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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Jun 08

Saving Boston One Turtle at a Time: “Martha’s (b)Rainstorm”

Photo by Paul Fox

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by John J King
Directed by Stephanie LeBolt
In collaboration with the Boston Public Library Playwright-in-Residence program and part of the Push Project Residency at Boston Center for the Arts

June 7 – 15, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Warning: Parts of this play require audience interaction. If that isn’t your thing, sit in the back.

(Boston, MA) Martha’s (b)Rainstorm: A Boston Fairytale pays homage to our fair city through Native myth, pop culture references, and pseudoscience. It tackles the very real threat of climate change on our Massachusetts shores through democratic process. Fresh Ink’s production is still in its nascent stage but it a beautiful show bursting with possibility.

Continue reading

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May 31

Disabled Children Are No More a ‘Life Sentence’ Than Any Other Child: “Fall”

Joanne Kelly, Josh Stamberg, Nolan James Tierce, Joanna Glushak, and John Hikock  ©Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Bernard Weinraub
Directed by Peter DuBois

May 18 – June 16, 2018
South End/Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Trigger warnings: Ablism, historically-accurate slurs, misogyny

Review by Kitty Drexel

Tokenism
noun/to·ken·ism/ˈtōkəˌnizəm/
The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.

(Boston, MA) Bernard Weinraub tried so hard to be respectful of the Down Syndrome community. Fall would be a good play about Arthur Miller and Inge Morath if it didn’t fail so hard at including Daniel Miller. Unfortunately, it misses the mark. A lot. Continue reading

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May 25

Business As Usual: “The Plague”

The cast of Praxis Stage’s THE PLAGUE (left to right): Dawn Davis, Danny Mourino, Steve Auger, Michael Rodriguez, and Dayenne C. Byron Walters.

Presented by Praxis Stage
After La Peste by Albert Camus
Adapted by Neil Bartlett
Directed by Daniel Boudreau

May 23 – 27, 2018
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Praxis on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“And they answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice corresponding to the number of Philistine rulers, since there was one plague for both you[a] and your rulers. 5 Make images of your tumors and of your mice that are destroying the land. Give glory to Israel’s God, and perhaps He will stop oppressing you,[b] your gods, and your land.”
1 Samuel 6:4-5, Internet Bible

“”Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” President George W. Bush in response to Michael Brown’s failure to provide basic relief services to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

(Boston, MA) History is not taught because educators are sadists with penchants for boring their victims into pliancy. Rather, not just for that. Taught history is meant to remind each generation of what previous generations have done; how they have succeeded and, more importantly, to prevent them from similar failures. The Plague reinforces our need to learn from history now because we will repeat it. We always do.   Continue reading

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May 22

Geeks Read Books: TCG Play Reviews

(Somerville, MA/NYC) Occasionally the New England Theatre Geek is invited to review plays. Theatre Communications Group (TCG) provides gratis paperback copies to NETG in exchange for objective reviews. The opinions stated here are not shared by TCG and are the author’s own. Continue reading

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May 17

Uncle Sam is a Benevolent Master. Bator: ALLEGIANCE

The cast. Photo credit: Nile Scott Studios

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Book by Marc Acito, Jay Kuo, and Lorenzo Thione
Music and lyrics by Jay Kuo
Directed by Paul Daigneault
Music direction by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Ilyse Robbins
Traditional Japanese dance choreography by Kendyl Yokoyama

May 4 – June 2, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

The New England Theatre Geek believes that productions about people of color should be critiques by people of color. Allegiance was attended by both Noelani Kamelamela and Kitty Drexel. The editorial response by Kamelamela gives insight into personal histories of the Japanese-American internment camps. Drexel gives a performance critique. If a story doesn’t include us at all levels then it isn’t really about us.

Response by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) After bringing an acclaimed version of Kander & Ebb’s The Scottsboro Boys to Boston last year, Speakeasy Stage Company presents Allegiance, a two hour long musical that explores the unjust imprisonment of Japanese Americans in the US at the tail end of World War II.  It is important for us to tell these stories, not stories of victory, but tales of survival in difficult circumstances. Ignorance, more than the steady drumbeat of white supremacy, separates people far more than a border wall ever can. Continue reading

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