Oct 14

Bad Behavior Porn: GOD OF CARNAGE

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Photo by Meghan Moore

Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Directed by Kyle Fabel

September 19th – Oct. 13, 2013
The Nancy L. Donahue Theatre
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell) We are usually mired in the mundane of everyday, and we can’t see movement in our own internal characters. That’s why we tend to want some movement in the characters we see on stage. In a good play, a protagonist cannot be the same in the end as she was in the beginning; she must at least gain some scars from experience. The rare exception is a script that goes for the meditative study of a character, as if peeling back layers of a soul like an onion. To pull this off, the author must have deep sympathy for both the character and the human condition, and it’s a narrower road to tread. Continue reading

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Oct 08

Better Blurred Lines: “La Cage Aux Folles”

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http://www.nsmt.org/images/Press/2013/LaCageauxFolles/production/NSMT-LaCage-GeorgesAlbin.jpg

Photo©Paul Lyden, Charles Shaughnessy (Georges) and Johnathan Hammond (Albin)

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Based on the play by Jean Poiret
Directed by Charles Repole
Choreography by Michael Lichtefeld
Book by Harvey Fierstein
Music and lyrics by Jerry Herman

September 4th – October 6, 2013
Beverly, MA
North Shore music Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly) Somewhere in the middle of the fantastic North Shore Production of La Cage Aux Folles, I had an “aha” moment about the concept of drag.  As a child, I had never understood why some male transvestite performers seemed to equate dressing like a woman to dressing like Dolly Parton in her heyday.  It was a mystery I didn’t realize I hadn’t solved until I was watching this thoughtful, nuanced and hysterical play come to life.  For some, going drag isn’t about replicating the other gender; instead, it’s about upending fixed norms on what it means to be a man or a woman.  (File under “Duh.”) Continue reading

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Oct 02

Unfriendly Fire Consumes: “Burning”

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http://www.bu.edu/bpt/files/2013/09/Burning_8.jpg

Photograph credit: Boston Playwrights’ Theatre

Presented by Boston Paywrights’ Theatre
Written by Ginger Lazarus
Directed by Steven Bogarty

September 27-October 20
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Special events for the current run at BPT:  Free screenings of the 2012 documentary The Invisible War on October 3 at 7:30 pm and 6 at 4:30pm.  IMPACT Boston will sponsor a panel including members of the military on October 13th after the 2pm performance.

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Boston Playwright’s Theatre brings local playwright Ginger Lazarus’ novel and moving treatment of Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac to the stage to serve many noble purposes.  Originally conceived as a queering of the classic, over three years of research went into a play based around a lesbian serving in the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell era.  Eventually, reprehensible behavior in the military surrounding sexual assault came to be a large feature as well.* Continue reading

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Oct 01

Advances in Tech Nostalgia: “How May I Connect You?”

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Courtesy of Paul Cantillon, LIDEC Photo

Presented by Project:Project
How May I Connect You? (Or, Scenes in the Key of D:\)
Scenes written by Lynn Wilcott, Jeffrey Mosser, Max Mondi, Vicki Schairer, Alli Engelsma-Mosser, Tom Blanford, Louise Hamill, Gillian Mackay-Smith, Claire Suni, Sophia Shrand
Directed by Jeffrey Mosser and Vicki Schairer
Music composed by Thomas Blandford
Choreography by Alli Engelsma-Mosser
Ensemble: Sheldon Brown, Mikey DiLoreto, Louise Hamill, Gillian Mackay-Smith, Anita Shriver, Adam Thenhaus, Zach Winston, Lynn Wilcott

Sept. 26 – Sept. 29, 2013
Carol G. Deane Hall
Calderwood Pavilion
BCA
Boston, MA 02116
Project: Project on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel
Review is based on the Sept. 28, 2pm performance.

(Boston) Louis C.K. recently went on record saying that he thinks children shouldn’t have cell phones. (Some “news sources” went on record saying Louis C.K. hates cell phones. This is not true. If one watches the clip, this is obvious.) Children need to experience the horrors and joys of life as they occur. Experiencing this allows children to (hopefully) grow into reasonable, seasoned adults capable of handling the emotions of others and themselves. Perpetually having their eyes on a screen or ear up to a receiver will not. Yet, electronics also have their obvious rewards. The laugh-riot that was/is How May I Connect You? (Or, Scenes in the Key of D:\) examined both sides of the tech coin. Continue reading

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Sep 25

Lyndon B. Johnson Goes “All the Way”

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Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by A.R.T.
By Robert Schenkkan
Directed by Bill Rauch

September 13, 2013 – October 12, 2013
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
A.R.T. on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge) Too often, biographies of American presidents are stories wrought with blind patriotism.  Director Bill Rauch, however, has not shaped a play about patriotism but politics. Politics and morality may occupy the same place once in a while, but in Robert Schenkkan’s complex and vividly realized All the Way, ambition dilutes ideals quickly. Continue reading

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Sep 24

ADA Approved for the Mainstream: TRIBES

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photo

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo; Erica Spyres and James Caverly conversating.

