Oct 19

Casseroles of Ashes: “The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood”

Danielle Palmer, Amanda Figueroa, Stephanie Castillo (foreground, clockwise from left), Tatiana Chavez (background). Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
By Kira Rockwell
Directed by Leila Ghaemi

Oct. 11 – 21, 2018
BPT
949 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Any social worker can tell you that the foster system is broken. Wards of the State are just as vulnerable as foster kids, but at the very least they get to socialize with each other in a relatively consistent environment. The Tragic Ecstasy of Girlhood takes a look at family dynamics within State government enforced boundaries and the impossible odds girls face as they grow into womanhood. It’s a miracle any of us come into adulthood with our sanity intact. Continue reading

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Oct 15

Ratched Isn’t Bossy; She’s the Boss: “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”

Nurse Ratched and McMurphy spar. Mary Dennis Photography.

Presented by Theatre Uncorked
By Dale Wasserman
Based on the novel by Ken Kesey
Directed by Bobbie Steinbach

Oct. 13, 2018
3:30pm and 7:30pm
Martin Jewett Hall
First Church Cambridge
11 Garden St
Cambridge, MA
Theatre Uncorked on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the play is a different beast from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the novel. The novel is directly influenced by author Ken Kesey’s experiences as an orderly at a mental health facility in California. The novel was written amidst the Civil Rights movement and is a direct response to the deinstitutionalization movement. It is imperative that and audience understand the stark differences between care expectations between the 60’s and today. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the novel is a heavy read. The play as staged by Theatre Uncorked could be viewed by nearly anyone. Continue reading

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Oct 11

Frankenstein was the Monster: “Frankenstein”

Produced by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater; A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production; Design by Bird Graphics.

Presented by Central Square Theater
Produced by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater
By Nick Dear
From the novel by Mary Shelley
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Hilary Rappaport
Ensemble: Remo Airaldi, Omar Robinson, John Kuntz, Ashley Risteen, David Keohane, Debra Wise

Oct. 4 – Nov. 4, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Trigger warning: rape, violence, body horror, strobe effects, spoilers

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind. For his indiscretion, Zeus condemned the Titan to an eternity of epic liver failure (a complication of eagle hunger). Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus warns a relatively modern audience not to play with fire lest one get burned. It plays out similarly in contemporary Halloween favorites such as The Rocky Horror Show and Prometheus that frustrating movie by Ridley Scott. It takes new form as Central Square Theater’s current production. As long as there is science, there will be humans poking around where they shouldn’t be poking. Continue reading

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Oct 09

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Uranium: “Delicate Particle Logic”

Photos by Jake Scaltreto; Christine Power as Lise Meitner, Barbara Douglass as Edith Hahn. Blanket babies are the easiest babies.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre Company
By Jennifer Blackmer
Directed by Betsy S. Goldman
Dramaturgy by Regine Vital  
Violence choreography by Cassie Chapados  
Dance choreography by Meghan Hornblower  
Language consultation by Allison Olivia Choat  
Artistic ASL direction by Elbert Joseph

September 28th – October 13th, 2018
ASL-Interpreted Performance: October 13th at 8pm
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Trigger warning: One character is willingly committed to an asylum, misandry

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Science and art both relentlessly pursue truth and meaning. In the past, scientific and medical procedures were performed in front of witnesses, audiences, if you will, who were able to verify the truth of what took place. For me, science and art were never at odds, and part of my overall goal as an artist is to get audiences to understand that. We still think of science and art as two separate cultures, but they’re more alike than most people realize.”

  • Flat Earth Theatre interview with Jennifer Blackmer

(Watertown, MA) Jennifer Blackmer crams a lot into two hours of theatre. Delicate Particle Logic (DPL) tells the story of how Otto Hahn stole nuclear fission from Lise Meitner. He committed war crimes for the Nazis in the name of “chemistry,” and claimed the Nobel Prize in 1944… Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. DPL is about Otto Hahn’s work-wife, Meitner, his home-wife, Edith Junghans Hahn, and their imaginary friendship. Edith and Meitner’s performance of emotional and physical labor on behalf of a man holding more respect for his work than for his partners. Between the science and the toxic masculinity, there is art: glorious, painful, epiphanic art. Continue reading

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Sep 24

Casual Disregard for Our Mutual Humanity: “The Niceties”

Look who’s teaching now. Lisa Banes and Jordan Boatman. Photo: T. Charles Erickson. 

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Eleanor Burgess
Directed by Kimberly Senior
Original music and sound design by Elisheba Ittoop

Aug. 31 – Oct. 6, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The Niceties is a play about primary sources. It’s about the writers of white history, and white history’s casualties. It’s about speaking effectively and effective listening. It’s about race and the people who decide what is and isn’t racist behavior. It’s about attempting to be a good person while being good to other people. It’s about an impetuous Black student who’s had enough of excuses from a white professor, and an egotistical white professor who’s forgotten how to teach. There are no winner; there’s only complication. Continue reading

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Sep 07

Langston Hughes as “The Black Clown”

The Black Clown Production Photo
The cast of The Black Clown.
Photo: Maggie Hall.

