Jan 24

“The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Becomes”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Created by Back to Back Theatre, Australia
Authored by Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Sonia Teuben
Directed by Bruce Gladwin
Composed by Luke Howard Trio – Daniel Farrugia, Luke Howard, Jonathon Zion
Performed by Michael Chan, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price

Jan. 23–26, 2020
Emerson Paramount Center’s Jackie Liebergott Black Box
559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
ArtsEmerson on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA —  One of the ignoble truths of living as a disabled person is that people stare. People stare at us because we’re different. They stare because they can. Performance is one way that disabled people wrestle back control. We get to choose when people stare at us. It is liberating.

In Back to Back Theatre’s The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Becomes, the disabled cast wants you to stare so they can stare back. And when they do, they do not flinch. I’d wager good money that Thursday night’s audience has never had their gaze turned back on them. Witnessing this was deliciously rewarding. Continue reading

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Jan 23

Bickering is A Language of Love: “We All Fall Down”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
by Lila Rose Kaplan
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Jan. 10 – Feb. 15, 2020
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.” – Traditional song (American version)

Boston, MA — We All Fall Down is a family portrait that examines clashing egos during a period of family dilemma. The Stein family isn’t talking to each other. In their defense, they aren’t listening either. It’s Passover. Everyone has an agenda and none of them correspond. We All Fall Down is about the power we give denial. The stronger the denial, the tauter the family bond. Continue reading

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Jan 17

Calling the Police Over a Picnic:”Pass Over”

Photo by Nile Scott Studios; Lewis D. Wheeler, Kadahj Bennett, Hubens “Bobby” Cius

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co. with The Front Porch Arts Collective
By Antoinette Nwandu
Directed by Monica White Ndounou
Fight choreography by Brandon G. Green
Movement coaching by Mila Thigpen
Dramaturgy by Pascale Florestal

January 3 – Feb. 2, 2020
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
SpeakEasy on Facebook
The Front Porch on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: white guilt, language, fuck the police

(Boston, MA) The sheer volume of what one must understand as true regardless of personal belief in order to not merely understand but thoroughly digest Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over at SpeakEasy Stage is overwhelming. The role that white people play in perpetuating racism’s systemic horrorshow machinations against Black people (and all people of color) is astounding.

Here is a list of links containing basic concepts that could be helpful. 

  • It is not the responsibility of Black people to explain racism or to convince white people that it exists. 
  • Being nice isn’t the same as not being racist. Racist people are nice all of the time. Nice people are racist all the time.
  • Black friends won’t make a white person less racist. Dismantling internalized racism requires a lifetime of work.  
  • It should go without saying that Black people want equality. They don’t want to reverse their treatment at the hands of white people back onto white people. 
  • Racism is about power. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. 
  • White people have to stop taking personally Black resistance to oppression.  
  • All of this information is a Google search away. 

Continue reading

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Dec 19

Light and Frothy Secular Fun: “Irving Berlin’s White Christmas”

IBWC National Tour Company. Jeremy Daniel Photography, 2017. *Includes Makayla Joy Connolly

Presented by Work Light Productions
Based on the 1954 film “White Christmas by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama, and Melvin Frank
Music and lyrics by Irving Berlin
Book by David Ives and Paul Blake
Directed and choreographed by Randy Skinner
Music directed by Michael Horsley

Boch Center Wang Theatre
270 Tremont St
Boston, MA
IBWC on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is the secular, heteronormative Christmas musical I didn’t know I needed to see the season. I was in a grumpy mood when last night. I was feeling so grinchy that I could have abandoned my theatre plans to don a furry, green unitard and guide an empty sleigh drawn by a single, overworked pup into the Boston streets. My mood was foul when the curtain rose. But, by the time the curtain went down, I was chipper with the holiday spirit. The dancing and singing in Irving Berlin’s White Christmas is so infectiously charming that I had no choice but be swept into a better mood. Continue reading