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Co.
by Nina Raine
directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

September 13 – October 12
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

There will be two ASL-interpreted performances:  Sunday, October 6 at 7PM and Friday, October 11 at 8PM.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Southie) It is always a relief to see minorities portrayed by the Arts as their community deserves; with dignity, love and respect. We, the disabled, weren’t/aren’t always seen this way. It was (and still is) a commonly held belief of the Christian persuasion that people were born disabled as a punishment from God for sinning. This is despite Jesus saying that the disabled were walking, talking acts of God (John Chapter 9 verses 1-3). In specific, Christians used to believe that, since a deaf person couldn’t hear the word of God, they then couldn’t know God. Fast forward to modern day, the stigmas still exist even with the ADA protecting us. This is why it was so humbling to watch Speakeasy’s intelligent production of Tribes last Saturday. My hope is that this production is a sign that society is ready to welcome the disabled into the mainstream. Continue reading

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Sep 23

Hot and Bothered Art: SEMINAR

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Seminar Pictures

Liz Hayes* and Jordan Ahnquist*; Photo Credit: David Costa

Presented by Stoneham Theatre
by Theresa Rebeck
directed by Weylin Symes

Stoneham, MA
Sept. 12 – 29th, 2013

Stoneham Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Stoneham) You can create memorable characters on stage and just let them be who they are, and they can be like fun guests at a cocktail party, hilarious and aimless.  Or you can create wooden characters on stage and then let them come at least somewhat to life, which can win you points among theatergoers who are just happy not to fall asleep in the second act.  But it’s awfully difficult to create memorable characters and then let them struggle, flounder, and grow on stage.

Seminar at the Stoneham Theatre is that rare production that both piques our interest and takes us on a romp of a ride.  It’s as if the production set off to check all the boxes for the checklist of good theater. Continue reading

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Sep 23

An Earnest Mess: TWINS

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Photo Credit: Boston Actors Theatre Facebook page

Presented by Boston Actors Theater
By Julian Olf
Directed by Anna Trachtman

September 6th – September 21st, 2013
Boston Playwrights Theater
Boston, MA
Boston Actors Theatre on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) In his memoir It Would be So Nice if You Weren’t Here, the actor Charles Grodin gleefully revels in his few dismal failures as an actor, including a critique of a scene study given by a famed acting coach where she cut down most of his work on stage.  There was one moment, however, where Grodin and his fellow actor got confused about who was supposed to take a folder, and that moment, she said, was pure acting.  (Think of the frustration one must feel upon hearing such an utterance.) Continue reading

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Sep 20

A Roar as Fierce as its Bite: THE JUNGLE BOOK

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André de Shields (King Louie) and Akash Chopra (Mowgli); Photo: Liz Lauren

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Produced in association with Goodman Theatre
Based on the Disney movie of the same name and the stories of Rudyard Kipling
Book and direction by Mary Zimmerman
Music and lyrics by Richard M. Sherman, Robert B. Sherman, Terry Gilkyson, Lorraine Feather, Paul Grabowski

September 7 – October 20, 2013
Avenue of the Arts / BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Co on Facebook

Run time: 2 hours and fifteen minutes with one intermission
Recommended: For adults and families with children ages 6+, but if your child is able to sit quietly through a film in a movie theatre, they will be able to enjoy this production.

Review by Kitty Drexel

***Edited because my typos were showing***

(Boston) The Huntington is known for good theatre that takes few risks. While deserving of the awards that they receive, the Huntington’s programming errs on the institutional. The shows are reliable. To any other Boston-area theatre, reliability would mean death.The Jungle Book is such a strong departure from the usual Huntington fare that their decision to host the Boston leg of the musical tour might be construed as a risk. It is not. The Jungle Book would charm the fur off of the back of the grumpiest of theatre cats.

This production is electric; a guaranteed win for the theatre: the costumes are vivid, the actors are extraordinary, and the set is sumptuous, the backing by Disney certainly doesn’t hurt. If you see anything presented by The Huntington this season; see this show. Bring your children and your parents. Bring everyone. This show should not be missed! Continue reading

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Sep 16

Poetry in Motion: Luminarium’s “Secrets and Motion”

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Photo: Ryan Carollo, Melenie Diarbekirian, Rose Abramoff, and Mark Kranz in A Secret in Three Phases

Luminarium’s “Secrets and Motion”
Featuring the choreography of Merli V. Guerra and Kimberleigh A. Holman

Review is based on the Sept. 14, 2013 performance
More of Luminarium’s events can be found here.

Center for the Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA 02143
Luminarium Dance on Facebook

Company: Rose Abramoff, Jess Chang, Melenie Diarbekirian, Jessica Jacob, Mark Kranz, Amy Mastrangelo, Katie McGrail
Guest Performers: Emily Evans, Elena Greenspan, Rachel McKeon, Jennifer Roberts, Emily Sulock
Collaborating Artists include: Larry Pratt, Photographer; Hannah Verlin, Installation Artist; Caryn Oppenheim, Poet

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville) Luminarium Dance is dedicated to creating a unique experience for its audience by consistently using contemporary and modern dance with aspects of lighting to push the performance envelope. In Secrets & Motion they use the simple lighting design to compliment the choreography. The shadows created by the motion of their bodies become an extension of the dancer as well as an extension of the set. Combined with companion art installations and video that occur in the same gallery as the dance, theirs is a powerful play on poetry in motion and the mysteries hidden in the light and dark. Continue reading

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