Ahmadinejad in the stage version of “Disclaimer.” Photography by Maria Baranova.
Presented by the The Public Theater The Under the Radar Festival Written by Tara Ahmadinejad Created by Piehole Co-directed by Tara Ahmadinejad and Jeff Wood Dramaturgy by Heidi Davis Performed by Tara Ahmadinejad with Hassan Nazari-Robati with special guests Other credits
January 11 – January 17, 2021 Via the Public Theater YouTube channel Public Theater on Facebook
My sincere apologies to The Public and to Piehole for this review’s tardiness. Personal tragedy prevented me from completing my review in a timely manner.
Review by Kitty Drexel
Disclaimer: This LIVE in-Zoom event contains propaganda, vague promises of Persian food, minimally invasive audience participation, and (gasp) MURDER.
ZOOM — Piehole’s Disclaimer is a new work only in that it has never been performed over Zoom. It lived onstage last year for the 2020 Under the Radar Festival in New York City. It was workshopped in 2019.
Disclaimer is a live-cooking tutorial over Zoom. Chef Nargis (Tara Ahmadinejad) and Sous chef “juuls are cuul” Hassan (Hassan Nazari-Robati) teach their audience to make Sabzi Polo, a yummy sounding Iranian rice dish made with butter, dried fenugreek leaves, garlic, saffron, and other ingredients. Our chef tells us about Iranian family life, culture, and plunges down a rabbithole of Iranian/US politics as she cooks.
The cooking doesn’t go as intended. Chef Nargis is distracted by the state of Iran’s tenuous relationship with the US despite Hassan’s gentle yet insistent redirecting back to the recipe. Nargis is worried that the US will go to war with Iran. It is never the politicians who make war who suffer. No, it is the people of the land who pay the price when demagogues play King. Continue reading →
Presented by the Public Theater A part of the Under the Radar Festival By Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall Directed and Produced by Taibi Magar & Tyler Dobrowsky Original text and music, Whitney White and Peter Mark Kendall Director of photography: Jess Coles Editing by Josiah Davis, Lowell Thomas Sound design by Broken Chord, Lee Kinney
January 6, 7:00PM – January 17, 11:59 PM EST The Public Theater on YouTube New York, NY 10003 Public Theater on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
YouTube – The emotional violence inherent in White & Kendall’s pandemic-diary, fringe film Capusule reminds me of the car crash scene from 1975’s Mahagony. Diana Ross and Anthony Perkins (of Psycho fame) star in this movie about haute fashion, modeling and the heart’s desires. Perkins, a narcissistic photographer with mommy-issues, crashes a cherry red convertible into a construction site with the incomparable Ross and he in it. She, our hero, eventually leaves Perkins and her promising career for a politician played by Billy Dee Williams. The writing in this movie is not clever.
AUDIBLE — Williamstown Theatre Festival and Audible present Animals by Stacy Osei-Kuffour beginning on December 17. Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club by Shakina Nayfack is available starting tomorrow, December 29. We were given access to both early in order to write these reviews.
Thank you to the Williamstown Theatre Festival for the advanced access!
Happy New Year, everyone! We’ll see you in 2021.
Kitty Drexel, the Queen Geek
Written by Stacy Osei-Kuffour Directed by Whitney White sound design by Fan Zhang Assistant direction by Tyler Thomas Featuring: Madeline Brewer (Coleen), Jason Butler Harner (Henry), William Jackson Harper (Yaw/Jason), and Aja Naomi King (Lydia)
Summary: Lydia (Aja Naomi King) and Henry (Jason Butler Harner) and their dinner guests Colleen & Yaw/Jason (Madeline Brewer and William Jackson Harper) are having a contentious evening. They’re constantly arguing about minor details, fragile egos are consistently bruised, and the wine bottle remains uncorked. Unspoken insecurities and dark secrets are revealed after Henry proposes to Lydia. Animals attempts to examine why marriage and relationships bring out the best and worst in people. This play has themes of race, class, gender, cancel culture, identity, and familial bondage.Continue reading →
ZOOM — Have you ever had the wild urge to play a first-person shooter and hefting a gun that ends the lives of digital characters? No? What about being granted the power to give or take away their livelihood? With The Race, a piece workshopped earlier this month by The Wilbury Theatre Group, you’re given almost all the abilities of a faceless tribunal to do just that! It’s an engaging work of theater constructed to utilize Zoom. It’s also difficult, upsetting, and timely.Continue reading →
Showstopper Virtual Play Series Presented by New Rep Theatre Premieres by Alexis Scheer and Miranda Austen ADEkoje
November 21 – December 13, 2020 Performances will be audio described by Cori Couture on Saturday, 12/12 at 7:00pm and Sunday, 12/13 at 4:00pm. Over Zoom New Rep on Facebook
“A Very Herrera Holiday” By Alexis Scheer Directed by Sarah Shin With Amanda Figueroa
“[keyp-ing]” By Miranda Austen ADEkoje Directed by Dawn M. Simmons With Jasmine M Rush
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — New Rep’s “A Very Herrera Holiday” and “[keyp-ing]” are two plays about women who have had enough. In the former, Emma Herrera (Amanda Figueroa) uses her DIF crafting Youtube stardom to celebrate the holidays with a family recipe for coquitos. “[keyp-ing]” chronicles Monica Jenae’s personal fight against white supremacy as Boston-area freelance commercial producer. Continue reading →
The Lilac Players‘ First Annual 48hr Play Festival
Hosted by Meghan Joliffe Sunday, November 15, at 7:00pm Presented over YouTube
Disclaimer: Mrs. Drexel has a friendly relationship with many players involved with this festival. She believes that only an ass-hatted dinglehopper of a n00b would let petty human emotions interfere with a critique.
