Jul 10

What We Mean When We Say Black Lives Matter

Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 10th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting: (L-R) BCA Chairman Philip W. Lovejoy, Huntington Trustees Gerald and Sherryl Cohen, Calderwood Charitable Foundation Trustee John Cornish, former Huntington chairman J. David Wimberly, (behind) Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation, BCA Executive Director Veronique Le Melle, Huntington Chairman Carol G. Deane, (behind) former BRA member Harry Collings, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Bank of America Massachusetts State President Robert Gallery, Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, (behind) former Huntington president William P. McQuillan, Huntington President Mitchell J. Roberts, Nancy Roberts, Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso, photo: Paul Marotta

Article by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — The July 9 press release said, “Huntington Theatre Company announces the election of 4 new board members and the promotion of two Huntington Advisors to Trustee level. The election took place during the Huntington’s year-end meeting of the Board of Trustees and Advisors on June 8, 2020.”

The headliner of the press release, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award winner, director of Huntington productions, and historically relevant badass Billy Porter is a new trustee of the Huntington. Porter and global businessman Professor George Yip are the only two people of color added to the Huntington’s snowflake white board leadership. Three of the six promotions are white women. The other is, of course, a rich, cis, white male.

While we congratulate all of the new board and trustee members, we can’t help but notice the Huntington’s hypocrisy. The theatre penned and posted a Black Lives Matter solidarity statement on its website. The election of four white people flies in the face of that solidarity statement. Continue reading

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Jul 07

Socially Isolated with “Macbeth”

Presented by Liars & Believers
Directed by Jason Slavick
Original Music and Sound Design by Jay Mobley
Additional Video by Sam Powell

June 18, 2020 – Present (Weekly)
https://www.liarsandbelievers.com/show/pandemicplay/

Review by Gillian Daniels

ZOOM — Liars & Believers slices off bite sized pieces of the Scottish Play for serialized consumption! In a world that demands us to simultaneously be far apart while empathizing with each other’s difficulties, we revisit a cautionary tale of a man whose name has become synonymous with backstabbing cruelty. In serializing Macbeth, we watch a show that absorbs the changes and horrors of our contemporary headlines and sense of unease each passing week. Continue reading

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Jul 05

New Frontiers for Community Opera: “The ZOOMpresario”

Presented by Opera Del West
Based on The Impresario, A Comic Opera in one Act 
Music by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
German text by Gottlieb Stephanie, Jr.
Additional English text and lyrics by Dan Shore
Video, stage direction by Brenda Huggins
Music direction by Eve K Budnick
Video engineering by Larry Budnick

Debuted to the internet on July 3, 2020
Available now on Youtube at https://youtu.be/4oEc6a8ORhs
Opera Del West on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Based purely on the self-deprecating tones of Music Director Eve Budnick and Lyricist Dan Shore during the performance’s live pre-show, I was expecting The ZOOMpresario to be of poor quality and unenjoyable. I was happy to be wrong. 

Both Budnick and Shore discussed the abundance with great confidence about their inexperience with virtual software and video. This is the antithesis of how artists are taught to present themselves. They could have been impressing us with their performers’ adaptability in the times of quarantine. They could have been discussing how they molded Mozart’s one-act opera to modern times. Instead, we were lead to believe that The ZOOMpresario’s creators weren’t suited to their task by their own words.  Continue reading

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Jun 29

New Medium, Classic Story: FPTC’s “Long Day’s Journey Into Night”

Long Day’s Journey Into Night, a Virtual Staged Reading from dayenne walters on Vimeo.

Presented by Fort Point Theatre Channel
Written by Eugene O’Neill
Directed by Audrey Seraphin
Music Composed by Akili Jamal Haynes

Virtual Staged Reading, June 23-26, 2020
Tickets on http://vimeo.com/ondemand/longdaysjourney
$10 for a 24-hour rental
FPTC on Twitter: @fortpointtc

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Theatre created in corona-times is theatre that can be preserved for future generations. Those generations will look back on our work and express amazement at the simplicity of our tech and the universality of the human condition. Fancypants stage technology can embellish a performance, but it isn’t necessary when the foundational elements of a performance are of superior quality. Fort Point Theatre Channel’s Zoom reading of Eugene O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey Into Night captures both the rigidity of Zoom’s limitations while highlighting the subtle creativity of Fort Point Theatre Channel’s artists. Continue reading

