Sep 25

“Borrowed Cash” and Their Stolen Songs


Presented by Harvard’s American Repertory Theater
Written by Daniel Jenkins and Melissa van der Schyff
Directed by Gina Rattan

Sept. 13 – Sept. 23, 2018
OBERON – American Repertory Theater
2 Arrow Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
ART on Facebook

Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Cambridge, MA) Borrowed Cash was a band headlined by ex-lovers Ann Marie and Harper who were Brits parading as hillbilly Southerners.  Between the ex-spouses, Ann Marie provided the most twanging, crooning songs center stage with eyes closed.  Harper spent most of his time supplying the main keyboard riffs, singing backup harmonies, and blowing a harmonica.  Harper is actually NYC-born actor Daniel H. Jenkins, and Ann Marie the Canadian actress Melissa van der Schyff. Neither are British or Southern, but both did a great job of playing bitter British bandmates who suffered a nasty divorce. Continue reading

Sep 24

Casual Disregard for Our Mutual Humanity: “The Niceties”

Look who’s teaching now. Lisa Banes and Jordan Boatman. Photo: T. Charles Erickson. 

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Kimberly Senior
Original music and sound design by Elisheba Ittoop

Aug. 31 – Oct. 6, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The Niceties is a play about primary sources. It’s about the writers of white history, and white history’s casualties. It’s about speaking effectively and effective listening. It’s about race and the people who decide what is and isn’t racist behavior. It’s about attempting to be a good person while being good to other people. It’s about an impetuous Black student who’s had enough of excuses from a white professor, and an egotistical white professor who’s forgotten how to teach. There are no winner; there’s only complication. Continue reading

Sep 24

“Vicuña” or not “Vicuña,” That is the Question

(L to R) Evelyn Holley, Srin Chakravorty, Steve Auger, Arthur Barlas, and Jaime Hernandez in Zeitgeist Stage Company’s production of Vicuña. Photo by Joel Benjamin.

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company 
By Jon Robin Baitz
Directed by David J. Miller

September 14th – October 6th, 2018
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St
Boston, MA
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) In Vicuña, the year is 2016, and Amir, a young Iranian-American tailor’s apprentice, gets thrown into the world of national politics when Kurt Seaman, the loose cannon business tycoon-turned underdog presidential candidate, drops in to order a special suit (made of fine vicuña wool) for his third debate against an unnamed female opponent. Caught between virtue and duty, flirting with Seamen’s daughter Ivanka—er, I mean Srilanka—and disaster, Amir must decide whether to make the suit and betray everything he believes in, or refuse and let his family and closest friends suffer the consequences of denying this powerful and dangerous man. Continue reading

Sep 21

Kindness Can’t Kill Systemic Disease: “Between Riverside and Crazy”

Oswaldo and Pops at breakfast. Photo by Nile Scott Studios

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene
Fight choreography by Greg Maraio
Dialect coaching by Kelly Sabini

Sept. 14 – Oct. 13, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“I may look how i look. That don’t mean I am how I look.”  – Lulu

(Boston, MA) Fuck the police. Fuck them for killing Black people at unprecedented rates. Fuck them for killing gay/queer/trans people because they can. Fuck them for raping women while in uniform. Fuck them for #bluelivesmatter. Fuck the police and their scare tactics, faulty de-escalation training, and their playing to the sympathies of ignorant white people. No one should die of a routine anything because a trigger happy cop couldn’t keep their shit together. Fuck them for making small changes and expecting big credit. Fuck the police and the lame white horse they rode in on. Fuck the goddamn police. Continue reading

Sep 12

One Ironic Goose Step At A Time; or Two Geeks, One Show: “Straight White Men”

Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures. The cast in a moment of superficial contemplation.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Written by Young Jean Lee
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

Sept. 7 – 30, 2018
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Mainstage Theater
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Representation matters. Straight White Men is written by an Asian playwright. Noelani Kamelamela was asked to write a review in addition to the critique written by Kitty Drexel. Both are posted below.

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Watertown, MA) The synopsis of Straight White Men seems like it would be a Men’s Rights Activist’s nearest and dearest dream brought to life.  I imagine a white man in a polo shirt and khakis sitting down by the light of a tiki torch to read what would be a thoroughly delightful description: after all, the main action only involves four white men.  Yup. Four white men. No women. No people of color. This hypothetical straight white man would see the name Young Jean Lee and maybe remember sweet ole Robert E. Lee. Perhaps it hearkens him back to time before, when America was great.  “What a fine night of theatre!” this man in a barcalounger would remark aloud as he reached for his credit card and purchased a ticket to New Rep Theatre’s production which runs at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown through September 30th. Continue reading

Sep 07

Theatre on Fire and Charlestown Working Theater’s Latest Production is Not Safe

Presented by Theatre on Fire, and the Charlestown Working Theater
Written by Lucy Kirkwood
Directed by Darren Evans

Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street, Boston, MA

Performances:
Nov. 2-17, 2018
Ticket Prices: $5 – $15 – $25 (You choose)
Box Office: www.theatreonfire.org
866-811-4111 (toll free)

Charlestown, MA – Theatre on Fire (TOF) and Charlestown Working Theater (CWT) present NSFW by Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Artistic Director Darren Evans. A biting and hilarious satire of media mores and manipulation, NSFW takes on questions of who is responsible for mysogyny in our culture – men? women? producers? consumers? There are no easy answers in this scathing dark comedy.

