Nov 24

One Comedy, One Drama, Both Based in Reality: New Rep’s Showstopper Virtual Play Series

Showstopper Virtual Play Series
Presented by New Rep Theatre
Premieres by Alexis Scheer and Miranda Austen ADEkoje

November 21 – December 13, 2020
Performances will be audio described by Cori Couture on Saturday, 12/12 at 7:00pm and Sunday, 12/13 at 4:00pm.
Over Zoom
New Rep on Facebook

“A Very Herrera Holiday”
By Alexis Scheer
Directed by Sarah Shin
With Amanda Figueroa 

“[keyp-ing]”
By Miranda Austen ADEkoje 
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
With Jasmine M Rush  

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — New Rep’s “A Very Herrera Holiday” and “[keyp-ing]” are two plays about women who have had enough. In the former, Emma Herrera (Amanda Figueroa) uses her DIF crafting Youtube stardom to celebrate the holidays with a family recipe for coquitos. “[keyp-ing]” chronicles Monica Jenae’s personal fight against white supremacy as Boston-area freelance commercial producer.   Continue reading

Nov 18

Show the Relationships: Lilac Players’ First Annual 48-Hour Play Festival

The Lilac Players‘ First Annual 48hr Play Festival
Hosted by Meghan Joliffe
Sunday, November 15, at 7:00pm
Presented over YouTube  

Disclaimer: Mrs. Drexel has a friendly relationship with many players involved with this festival. She believes that only an ass-hatted dinglehopper of a n00b would let petty human emotions interfere with a critique.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — There have been strikingly few play festivals since the quarantine began in March. Festivals are relatively easy to produce despite their many moving parts. Performance teams can schedule their own work hours and pace. Everyone comes together at tech rehearsal to complete the beast. Audiences are guaranteed even if it’s only made up of participants and their partners. And, as my massage therapist (a fringe theatre enthusiast) told me yesterday as they were vigorously massaging my shoulders in a darkened salon, it’s exciting to see a play come together, rehearsal to performance. The allure is strong. 

The Lilac Players presented its very first 48-Hour Play festival on the evening of Sunday, November 15. It was a successful evening: nine plays were streamed over YouTube to their rowdy fans who expressed their appreciation through the live chat. Jokes were made. Fun was had. Continue reading

Nov 05

Marching with my anger and my grief: “Notes on Me & You”

Produced as part of the Hartford Theatre Festival 
Created by Dawson Atkin and N.J. Collay
Performed by Sam Vana

October 9 – November 9, 2020
Hartford Fringe Festival 
https://www.hartfordfringefestival.org/
Hartford Fringe on Vimeo

Review by Kitty Drexel 

Vimeo/Hartford, CT — I write this review from the floor of the 4 bedroom apartment that I share with my brilliant, non-binary wife and our two housemates in Somerville, MA. I’m at my wife’s feet and as they work on COVID-19 science for a Cambridge lab. We’re both attacking work job projects with an unnecessary focus because we’d otherwise be rage scrolling Twitter for 2020 election news updates. Biden is in the lead while the Narcissist in Chief refuses to accept his electoral losses. 

Trump hates the LGBTQ+ community. His administration’s repeated attacks on us prove it. His vice president supports conversion therapy. 

Trump hates Black, Brown, and Asian people.

He hates immigrants. 

He hates disabled people. 

He hates everyone who isn’t him. He hates everyone who doesn’t worship in the cult of his narcissism. He’s allowing them to die from a highly contagious virus that there is no cure for. History is repeating itself. 

Why does he hate us so much? We just want to live.

Fifty percent of the US is voting for this hateful man. Even when Biden wins and finally takes the White House with Harris, it will be impossible to know who to trust just like it was in 2016. 

Reagan hated the LGBTQ+ community with such a passion that he let us die by the tens of thousands from the “gay plague” in the 1980s. His administration was indifferent to our deaths during the AIDS crisis. Reagan’s inaction was historically captured for posterity and was made into art: The Normal Heart, Angels in America, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and now Atkin and Collay’s Notes on Me & You currently at the Hartford Fringe Festival.   Continue reading

Nov 02

It’s Not Always About Mobility: A Dance Concert by Abilities Dance Boston

Presented by Celebrity Series of Boston
Performed by Abilities Dance Boston 
Choreography and audio descriptions by Executive/Artistic Director Ellice Patterson
Audio descriptions edited by Amber Pearcy
Costumes designed by Laura Brody 
Music composed by Erin Rogers and Andrew Choe
Performers: Scynthia Charles, Janelle Diaz, Ellice Patterson, Lauren Sava

Thu. October 29, 8:00 PM
Live-streamed from The Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA.
Boston, MA 
Abilities Dance Boston on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: It’s election night 2020. This review is very late. Everything is stressful in this moment. So: we’ll correct mistakes and other issues in the morning. 

