Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 10th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting: (L-R) BCA Chairman Philip W. Lovejoy, Huntington Trustees Gerald and Sherryl Cohen, Calderwood Charitable Foundation Trustee John Cornish, former Huntington chairman J. David Wimberly, (behind) Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation, BCA Executive Director Veronique Le Melle, Huntington Chairman Carol G. Deane, (behind) former BRA member Harry Collings, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Bank of America Massachusetts State President Robert Gallery, Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, (behind) former Huntington president William P. McQuillan, Huntington President Mitchell J. Roberts, Nancy Roberts, Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso, photo: Paul Marotta
Article by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON — The July 9 press release said, “Huntington Theatre Company announces the election of 4 new board members and the promotion of two Huntington Advisors to Trustee level. The election took place during the Huntington’s year-end meeting of the Board of Trustees and Advisors on June 8, 2020.”
The headliner of the press release, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award winner, director of Huntington productions, and historically relevant badass Billy Porter is a new trustee of the Huntington. Porter and global businessman Professor George Yip are the only two people of color added to the Huntington’s snowflake white board leadership. Three of the six promotions are white women. The other is, of course, a rich, cis, white male.
While we congratulate all of the new board and trustee members, we can’t help but notice the Huntington’s hypocrisy. The theatre penned and posted a Black Lives Matter solidarity statement on its website. The election of four white people flies in the face of that solidarity statement. Continue reading →
ZOOM — Liars & Believers slices off bite sized pieces of the Scottish Play for serialized consumption! In a world that demands us to simultaneously be far apart while empathizing with each other’s difficulties, we revisit a cautionary tale of a man whose name has become synonymous with backstabbing cruelty. In serializing Macbeth, we watch a show that absorbs the changes and horrors of our contemporary headlines and sense of unease each passing week. Continue reading →
Directed by Ingrid Oslund Music by Marc Hoffeditz Libretto by MJ Halberstadt Featuring performers Brad Baron, Jonathan Harris, Wes Hunter, Adrian Jones, Craig Juricka, Sara Kerr, and James Lesu’i
June 26 – 27, 2020
Content warning: adult themes and sexual references
Review by Gillian Daniels
ZOOM — “Queerness is about so much more than who you’re sleeping with. It’s also about a sensibility, a sense of camp,” says director Ingrid Oslund.
This could easily serve as the thesis for the zoom presentation of selected pieces from the comic opera-in-progress, Grindr (And Other Concerns). The show follows queer men Brandon, Riley, and Riley’s long-term, timid partner, Eugene, as they use and debate the merits of the titular hook-up app. Their odyssey includes such contemporary pratfalls as mysterious acronyms such as DDF (drug and disease free), sexually transmitted infections, and excitable adults obsessed with Disney. Continue reading →
Presented by Opera Del West Based on The Impresario, A Comic Opera in one Act Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart German text by Gottlieb Stephanie, Jr. Additional English text and lyrics by Dan Shore Video, stage direction by Brenda Huggins Music direction by Eve K Budnick Video engineering by Larry Budnick
ZOOM — Based purely on the self-deprecating tones of Music Director Eve Budnick and Lyricist Dan Shore during the performance’s live pre-show, I was expecting The ZOOMpresario to be of poor quality and unenjoyable. I was happy to be wrong.
Both Budnick and Shore discussed the abundance with great confidence about their inexperience with virtual software and video. This is the antithesis of how artists are taught to present themselves. They could have been impressing us with their performers’ adaptability in the times of quarantine. They could have been discussing how they molded Mozart’s one-act opera to modern times. Instead, we were lead to believe that The ZOOMpresario’s creators weren’t suited to their task by their own words. Continue reading →
ZOOM — Theatre created in corona-times is theatre that can be preserved for future generations. Those generations will look back on our work and express amazement at the simplicity of our tech and the universality of the human condition. Fancypants stage technology can embellish a performance, but it isn’t necessary when the foundational elements of a performance are of superior quality. Fort Point Theatre Channel’s Zoom reading of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night captures both the rigidity of Zoom’s limitations while highlighting the subtle creativity of Fort Point Theatre Channel’s artists. Continue reading →
June 16, 2020 – 17, 2020 at 8PM
Zoom Room opens at 7:45PM
June 18 – Rebroadcast at 3PM & 8PM How To Watch
Response by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — White people don’t discuss whiteness. Not in pleasant company, not even in unpleasant company. Instead, we posit race relations as a BIPOC problem. We casually block useful dialogue with a whispered, “we’re all equal under the skin,” as if saying so aloud will invoke the parasitic race-demon living under our own flesh.
