Oct 28

That Marjorie is Such A Heel: 5 LESBIANS EATING A QUICHE

Photo care of Heart & Dagger promo materials

Photo care of Heart & Dagger promo materials

Presented by Heart & Dagger Productions
Written by Evan Linder and Andrew Hobgood
With contributions by Sarah Gitenstein, Mary Hollis Inboden, Meg Johns, Thea Lux, Beth Stelling, and Maari Suorsa
Directed by Joey C. Pelletier

Oct. 22 – Oct. 30, 2015
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Black Box
Boston, MA
Heart & Dagger on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: Mrs. Drexel auditioned for 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche (among other lesbians) and was not cast. She firmly believes that only a selfish ass would allow something like this to taint her review.

(Boston, MA) 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche imagines an alternative reality in which Sputnik was less a marvel of 1950’s Russian science and more a legitimate, non-propagandist threat to US security during the Cold War. It is 1956 and the members of the Susan B. Anthony Society for the Sisters of Gertrude Stein are holding a quiche appreciation luncheon. Sisters, behold the mighty egg: bringer of life, sustainer of women! The meeting begins joyously with a meeting of forks and ends after armageddon ravages the lands of the United States. The board members might be the only survivors. Yet, with the majestic egg to keep them strong, and their identities clearly defined, they will repopulate the earth. Somehow. Continue reading

Feb 23

Crying Uncle: UNCLE JACK

10929149_10152928903511072_1633828632893124184_nPresented by Boston Center for American Performance and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written and Directed by Michael Hammond
Adapted from the play by Anton Chekhov

February 12 – March 1, 2015
BU Theatre, Lane-Comley Studio
264 Huntington Avenue, Boston
Boston Playwright’s Theatre on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) You know, I’ve never noticed it before, but there really is something innately Chekhovian about major summer-stock theatres (particularly in the New England Area). Out in the wilds of Western Massachusetts, a seasonal culture abounds. Large, stately mansions (mostly empty during the rest of the year) stand ready to receive their visitors; high-status patrons, family dear and estranged, and random acquaintances who have long been treated as family. The constant financial difficulties that running these estates entails weave through life upon them like a second soul. The back-to-nature feel of the Berkshires where city-slicker actors arrive to work, to fall in love, and to torment the people who call this big empty place “home” the rest of the year could very well be a cherry orchard or a provincial Russian estate. The incestuous, teeming nature of a long-standing summer-stock company almost reeks of Chekhov; the half-forgotten love affairs, the misbehavior that will never be spoken of again, and the half-cocked gun on the mantelpiece just waiting for its Act Four moment…. Continue reading

Jan 12

Happily Ever After A Few Slip Ups: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike”

Photo: Jim Cox Martin; Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, Marcia DeBonis, and Tyler Lansing Weaks

Photo: Jim Cox Martin; Martin Moran, Candy Buckley, Marcia DeBonis, and Tyler Lansing Weaks

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Jessica Stone
Based on the Broadway direction of Nicholas Martin

Jan. 2 – Feb. 1, 2015
BU Theatre
Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
– Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Boston has seen a lot of brilliantly performed Chekhov and Chekhov-adjacent theatre in the past two years. His dramatic writing style is sadistic and depressive,  yet he inspires new generations anyway. The Russian tragedian also wrote comedy. He wrote several handfuls of short, comedic plays and an anthology worth of short stories.

There’s a tie in between the Huntington’s 2014 production of The Seagull and the 2015 production of Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (VSMS). Durang’s “corny but sincere” play touches the soul similarly as The Seagull but does so with a vastly different effect; It warms the heart rather than chill the bones. It’s an entirely different beast using the same moving parts and ingredients. Continue reading

Apr 08

Our Differences are Our Similarities: NOT BY BREAD ALONE

Presented by ArtsEmerson: The World on Stage
Created by Adina Tal and Nalaga’at Deaf-Blind Theater
Conceived by AdinaTal
Original music by Amnon Baaham
“Dancing Closely” written and performed by Zvi Tal

April 2 – 6, 2014
The Paramount Center
Theatre District
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook
Nalaga’at Deaf-Blind Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Not by Bread Alone is the most sincere piece of theatre I have seen all year. Productions like this are why we artists create; it is why theatre exists. The tremendous talent of the Nalag’at Deaf-Blind Theater is awe-inspiring. It’s Boston run is over but it will be in the US for a while longer. I suggest doing everything in your power to attend this brilliant production. Continue reading