Boston, MA — Abled people don’t seem to understand that the intended purpose of assisted mobility devices is freedom. Wheelchairs, crutches, blind canes, and service animals* provide greater environmental access to the user. Hollywood perpetuates the myth that disabled people cannot move without their assisted mobility device. Disabled people can do a lot of things Hollywood doesn’t think they can do like run, sing, love, dance, work, swim, and fuck like champions. 

In reality, how and how often a mobility device is used is determined by the user. The user may not always need their wheelchair or they may always need it. Usage is determined by the user and their medical professional. An untrained, unknown abled adult should never tell a disabled adult how to use their mobility device. This is ableist and, frankly, none of their damn business. 

On Thursday, October 29, Abilities Dance Boston performed eight pieces live to streamed-audience from the Calderwood Pavilion. The stage was bare. The curtains and floor were black. The lightning design favored purples and oranges. The audience was empty.  Continue reading

Oct 28

“Downtown Crossing”

The Cast of “Downtown Crossing.” Photo by

Presented by Company One
In partnership with Northeastern University and Boston Public Library
with support from the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University
Written by David Valdes
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Dramaturgy by Jessica Scout Malone

Streaming live October 22, 23, 24 @ 7pm
October 25 @ 2pm
Digital program
C1 on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Streaming/Boston, MA — My wife and I used to joke that we couldn’t travel to 2006’s Arizona because they looked too brown. John McCain might confuse them for a Mexican immigrant and deport them. It was the kind of stupid BS we could joke about because we were young and ignorant. We didn’t know the hurt McCain’s policies were causing.

My brilliant wife (who gave me permission to discuss them in this article) is kānaka maoli, an indigenous person of Hawaiian descent. Their skin is a buff, maple syrup brown. Their smile is wide and dominates their broad face. They have a warm but reserved personality that belies a deep well of energy. They are easy to love. Continue reading

Oct 20

The Dreams of Youth are the Regrets of Maturity: “The Sun Is Sleeping”


Presented, written and performed by Michael John Ciszewski for his 27th birthday
Featuring the talents of Rachel Belleman (she/her), Teresa Langford (she/her), Steven Maier (he/him), Pier Lamia Porter (she/her), Regine Vital (she/her)
Voice work by Kevin Becerra (he/him), Elissa Bonito (she/her), Bryan Guffey (they/them), Sarah Oakes Muirhead (she/her), Noah Simes (he/him)
Music by Nicky B (he/him), Sam Graham (he/him)

Viewed on Oct. 18, 2020
Next screening on Oct. 24, 8PM EST
http://www.michaeljohnciszewski.com/
Social media: @micjcis

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM – Happy birthday Michael John Ciszewski – belated! The Sun Is Sleeping: A Queer Reverie is was released in June to celebrate Pride month and Ciszewski’s 27th circle around the sun. How does one celebrate a birthday during quarantine? (If my own April birthday was any indication) With heartfelt disappointment. Rather than suffer his madness, Ciszewki turned it into art.  

The Sun Is Sleeping is the expression of an extrovert’s existential frustration with the soul-crushing confinement of quarantine and pop music. Ciszewski plays the Sun Prince (and other roles), golden royalty forced into impotent exile. His revels are ended; depression is setting in. Unlike the sweet lipped and jubilant Persephone, our Sun Prince doesn’t have a dark King awaiting him in the underworld. He has Zoom and it provides poor comfort to His Majesty.  

Continue reading

Oct 14

It Was Earth All Along!: “Zoo Motel”

Thaddeus Phillips in “Zoo Motel.”

