Jan 31

For F*ck’s Sake, It’s Not About White People: “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915″

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Presented by Company One Theatre and Arts Emerson
Written by Jackie Sibbles Drury
Directed by Summer L. Williams

January 10 – February 1, 2014
The Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Emerson/Paramount Center
559 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02111
Company One on Facebook
Arts Emerson on Facebook

Performance run from 90 to 100 minutes. There is no intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 is a scripted, semi-interactive history lecture cum improv experiment dissecting the historical events of the German occupation of what is now Namibia. 6 actors attempt to reenact the experiences of German soldiers as they ousted the Herero tribe from their lands. It starts with a chipper cast playfully giving a lecture. As with much of history, it has a somber ending. Continue reading

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Mar 17

There’ll Be a Whole Lotta Sunlight Someday*: “A Raisin in the Sun”

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Keona Welch ("Beneatha Younger") and Corey Allen ("George Murchison") in the Huntington Theatre Company's production of Lorraine Hansberry's A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Mar. 8 - Apr. 7, 2013 at Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. photo: T. Charles Erickson

Keona Welch (“Beneatha Younger”) and Corey Allen (“George Murchison”) in the Huntington Theatre Company’s production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Mar. 8 – Apr. 7, 2013 at Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre. huntingtontheatre.org. photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company 
A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry
Directed by Liesl Tommy

March 8-April 7
BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Company Facebook Page

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Theatre with an African American focus owes its considerable roots to Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun, which debuted on Broadway in 1959.  The Younger family’s struggle against external limitations has been the inspiration behind the musical Raisin (1973) as well as the play Clybourne Park (now at Speakeasy Stage Co, running through March 30th) to name a few.  The racial oppression that existed then hid behind God and country, and now decades after the gains of the civil rights movement in the 1960′s has the power to still do so, to hold prisoner hard-working men and women and to frame that incarceration as well deserved. The Huntington’s current production is definitely not a re-staging of their 1995 show, and makes a bold statement about resistance to the status quo and the courage it takes to insist on fair treatment in any era. Continue reading

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Mar 04

Clybourne Park: Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

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Michael Kaye, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, DeLance Minefee, Paula Plum, and Tim Spears in a scene from SpeakEasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park, running March 1-30 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts. Tickets/info at speakeasystage.com or 617.933.8600. Photo by Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo.

By Bruce Norris

Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company

March 1 – March 30

Nancy & Edward Roberts Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts Boston, MA

Speakeasy Stage Co Facebook Page

Review by Becca Kidwell

A strong script elevates a performance or points out the flaws of the company.  Speakeasy Stage’s production of Clybourne Park demonstrates its mastery through a strong ensemble, innovative set, and smart direction.  After seeing Clybourne Park, there is no question why this clever, dark play won at the Tony Awards in 2012.  When Boston sees Speakeasy Stage’s production, they will be talking about it for the rest of 2013 (Norton and IRNE awards in its future?).  The ensemble, comprised of Paula Plum, Thomas Derrah, Marvelyn McFarlane, Tim Spears, DeLance Minefee, Michael Kaye, and Philana Mia, pulls the audience into a dynamic confrontation between politics and politeness that never apologizes Continue reading

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Jan 14

“The Invisible Man” and the American Nightmare

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Photo credit: Astrid Reiken

Photo credit: Astrid Reiken

 

presented by Huntington Theatre Company

written by Ralph Ellison
adapted by Oren Jacoby
directed by Christopher McElroen

264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115
Jan 4 – Feb 3, 2013
Huntington Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) From Ralph Ellison’s original novel, I mainly remember a giddy fury. The anger sears through the plot, spiraling off the pages in righteous, self-aware smoke. It’s humorous in a sad sort of way. In the slanted world Ellison describes, there are people and then there are black people. For the most part, the main character tells the audience, the latter is invisible in contemporary America. Continue reading

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Oct 21

An Incomplete Sentence: RACE

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Photo Credit: New Repertory Theatre; the cast

by David Mamet
Directed by Robert Walsh

presented by the New Repertory Theatre
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
October 14th – November 4th, 2012

New Rep Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) It’s become trickier to discuss racism in the post-2008 election era than it was before. We have elected a black president, many hope to say, and that is enough.

Leave it to troublemaking playwright David Mamet to clear his throat amid the quiet in 2009 with his biting and succinct dramatic comedy, Race, now being performed by the New Repertory Theatre in Watertown. His play refuses to rest on recent racial gains, instead showing the trouble beneath the surface, the kind
that otherwise is obscured unless a police officer arrests a Harvard professor or a neighborhood watchman shoots an unarmed teen. Mamet’s script sparks necessary dialogue about an uncomfortable subject, but the flawed storyline of the play, combined with uneven execution by New Rep’s cast, misses the opportunity to create deeper understanding of inherent social inequality. Continue reading

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Apr 16

Luck of the Irish: Race Warfare in the 20th and 21st Centuries

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Nikkole Salter and McCaleb Burnett in Kirsten Greenidge’s THE LUCK OF THE IRISH. March 30 – April 29, 2012 at the Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA. huntingtontheatre.org. Photo: T. Charles Erickson.

The Luck of the Irish by Kirsten Greenidge, Huntington Theatre Company, Boston Center for the Arts Virginia Wimberly Theatre, 3/30/12-5/6/12, http://www.huntingtontheatre.org/season/2011-2012/The-Luck-of-the-Irish/.

Reviewed by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) When the upwardly mobile Lucy and Rex Taylor (Nikkole Salter and Victor Williams, respectively) are unable to buy a house in Boston because they’re black, they turn to Patty Ann and Joe Donovan (Marianna Bassham and McCaleb Burnett) to buy one for them during the 1950’s.  The complex relationship this creates between them bleeds over into the early 2000’s when the Harrisons’ grandchildren discover the elderly Donovans want the house back.  The drama that results is tight and enjoyable. Continue reading

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Jan 18

NEIGHBORS: What do you see?

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Christine Power (Jean), Lori Tishfield (Melody), Johnny Lee Davenport (Richard)

Neighbors by Brandon Jacob-Jenkins, Company One, BCA, 1/14/11-2/5/11.  Explicit Language and Sexual Content.

http://www.companyone.org/Season12/Neighbors/synopsis.shtml

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

“Who do you think you are?”  With each generation, the answer to that question becomes more ambiguous and cryptic.  Yet, the question does not go away and becomes the fulcrum for the conflict in Brandon Jacob-Jenkins’ play Neighbors.  Company One does not apologize for the rawness of the material, but embraces it and challenges the audience to do the same.

The young actors Lori Tishfield and Tory Bullock steal the show.  Ms. Tishfield’s portrayal of Melody Patterson, a confused teenager of a mixed-race family, underscores the need for love, acceptance, and belonging that we all search for.  Her honest performance is matched by the sweet naiveté of Tory Bullock as Jim Crow, Jr.  Jim does not want to follow in his father’s footsteps as a performer, but becomes more comfortable as he develops a relationship with Melody. Continue reading

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