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Dec 16

A Response to “Tuck Everlasting” at The Umbrella Stage Company

Presented by The Umbrella Stage Company
Based on the novel by Natalie Babbitt
Book by Claudia Shear & Tim Federle
Music by Chris Miller
Lyrics by Nathan Tysen
Directed by Nancy Curran Willis
Music direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Lara Finn Banister

December 6 – 22, 2019
The Umbrella Arts Center
40 Stow Street
Concord, MA 01742
USC on Facebook

Response by Kitty Drexel

(Concord, MA) I have wrestled with my response to the Umbrella Stage Company’s production of Tuck Everlasting. Writing this essay has been difficult. I do not publish these words lightly. It hurts my heart to do so. But, out of love for those who may be negatively impacted by this musical, I must. It is more important to protect children than it is to be polite.

Interpretations of art change over time. The innocuous children’s literature of a previous generation can serve as a clear warning signal to this one. Times have changed. Tuck Everlasting is no longer just a story about living life to its fullest. It is now also a story about predatory grooming and the community that would have excused the predatory behavior as normal.

Tuck Everlasting the musical is about the predatory grooming of a minor. In it, Jesse Tuck, a 102-year-old adult (sexual) predator who looks 17-years-old, meets pre-pubescent, 11-year-old girl Winnie Foster in the wilds of an NH forest. He begins grooming her for marriage while she is removed from parental oversight.

Winnie gets away from Jesse by chance because of an altercation with a gun. She is not saved by parental or community interference. She is not saved by her clever mind or spunky attitude. She is saved by chance.

Out of respect to the hardworking cast and crew of Everlasting Tuck, I cannot delve into the performative details of this musical. I am finding it impossible to separate their work from the context of the production.In any other context, I would happily sing their praises.  I apologize for this.

Everlasting Tuck could start a conversation about how predators groom children as well as communities. Unfortunately, the conversations I overheard at the theatre on Saturday afternoon told me that the audience instead took a hard left at discussing this necessary topic. It is not more important to congratulate hardworking friends than it is to point out social evils.

I understand why no one was saying anything; no one wants to be the bad guy by pointing out the obvious dangers in the room. I don’t mind incurring blame if it means children are protected from sexual predators like the White Rhino Report’s Al Chase and Boston Children’s Theatre’s Burgess Clark. Communities enable predatory grooming by ignoring the signs and making excuses instead.

A lot of grooming looks normal from the outside. It is up to a community to notice the signs of predatory behavior and put a stop to them. I’ve listed resources to help identify it below.

Community politics are not more important than protecting children. I did not speak up when I was a little girl involved in a poisonous theatre production. I am speaking up now.

Resources:

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Dec 04

“Luminarium In Concert” Playing December 6 & 7

Presented by Luminarium Dance Company
December 6 & 7, 2019
Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second Street
Cambridge MA
Luminarium on Facebook
Tickets starting at $18

Announcing Luminarium’s 2019 Feature Production

LUMINARIUM IN CONCERT

(Cambridge, MA) Luminarium Dance Company triumphantly ends its 2019 Season with its feature production LUMINARIUM IN CONCERT—a melding of contemporary, Odissi, and unique lighting that catapults live performance to a whole new level. Venture into Luminarium’s world of movement and light where fanciful animals are brought to life through shadow-play; witness the exhilaration of combat sport beyond the ring; sink into the luscious imagery of a new screendance film; and delight in an amusing and provocative examination of “self,” all in a night’s work.

LUMINARIUM IN CONCERT features Company Members Jessica Chang, Devon Colton, Melenie Diarbekirian, Merli V. Guerra, Amy Mastrangelo, Katie McGrail, and Jennifer Roberts, and Satellite Company Members Victoria Kreutzer and Karina McKenna.

DECEMBER 6 & 7 @ 8PM
Multicultural Arts Center, 41 Second Street, Cambridge MA.

RUN TIME
Roughly one hour, including intermission.