Co-presented by the Miami Light Project 
Created by Thaddeus Phillips
Designed by Steven Dufala
CO-created & directed by Tatiana Mallarino
Magic by Steve Cuiffo
Movement by Fernando Careaga & Katya Humenyuk

Now – October 20, 2020
A Performance over Zoom
8:00 pm – 9:05 pm
Zoo Motel on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — A theatrical production doesn’t have to perfectly incorporate its many elements to be Art or even good entertainment. It must engage the mind and welcome us into its world. Great theatre can have plot holes up the wazoo so long as it’s a wazoo we believe in. We believe in Zoo Motel’s wazoo.

Zoo Motel is imperfect art but it is good art. Performer and creator Thaddeus Phillips gives us a brief reprieve from pandemic stressors by occupying us with new, unusual ones. Audience members/hotel residents are greeted by the Night Clerk (Newton Buchanan) as a group. He offers us amenities such as the espresso bar (delicious) and gives us a brief spiel about what to expect. Even though he briefs us, I couldn’t say that we were fully prepared for our experience. It was fun but also intense. Continue reading

Oct 09

Upstaged By A Wandering Mouse: “Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light”


Presented by Central Square Theatre 
In partnership with City of Cambridge Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity & YWCA Cambridge.
Written and performed by Dr. Billie Jean Young 

October 7, 2020, at 7PM
A virtual event over Zoom 

Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM/Cambridge, MA — Central Square Theatre’s presentation of Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light was a hot and sticky mess. This event didn’t have technical difficulties; it had technical catastrophes. An evening that should have been about civil rights warrior Hamer was rife with distractions instead. 

The audience was told at the beginning of the event that Dr. Young wouldn’t be able to perform for us that evening but that a recording of her performance would be played. While this was unfortunate, we could sympathize with Dr. Young. Her body is her instrument and instruments can be fickle. The Women’s Vote Centennial Panel would continue as scheduled.  Continue reading

Oct 05

More Than a Monument: “The Charles Lenox Experience”

Kadahj Bennett as Charles W. Lenox

Presented by New Repertory Theatre in partnership with the Watertown Free Public Library and the Historical Society of Watertown
The Charles W. Lenox Experience
Script by Ken Green
Directed by Michael Ofori
Performed by Kadahj Bennett

September 26 – November 8, 2020
Audio Description: October 18, 2020 at 1:00pm
ASL Interpretation: October 24 at 1:00pm & October 25 at 4:00
Accessibility information is HERE.
Watertown Square
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Watertown, MA — Trump has COVID-19. He could learn about science from this experience (he won’t). Thoughts and Prayers.

I mention the president because he is a man who remains steadfastly ignorant of his inherent racism. Racism is a social disease that negatively impacts us all; we can’t opt-out.  We can only hope to counter it through education and cognitive retraining of the self. It’s as easy and self-monitoring your speech and as complicated as decolonizing our collective world view.

You too can learn from experience! Attend the New Rep’s Watertown Historical Moving Plays: The Charles Lenox Experience and learn all about a nineteenth-century Watertown barber who was one of the first Black men to enlist as a Private in the Civil War. Charles W. Lenox (played skillfully by Kadahj Bennett) leads a small audience across Watertown Square while describing his young adulthood, explaining local politics, and cracking jokes. Continue reading

Sep 28

A Handy History of Mount Auburn Cemetery: A Book Review of “The Mount Auburn Plays”

The Mount Auburn Plays
By Patrick Gabridge
Friends of Mount Auburn
2020
198 pgs
Paperback (color)
Digest (5.5 x 8.5 in / 140 x 216 mm)
ISBN: 978-0-9986982-4-3
$21.95
Purchase HERE

Mount Auburn Cemetary
580 Mount Auburn Street
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02138

Virtual Book Launch with Playwright Patrick Gabridge
September 30 @ 6:00 pm
Registration is FREE!
(donation suggested)

Review by Kitty Drexel

Watertown, MA — This review is to support the Sept. 30 virtual book launch of The Mount Auburn Plays by Patrick Gabridge. I was gifted a copy of the book by Gabridge (with a fancy author’s signature. This means I can sell my copy for bazillions of bitcoins in approximately 30 years when it’s no longer in print). It’s good to be the Queen.

This book is a collection of Patrick Garbridge’s plays inspired by Mount Auburn Cemetary written during his 2018-2019 artist residency: The Nature Plays, The America Plays, and Moonlight Abolitionists. Before each play, there is a handy history of the play with casting, audience, and location information. Color production photos placed between. Continue reading