Oct 24

The Prison System is Legalized Slavery: “The Peculiar Patriot”


Presented by ArtsEmerson
Produced by National Black Theater & Hi-ARTS
Created and Performed by Liza Jessie Peterson
Directed by Talvin Wilks

October 17-28, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) For relatively local folks who missed the remount of The Peculiar Patriot at the National Black Theatre in Manhattan this summer, grab tickets and head over to the Paramount Center. If you can’t catch The Peculiar Patriot over the rest of it’s Boston run, but if you know a theatre and a community who needs this show, bug the heck out of them to pay these artists and get this to as many audiences as possible.   Continue reading

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Mar 16

One Little, Two Little, Three Little Stevens: “Steve”

Travolta eat your heart out. Photo by David J. Miller

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
By Mark Gerrard
Directed by

Plaza Black Box Theatre
3/2-3/24
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeigeist on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Zeigeist Stage Company’s production of “Steven” is comedy which depicts the fracturing of a modern queer family. Since on average everyone’s a little more queer than they would have been a decade ago, there isn’t much dialogue or action that would make sense to only a queer audience. Coded moments between the characters are more about their bonds of friendship or assumed family bonds. At a zippy 80 minutes with no intermission, this is a compact show with a quick-moving cast. Continue reading

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Mar 05

Driving Mr. Daisy: “The White Card”

Karen Pittman and Daniel Gerroll in The White Card. Photo: Gretjen Helene Photography; Charlotte manages Charles’ microaggressions.

Presented by ArtsEmerson with the American Repertory Theatre
By Claudia Rankin
Directed by Diane Paulus
Dramaturgy by P. Carl

Feb. 24 – April 1, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center
Robert J. Orchard Stage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Reviews by Kitty Drexel and Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) The White Card is a conversation starter for those unused to discussing race at length. It’s for those who think we live in a post-racial society, the kind of person who resents the dialogue because there are “bigger problems” to fix. Other attributes include denying racism because they have imaginary Black friends, thinking “all lives matter,” and feeling threatened when any indication of their own culpability within society’s systemic racism. Those who have regular discussions on race, inequalities and the struggles for justice will have their work affirmed. Continue reading

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Feb 22

Presenting the Black Female Experience in America is a Revolutionary Act: “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf”

Photography by Roberto Mighty; From left: Verna Hampton, Kerline Desir, Thomika Marie Bridwell, Dayenne CB Walters, Karimah Williams, Tonasia Jones. Not pictured: Ciera-Sade Wade.

Presented by Praxis Stage
By Ntozake Shange
Directed by Dayenne CB Walters
Choreography by W. Lola Remy

Feb.15 – 25, 2018
Hibernian Hall
Boston, MA
Praxis on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) When theatre is about lifting up oppressed voices, it is a revolutionary act.  Praxis Stage’s production of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf” during Black History Month qualifies.  I recommend that locals go and see this production if they can.  Although “for colored girls . . .” is done regularly with student casts, such as the production at Boston College in 2014, it is inspiring to see a range of ages authentically represented in this show.  I will also mention that the space in Hibernian Hall is accessible, which is not always a possibility for theatre companies in the Boston area. Continue reading

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Feb 22

A Queer Bildnungsroman “Torrey Pines”

Presented by ArtsEmerson 
Torrey Pines
Directed by Clyde Petersen
Animated by Clyde Petersen & Chris Looney
Original music recorded in collaboration with Kimya Dawson and Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie)

Feb. 14 – 17, 2018
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

ArtsEmerson presented a lovely set of screenings of “Torrey Pines” with a live band and live foley.  A stop motion film about a young adolescent’s experiences, the lead in the film was also the lead in the band which played, Your Heart Breaks.  The Seattle band has been touring with this movie since its premiere in 2016.  It is wonderful that this movie was brought to Boston, especially since there are few art pieces with trans creators at the helm. Continue reading

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Mar 02

On the realistic level: “The Night of the Iguana”

Presented by the American Repertory Theater
Written by Tennessee Williams
Directed by Michael Wilson

Current-March 18, 2017
ASL Interpreted, Mar. 12, 2PM & Mar. 15, 7:30PM
Audio Described, Mar. 16, 7:30PM & Mar. 18, 2PM
Open Captioned Logo Open Captioned, Mar. 16, 7:30PM & Mar. 18, 2PM
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MA) One may not immediately think of The Night of the Iguana as an American classic even though the film version is considered a classic and it was a success by every measure.  Tennessee Williams fans themselves are content to see it or hear of it onstage maybe once a decade, if even that frequently since its debut in 1961.   The A.R.T.’s recent production pays homage to the time period without becoming a stale museum piece.  Tennessee Williams may not be a favored son of every American, but he is a recent one.  Loeb Drama Center had a clever setup when I attended which allowed the audience to ponder correspondence  from archives as well as attempt to bang some literary work out with Royal typewriters rented out by Arlington’s own Cambridge Typewriter.    Continue reading

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Jan 05

Color and Joy for the End of the Year: “Squirrel Stole My Underpants”

Bonnie Duncan and The Gottabees are on a mission!