Critique by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — There have been strikingly few play festivals since the quarantine began in March. Festivals are relatively easy to produce despite their many moving parts. Performance teams can schedule their own work hours and pace. Everyone comes together at tech rehearsal to complete the beast. Audiences are guaranteed even if it’s only made up of participants and their partners. And, as my massage therapist (a fringe theatre enthusiast) told me yesterday as they were vigorously massaging my shoulders in a darkened salon, it’s exciting to see a play come together, rehearsal to performance. The allure is strong.
The Lilac Players presented its very first 48-Hour Play festival on the evening of Sunday, November 15. It was a successful evening: nine plays were streamed over YouTube to their rowdy fans who expressed their appreciation through the live chat. Jokes were made. Fun was had.Continue reading →
Vimeo/Hartford, CT — I write this review from the floor of the 4 bedroom apartment that I share with my brilliant, non-binary wife and our two housemates in Somerville, MA. I’m at my wife’s feet and as they work on COVID-19 science for a Cambridge lab. We’re both attacking work job projects with an unnecessary focus because we’d otherwise be rage scrolling Twitter for 2020 election news updates. Biden is in the lead while the Narcissist in Chief refuses to accept his electoral losses.
Trump hates the LGBTQ+ community. His administration’s repeated attacks on us prove it. His vice president supports conversion therapy.
Trump hates Black, Brown, and Asian people.
He hates immigrants.
He hates disabled people.
He hates everyone who isn’t him. He hates everyone who doesn’t worship in the cult of his narcissism. He’s allowing them to die from a highly contagious virus that there is no cure for. History is repeating itself.
Why does he hate us so much? We just want to live.
Fifty percent of the US is voting for this hateful man. Even when Biden wins and finally takes the White House with Harris, it will be impossible to know who to trust just like it was in 2016.
Reagan hated the LGBTQ+ community with such a passion that he let us die by the tens of thousands from the “gay plague” in the 1980s. His administration was indifferent to our deaths during the AIDS crisis. Reagan’s inaction was historically captured for posterity and was made into art: The Normal Heart, Angels in America, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and now Atkin and Collay’s Notes on Me & You currently at the Hartford Fringe Festival. Continue reading →
Presented by Company One
In partnership with Northeastern University and Boston Public Library
with support from the Center for the Humanities at Tufts University
Written by David Valdes
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Dramaturgy by Jessica Scout Malone
Streaming/Boston, MA — My wife and I used to joke that we couldn’t travel to 2006’s Arizona because they looked too brown. John McCain might confuse them for a Mexican immigrant and deport them. It was the kind of stupid BS we could joke about because we were young and ignorant. We didn’t know the hurt McCain’s policies were causing.
My brilliant wife (who gave me permission to discuss them in this article) is kānaka maoli, an indigenous person of Hawaiian descent. Their skin is a buff, maple syrup brown. Their smile is wide and dominates their broad face. They have a warm but reserved personality that belies a deep well of energy. They are easy to love. Continue reading →
(Boston, MA) A Woman Ain’t I, A Depiction of Sojourner Truth is a One-Woman show about select moments in the life of Sojourner Truth. Creator Kathryn Woods has played this role since the 90s, though perhaps this was the first time it was broadcast into people’s homes via a Facebook Live stream. Continue reading →
Co-presented by the Miami Light Project
Created by Thaddeus Phillips
Designed by Steven Dufala
CO-created & directed by Tatiana Mallarino
Magic by Steve Cuiffo
Movement by Fernando Careaga & Katya Humenyuk
Now – October 20, 2020
A Performance over Zoom
8:00 pm – 9:05 pm Zoo Motel on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — A theatrical production doesn’t have to perfectly incorporate its many elements to be Art or even good entertainment. It must engage the mind and welcome us into its world. Great theatre can have plot holes up the wazoo so long as it’s a wazoo we believe in. We believe in Zoo Motel’s wazoo.
Zoo Motel is imperfect art but it is good art. Performer and creator Thaddeus Phillips gives us a brief reprieve from pandemic stressors by occupying us with new, unusual ones. Audience members/hotel residents are greeted by the Night Clerk (Newton Buchanan) as a group. He offers us amenities such as the espresso bar (delicious) and gives us a brief spiel about what to expect. Even though he briefs us, I couldn’t say that we were fully prepared for our experience. It was fun but also intense. Continue reading →