Jun 10

Fate from a Fish Called Olga: “chekhovOS /an experimental game/”

chekhovOS /an experimental game/: Pretty in pink

chekhovOS /an experimental game/
Presented by Arlekin’s Zero Gravity (zero-G) Lab & The Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation
Inspired by The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
Conceived & Directed by Igor Golyak
Produced by Igor Golyak & Sara Stackhouse
Starring Jessica Hecht, and Anna Baryshnikov, Anna Bortnik, Darya Denisova, Jeffrey Hayenga, Melanie Moore, Nael Nacer & Mark Nelson
Mikhail Baryshnikov as playwright Anton Chekhov
Program slides are HERE (scroll down)

May 16 – June 24, 2021
Streamed over Zoom
Tickets are HERE
Arlekin Players on Facebook 

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Wheel of Morality turn, turn, turn/Tell us the lesson that we should learn.” – Yakko Warner, The Animaniacs  

ZOOM — Science fiction is now in black and white Chekhovian color streaming to an internet tool near you. chekhovOS /an experimental game/ only has a few more performances, so check it out before it disappears forever

There is a brief segment in the Animaniacs cartoon franchise called “The Wheel of Morality” that pokes fun at both game shows and cartoon shows that teach morality while also employing slapstick violence for laughs. In the segment, Yakko Warner turns a large game show wheel while siblings Wakko and Dot watch. Reliably, the spinning wheel lands on a number causing a small computer to print out the episode’s morale. The morale is often silly and almost never applies to the episode. The siblings are then chased off of the lot by Ralph the Guard. We love The Animaniacs in our house for its irreverence. 

The virtual morality of Arlekin Player’s production of chekhovOS /an experimental game/ (not to be confused with their last event Cherry OS /an experiment/) is a lot like the Wheel of Morality: the rules are unclear, the narrators are unreliable and the story isn’t linear. You’ll have a great time as long as you have no attachment to the ending. Try to have fun because nothing is certain. Or is it? Continue reading

Jun 07

On the Wheels of a Dream: “The Chance to Fly”

Imprint: Amulet Books, New York
Publication Date: April 13, 2021
Price: $16.99
ISBN: 978-1-4197-4393-1
EAN: 9781419743931
Page Count: 288
Format: Hardcover
Additional formats: Ebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOOK — The saying goes that “there are no small parts, only small actors.” Adults that say this are usually overtired, impatient and trying to sell you something. That something is usually complacency and obedience. Theatre kids deserve better. 

Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon’s dream to sing the role of Eliza Schuyler in Hamilton on Broadway. But, she’s never seen a Broadway show, or even been in a musical before! This changes when Nat moves with her family from California to New Jersey. Nat is all set to meet her new wheelchair racing team coach when she spies a flier promoting auditions for a summer production of Wicked. Suddenly, Nat is thrown into ensemble rehearsals. She’s making new friends in her new town and meeting Malik, the cutest boy she’s ever met. When trouble upsets their production, Nat and her friends learn to roll with the punches (pun sort of intended). Nat lets go of her insecurities and embraces her inner diva!  Continue reading

Jun 04

Donate Now so Theatre Can Exist Later: “Songs for A New World”

The soloists from “Songs for A New World.”

Songs For A New World, A Performance to Benefit SpeakEasy Stage
Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music directed by Jose Delgado
Cast includes Rashed Alnuaimi, Laura Marie Duncan, Jennifer Ellis, Dwayne P. Mitchell, Davron Monroe, Mikayla Myers, Rebekah Robles, Alexander Tan, and Victor Carrillo Tracey
The program is HERE

May 26 – June 8, 2021
Streaming to your Device
Tickets  
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

STREAMING — SpeakEasy stage had two COVID compliance officers, and a testing coordinator. OccMed provided health services to the Song for A New World Team and Viracor Eurofins Clinical Diagnostics was their COVID testing provider. A disclaimer that COVID safety protocols were followed during rehearsals and recording of this fundraiser. Continue reading

May 31

You Sow What You Are: “TRACES/REMAIN: Seed to Harvest: The Wooden Book”

Banner by ArtsEmerson

TRACES/REMAIN
Seed to Harvest: The Wooden Book
Presented by ArtsEmerson
Based on the Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 
Featuring the artistry of Toshi Reagon, Letta Neely, Deen Rawlins-Harris, Jenny Hughes, Dyllan Nguyen, Leo Alarcon
Parable Path Boston is Toshi Reagon’s year long artist residency at Emerson College
ArtsEmerson is a sponsor of Boston While Black.