*Record Scratch* No. Racism is a white supremacy problem. There is no magical phrase to summon this demon at will. It is inside us, watching our every white move. All of our moves have roots in racism; there is no opt-out option. Like Rafiki said, Racism lives in you.
Creator Diana Oh looking fly AF
BIPOC are the recipients of the hate wrought by our inability to talk like adults about a rampant, insidious issue invading every aspect of 400 years of western society’s existence. Artist Diana Oh won’t put up with our piddling, cracker-ass excuses anymore. In their recent reading of their show Diana Oh’s My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre on Zoom, Oh delivered an unrelenting, personal attack on all the aspects of theatre’s cultural white supremacy that prevent BIPOC from participating in it as fully as white folx. Continue reading →
The New England Theatre Geek believes that BIPOC Lives will continue to matter when it’s no longer popular to mass media or convenient to white people.
As the weeks go by, we will share resources as we are made aware of them to them. StageSource has a brilliant anti-racism list. Check it out HERE.
Resources for Anti-Racist Action May-June 2020 – “This list was sourced from countless activists and information sharers. We thank you. It was created to support action and organizing for white-identified folks within the artEquity alumni network, so some resources speak specifically to white folks. However, EVERYONE is welcomed to utilize and share anything that is useful to your actions and organizing.” (quoted from the document)
Front Porch Collective Black Composer Minature Challenge presented by Castle of our Skins Friday June 19 @ 12:00 PM | via Instagram Live Composer Shannon Shea will be presenting the world premiere of “Hannah Elias II” performed by Castle of our Skins Executive & Artistic Director and violaist Ashleigh Gordon on the COOS Facebook and Instagram at noon. Part of their weekly 30-second Black Composer Miniature Challenge, be sure to tune in on time…or you might miss it!
Juneteenth: A Community Celebration presented by BAMS Fest & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Friday June 19 @ 4:00 – 7:00 PM | via Facebook Live & YouTube Join BAMS Fest for the MFA’s annual (virtual) Juneteenth celebration to honor the contributions of Black creatives, scholars, and artists to the City of Boston. We have curated two amazing artists, Debo Ray and DJ Where’s Nasty to to celebrate all things Black and joyful.
Fresh Ink Theatre — Presents a digital reading of MAIDEN VOYAGE. Written by Cayenne Douglass. Directed by Liz Fenstermaker Available online, June 8 – 14, 2020. REGISTER to view the performance In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, we will be donating 50% of the proceeds from the reading through June 14th to two organizations:Violence in BostonandBlack and Pink. Thank you for joining us in supporting these organizations, and for championing new work by local writers during this time of social distancing!
Liars & Believers — Macbeth Trailer by Liars & BelieversAmid isolation, dislocation, and digital absorbtion… desire and ethic, madness and reason tear each other apart. This is Shakespeare’s classic tragedy – TODAY. Using social distance and the tools at hand, we’ve reimagined theatre in Pandemia! We’ve broken this 5-act tragedy into short weekly episodes.
Luminarium Dance — This week’s TEN4TEN performance takes viewers back to Luminarium’s 2014 feature production The Sleeprunner, which transformed the Multicultural Arts Center space into a dynamic dream world for a two-week sold-out run. Sensical to quirky, humorous to dark, come engage in a full night’s journey told through dance, with gorgeous costumes designed by Sueann Leung.
Puppet Showplace Theater — Puppet Showplace Theater is excited to announce a new grant and virtual summer residency program for Black puppeteers and artists working in the field of puppetry. Inquiries from interested applicants across the U.S. are welcome. The deadline to apply is June 27th. APPLY 5 selected artists will receive $1,000 grants to support the research and development of original puppetry projects during summer 2020. Puppet Showplace Theater will facilitate community-building among members of the grantee cohort and will create opportunities for artists to support and learn from each other while sharing works in progress. The residency will conclude with an invited virtual public sharing of the work or work-in-progress.
