century. What’s synthesized from the material is a creeping, gothic narrative, one that fights to stay true to the spirit of the original and hew closely to the author’s voice. The move from page to stage is a fraught one, though, and Lovecraft’s style (retro by the standards of the years he wrote in with a great deal of colonialist issues throughout) is ultimately clunky. Continue reading

Sep 25

Stop Staring At Me Bob Goulet: THE BOYS IN THE BAND

Photo by Joel Benjamin

Photo by Joel Benjamin

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
By Mart Crowley
Directed by David J. Miller

September 11th – October 3rd, 2015
Plaza Black Box Theater at the
Boston Center for the Arts
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAIn performance, sometimes it is more important to get a pivotal work onstage than it is to do it perfectly. Zeitgeist’s production of The Boys in the Band is flawed. Its flaws are less important than bringing this historically game-changing play to the stage for new generations to contemplate. Just as it is more important to treat the LGBTQ+ community with the respect and dignity we deserve than to be polite. Continue reading

Sep 22

If You’re Alive, You’re Afraid: BROKEN GLASS

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Rep Theatre in partnership with the Hearing Loss Association of America (HLAA Boston Chapter).
Written by Arthur Miller
Directed by Jim Petosa

Sept. 5 – 27, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) It is no wonder that America didn’t suspect that Adolf Hilter was a major threat to Europe, Germany, or the world. His staff lead a campaign that depicted him as a congenial yet private Everyman with a love of children and the outdoors. This branding made Hitler out to be a decent guy, not the Jew, intellectual, and LGBT hating dictator he was. America didn’t recognize Hitler for the power-hungry villain he was until it was almost too late. Marketing works, people. Raw Story has an excellent, rather brief article up. I highly suggest reading it for theatrical and historical perspective. Continue reading

Sep 10

“Radium Girls” Radiates Pain and Triumph

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by D. W. Gregory
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

September 4th – 19th, 2015
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown, MA) There is a poem by Julianna Baggott, “Marie Curie Gives Advice to her Daughter Irene Before her Wedding.” This is how it ends:
“My hope, daughter, is that
what you love doesn’t come to kill you,
eye by eye, ear by ear, bone by radiant bone.”

The friend with whom I went to see “Radium Girls” mentioned it to me after the show was over. It’s easy to see why. This is a play about not just losing one’s life to radium, but losing everything. Grace Fryer (the magnificent Erin Eva Butcher) loses both her fear and trust while Arthur Roeder (Bridgette Hayes) loses faith in the United States Radium factory and in himself. What you love–what you trust to take care of you, what you trust to be there for you–might indeed ultimately kill you. Continue reading

Aug 11

“Eyes Shut. Door Open”: Exploring the Artist’s Tormented Psyche

Photo credit: Wax Wings Productions (we'll happily updated the credit if given the name of the photographer)

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by Wax Wings Productions
Written by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Christopher Randolph

Thursday 8/13 @ 7:30pm, Friday 8/14 & Saturday 8/15 @ 7:30pm, 10pm
The Inner Sanctum Gallery, Roxbury
Wax Wings Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Roxbury, MA) They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and I’m ashamed to admit I judged a play by its title. But it’s hard when the name is Eyes Shut. Door Open, which has a seemingly pretentious period in the middle, but no ending punctuation—an English major’s worst nightmare. But I had to let go of this trivialness to be swept up in playwright Cassie M. Seinuk’s world, which had its own set of nightmares prepared for me. Continue reading

Aug 11

Some Dudes Will Put Their Dicks In Anything: “The Goat or, Who Is Sylvia?”

Photo credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidec Photo

Photo credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidec Photo

Presented by Bad Habit Productions, Inc.
Written by Edward Albee
Directed by Daniel Morris

Aug. 8-23, 2015
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Rape (the play), F-bombs (the review)

(Boston, MA) WARNING: Spoilers ahead. The effort necessary to tiptoe around the main plot point of The Goat is so cumbersome that I’m not even going to bother trying.

The Goat or Who Is Sylvia? is about rape. It is about reconciling a sinner with their sin. It is about betrayal. It is not about the moralities of romantic love. Continue reading