Jan 19

More Drama than a Bender in Manch-Vegas: “Lost Girls”

Presented by Take Your Pick Productions (and the Bob Jolly Charitable Trust)
By John Pollono
Directed by Melanie Garber-Letitia

Jan. 12 – 21, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts (Deane Hall)
Boston, MA
TYPP’s Lost Girls on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Lost Girls brought back memories I’d nearly forgotten about growing up in northern New Hampshire. I went to school with kids whose parents worked the register at the one Dunkin’s as their main source of income. My uncle is a Tea Party politician (we don’t talk to him). New Hampshire is deeply conservative place whose inhabitants honor their motto, “live free or die.” Alas, “living free” is usually expressed by making rash, uninformed choices in the name of freedom. Watching this play was a painful albeit nostalgic reminder of home. Continue reading

Nov 20

Adapt or Perish: “3Sisters”

The sisters Prozorov. Photo by Stratton McCrady

Presented by the Suffolk University Theatre Dept.
Inspired by the play by Anton Chekhov
Adapted and directed by Robert Kropf

Nov. 16-19, 2017
Modern Theatre
Boston, MA 02111
Modern Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Script adaptations are like staged, audience-ready fanfiction. In a Boston Sunday Globe article by Sandy MacDonald from August 2017, director and writer Robert Kropf explained that he adapts works to bypass the laws preventing him (and anyone) from making edits. The laws are frustrating but necessary to protect a playwright’s work. If the author is extremely dead, such as Anton Chekhov, it’s difficult to know what his original intentions for a work were without thoroughly researching first. Continue reading

Nov 20

Of a Family’s Home: “The Magic Fire”

Two generations; one woman. Gretta Beaty and Alice Hunter as Lise. Photo by Johanna Bobrow.

Presented by Theatre@First
Written by Lillian Garrett-Groag
Directed by Elizabeth Hunter

November 10 through 18, 2017
Unity Somerville, 6 William Street
Somerville, Massachusetts  02144
T@F on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

It is important to note that Queen Geek, Kitty Drexel performed in this production. As per the New England Theatre Geek reviewing policy, Knight’s review is tailored to avoid nepotism.

(Davis Square, West Somerville, Massachusetts) In her Note from the Director, Elizabeth Hunter wrote that she “invited you into this room because [she wanted] you to feel like part of the family,” and Hunter succeeded in creating that audience experience. Continue reading

Nov 08

The Writing Is On The Wall: “New and Dangerous Ideas”

Sarah Leach, Phoenyx Williams, and Christopher Johnson in the world premiere of “New and Dangerous Ideas” by Christopher Johnson at The Wilbury Theatre Group. Photo by James Lastowski.

Presented by Wilbury Theatre Group
Written by Christopher Johnson
Directed by Josh Short

November 2nd through 18th, 2017
Wilbury Theatre Group, 40 Sonoma Ct
Providence, Rhode Island  02909
WTG on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Providence, Rhode Island)  Lately I’ve been listening to JAY’s most recent album 4:44 when I’m driving, and one of my favorite tracks is “Smile,” partly because of the following lyric:  A loss ain’t a loss, it’s a lesson / Appreciate the pain, it’s a blessin’.  JAY’s album – released in response to Beyoncé’s Lemonade – is a reflection of the current state of Black American manhood, and right now you can hear that same lyric echoed by Black men throughout all the creative spheres.  The two men starring in New and Dangerous Ideas were certainly grappling with the lessons that we all can learn from the losses of rampant racism. Continue reading

Nov 06

It Starts in the Home: “3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show”

Wesley T. Jones, Vienna Carroll, Michael Bryan; Photo credits: David Marshall

Presented by Sleeping Weazel
Conceived and written by James Scruggs
Directed by Mark Rayment

Nov. 3-11, 2017
Nicholas Martin Hall
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show reclaims appropriated Black culture so to spit racism into the faces of oppressors. It’s beautiful and horrifying. Potential audience members please be aware that 3/Fifths’ contains nudity, graphic violence, and the unvarnished, unadulterated truth of what it is to be a Black man in America. Gunshots and police video are used because violence is our legacy and our future. 3/Fifths’ is a mirror showing us who we already are. Continue reading

