Oct 15

A Little Murder Between Friends: ASSASSINS

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Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures 2014

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures 2014

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by John Weidman
Based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr.
Directed by Jim Petosa
Musical direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Judith Chaffee

Oct. 4 – 26, 2014
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Please note: there is no intermission for this 2 hour musical.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) Society likes to label people who commit atrociously violent acts, Monsters. It is deeply important that we, the good folk of society, acknowledge that the Monsters who murder, harm, victimize, etc. aren’t depraved beasts transformed by mental illness into inhuman criminals. These Monsters are people who do monstrous things. So, if these Monsters are human just as we are human, then it follows that we must accept the possibility that we too are capable of monstrous acts. Continue reading

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Aug 29

Two Steps Forward, Three Steps Back: PYGMALION

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Photo credit: Flat Earth Theatre

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By George Bernard Shaw
Edited/directed by Devon Jones

August 22-30, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: Sexism, Racism, Classism

(Watertown, MA) My Fair Lady is derived from Shaw’s Pygmalion. Pygmalion is derived from the Greek myth by the same name from Ovid’s Metamorphosis. It is the story of a sculptor, Pygmalion, who fell so hard in love with his sculpture that the goddess Aphrodite brought it to life. The sculpture isn’t given a name or granted personhood in the myth. Similarly, affluent Henry Higgins refuses to see impoverished Eliza Doolittle as more than a parroting animal until she provokes him into heated arguments. In addition to sexism and classism, the play’s dialogue also discusses racism. Flat Earth’s production includes actors of color. It takes a long, hard look at what it means to experience color, gender and educational privilege against the backdrop of London’s great equalizer: Tube delays. Continue reading

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Jun 17

The Future is the Present and It’s Dystopian: READER

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Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Ariel Dorfman
Directed by Jake Scaltreto

June 13 – 21, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Trigger Warning: Some light cursing, conservative politics, implied torture

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) If dystopian science fiction is any indication, our future is bleak. In the future, rich people are very rich and the poor are very poor. The politicians are corrupted,  we have no global resources, and the ecosystem has gone to pot. The good news is that there is always an hero to save us… eventually. The future sounds a lot like the present.

Not unlike Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil, Dorfman’s Reader is a story within a story set in a future where all potentially unpleasant emotional elements of life have been stripped away. Violence and sexiness are routinely scrubbed from all media sources. The government occupies all spaces. There is no true freedom of expression. Daniel (the handsome Robin Gabrielli) is a suave yet dirty government censor who discovers that the most recent novel to cross his desk parallels his own life. In this novel, Daniel is Don Alfonso an unscrupulous censor working on film scripts. He is rightly paranoid and begins a short-lived journey towards redemption. Continue reading

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May 12

You Carry What You Collect: ON THE VERGE

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Photo snagged from New Rep website

Photo snagged from New Rep website

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
By Eric Overmyer
Directed by Jim Petosa

May 3 – 25, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Charles Mosesian Theater
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) It is deeply refreshing to see women amidst the revels of their maturity being embraced by playwrights as the medium for their works. There aren’t enough chewy roles for women past the age of ingenue naivete that embrace life beyond mother or spinsterhood. As an actress and feminist critic, it was a pleasure to watch On the Verge. Playwright Eric Overmyer has given Boston and its actors a gift and it is my hope that the community embraces it.

On the Verge is about three intrepid female explorers in search of adventure in Terra Incognita. While collecting data, photos and samples, our heroines spelunk and hack their way to new territory in space and time. The characters are based on actual accounts of Victorian-era lady explorers who defied the conventions of the time. They sought independence in the wilds beyond Westernized civilization and found it. Continue reading

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Feb 03

Disparate Pieces: THE WHIPPING MAN

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Care of the New Rep Facebook page.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
by Matthew Lopez
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush

January 25th – February 16th, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) Sometimes you can check off all the boxes for what makes an interesting play without the play adding up to great theatre.  The Whipping Man, playing at the New Repertory Theatre, has all the ingredients (interesting slice of history, family drama, a striking set, a strong cast), but they don’t create something bigger. Continue reading

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Jan 13

Questions That Shouldn’t Be Answered: IMAGINING MADOFF

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Joel Colodner as Solomon Galkin and Jeremiah Kissel as Bernard Madoff in IMAGINING MADOFF by Deborah Margolin. Photos by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Joel Colodner as Solomon Galkin and Jeremiah Kissel as Bernard Madoff in IMAGINING MADOFF by Deborah Margolin. Photos by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
by Deborah Margolin
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
January 4th – 26th, 2014
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Watertown) It is in our genetic makeup to try and understand what we cannot comprehend, no more so than when we are confronted with evil that makes a mockery of human decency. We want to know what makes the mass murderer different from us so badly that we desperately try to project understanding when there is none to be had.