Apr 02

Chekov in a Blender: STUPID FUCKING BIRD

Photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
By Aaron Posner
Adapted by Chekhov’s The Seagull
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

March 28th – April 26th, 2014
Chelsea, MA
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Chelsea) Merriam-Webster offers this definition of “mash-up”:
something created by combining elements from two or more sources: as
a :  a piece of music created by digitally overlaying an instrumental track with a vocal track from a different recording
b :  a movie or video having characters or situations from other sources
c :  a Web service or application that integrates data and functionalities from various online sources

You’ll notice that the good ol’ M-W doesn’t include theater in its definition, which means Apollinaire Theatre’s staging of “Stupid Fucking Bird” kind of groundbreaking.  Take a ponderous Russian classic,  “The Seagull”, make it all meta and silly, and you have this imaginative and unconventional play.  Mash-ups usually are 5 minutes long and viewed on YouTube; this play clocks in at a cool 2 hours and a half with a pair of intermissions. My friends, that’s a mash-up that shows some guts. Continue reading

Mar 14

Touch a Dead Bird, Wash Your Hands: THE SEAGULL

Photo T. Charles Erickson

Photo T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Co.
By Anton Chekhov
Translated by Paul Schmidt
Directed by Maria Aitken

March 7 – April 6, 2014
Boston University Theatre
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
Hunting Theatre Co on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Chekhov intended The Seagull play to be a comedy. He wrote a famous letter to his friend Suvorin on October 21, 1895 describing his intent and further elaborated that Seagull would defy the conventions of theatre. No kidding. It is a comedy for the same reasons Springtime for Hitler is a comedy. The one exception being that no Roger DeBris character arrives to save us from our sensibilities. To sum up, without Roger, The Seagull is a drama about people being terrible to each other while lamenting their own misery. In Russia. While discussing the theatrical arts. It isn’t very funny (unless you’re a sadist). What it is, is deeply depressing. Continue reading

Oct 29

Entertaining and Well-Done Whining: UNCLE VANYA

Photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre Company

by Anton Chekhov
directed by Daniella Fauteux Jacques
presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company

Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA
October 10th – November 4th
Apollinaire Theatre Company Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Chelsea) I believe I once read that the sitcom Seinfeld didn’t last more than a season in Russia. Now I know why. Russia already had its Seinfeld; his name was Anton Chekhov, who writes brilliantly about all light and no heat. If you would like to chuckle and grimace about the painful foibles and imagined slights of the human condition, then you should catch the Apollinaire Theatre Company’s imaginative and spirited production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya. But be warned, their lives might look painfully similar to your most dysfunctional family Thanksgivings. Continue reading

Jul 19

THE GOOD DOCTOR: The cure for the common sitcom

from left) Bob Mussett, Sierra Kagen, Victoria Townsend, Brian Tuttle, and Zach Eisenstat in “The Sneeze” from the Independent Drama Society's production of Neil Simon's THE GOOD DOCTOR, playing July 15-23 at the Factory Theatre, 791 Tremont Street in Boston's South End. Tix and info: http://www.independentdramasociety.org. Photo by Bethany Krevat.

The Good Doctor by Neil Simon, The Independent Drama Society, The Factory Theatre, 7/15/11-7/23/11, http://independentdramasociety.org.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

If it wasn’t so funny, it would be serious.  Chekov is primarily known for his serious drama:  The Seagull, Uncle Vanya, etc.  but Neil Simon draws upon Chekov’s short stories for his play, The Good Doctor.  Chekov’s short stories have been said to be precursor to Seinfeld.  The writer of such tv shows as:  Your Show of Shows and Caesar’s Hour recognized the unique comedy style and put stories “about nothing” to the stage years before the tv show “about nothing”.  Those who miss the “Junior Mint”, “The Soup Nazi”, and “The Chinese Restaurant” can relish in some new-old stories such as “The Sneeze”, “Surgery”, and “The Drowned Man”.  The Independent Drama Society’s final show utilizes the comedic talents to go out with a laugh for the audience and a whimper for the characters.   Continue reading