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Jun 19

*Frustrated Sigh* Frickin’ White People: “Diana Oh’s My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre”

Images found on Twitter: @AyeDefy

Produced by Ma-Yi Theatre
Presented in partnership with Aye Defy and HowlRound
Written, directed and original music by Diana Oh: https://www.dianaoh.co/

June 16, 2020 – 17, 2020 at 8PM
Zoom Room opens at 7:45PM
June 18 – Rebroadcast at 3PM & 8PM
How To Watch

Response by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — White people don’t discuss whiteness. Not in pleasant company, not even in unpleasant company. Instead, we posit race relations as a BIPOC problem. We casually block useful dialogue with a whispered, “we’re all equal under the skin,” as if saying so aloud will invoke the parasitic race-demon living under our own flesh.

*Record Scratch* No. Racism is a white supremacy problem. There is no magical phrase to summon this demon at will. It is inside us, watching our every white move. All of our moves have roots in racism; there is no opt-out option. Like Rafiki said, Racism lives in you.

Creator Diana Oh looking fly AF

Creator Diana Oh looking fly AF

BIPOC are the recipients of the hate wrought by our inability to talk like adults about a rampant, insidious issue invading every aspect of 400 years of western society’s existence. Artist Diana Oh won’t put up with our piddling, cracker-ass excuses anymore. In their recent reading of their show Diana Oh’s My H8 Letter to the Gr8 American Theatre on Zoom, Oh delivered an unrelenting, personal attack on all the aspects of theatre’s cultural white supremacy that prevent BIPOC from participating in it as fully as white folx. Continue reading

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Jun 15

Streamed Content to Prevent COVID-19 Brain Drain: BIPOC Lives Continue to Matter

Dear Readers,

The New England Theatre Geek believes that BIPOC Lives will continue to matter when it’s no longer popular to mass media or convenient to white people.

As the weeks go by, we will share resources as we are made aware of them to them. StageSource has a brilliant anti-racism list. Check it out HERE.

Resources for Anti-Racist Action May-June 2020 – “This list was sourced from countless activists and information sharers. We thank you. It was created to support action and organizing for white-identified folks within the artEquity alumni network, so some resources speak specifically to white folks. However, EVERYONE is welcomed to utilize and share anything that is useful to your actions and organizing.” (quoted from the document)

BIPOC Lives Matter
Trans Lives Matter
LGBTQIA+ Lives Matter
Immigrant Lives Matter

You are loved; you are necessary; your art matters to us.

Resist. Resist. Resist.
All my love,
Kitty
Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

Let us know if we missed something! Email us at blognetheatregeek@gmail.com or find us on our social media pages.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/


Front Porch Collective 
Black Composer Minature Challenge presented by Castle of our Skins
Friday June 19 @ 12:00 PM | via Instagram Live
Composer Shannon Shea will be presenting the world premiere of “Hannah Elias II” performed by Castle of our Skins Executive & Artistic Director and violaist Ashleigh Gordon on the COOS Facebook and Instagram at noon. Part of their weekly 30-second Black Composer Miniature Challenge, be sure to tune in on time…or you might miss it!

Juneteenth: A Community Celebration
presented by BAMS Fest & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston
Friday June 19 @ 4:00 – 7:00 PM | via Facebook Live & YouTube
Join BAMS Fest for the MFA’s annual (virtual) Juneteenth celebration to honor the contributions of Black creatives, scholars, and artists to the City of Boston. We have curated two amazing artists, Debo Ray and DJ Where’s Nasty to to celebrate all things Black and joyful.

Fresh Ink Theatre — Presents a digital reading of  MAIDEN VOYAGE. Written by Cayenne Douglass. Directed by Liz Fenstermaker
Available online, June 8 – 14, 2020.
REGISTER to view the performance
In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, we will be donating 50% of the proceeds from the reading through June 14th to two organizations: Violence in Boston and Black and Pink. Thank you for joining us in supporting these organizations, and for championing new work by local writers during this time of social distancing!

Liars & Believers — Macbeth Trailer by Liars & Believers Amid isolation, dislocation, and digital absorbtion… desire and ethic, madness and reason tear each other apart.
This is Shakespeare’s classic tragedy – TODAY.
Using social distance and the tools at hand, we’ve reimagined theatre in Pandemia! We’ve broken this 5-act tragedy into short weekly episodes.

