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

Oct 10

“A Bright Room Called Day”: an ambitious call for resistance

Photo by Jake Scaltreto; Prologue: Evening Meal in a Windstorm — with Lindsay Eagle, Juliet Bowler, Noah Simes and Isaiah Max Plovnick.

Produced by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Tony Kushner
Directed by Dori. A Robinson

September 30-October 14, 2017
The Black Box at the Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Watertown, MA) A Bright Room Called Day transports us back to a sitting room in 1930s Germany, inhabited my minor actors, eccentric filmmakers and artists. This bohemian gaggle of comrades band together in the early 1930s through their love of Communism, Art and Revolution. As 1933 marches on, the world around them darkens and the sitting room becomes their last refuge from Hitler’s rule. Continue reading

Sep 26

“Faceless”: Humans discriminate, terror is indiscriminate.

Ashley Risteen as Susie Glenn in Zeitgeist Stage Company’s production of Faceless by Selina Fillinger.

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
Written by Selina Fillinger
Directed by David J. Miller

September 15 – October 7, 2017
Plaza Black Box Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA, 02116
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) The long speeches, the scrutinization of evidence, the dissection of a person’s moral fiber in front of a live audience of 12 judging strangers, the theatrics of the courtroom have long delighted us on the stage. From Shakespeare’s Measure to Measure to Law & Order, the delicious synchronicity between real-life and make-believe contained within the courtroom keeps audiences coming back for more and more. Fellinger however breathes new life into this well-worn genre with

Faceless is the story of the “little white girl” Susie Glenn (Ashley Risteen) as she is on trial for joining ISIS and attempting to commit acts of terrorism against the United States of America. The added bonus, the prosecuting lawyer Claire Fahti (Aina Adler) is a devout Muslim, who is determined to stop Susie becoming the (white) face of Islam. Zeitgeist Stage Company have lived up to their name, in this topical and heart-wrenching tale that sheds light on the lurking threat of terrorism behind every screen. Continue reading

Sep 26

Lovingly Commemorative: BARN SALE

Presented by The Black Box Lab at STAGE284
Written by David J. Miller

Thursday, September 21, 7:30pm
The Community House
284 Bay Road Hamilton, MA
STAGE on Facebook

Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Hamilton, MA) Playwright David J. Miller was present at last night’s reading of Barn Sale, where he shared that one mission of his new play is to exhibit how older people hold immense wisdom. This mission was also the expressed intention of the actress whose entire life has been chronicled within the two-hour performance.  Between David J. Miller and his captivating dialogist, the actress who generously divulged every detail of her life to David over the course of two winters, the mission was a complete success.  What David J. Miller ultimately produces for audiences is an epic figure of a woman who bravely charged through life and, I have to be honest, I was crying by the end of the performance. Continue reading