April 8 – June 26, 2021
TRACES/REMAIN incorporates in-Person & online events. Please see below for more details. 
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Remaining opportunities to see/submit to the Wooden Book:
Frugal Bookstore, Nubian Square
MAY 24–JUN 07
57 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
Drop Off Hours: MON–WED 10:00AM–3:00PM;
THU–FRI 10:00AM–5:00PM
SAT 10:00AM–3:00PM
https://frugalbookstore.net
Sower Session: MAY 25 @ 5:30-7:00PM (Zoom)
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 12 @ 4:00PM-6:00PM (Nubian Square Park)

Franklin Park Tennis Courts
JUN 06
Circuit Drive, Boston, MA 02130
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 06 @ 1:00PM-3:00PM (Across from Lemuel Shattuck Hospital)

BCYF/Shelburne Community Center
JUN 10–24
2730 Washington St, Roxbury, MA 02119
https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-centers-youth-families/bcyf-shelburne
Sower Session: JUN 10 @ 6:00-7:30PM
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 13 @ 1:00PM-3:00PM (Malcolm X Park, behind Shelburne)

Egleston Branch Library 
JUN 26
2044 Columbus Ave, Roxbury, MA 02119
Culminating Celebration: 1:00PM–3:00PM
https://www.bpl.org/locations/22/

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Moments from Reagon’s 2017 concert of her opera, Parable of the Sower still haunt me. So when I heard about Parable Path Boston, I got excited. When I heard about TRACES/REMAIN, I did a little wiggle-dance in my seat. Butler’s Parable Series is excellent reading whether you enjoy science fiction or not. It’s exciting to see Reagon and Butler inspiring new audiences. 

I signed up for the May 25 Sower Session and put a visit to the Frugal Bookstore in Nubian Square, Boston in my calendar. I Googled the series to remind myself of the content of the novels. I thought I was ready.  Continue reading

May 31

Good for Them: “A Woman of the World”

Denise Cormier in MRT’s A Woman of the World. Photo: Kathy Wittman.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Rebecca Gilman
Directed by Courtney Sale
Featuring Denise Cormier

May 15-30, 2021
Video on Demand
Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Yes, she was a genius but nothing really happened to her. She never left her house!” – Mary Loomis Todd on Emily Dickinson in A Woman of the World

STREAMING — The summary on the MRT website for A Woman of the World buries the lede. It focuses on her ties to poet Emily Dickinson as a way to lure audience members with Protestant leanings. The summary fails to emphasize famous New Englander Mabel Loomis Todd’s more modern fleshly proclivities: she was into open-marriages centuries before it was cool and took great pleasure in sex.  Continue reading

May 24

2Life Communities Presented “L’Chaim 2 Life!” Virtual Concert on May 23

Photo of Skybell in “Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish” provided by 2Life Communities.

Presented by 2Life Communities
Hosted by Amy Schectman 
Dramaturgy interview with Dr. Barbara Wallace Grossman
Featuring vocalist Steven Skybell, Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish and music director and Tony Award-nominated composer Zalmen Mlotek.
Fiddler in Yiddish online

May 23, 2021 at 11 AM
Streamed via private YouTube link
Boston, MA and New York, NY

Review by Kitty Drexel

YouTube — On May 23 at 11 AM, 2Life Communities and host 2Life Communities President and CEO Amy Schectman celebrated universal themes of community, tradition and life with their virtual, fundraising concert L’Chaim 2Life.”  Broadway notables, performer Steven Skybell and composer Zalmen Mlotek, performed selections from their Off-Broadway hit production Fiddler on the Roof in Yiddish Continue reading

May 21

It’s Abuse: “Herding Cats”

Photo by Danny Kaan. “Juliette” & Saddo.

Presented by OHenry Productions and Stellar, in association with Soho Theatre
By Lucinda Coxon
Directed by Anthony Banks
Featuring: Jassa Ahluwalia, Greg Germann, Sophie Melville
HeardingCatsPlay.com

May 19–22, 2021
In-Person and Streaming Tickets available
Soho Theatre Company 
21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
Herding Cats on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

STREAMING — It is really cool that Greg Germann is able to perform from Los Angeles with actors performing in London at the same time. Zoom theatre has changed the ecology of theatre drastically and it is super, heckin’ neato. Before the pandemic, actors had to be recorded in their respective locations in order for such a feat to be accomplished. Science fiction is now!

I’m not sure why Herding Cats was chosen as the production to show off this technology. It’s not a great script. It wants to be edgy but fails. 

