Nov 24

One Comedy, One Drama, Both Based in Reality: New Rep’s Showstopper Virtual Play Series

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

Nov 18

Show the Relationships: Lilac Players’ First Annual 48-Hour Play Festival

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

Nov 05

Marching with my anger and my grief: “Notes on Me & You”

Produced as part of the Hartford Theatre Festival 
Created by Dawson Atkin and N.J. Collay
Performed by Sam Vana

October 9 – November 9, 2020
Hartford Fringe Festival 
https://www.hartfordfringefestival.org/
Hartford Fringe on Vimeo

Review by Kitty Drexel 

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

Oct 28

“Downtown Crossing”

The Cast of “Downtown Crossing.” Photo by

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 live October 22, 23, 24 @ 7pm
October 25 @ 2pm
Digital program
C1 on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

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

Oct 26

A Look at Truth: “A Woman Ain’t I, A Depiction of Sojourner Truth”

Kathryn Woods as Truth in a prepandemic photo.

Directed and Performed by Historical Interpreter Kathryn Woods
October 9, 2020
Presented by History At Play, LLC
Pay-Per-HAP via Facebook Livestream

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

(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

Oct 14

It Was Earth All Along!: “Zoo Motel”

Thaddeus Phillips in “Zoo Motel.”

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

Oct 05

More Than a Monument: “The Charles Lenox Experience”

Kadahj Bennett as Charles W. Lenox

Presented by New Repertory Theatre in partnership with the Watertown Free Public Library and the Historical Society of Watertown
The Charles W. Lenox Experience
Script by Ken Green
Directed by Michael Ofori
Performed by Kadahj Bennett

September 26 – November 8, 2020
Audio Description: October 18, 2020 at 1:00pm
ASL Interpretation: October 24 at 1:00pm & October 25 at 4:00
Accessibility information is HERE.
Watertown Square
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Watertown, MA — Trump has COVID-19. He could learn about science from this experience (he won’t). Thoughts and Prayers.

I mention the president because he is a man who remains steadfastly ignorant of his inherent racism. Racism is a social disease that negatively impacts us all; we can’t opt-out.  We can only hope to counter it through education and cognitive retraining of the self. It’s as easy and self-monitoring your speech and as complicated as decolonizing our collective world view.

You too can learn from experience! Attend the New Rep’s Watertown Historical Moving Plays: The Charles Lenox Experience and learn all about a nineteenth-century Watertown barber who was one of the first Black men to enlist as a Private in the Civil War. Charles W. Lenox (played skillfully by Kadahj Bennett) leads a small audience across Watertown Square while describing his young adulthood, explaining local politics, and cracking jokes. Continue reading

Sep 22

Tribute to a Legacy: “Thurgood”

An historical image of Justice Thurgood Marshall.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre and Central Square Theater
Written by George Stevens, Jr.
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush
Starring Joshua Wolf Coleman

September 18 to 20 at 7:30PM
Starlight Square
84 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139

Critique by Afrikah Smith

“The law is a weapon if you know how to use it.” – Justice Thurgood Marshall

Cambridge, MA  — In light of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, Thurgood reminds audiences of the obstacles BIPOC American citizens have overcome and continue to overcome every day, as we witness political events leading up to the 2020 elections.

Curious by how outdoor theatre was going to work, the thoughtful layout of Starlight Square surprised me. After checking in at will call, house staff escorted me to my seat following COVID-19 guidelines. Inside the space were socially distanced seating that met the gathering limit and made it more intimate. Although heaters are coming soon to Starlight Square, I recommend wearing warm layers. Continue reading

Sep 16

Have Pitch, Will Podcast: New Radio Drama for the Pandemic-Age

Orson Welles, 1938. Shown in rehearsal, standing, center background: director Orson Welles; seated, right: composer Bernard Herrmann NB: directing his Mercury Theatre of the Air troupe, such as created panic on the CBS radio broadcast of The War of the Worlds, October 30, 1938

Article by Kitty Drexel

The pandemic has sparked a greater interest in radio drama.

In May, the New York Times shared a great article by Alexis Soloski that named multiple Broadway podcast radio shows called “For Your Ears Only: Broadway’s New Stage Is a Mic.” It references the Great Depression (as we head into another recession), quotes recording actors like James Monroe Iglehart, and then details their podcast projects.

Kelli O’Hara, Annaleigh Ashford, Iglehart, and others answer pertinent questions such as “How do you develop a character using just your voice?” Their answers are excellent advice to actors making podcast theatre during the pandemic. It’s a good read. Continue reading

Sep 09

The pandemic isn’t over just because you’re over it: Player’s Ring Theatre Reopens

Player’s Ring building; performances are indoors

Produced by the Player’s Ring Theatre
An original play by Irene Kelleher
With Emily Karel
Directed by Peter Josephson
Presented by Glass Dove Productions

October 2 – 11, 2020
105 Marcy Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Player’s Ring on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Portsmouth, NH — According to an email press release from Player’s Ring Theatre in New Hampshire sent on September 8, the company will open its doors to the public beginning on October 2 for its production of Mary and Me by Irene Kelleher.

The company closed its doors in March due to the pandemic. It is reopening for live performance after making adjustments for audience safety. These include a new air handling and ventilation system, reduced capacity, social distancing at six feet, a health check at the door, and a mandatory mask policy.

The theater seats 75 patrons at capacity but only 33 seats are for sale to ticketholders. Only bottled drinks will be for sale. Seat assignments will be allocated by the Player’s Ring box office.

Production manager Margherita Giacobbi said in the press release, “Our number one priority in our decision to reopen has been the safety of our artists, volunteers, and audiences. We are following all State and CDC guidelines to ensure a safer environment (emphasis mine).”

Continue reading