Luminarium Dance — This week’s TEN4TEN performance takes viewers back to Luminarium’s 2014 feature production The Sleeprunner, which transformed the Multicultural Arts Center space into a dynamic dream world for a two-week sold-out run. Sensical to quirky, humorous to dark, come engage in a full night’s journey told through dance, with gorgeous costumes designed by Sueann Leung.

To Sleep! from K Allen Holman on Vimeo.

Newton Theatre CompanyAll About Eve, written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Thursday, June 25th at 8 PM.  $10.00
Directed by Melissa Bernstein
Log on at 7:45 PM for piano entertainment by local musician Neil Miller
Register for the Performance

Public Displays of Motion: Stones to Rainbows Duet Dialogues — Monthly Cocktail Hour Chat tomorrow June 16 from 6:30-8pm. With Lady BOS Productions, KAIROS Dance Theater, and Public Displays of Motion. 
www.publicdisplaysofmotion.com
www.kairosdancetheater.org
www.ladybosproductions.com

Puppet Showplace Theater — Puppet Showplace Theater is excited to announce a new grant and virtual summer residency program for Black puppeteers and artists working in the field of puppetry. Inquiries from interested applicants across the U.S. are welcome. The deadline to apply is June 27th. 
APPLY 
5 selected artists will receive $1,000 grants to support the research and development of original puppetry projects during summer 2020. Puppet Showplace Theater will facilitate community-building among members of the grantee cohort and will create opportunities for artists to support and learn from each other while sharing works in progress. The residency will conclude with an invited virtual public sharing of the work or work-in-progress.

SpeakEasy Stage Company and the Front Porch Arts Collective They invite you to join SpeakEasy for a panel called “2020: Black and Male in America – A Conversation Continued,” on Tuesday, June 16 at 5:00pm. The panel will be available to watch live on SpeakEasy’s Facebook page
The panel will include:

  • Kadahj Bennett (Winner of the Elliot Norton Award for Best Actor for his Performance as Moses in Pass Over)
  • Thaddeus Miles (Director of Community Services, MassHousing)
  • Maurice Emmanuel Parent (Executive Director, The Front Porch Arts Collective)
  • Dr. Emmett G. Price III (Professor of Worship, Church & Culture, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

Moderated by Gary Bailey (Assistant Dean of Community Engagement and Social Justice, Simmons College).

Elsewhere, on the Internet:
Sideshow Theatre: Tilikum returns for one night only.
Friday, June 19, 7pm CDT
Streaming everywhere

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Jun 11

#BlackLivesMatter #BIPOCLivesMatter – A Starter Pack for White People

The New England Theatre Geek asserts that Black Lives Matter, BIPOC Lives Matter, Immigrant Lives Matter. 

These lives matter now that it’s popular and convenient for white communities to pledge that they matter.  These lives will continue to matter to us when it’s inconvenient and the Black Lives Matter movement is no longer popular in mainstream journalism. The New England Theatre Geek pledges to widen its activism and remain vigilant. 

Racism isn’t something white people with comfortable lifestyles can solve in a few months during quarantine when we’re all at home anyway with a couple of Twitter posts and a simple website banner (that a Black person made anyway).  Racism is systemic; it is aggressive; it is subverted. Deconstructing systemic racism requires equally aggressive, daily practice, and vigilance.  We pledge ourselves to this daily practice. 

It’s a list. It’s a start that should lead to one’s own personal research.  

Racism is an inherent system that affects everyone existing in society. Perpetuating racism isn’t conscious or explicit; it isn’t rational. You can’t choose to live outside of racism. You can be a “good/nice person” and be racist. Racism is a social reality for all.

White people, you will mess up. You will say and do racist things accidentally. Don’t get defensive. Messing up doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person. Thank the person of color who corrects you (if you’re lucky enough to have a relationship with someone who will) and keep educating yourself.

Don’t ask Black people to explain race/racism to you. That’s not their job. Not even if they’re your friends/colleagues. Attend a training or workshop. Contact your HR. Read a book. Google it. Read the room.