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater
Created by The Gottabees
Created and performed by Bonnie Duncan
Live Musicians Brendan Burns and Tony Leva

December 30, 2016-January 1, 2017
Puppet Showplace Theater
Brookline, MA
Puppet Showplace on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Brookline, MA) Puppet Showplace Theatre produced the show Squirrel Stole My Underpants to ring out the old and terrible year of 2016.  Originally created with the support of PST’s Incubator program as well as a grant from the Jim Henson Foundation in 2013, the Gottabees presented a rare puppet show that managed to capture the attention of kids and kids at heart without spoken words.   Continue reading

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Sep 15

A Dear John letter to modern American politics: “The Return to Morality”

Photo courtesy of TTC Facebook page

Photo courtesy of TTC Facebook page; the cast, looking much happier here than their characters do in the production.

Presented by Titanic Theatre Company
Written by Jamie Pachino
Directed by Michelle M. Aguillon

September 8-25, 2016
Central Square Theatre
Cambridge, MA
Titanic Theatre on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MAIt is a presidential election year in these United States.  Ordinary campaigns are already the cesspools of public opinion where good policies raise their hands and get passed over for workable compromises.  Presidential campaigns are therefore a special circle of our own red, white and blue hellscape where we, the people, can gather together and worry about our future as a nation.  It is a Sisyphean task, which means the situation is ripe for comedy.  Titanic Theatre Company’s production of The Return to Morality elicits anxious laughter in this context.   Continue reading

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Jun 23

By the time you notice her, you’re already caught in the web: “Spider Cult the Musical”

13227041_1709956299255837_8492057768646383105_nScripted and Produced by Jade Sylvan
Created, Directed, Choreographed and Produced by Fem Bones
Music by Catherine Capozzi

June 24 6:30 pm and 10:30 pm
June 26 5 pm and 8:30 pm
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
Spider Cult on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MA) Back in 2012, a Kickstarter campaign funded quite a bit of Fem Bones’ Revenge of the Battle Robot Nuns, a sci-fantastical burlesque show birthed by the Slaughterhouse Sweethearts, possibly New England’s only horror burlesque troupe.  Spider Cult: The Musical is a spin-off set in the same universe and  it retains quite a lot of the slashes of the macabre and deviant sexuality that made Revenge so memorable. Initially, Jade Sylvan pitched Scout’s story to Fem Bones as a spin-off movie after seeing Revenge.  Jade was enamoured of Revenge because the action reminded them of discovering weirdness and sexuality for the first time as a queer individual.  Instead of creating a movie, Jade banged out a script for a live show which gets translated by the indomitable Fem Bones and the Slaughterhouse Sweeties with special guests onto the Oberon stage this Friday and Sunday for one weekend only.   Fans and other supporters of fringe theatre stepped up via Kickstarter yet again to fund the first reading as well as the creation of the show. Continue reading

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May 31

La Donna è divertente!

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Looking fierce.

La Donna Improvvisata
Presented by ImprovBoston
Starring, improvised by Lisa Flanagan
Musical accompaniment by Mike Descouteaux

May 29, 2016 @11pm
Improv Boston
Cambridge, MA
La Donna on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Cambridge, MAMusical improv is a special permutation of improvisational comedy.   I think it appeals to people who both love comedy and have a lot of experience in listening to different genres of music.  I’ve certainly been subjected to short form musical improv in which the creation of mostly unrelated individual song-scenes  felt much longer than the allotted two minutes.  Stringing short song-scenes together into a long form musical improv set can be challenging even for mid-sized groups to tackle.  Musical abilities and frequently a pianist are required.  One supporting piece that can be useful is the addition of a premise.  In “La Donna Improvvisata,” Lisa Flanagan did a unique send-up of opera tropes entirely with the help of one accompanist on keyboard. Continue reading

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