DIANA: So, Michael, I recently saw you in a Zoom reading of a local play (Wild Goose Dreams by Hansol Jung) in Boston and you’re such a fun, playful actor. What are your upcoming projects?
MICHAEL: The big one is Lucky Grandma. We premiered the movie at Tribeca, which was really my first part in the lead cast in a movie. And that was pretty exciting. The premiere was really successful at Tribeca and we went to LA and London and Macau and it did really well. Continue reading →
The New England Theatre Geek asserts that Black Lives Matter, BIPOC Lives Matter, Immigrant Lives Matter.
These lives matter now that it’s popular and convenient for white communities to pledge that they matter. These lives will continue to matter to us when it’s inconvenient and the Black Lives Matter movement is no longer popular in mainstream journalism. The New England Theatre Geek pledges to widen its activism and remain vigilant.
Racism isn’t something white people with comfortable lifestyles can solve in a few months during quarantine when we’re all at home anyway with a couple of Twitter posts and a simple website banner (that a Black person made anyway). Racism is systemic; it is aggressive; it is subverted. Deconstructing systemic racism requires equally aggressive, daily practice, and vigilance. We pledge ourselves to this daily practice.
It’s a list. It’s a start that should lead to one’s own personal research.
Most news resources – It is very popular right now for media sites to offer resources. If you find a reliable site that you trust, bookmark it, sign up for its newsletter. Read that newsletter. It’s only by making anti-racist changes a conscious, personal, daily practice that can we ever hope to eradicate racism one day.
Racism is an inherent system that affects everyone existing in society. Perpetuating racism isn’t conscious or explicit; it isn’t rational. You can’t choose to live outside of racism. You can be a “good/nice person” and be racist. Racism is a social reality for all.
White people, you will mess up. You will say and do racist things accidentally. Don’t get defensive. Messing up doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person. Thank the person of color who corrects you (if you’re lucky enough to have a relationship with someone who will) and keep educating yourself.
Don’t ask Black people to explain race/racism to you. That’s not their job. Not even if they’re your friends/colleagues. Attend a training or workshop. Contact your HR. Read a book. Google it. Read the room.
You can have conversations about race/racism with your Black friends if your relationship is conducive to that dialogue. Ask for consent first. If you don’t know why it’s important to ask for consent, you are not ready to have this conversation with your Black friend/s.
Do have conversations with other white people about whiteness/race. Our skin has a color; it affects the world around us. We need the conversational practice.
Don’t try to be the “cool white person.” BIPOC will not see you that way.
White people love to think that racism is something that only exists in history, that it isn’t something we do now. Racism evolves as people do.
Race might not be real but racism is. It will take your entire life to deconstruct your inherent beliefs about white supremacy. Keep going.
New Focus Recordings presents John Aylward’s Angelus
Conducted by Jean-Philippe Wurtz
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Genres: Classical, Contemporary Chamber Music
Text translations and adaptations by John Aylward.
Performed by Ecce Ensemble: Nina Guo, voice; Emi Ferguson, flutes; Hassan Anderson, oboe; Barret Ham, clarinets; Pala Garcia, violin; John Popham, cello; Sam Budish, percussion
Disclaimer: Classical music is #whiteculture. While reading this critique please consider the impact white culture has on Black and Brown bodies. Right now is an excellent time for we white artists to figure out how to even the playing field. Black lives still matter during times of peace.
Critique by Kitty Drexel
Digital Recording/Streaming — On the cover of Ecce Ensemble’s recording of Angelus is a reprinting of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus. A glorified stick figure in beige and mulled yellow, this humanoid seraph bares conical, gapped teeth at observers that look ready to snap. Its wings are elongated fingers with nail beds. Its feet are stunted three-pronged talons. Klee’s angel is no sentimental rendering of a chubby baby in sheets. It is more Biblical destroyer than Anne Geddes. This image prepares the listener for the ethereal violence of Aylward’s work. Continue reading →