Presented by American Repertory Theater
Adapted from Langston Hughes’ poem
Adapted by Davóne Tines and Michael Schachter
Music by Michael Schachter
Choreographed by Chanel DaSilva
Directed by Zack Winokur
Music Direction by Jaret Landon
Trumpets by Dave Adewumi and Robyn Smith
Keyboards played by Jaret Landon and Bethany Aikin
Reeds by Rajiv Halim, Isaiah Johnson, and Jason Marshall

August 31 – Sept 23, 2018
Loeb Drama Center
Harvard University
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Written by Bishop C. Knight

(Harvard Square, Cambridge, MA)  In The Black Clown program, the A.R.T. Artistic Director wrote how “Langston Hughes drew deeply on the traditions of African American music,” and Hughes would have been pleased with this production.  

The pit orchestra breathed life into spirituals and added rhythmic profundity to operatic adaptations of Hughes’ poems. Keyboards were played by Jaret Landon, a Chicago-based composer who was the show’s Music Director, and Bethany Aiken, who studied Music History at Oberlin College.  A theater experience fusing vaudeville, gospel, and jazz, Black Clown brought Langston Hughes’ verse to life onstage.  Every musician in this production – from the trumpet players, to the actors who themselves are acclaimed singers – every musician, per their participation in this production, paid respect both to Hughes and to the African American music at the heart of Hughes’ art. Continue reading

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Aug 20

Fatal Attraction: Love, Friendship, and Ritual Sacrifice in the name of “Our Dear Dead Drug Lord”

Photo by Ally Schmaling. — with Gina Fonseca, Khloe Alice Lin, Lisa Joyce and Tatiana Isabel.

Presented by Off the Grid Theatre Company
Written by Alexis Scheer
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw

August 17 – September 1, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Roberts Studio Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont St. Boston, MA 02116
Off the Grid on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) It is 2008, a momentous year for the United States, and especially for four teenage girlfriends in suburban Florida. This radical, ambitious, creative squad grapples with identity, relationships, and adult responsibility using the occult as a metaphor…or is it anything but? Continue reading

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Aug 17

A Love Letter, inspired by “A Good Death”

Photo credit: Colleen Moore

Presented by Also Known As Theatre
Written by Shelley M. Hobbs
Directed by Alexandra Smith
Produced by Kelly Smith

August 17 through September 2
Fridays and Saturdays at 8:00PM
Sundays at 2:00PM
Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion on Facebook

Written by Bishop C. Knight

(South End, Boston, MA)  OOH child, nothing but praise for A Good Death!  I’m about to provide a review that’s emotionally charged with encouragement – for you to see this play and to bring loved ones; especially for you to bring religious relatives you have trouble communicating with.  I’ll use the words love and queer repeatedly, because it is a play about lesbian companions who are platonic life partners.  I’ll show why Boston is damn lucky to have Also Known As Theatre (AKA) as it newest independent theatre company.  I want AKA to flourish. I want Alison Bechdel to attend. I want YOU to attend, and here’s why: Continue reading

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Aug 08

“CATO & DOLLY”, The Hancocks

Ye Olde Statehouse

Presented by the Bostonian Society
Produced in partnership with Plays in Place, LLC
Written by Playwright Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
Performed by Stephen Sampson and Marge Dunn

July 6th through September 29th, 2018
Old State House, Downtown Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, Massachusetts)   On a rainy Saturday, Kathy Mulvaney explained to the crowd of museum visitors that she needed a minute to bring in more chairs, as the hall was fuller than anticipated.  Mulvaney is the Director of Education at the Old State House. She told us that the historical play Cato & Dolly would be about twenty minutes, and she noted that we could not re-enter if we decided to leave for the bathroom.  Finally, Mulvaney encouraged us to sit back and enjoy. Then the hall went silent. Continue reading

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Aug 06

A State of Virginal Ecstasy; Or, Needs More Snakes in Bowls: “Dark Room”

Ensemble | Photo Credit, Andrew Brilliant

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
Written by George Brant
Inspired by the life, death, and photography of Francesca Woodman
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio
Associate director and dramaturgy by Alexander Platt
Choreography by Doppelgänger Dance Collective

July 27 – August 16, 2018
In residence at the Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: I auditioned for this production, and was not cast. It is my opinion that only a jackass would allow rejection, a natural process of auditioning, to taint their review.

(Cambridge, MA) Producer and director, D’Ambrosio gives an important, informative speech before Dark Room to guide audience expectations. She suggests we allow the performance to wash over us. Should we become puzzled by the actions onstage, rather than self-interpret what we see, we should allow the performance to explain itself through continued observance. I’d further posit that audience members do proper research before attending. The chiaroscuro style of Francesca Woodman is emphatically stirring. To fully absorb the performance, it behooves an audience to google Woodman’s art. Continue reading

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