You can have conversations about race/racism with your Black friends if your relationship is conducive to that dialogue. Ask for consent first. If you don’t know why it’s important to ask for consent, you are not ready to have this conversation with your Black friend/s.

Do have conversations with other white people about whiteness/race. Our skin has a color; it affects the world around us. We need the conversational practice.

Don’t try to be the “cool white person.” BIPOC will not see you that way.

White people love to think that racism is something that only exists in history, that it isn’t something we do now. Racism evolves as people do.

Race might not be real but racism is. It will take your entire life to deconstruct your inherent beliefs about white supremacy. Keep going. 

Happy Pride! 

This conversation continues on Facebook and Twitter. More links and resources are posted there. Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/

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Jun 02

Sounds of Ethereal Violence: John Aylward’s “Angelus”

New Focus Recordings presents John Aylward’s Angelus 
Conducted by Jean-Philippe Wurtz
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Genres: Classical, Contemporary Chamber Music
Text translations and adaptations by John Aylward.

Performed by Ecce Ensemble: Nina Guo, voice; Emi Ferguson, flutes; Hassan Anderson, oboe; Barret Ham, clarinets; Pala Garcia, violin; John Popham, cello; Sam Budish, percussion

Disclaimer: Classical music is #whiteculture. While reading this critique please consider the impact white culture has on Black and Brown bodies. Right now is an excellent time for we white artists to figure out how to even the playing field. Black lives still matter during times of peace.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Digital Recording/Streaming — On the cover of Ecce Ensemble’s recording of Angelus is a reprinting of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus. A glorified stick figure in beige and mulled yellow, this humanoid seraph bares conical, gapped teeth at observers that look ready to snap. Its wings are elongated fingers with nail beds. Its feet are stunted three-pronged talons. Klee’s angel is no sentimental rendering of a chubby baby in sheets. It is more Biblical destroyer than Anne Geddes. This image prepares the listener for the ethereal violence of Aylward’s work. Continue reading

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Jun 01

Streamed Content to Prevent COVID-19 Brain Drain: June is Bursting… Fuck the Police

Black Lives Matter

Black Lives Matter – https://blacklivesmatter.com
Mass ACLU – https://www.aclum.org/en
Showing Up for Racial Justice – http://www.surjboston.org/
Mass Bail Fund –  https://www.massbailfund.org/
Violence in Boston https://www.violenceinboston.org/
M4BL – https://m4bl.org/policy-platforms/
Pen Americahttps://pen.org/

Black Lives Matter to the New England Theatre Geeks. They matter to us through violent protests and during times of relative peace.

We Geeks are unapologetically supportive of the BLM Movement’s need to resist in the ways they deem best. Even the “problematic’ ways. We will continue to show up and shut up for the movement.

We ask all readers to remember that Black Lives will still Matter after the riots are cleared and your local government begins repairing the damage its police have wrought in its communities. Fuck the police.

No one is saying that white lives don’t matter. But, there sure are a lot of white people saying that Black Lives don’t Matter with their words, actions and hashtags. Police are the ones showing up with guns, tasers and pepper spray to nonviolent protests and inciting violence.(I’m not linking to that filth. Find it your damn self.)

June is Pride Month. As we step into this month of celebration, never forget that Black transwoman Marsha P. Johnson and Latina drag queen Sylvia Rivera started the Stonewall Riots. Pride is for everyone, not just the rich, white corporations that can sell it today and hypocritically pander to homophobic interest groups the next.

The New England Theatre Geek platform is available to the resistance to spread messages of justice and equity. Our resistance will stop when the bigotry stops.

Black Lives Matter
Trans Lives Matter
Native Lives Matter
Brown Lives Matter
LGBTQIA+ Lives Matter
Immigrant Lives Matter
Fuck the Police

Resist. Resist. Resist.
All my love,
Kitty
Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

/////

Fresh Ink Theatre — All aboard for a digital staged reading of MAIDEN VOYAGE by Cayenne Douglass, streaming June 8-14! http://freshinktheatre.org/maiden-voyage
For a limited time only, we are bringing a digital staged reading of Maiden Voyage by Cayenne Douglass from the depths of the ocean straight to your computer screens! Don’t miss this maritime new play following the exploits and adventures of the first all-female patrol aboard a U.S. submarine.