The lads mag, “Doghouse,” has just proudly unveiled the winner of its Local Lovely 2018 competition. When buxom Carrie, 18, turns out to be only 14 years old, havoc ensure and her father threatens legal action. In an attempt to save the magazine, head editor Aidan sacks the well-meaning junior, Sam, who sanctioned the use of the shots. But Carrie’s irate father is not so easily mollified. When Sam shows up later at the women-centered “Electra” magazine, he gets to see another other side of the publishing world, for better or worse.

Premiering at the Royal Court in 2012, NSFW is a sharp, biting, satirical new comedy that marks the breakthrough of one of the United Kingdom’s most exciting playwrights. Continue reading

Sep 07

Bodega Presents: The Intersection @ District Hall, Boston

Bodega Presents: The Intersection
Sun, September 23, 2018
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM EDT
$21.00

District Hall
75 Northern Avenue
Boston, MA 02210

Doors open at 7:00 pm. Show at 7:30 pm. Come by for some #FUNinBOS !
Somebody tell Permit Patty and BBQ Becky it’s going down in District Hall! Bodega has curated the most fearless and funniest performers in Boston for one night only. If you stay rooting for everybody Black, then this is the place to to The Intersection at District Hall in the Seaport for a night of comedy completely comprised of Boston creatives of color. Comedians, and improvisers will nourish your spirit and have you laughing until you snort. We promise.

Standups include Tooky Kavanagh, Reece Cotton and Sarah Francis.

The Intersection is part of the six day FUN festival hosted by the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce and City Awake. For more ways to join the conversation and celebration of Boston’s Millennials of Color visit the festival site. Venue sponsored by the good folks at District Hall. Dinner and drinks available on-site at Gather restaurant.

FAQ: What are my transportation/parking options?
District Hall is closest to the MBTA Courthouse stop on the Silver Line. There are a number of bike racks available by the Seaport Boulevard entrance. In addition, DH is located right next to the Seaport Square station on the Hubway bikeshare network. If you drive in, there are a number of parking lots in the area: Pilgrim Parking – One Marina Park Drive Garage; LAZ Parking – Watermark Seaport; One Seaport Parking Garage.

Sep 07

Langston Hughes as “The Black Clown”

The Black Clown Production Photo
The cast of The Black Clown.
Photo: Maggie Hall.

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Adapted from Langston Hughes’ poem
Adapted by Davóne Tines and Michael Schachter
Music by Michael Schachter
Choreographed by Chanel DaSilva
Directed by Zack Winokur
Music Direction by Jaret Landon
Trumpets by Dave Adewumi and Robyn Smith
Keyboards played by Jaret Landon and Bethany Aikin
Reeds by Rajiv Halim, Isaiah Johnson, and Jason Marshall

August 31 – Sept 23, 2018
Loeb Drama Center
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Written by Bishop C. Knight

(Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA)  In The Black Clown program, the A.R.T. Artistic Director wrote how “Langston Hughes drew deeply on the traditions of African American music,” and Hughes would have been pleased with this production.  

The pit orchestra breathed life into spirituals and added rhythmic profundity to operatic adaptations of Hughes’ poems. Keyboards were played by Jaret Landon, a Chicago-based composer who was the show’s Music Director, and Bethany Aiken, who studied Music History at Oberlin College.  A theater experience fusing vaudeville, gospel, and jazz, Black Clown brought Langston Hughes’ verse to life onstage.  Every musician in this production – from the trumpet players, to the actors who themselves are acclaimed singers – every musician, per their participation in this production, paid respect both to Hughes and to the African American music at the heart of Hughes’ art. Continue reading

Aug 27

The Monkey is Omniscient: “Timbuktu, USA”

Top row (l-r): Karos, McMaster, Kaiss, Astudillo
Bottom row (l-r): Wiseman, Hillyer, Baltay; photo credit to David Marshall

Presented by Sleeping Weazel
Written and directed by Kenneth Prestininzi
Assistant direction from Teresa Cruz
Fight choreography by Drew Frayre

Aug. 25 – Sept. 1, 2018
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: references to bestiality, incestuous kissing

(Boston, MA) Sleeping Wezel’s Timbuktu, USA is an absurd political satire made digestible via the mechanics of a bedroom farce. There is opportunity a plenty to be delightfully offended by the comings and goings of Prestininzi’s chaotic neutral politicians. The buffoonery so closely resembles the US current political boondoggle that audience members may leave confused. Fear not, Timbuktu, USA is a diversion well worth any disorientation. Continue reading

Aug 24

“Cloud Tectonics”: Love is Love is Love is Love

CLOUD TECTONICS by José Rivera, production poster

Presented by Fort Point Theatre Channel
by José Rivera
Director: Jaime Carrillo
Musicians: Nick Thorkelson, Mitchel Ahern, Anaís Azul, Francis Xavier Norton, Luz Lopez, Fernando Barbosa
FPTC on Facebook

Aug 8th @ 6:00pm
Hyde Square Task Force
30 Sunnyside Street, Jamaica Plain
(In Boston’s newly designated Latin Quarter!)

Aug 14th @ 7:30pm
The Fort Point Room at Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress Street, Boston

Aug 17th & 18 @ 7:30pm
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave., Boston

Aug 21th @ 7:30 pm
Gloucester Stage
267 East Main Street, Gloucester

Review by Diana Lu

(Various locations, MA) I remember once chatting with a friend about Japanese media. He mentioned that in a lot of Japanese narratives, a nuclear disaster occurs and the rest of the story deals with the aftermath. That rarely happens in American narratives, he noted, which focus on anxiety about impending disaster. That is, what we in the US fear the most, has already happened in Japan.  Later, I heard a podcast discuss The Handmaid’s Tale. In it, one host observed that Atwood’s gruesome fictional future is actually the reality of the past, for black slave women. Continue reading