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

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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

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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

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Aug 16

Drag Messiah: A very Allston Christmas; Yes on 3!

Quorum Boston presents Drag Messiah: A very Allston Christmas

Yes on 3!

Performance Dates:
August 17, 2018
7:30PM
MIT Building 6, Room 120
77 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge, MA 02139
Aug. 17 event on Facebook

August 18, 2018
7:30PM
First Parish Cambridge Unitarian Universalist
3 Church St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Aug. 18 event on Facebook
Quorum Boston on Facebook

(Cambridge, MA) Since its writing, Handel’s Messiah has been used as a fundraising concert for various causes to benefit society. In Handel’s time, that was the Foundling’s Hospital for London orphans. Quorum will be performing Drag Messiah: a Very Allston Christmas* in order to raise awareness and donations for Freedom for All Massachusetts, a trans-lead organization that is working to protect the ways in which Massachusetts currently allows trans people to use public accomodations (including but not limited to bathrooms) that align with their gender identity. These protections – which allow trans people to live, work, and move through society with basic dignity – also help prevent violence and discrimination against trans people. An anti-LGBTQ group is trying to repeal them, and Freedom for All Massachusetts is working hard to prevent that from happening through public education and awareness. We will have more information, volunteer sign-up for those interested, and VOTER REGISTRATION!

Written by a queer composer who participated in drag culture and wrote many cross-gendered opera roles, the Messiah as performed by an LGBTQ chorus (some of whom will be in drag) will bring awareness to and celebrate the diversity of gender in our Boston community. It will be a very exciting and high-quality concert, and our aim is to use the popularity of the Messiah and the newfound public interest in drag to support the trans community, which is often marginalized from both the classical music and drag scenes, spaces which should be open to all. We will be performing the entire piece with a guest orchestra of historically-informed instrumentalists, in a setting both intimate and powerful. You have not heard this piece performed with as much emotional authenticity as you will this August.

*What’s Allston Christmas?
It’s that time in August and early September when people scavange treasures left on the sidewalk or put in the trash by departing renters. It’s is a working-class celebration of new life and valuing what has been discarded by others, concepts which are also foundational to the queer experience. Handel’s Messiah – a larger-than-life oratorio about birth, rejection and punishment at the hands of those who don’t understand your worth, and the triumph of good will and promise for a better future – is the perfect piece to sing for this occasion.

Quorum Boston is an LGBTQ vocal ensemble that performs music almost exclusively by LGBTQ composers (like Handel!) in order to combat the erasure of queerness in the classical music canon and help new voices be heard.

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Aug 06

A State of Virginal Ecstasy; Or, Needs More Snakes in Bowls: “Dark Room”

Ensemble | Photo Credit, Andrew Brilliant

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
Written by George Brant
Inspired by the life, death, and photography of Francesca Woodman
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio
Associate director and dramaturgy by Alexander Platt
Choreography by Doppelgänger Dance Collective

July 27 – August 16, 2018
In residence at the Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: I auditioned for this production, and was not cast. It is my opinion that only a jackass would allow rejection, a natural process of auditioning, to taint their review.

(Cambridge, MA) Producer and director, D’Ambrosio gives an important, informative speech before Dark Room to guide audience expectations. She suggests we allow the performance to wash over us. Should we become puzzled by the actions onstage, rather than self-interpret what we see, we should allow the performance to explain itself through continued observance. I’d further posit that audience members do proper research before attending. The chiaroscuro style of Francesca Woodman is emphatically stirring. To fully absorb the performance, it behooves an audience to google Woodman’s art. Continue reading

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Jul 13

The Link Between Cause and Effect: “AddictShunned”

The cast. Photo: Avenue Stage

Presented by Avenue Stage
By Judith Austin
Directed by Michael O’Halloran

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Avenue Stage on Facebook

AddictShunned was originally titled Spiro Spero, which roughly translates to “While I Breathe, I Hope.”