The stakes for the audience are depressingly low, low like six-feet-underground-low. Coxon doesn’t tell or show us why we should care about her characters. We don’t know who they are. I don’t know why I’m supposed to give these characters my attention. They aren’t clever or funny but they aren’t particularly unpleasant or dull either. 

We only know these characters are English because of their accents. Justine carries groceries in the first scene so we know they eat. Maybe. We don’t actually see them eat… Or talk to anyone else, or live at all. We only hear about their lives. They aren’t universal characters either. 

Continue reading

May 19

This is the Future Progressive Theatremakers Want: A “Firebird” Ballet

Crappy screencap of a screen photos by Kitty Drexel

Presented by Abilities Dance Boston
Based on the Slavic firebird folktale
Choreography by Ellice Patterson with the ensemble
Music composed and directed by Andrew Choe
The Firebird program has full cast and crew information

May 14 & 15, 2021
Livestreamed from the Wimberly Theatre at the Calderwood Pavillion
Boston, MA
Abilities Dance on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON/YouTube — The pressure to create during quarantine reached monstrous enormity. For every normie Tom, Delia, and Harrison Ford who worked on a script because Lear was written during a pandemic, an artist with a resume of successes couldn’t polish their abilities because they were too busy surviving the next 24-hours. 

Survival for the disabled arts community means something very different than it does the abled community. Jobs for disabled artists didn’t merely dwindle. They vanished overnight. Some of those jobs may never reappear

Our priorities went from managing a job to managing continued existence in a world actively trying to kill them: doctors appointments and surgeries were canceled, elevators became vectors for disease, carers were transferred to essential service positions. We went from demanding plastic straws in restaurants to demanding our right to live at all. It felt like ableds weren’t going to permit us either thing.   Continue reading

May 09

Shenanigans & Monkeyshines: “Planet of the Grapes Live”

Presented by Toy Theatre and co-produced with Project Y Theatre Company 
Written, performed and created by Peter Michael Marino 
Directed by Michole Biancosino
Music by Michael Harren
Screen management by Genny Yosco 

Remaining dates: May 8 – 16, 2021
Streamed over YouTube
NYC
Toy Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

YOUTUBE — We heard about the Zoom science fiction parody play The Planet of the Grapes Live from this American Theatre article written by creator Marino. His article is a deep dive manifesto into his inspiration for the Grapes parody of Planet of the Apes. The movie is famously parodied by cherished agents of pop culture such as The Simpsons, Robot Chicken, Spaceballs, etc. 

Science fiction parodies make for great entertainment. I needed a good chuckle so I purchased a ticket.  Continue reading

May 02

What About that 5-Ever?: “TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever”

Tah-Janay Shayoñe as Sally in SpeakEasy’s “TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever”

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by James Ijames
Directed by Pascale Florestal
In Partnership with Boston Conservatory at Berklee
Video Production by Wesley Verge
Lighting Design by Aja Jackson
Costume Design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt
Sound Design & Music by David Freeman Coleman
Choreography by Kira Cowan Troilo
Featuring: Dru Sky Berrian, Jordan Pearson, Tah-Janay Shayoñe, Sadiyah Dyce Stephens, Jared Troilo

April 30 – May 13, 2021
Streaming on Vimeo
TICKETS
SpeakEasy on Facebook, Twitter 

RUN TIME: 1 hour and 35 minutes

SpeakEasy Stage’s CONTENT ADVISORY: TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever contains scenes involving strong language, sexual harassment, slavery, and Black trauma.  Viewer discretion is advised.

NETG Advisory:  TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever also features an adult white man in academia who knows better making an absolute fool of himself to appear young and cool to attract a woman. If you’re offended by the portrayal of this character’s antics, you may know or be that white man. Get help. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

VIMEO — Thomas Jefferson, US founding father, raped Sally Hemings. They weren’t in love. She wasn’t his mistress. Hemings was a slave without autonomy. She was raped repeatedly and mothered seven children by Jefferson. An owned person can’t give consent

TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever put this #MeToo epidemic and holds it under a microscope of history by comparing it to Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of Sally Hemings. Play character Sally (Tah-Janay Shayoñe looking like Janet Jackson in Poetic Justice reincarnated) is a university fellow of smarmy university administrator TJ (Jared Troilo). TJ won’t let Sally’s “nos” get in the way of his orgasm. She is supported by her best friends and historic voices of reason Pam (Dru Sky Berrian) and Annette (Sadiyah Dyce Stephens). Meanwhile study buddy Harold (Jordan Pearson) is challenging the university’s legacy of slavery one protest at a time. These students are trying to get an education that includes them. TJ can’t understand he isn’t cool anymore.  Continue reading