Apr 14

First Few Rows Will Not Get Wet: THE CLYTEMNESTRIAD

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Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up at Clytemnestra.

Photo credit: Fresh Ink Theatre, Jade Guerra tearing it up as Clytemnestra.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by A. Nora Long
Directed by Caitlin Lowans
Dramaturgy by Ramona Ostrowski

April 10 – 18, 2015
The Hale Chapel at First Church
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Strobe effect

(Boston, MA) Homer’s Iliad tells us that Agamemnon fought bravely at Troy for ten years to reunite Helen and Menelaus. Greek myth tells us that when Agamemnon returned from the Trojan War, his wife Clytemnestra murdered him in the bath. Depending on the myth the particulars of who, why and how differ. What is evident is Clytemnestra’s retention of power and eventual murder at the hands of her children after the fact. A. Nora Long’s The Clytemnestriad follows the events leading up to and after Agamemnon’s death from the perspective of his wife, Clytemnestra. Continue reading

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Apr 13

Daniil Kharms Continues to Charm in imaginary beasts’ Betty Bam!

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Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods, Joey C. Pelletier, and Michael Underhill
Written by Daniil Kharms
Translation by Zoya Derman
Adapted by The Ensemble

April 10 – May 2, 2015
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) The innovative and evocative imaginary beasts continue with their year-long exploration of Stalinist-era author, Daniil Kharms, with Betty Bam! Their last attack on his material, KNOCK!, was a condensed affair, a multi-character and multi-story primer on Kharms’ bleak humor and deeply unsettling monologues. The actors took pratfalls and grafted the absurdist theater onto a sort of vaudeville act. In Betty Bam!, the visual nods remain in the early-twentieth century, but the aesthetic switches to black and white film, page-boy cuts, and a set styled into a cartoon explosion. The five actresses who depict Betty Bam’s fractured identity (Beth Pearson, Amy Meyer, Molly Kimmerling, Sarah Gazdowicz, and Kiki Samko) are each a live action Betty Boop caught in an explosion of a different sort, one that takes the guise of an interruption into their life: the police, Ivan (Cameron Cronin) and Pytor (William Schuller). As with KNOCK!, the police are an oppressive force, one here to take Betty to an unknown fate. The action of taking her away makes up the entirety of the plot. Continue reading

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Apr 10

Enjoyably Odd and Oddly Enjoyable: ORLANDO

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Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Photo credit: Bad Habit Productions

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
Virgina Woolf’s Orlando
Adapted by Sarah Ruhl
Directed by Daniel Morris

April 4-April 19, 2014
Deane Hall at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Identity and discovery are heavily explored in Virginia Woolf’s Orlando, a work that spans continents, time, and gender.  Initially written as a joke of a biography for a fellow artist in the early 20th century, this more recent adaptation puts Woolf’s language forward while sacrificing character development.  This complex creation scratches the surface of a meaty, subtle series of discussions even the novel Orlando could not fully deliver. Continue reading

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Apr 03

From the Back of the House to Center Stage: LIFERS

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Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Written by John Shea and Maureen Cornell
Directed by Brett Marks
Produced by Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions

March 20-April 4, 2015
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium and Argos on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions have joined forces to bring to life a piece of Bostonian, working class history in Lifers.  At an enjoyable hour and a half even with a ten minute intermission, this well-edited and lively play is an ode to the people who make your meal at a local diner possible. Continue reading

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Apr 01

You Won’t Sit in Solemn Silence: THE MIKADO

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Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Photo: Steppenwolf Garage

Presented by The Hypocrites
By Gilbert and Sullivan
Directed and Adapted by Sean Graney

March 31 – April 5, 2015
Club Oberon
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge MA
The Hypocrites on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Cambridge, MA) Hold onto your hats, the Hypocrites are back at the Oberon. The Mikado is alive, vivacious, and everything a modern audience could ask for from Gilbert and Sullivan unplugged. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Push It Real Good: LOOT

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Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Photo courtesy of Hub Theatre Co of Boston

Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Joe Orton
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Dialect coaching by Meredith Stypinski
Fight choreography by Johnnie McQuarley