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”
— NIDA website, “The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics” https://www.drugabuse.gov/

(Boston, MA) Addiction is as much of a disease as Diabetes. Yet, while we don’t demand diabetics to will themselves healthy, we do demand this of addicts. Addicts need and deserve compassion, understanding, and resources to break the cycles of abuse. Avenue Stage’s AddictShunned compassionately reframes the stories of addicts. The audience is made to find commonality with characters it would prefer to remain anonymous.   Continue reading

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Jun 28

Your Ticket is Problematic: LUZIA


Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Written by Julie Hamelin Finzi and Daniele Finzi Pasca
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca
Acrobatic performance designed by Philippe Aubertin
Composed and music directed by Simon Carpentier
Acrobatic choreography by Edesia moreno Barata, Debra Brown, Sylvia Gertrúdix González

June 27 – August 12, 2018
Suffolk Downs
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128
Parking available for $20.00
CdS on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Cirque du Soleil’s scheduling of its Luzia American tour is so poorly-timed that it’s nearly offensive. The producers couldn’t have known, could they? On the one hand, there’s the appreciation of Mexico’s song, dance, and natural resources. On the other, there’s the fact that ICE is indefinitely detaining immigrants as well as asylum seekers near the Mexican border. It’s deporting LEGAL residents across the US. It had been separating families because it could. “But why does light entertainment have to be dragged through politics? It’s just a show!” Because the political is personal, my friends. There are immigrants living in Boston who are at risk of deportation as I type. We, as artists and audience members, can’t forget the fascist actions of the the President because it’s convenient. We must be better. Continue reading

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Jun 21

Blog Update: Nondiscrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy

[Updated 6/21/2018]
The New England Theatre Geek (NETG) is an arts blog committed to maintaining a constructive and supportive environment for its readers and its staff. The following harassment policy is in support of our commitment for a more compassionate and respectful arts community. NETG may, from time to time, revise this policy at its discretion without notice:

No individual, whether a NETG employee, audience member, subject of a published critique, production crew or adjacent individual, should be subjected to any unwelcome conduct that is or should be known to be offensive because of gender, race, age, religion, ethnicity, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity and/or expression. This policy extends to interaction in person as well as all interactions online. NETG will make reasonable efforts to ensure that the actions of its employees are free from harassment. Should a harassment claim be made, NETG will take appropriate corrective action.

Employees of the NETG are held to a high standard of constructive criticism. Performance critiques, reviews, interviews or op eds will be limited to production elements and the theatre experience of a given performance. Articles written for NETG will disinclude reviews or critiques based on an individual’s gender, race, age, religion, ethnicity, immigration status, disability, sexual orientation or gender identity and/or expression. This policy element may only be revoked on the occasion that an employee directly quotes an artist.

NETG employees are consultants that work directly with New England arts companies to create online journalism. The NETG expects that its colleagues and readers will extend the same respect to employees both online and in person. NETG will not tolerate harassment of any kind either on the New England Theatre Geek online blog, Facebook pages (including the Admiral Kittypants Facebook page), or in person. NETG is within its rights to revoke, suspend and/or permanently ban any person, company or entity from participating in some or all related activities, with or without expressed cause.

When alleged harassment is reported, NETG will investigate the incident at its own discretion. There will be no retaliation against an individual who has or reported harassment, or who has cooperated with any investigation of harassment. Those found guilty of misconduct will find their relationship with NETGsuspended.

Lastly, it is NETG policy to believe victims. Victims are invited to submit claims anonymously or otherwise to blognetheatregeek at gmail dot com. Actions to correct and prevent further misconduct will be performed at the discretion of the victim with input from NETG leadership.

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Jun 14

Don’t Expect the Movie: “Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage”

Craven and Courts. Photo by Jeremy Daniel.

Presented by Boch Center
By Eleanor Bergstein
Music supervising and orchestrations by Conrad Helfrich
Choreography by Michele Lynch
Original choreography by Kate Champion
Directed by Sarna Lapine

June 13 – 17, 2018
Shubert Theatre
Boston, MA
Dirty Dancing tour on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Dirty Dancing: The Classic Story On Stage is a great production for professional-dance enthusiasts who enjoyed Dirty Dancing the movie but have no particular emotional connection to it. Diehard movie fans may feel put out by Eleanor Bergstein’s script upgrades. Musical aficionados may snark at the “acting” going on onstage. Anybody ready for some good time media nostalgia will enjoy themselves. Continue reading

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Jun 11

#Gamergate, Too: “The Nether”

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Jennifer Haley
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 8 – 23, 2018
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, 02472
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: pedophilia, sexual abuse, implied physical violence, predatory grooming

(Watertown, MA) Flat Earth’s production is expectedly excellent but it isn’t enjoyable. Well actually, The Nether is about ethics in gaming journalism. It’s a political metaphor for gamer identity protection. Just kidding: It’s about abusive communities on the internet and the people who dwell in them. Identity protection and “ethics” are smoke screens for heinous behavior in the name of free speech and implausible deniability. #yesallwomen Continue reading

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