Emmanuel Music — During this time of high anxiety and uncertainty, we hope that you will find solace, meaning, and beauty through the music of J.S. Bach. Over the coming weeks and months, our staff looks forward to engaging you further through complementary online resources, including video interviews, written reflections, program notes, and translations. We hope that we will see you as soon as restrictions are lifted and we can resume presenting live programs.

History At Play — In this presentation of Victorian Gossip Girl: Annie Adams Fields, History At PlayTM, LLC Founder and Artistic Director Judith Kalaora is Annie Fields, the Boston literary scout, author, and philanthropist. Mrs. Fields had an incredible influence on literary decisions at her husband’s Tremont Street publishing house – Ticknor and Fields (the forerunner to Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company) – and had a great ear for gossip!
A LIVE LIVE-STREAMED PERFORMANCE DIRECT TO YOUR HOME!
FRIDAY, JUNE 5 – 7:30 PM ET (GMT-5)
VIA PAY-PER-HAP FACEBOOK VIP WATCH GROUP
$5-$25 (Pay-What-You-Can) or $100 for a 2020 Season Pass
Schedule: June 5: Victorian Gossip Girl: Annie Adams Fields/ June 12: Tinseltown Inventor: The Most Beautiful Woman in the World, Hedy Lamarr/ June 19: CHALLENGER: Soaring with Christa McAuliffe/ June 26: Chit Chat with Dolley Madison / July 3: [No program]
July 10: World War Women: The Unsung Heroines of WWII / July 17: Rendezvous with Rachel Revere with Special Guest!/ July 24: Educational Lecture: Building a Business out of History/ July 31: A Revolution of Her Own! Deborah Sampson

Improv Boston — Starting at 8pm on June 5th, ImprovBoston will be hosting The ImprovBoston Virtual Marathon. 40 hours of live art and comedy to support the arts and save a theater. The event will be a telethon-style fundraising broadcast, live-streamed for free in its entirety at ImprovBoston.com/virtualmarathon. The event will conclude at 12pm on June 7th. DONATE HERE.

Goals for the event…

  1. Perform 40 hours in honor of our performers and stages at 40 Prospect Street;
  2. Collect 620+ donations in honor of our students and teachers at 620 Massachusetts Avenue; and
  3. Raise $114,000 in honor of our staff at 114 Bishop Allen Drive.

Liars & Believers — Introducing the next Pandemic Play, Entitled.
This dark little morsel is from our friend Peter Snoad (who also wrote The Greening of Bridget Kelley).
Entitled, Written by Peter Snoad. Directed by Lindsay Eagle.
Dobbin – Meredith Saran
Mr. Gross – Bob Mussett
with Sarah Gazdowicz as Linda

Newton Theatre Company — Join us for their next Zoom Radio Hour! Rebecca, based on the novel by Daphne du Maurier.
Thursday, June 4th at 8 PM
Log on at 7:45 PM for Piano Entertainment by local musician Neil Miller
Register to view the production here– it’s free!

Let us know if we missed something! Email us at blognetheatregeek@gmail.com or find us on our social media pages.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/

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May 27

They stole her body and the pants off a white man: “Our Lady of 121st Street”

image via https://www.facebook.com/LABTheaterCo

Presented by LAByrinth Theater Company
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Elizabeth Rodriguez
Stage Directions read by David Deblinger

Performed on Saturday, May 23 @ 8PM
A Zoom performance

LAByrinth Theater Company
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014
LAB on Facebook
LAB on Instagram

Holy cats, DONATE!

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Hang on because it’s gonna be dope.” – From the pre-performance speech by Elizabeth Rodriguez.

ZOOM — This production is made available to viewers as a part of LAByrinth Theater Company’s desire to continue existing past the coronavirus pandemic. If you viewed this production and you are able, please donate to LAByrinth Theater. Donate now so theatre can exist later.

Directors must stop apologizing for their Zoom readings. Our Lady of 121st Street’s triumphant director Elizabeth Rodriguez is not the first to apologize to a Zoom audience. If I had my druthers, she would be the last. It’s unfair to the cast and crew who have put so much energy into the performance. Now is not the time to apologize for variables spinning mundanity far beyond our control. There is no set precedent for corona-times streaming theatre.  We’re inventing the genre. Mistakes and minor emergencies are part of the fun of live theatre. Continue reading

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