March 27-April 12, 2015
First Church Boston
66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Playwright Joe Orton was an out gay man at a time when it was not only unfashionable but also highly illegal. Orton died in August 1967. Just one month shy of the passing of Britain’s Sexual Offences Act (amendment), which made acts such as kissing, hand holding, or plain old love between two men legal in the privacy of one’s home (it was still illegal to be homosexual in public. Baby stepping progress is still progress). Orton further pushed the hetero-normative envelope by incorporating his penchant for personal freedom in his writings. Orton’s flagrant disdain for authority and hypocritical social ethics are on proud display in Hub Theatre Co’s production of Loot. Orton’s script is not successful as art but it’s message rings profoundly clear: convention can go hang itself. Continue reading

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Mar 26

Stronger Than Fear: FROM THE DEEP

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9067650_orig

PHOTO BY MARC J. FRANKLIN

Presented by Boston Public Works Theatre Company
by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

March 12 – 28, 2015
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Boston Public Works on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) From the Deep is not about the war on terror. It’s not even about terrorists. It’s about two men attempting to do the best they can with the nasty cards they are dealt. In the realm in which we see them, there is only suffering or not suffering. So, they try to turn the moments in which they are not suffering into moments that are happy. Happiness becomes relative. So do stability and health. This production from Boston Public Works Theatre Co, is about Man’s capacity to understand existence within a capacity for pain. Continue reading

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Mar 24

Defying Gravity: CIRQUE ZIVA

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http://worldmusic.org/sites/default/files/CirqueZiva_cAmitavaSarkar4.jpg

(c) Amitava Sarkar

Presented by World Music CRASHArts
And the Golden Dragon Acrobats
Directed by Danny Chang
Choreographed by Angela Chang

March 21, 2015
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont St. Boston
World Music CRASHArts on Facebook
Golden Dragon Acrobats on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) World Music CRASHArts has been hard at work, as usual, rounding up some of the most spectacular traditional and not-so-traditional companies from around the world. They bring these companies right here to Boston for local audiences to enjoy, and boy did CRASHArts hit a home run with the Golden Dragon Acrobats. Cirque Ziva is precisely the one-of-a-kind experience that CRASHArts labors so diligently to produce on the Boston stage; it was an absolute treasure of a performance and certainly not to be missed. Continue reading

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Mar 19

Rebel When You Hear the Drums: THE COLORED MUSEUM

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Photo: T. Charles Erickson. — at Huntington Theatre Company.

Photo: T. Charles Erickson. — at Huntington Theatre Company.

Presented by the Huntington Stage Co.
by George C. Wolfe
Directed/choreographed by Billy Porter
Music direction and arrangement by James Sampliner

March 6 – April 5, 2015
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

The Colored Museum is two hours short and presented without an intermission.

(Boston, MA) The majority of Black culture accessible to White people is appropriated into easily digestible, tepid hunks that wouldn’t scare a baby much less a conservative one percenter who thinks that an Azealia Banks is a deciduous shrub. The Colored Museum is like a trip on Disney’s It’s A Small World if the ride were devoted to the culture pacifying White people instead of world peace. It’s a powerful display of stereotype and the bleak truths that cement them into western society. Those with an understanding of race relations and the systematic control racism has on these relations will likely enjoy the romp. Those who think discussing race with their Starbucks barista is equal to having a race relation will have their mind blown. Continue reading

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Mar 16

Inclusive and Intersectional: THE TASTE OF SUNRISE

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Photo by Craig Bailey, Perspective Photo.

Elbert Joseph as Tuc in Mother Hicks at Emerson Stage. Photo by Craig Bailey, Perspective Photo.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Written by Suzan L. Zeder
Composed by Peter Stewart
Directed by Wendy Lement and Kristin Johnson
Choreographed by Patricia Manalo Bochnak

March 13 – 22, 2015
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook

PART TWO OF THE WARE TRILOGY, produced with Emerson Stage (Mother Hicks, February 2015) and Central Square Theatre (The Edge of Peace, April 3-12, 2015)

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) In Susan Zeder’s The Taste of Sunrise, Tuc (Elbert Joseph) grows up poor, black and deaf in an ASL-ignorant hearing community in Ware, IL.  At the behest of the well-intentioned Dr. Graham (Donna Sorbello), Jonas Tucker (Cliff Odle) sends Tuc to a school for the deaf to learn how to speak. After years of social solitude, he finally meets kids just like him. They teach him sign; Tuc learns to communicate and to express himself. With help from friends Maizie (Amanda Collins) and Nell Hicks (Brittany Rolfs), discovers what it means to self-discover, to lose and then rebuild one’s identity. Continue reading

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