Unfortunately, this tends to make us seek black and white answers to complex and disturbing questions. Growing up in a Roman Catholic household, I kept asking my mother who was in Hell besides Hitler. She would pause and respond, “Mussolini.” That was always the end of the conversation. Continue reading

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Dec 02

Charm Conquers All: CAMELOT

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Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Photo credit: Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Books and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner
Music by Frederick Lowe
Original production directed and staged by Moss Heart
Based on “The Once and Future King” by TH White
Directed and choreographed by Russell Garrett
Musical direction by David McGrory
Dance Captain – Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Fight Captain – Michael J Borges

Nov. 23 – Dec. 22, 2013
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

(Watertown) The Director’s Notes by Russell Garrett are excellent. An audience member desiring nostalgic information correlating Camelot to the anniversary of JFK’s assassination will be well pleased. For this purpose, I will not dwell on the JFK’s Camelot as Mr. Garrett has already done an excellent job of doing so in the programme. If you’d like to know more, see the show.

Considering the weight that the Kennedy Family carries in the US, one might expect Camelot to be a more serious show. Lerner and Lowe’s fluffy hit does examine some heavy issues but the majority of the script and lyrics are intended to entertain rather than educate. The sugary sweet production by New Rep does not fail in its mission to cheer Baby Boomers and to indoctrinate younger generations in classic musical theatre. Continue reading

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Nov 25

Nothing is but What Is Not: “Macbeth”

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Presented by F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Joey DeMita
Original Music by Steven Bergman

November 22 – 30th, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
F.U.D.G.E. Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Watertown) Some projects require a special touch.  There are, for instance, people who implicitly understand Musicals.  The musical form requires things that other theatre does not: an eye for choreography, an ear for music, an interest in balancing ham and legitimate acting…

Directing Shakespeare is a very specific task that requires a very specific skillset: an ear for rhetoric, an understanding of verse, a knowledge of history, an eye for embedded stage directions… F.U.D.G.E.’s Joey DeMita has none of these skills. Continue reading

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Aug 21

Flat Earth Sends “Rocket Man” to the Moon

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Photo via Flat Earth Theatre Facebook page. Awesome sauce.

presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Steven Dietz
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

August 16 – 24, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA

Flat Earth Theatre on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Watertown) The center of Rocket Man is the unraveling life of middle-aged divorcee, Donny (Robin Gabrielli), an unsteady center for an unassuming story.  Flat Earth Theatre has certainly taken on a tough show to pull off well.  Newly single and struggling to maintain his relationship with his teenage daughter, Trisha (Mariagrazia LaFauci), Donny is having a slow-moving breakdown.  He fights back with fantasies of traveling to space and going to another reality where time travels backward and his wife, Rita (Korinne T. Ritchey), is still with him. Continue reading

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Aug 05

It’s Only Torture if Organs Fail: “Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them”

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Photo Credit: Titanic Theatre Co’s Facebook page. The company is not afraid of icebergs or snuggles.

By Christopher Durang
Directed by Adam Zahler
Presented by Titanic Theatre Company

July 25-August 10, 2013
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Titanic Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

M for Mature. Actors occasionally appear in their underoos.

(Watertown) The attack on the two towers in NYC and the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001 changed the way the United States viewed itself forever. Before that day, many citizens viewed North America as the most powerful entity in the world. After 9/11, we recognized our vulnerability as a country. Almost everyone was looking for answers. There were many who turned to The Arts for catharsis. These same people reacted in anger when artists turned back to them for compassion. The Arts were supposed to provide answers. While coping with the same shock, we artists didn’t know what to do either.

It’s been 12 years since the attacks and the US is still divided. Our media has moved on to bigger and newer things. But our artists are still processing the events and asking questions. The media has given the American people plenty of reasons to explain why Taliban members attacked. Thank goodness for The Arts. Playwright Christopher Durang hasn’t given up on understanding the U.S.’s response to the attacks of 9/11. Rather than focus on the “badness” of Ossama Bin Laden*, Why Torture is Wrong, and the People Who Love Them ponders the American people’s decade-long reaction from the perspective of western, 20/20 hindsight. He peppers his absurdist play with Dadaism and panic. The script is a sweet bouquet of human experience and dramatic flair. Continue reading

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