Nov 03

Art within Cultural Context: “Kiss”

Kiss presented by ArtsEmerson
Written by Guillermo Calderón
Directed by David Dower

October 26 – November 19, 2017
Emerson Paramount Center՚s Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Washington Street
Boston, Massachusetts
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Holly Goss

(Boston, MA) Kiss is a play within a play that tells the story of a zealous young theatre group՚s gross misinterpretation of a Syrian play called Kiss. These naive and fresh-faced actors, come up against a nasty dose of realism when they learn what Kiss really means. However the play falls apart when the cast try to diligently apply their new knowledge, to re-perform this seemingly simple love story and reveal the true horror of the war lurking underneath. This second performance falls flat and fails to deliver the big twist the audience anticipate. Kiss tackles a breadth of themes, the war in Syria, the importance of cultural context, the purpose of art. However, the writing is ultimately overly ambitious and is unable to get to the heart of these important questions. Continue reading

Oct 30

Moby Dick, Disassembled in [or, the whale]

Photo courtesy of imaginary beasts’ Facebook page.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written by Juli Crocket
Directed by Matthew Woods
Musical Composition by Kangaroo Rat Music (Anna Bell & Tim Desrosiers)
Movement Coaching by Molly Kimmerling and Amy Meyer

October 14-November 4, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, Massachusetts
[or, the whale] on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “No one remembers an Ahab with two legs,” SHE (Raya Malcolm) tells the third member of the Ahab chorus, Danny Mourino, before sweeping him through a door that exudes a blue, haunting light. This disassembled retelling of Moby Dick is similarly haunting, stylish, and similarly full of light, specifically light slapstick, cheerful music, and a cast of tumblers on a colorful, creepy set complete with giant whale ribs. It’s delightful and strange, and I would expect nothing less from imaginary beasts. Continue reading

Oct 24

Fractured Mirrors of Friendship: “A Guide for the Homesick”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Directed by Colman Domingo
Written by Ken Urban

October 6 thru November 4, 2017
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02116
Huntington Theatre on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(Boston, Massachusetts) Sometimes friends party together, and sometimes friends talk about sex, and sometimes friends will live together.  Some friends from Massachusetts lovingly label each other as fellow Massholes, and there is nothing like the spark of instantaneous friendship when two strangers come from the same homeland.  A Guide for the Homesick is about two Bostonians abroad whose paths converge, who get drunk together, who discuss sex, have sex, and who share a holiday affair that neither will ever forget. Continue reading

Oct 10

Meditations on Incorporation: “Lost Tempo”

Photograph credit: Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
By Cliff Odle
Directed by Diego Arciniegas

October 5 – 22, 2017
BPT
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Addiction will kill everything you love and then it will kill you. In the 1950’s and 60’s drug dependency, not unlike depression, was considered a moral failing. The US govt. chose to ignore the plight of its people. Today, the opioid epidemic rages around us, silently killing thousands of Americans every day. The occupants of the White House would prefer to pretend we’re living in the 50’s. While the President is very proud to have invented and solved the “opioid crisis emergency” in one afternoon with a press release, updates are nonexistent. In fact the Feds haven’t updated their site since June. Cliff Odle’s Lost Tempo tells us more about the consequences of opioid abuse in 100 minutes than Trump’s administration has in two months.   Continue reading

Oct 10

“The Ghost Sonata” is a Vivid Nightmare

​Presented by Fort Point Theatre Channel
Written by August Strindberg
Directed by Christine Noah

October 6 – October 14, 2017
Fort Point Theatre Channel
Cambridge YMCA Theater
820 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts
Fort Point on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MAThe Ghost Sonata is a fever dream wrapped in layers of turmoil and funny, disturbing absurdity. It’s staged to juxtapose the philosophical musings of a 1907 play on the material evils of the world with the current, oppressive toxicity of the contemporary political climate which social media does a great job of worsening. It’s a beautifully-executed nightmare. Continue reading