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Nov 26

Be Old Until You Are Young: “Quixote Nuevo”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company in association with Hartford Stage and Alley Theatre
A reimagining of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
By Octavio Solis
Directed by KJ Sanchez
Compositions and sound design by David R. Molina
Other compositions by Eduardo Robledo
Music direction by Jesse Sanchez
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett
Vocal and dialect coaching by Robert Ramirez
Dramaturgy by J. Sebastián Alberdi

Nov. 15 – Dec. 8, 2019
HUNTINGTON AVENUE THEATRE, 264 HUNTINGTON AVENUE
Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It’s only three days until Thanksgiving! So let me take this opportunity to remind you, dearest reader, that the very land you stand on was stolen by colonizers from Native American tribes. Quixote Nuevo takes place on the Mexican-American border. The US is currently keeping the children of immigrants in cages at that border. Their parents aren’t much better off. When you see this production, and you should because it is excellent, please consider the role colonizers and their progeny (us) have played in putting the land’s indigenous peoples behind bars. Continue reading

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Nov 25

What Jesus Would Do: “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot”

Photo by Hub Theatre Company; Jesus (Jaime Hernandez) and Judas (Cristian Mancinas-Garcia)

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Steven Bogart
Fight choreography by Matthew Dray
Dialect coaching by Charles Linshaw

Nov. 8 – 23, 2019
First Church Boston66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: blasphemy, betrayal, cursing, portrayals of Satan, extreme Christianity

(Boston, MA) Stephen Adly Guirgis doesn’t give his audience answers in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. He gives them a question: does Judas belong in Hell for his actions against Jesus of Nazareth? Guirgis supplies an answer to this question but his answer is only one answer of many. It’s up to audience members to discern the answer that makes the most sense to them. 

Continue reading
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Nov 19

Some of Them Want to Be Abused: “The Moors”

Photo via Entropy’s Facebook page.

Presented by Entropy Theatre Company
By Jen Silverman
Directed by Joe Juknievich
Dramaturgy by Jo Michael Rezes
Movement Direction by Kayleigh Kane

November 8 – 17, 2019
Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Entropy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Some of them want to use you/Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you/Some of them want to be abused”
— “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics

(Boston, MA) The Moors is Brontë novel fanfiction. It condenses all of the winsome trappings of gothic romance novels into one melodramatic package for our amusement. Jen Silverman funnels archetypal characters from gothic romances into dark, mysterious environments. They are forced to confront unsettling truths against a backdrop of death and decay. Then Silverman makes us watch. For the right viewer, The Moors is voyeurism.   Continue reading

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Nov 19

Forge Theater Lab presents “Chasing the Ghost,” December 7 – 14, 2019


CHASING THE GHOST
A New Play by Ashley Lauren Rogers
Presented by Forge Theater Lab
Directed by Samantha deManbey
Dramaturgy by Natalie Scott

December 7, 13, and 14 at 8:00 PM
December 8 at 2:00 PM
December 12 at 6:30 PM (Pay What You Can)

Wallace Theater for Performing Arts
McKay Building at Fitchburg State University

67 Rindge Road, Fitchburg, MA
$15 General / $5 Students & Seniors (60+)
Buy tickets online or pay cash at the door

About the Play: Kurt, a vlogger in the early days of YouTube who used to scream about video games, is married to Patty, a struggling vampire romance author. While Kurt has left that life behind him, anger and all, their relationship will be put to the test when one night he is visited by a shadow person…who won’t stop tickling his feet.

​This play is not recommended for children under 14 because of profanity and disturbing situations.

Featuring Charles Amaral, Noah Dawson, Amy DeMar-DuBois, Brittany Messuri, Leeann Monat, Austin Swallow, and Cheyenne Winley. Lighting design by Phillip T. Smith.

Chasing the Ghost is made possible by a generous donation from show sponsor Justin Nelson.

More information about the artists and the production can be found at https://www.theforgetheaterlab.org/chasing-the-ghost.html.

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