May 04

BLACK FEMINIST VIDEO GAME: A glimpse into the future?

Presented by The Civilians
Written by Darrel Alejandro Holnes
Directed by Victoria Collado
Video Game created by Ché Lovell Rose & Jocelyn Short
Produced by Ilana Becker
Sound Design by Twi McCallum
Featuring Christon Andell, Kyla Jeanne Butts, Starr Kirkland, Darrel Alejandro Holnes, Constance Fields, Phillip Patrick Wright, Michael Diamond, Mia Anderson, and Brandiss LaShai Seward.

April 27 – May 9, 2021
The Civilians
138 SOUTH OXFORD STREET #3C
BROOKLYN, NEW YORK 11217 
The Civilians on Facebook

Critique by Afrikah Smith

YOUTUBE — BLACK FEMINIST VIDEO GAME is a groundbreaking, online theatrical experience that explores love, neurodiversity, and the importance of Black feminism.

After a first date gone wrong, Jonas Jones (Christon Andell) is determined to find a way to win back his crush, Nicole (Starr Kirkland). As a biracial teenager with autism, Jonas broadcasts his life online as a means of connection, destigmatising autism, and becoming a filmmaker. Integrating live chat in the performance, Jonas asks audiences for advice on what he should do. While brainstorming, he finds an old gift from his mother; a video game that may lead a way to winning Nicole back.  Continue reading

Apr 30

Love is Everyone: “Until the Flood”

Maiesha McQueen in Until the Flood. Photo: Kathy Wittman

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre 
By Dael Orlandersmith
Directed by Timothy Douglas
Original music by Lindsay Jones
Film by Kathy Wittman
Performed with excellence by Maiesha McQueen

April 17 to May 2, 2021
Via video-on-demand only
TICKETS
MRT on Facebook

MRT’s Content Alert: Based on real events, Until the Flood includes references to racism, bigotry, prejudice, and off-stage violence. The play contains strong adult content/language, including racial slurs. Recommended for ages 16 and older.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

STREAMING — The US police keep killing Black people. On Wednesday, April 28 a Collin County, Texas medical examiner ruled Marvin Scott III’s death a homicide. That was last night. Ma’Khia Bryant was killed by police on April 22. Derek Chauvin was convicted of killing George Floyd on April 20. Nearly a year after the murder took place. Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Aleah Jenkins, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown: I could go on and on. It’s no wonder that human rights lawyers from around the world have called for an investigation of the international criminal court into the systematic murder of Black people in the US. 

Until the Flood is a one-woman show about the stories we tell with our lives. On August 9, 2014 Darren Wilson, a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an African American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri. In response to the murder, Dael Orlandersmith interviewed Black and white people, compiled their stories and created this play. We are witness to a spectrum of views. Each monologue takes the viewer closer to Michael Brown and the events that formed the Black Lives Movement. Continue reading

Apr 15

“A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival”: Theatre is Therapeutic, Not Therapy

A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival
Presented by Teatro Chelsea
A Resident Artist at the Black Box Theatre through Apollinaire Theatre Company’s Resident Artists at the Chelsea Theatre Works
Artistic Associate: Carla Mirabal Rodríguez
Program Director: Armando Rivera

Featured Works:
All performances start at 7 PM
Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers.
April 9, Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao
April 10, Malas Mañas by Alejandra Ramos Riera
April 15, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera
April 16,  Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores
April 17,  Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo

April 9-17, 2021
Streamed via Zoom at 7 PM
Chelsea, MA 02150
Teatro Chelsea on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Teatro Chelsea presents two weekends of play readings in A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival with English, Spanish and bilingual performances through April 17. 

I was told by program director Armando Rivera that the reading of Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao on April 9 was still “in development.” Plays involved in this festival are performed for audience feedback. I watched with the understanding that this play and its characters were still in their nascent phases. There is always room for compassion in a critic’s response. 

So color me surprised when the cast of Before We Focus On Others gave us a performance-ready show over Zoom on April 9. The cast* had great chemistry: they worked well off of each other, gave excellent facial cues; their dialogue was believable and sincere sounding; I could imagine these characters as real people off of the page. 

Before We Focus On Others is about marriage counseling from the perspective of a husband and wife involved in the counseling profession. Lanao’s research is credible. The dialogue between the husband, wife, and psychologist is realistic. Lanao takes great care to give equal weight to both the men and women in this script: it’s thoughtful, intersectionality feminist, and sympathetic to all sides.

This is a bilingual play but anyone with basic Spanish skills should understand the characters’ intentions when Spanish is spoken. The actors’ motives were clear. Lanao’s used Spanish sparingly but to embellish a scene’s drama. To complain about the Spanish in this play is to reveal one’s racism. 

Only the active Zoom chat brimming with missives of love and joy from friends and family gave away the reading’s intentions for feedback. Actors don’t receive the same feedback over Zoom as they do from a live audience.  An open chat alleviates the weight of performance insecurity. 

It is super duper exciting that Boston finally gets its own festival of Latinx plays! I hope there is more, much more where this came from. 

A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival continues this weekend:
Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers.
April 15 @ 7 PM, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera
April 16 @ 7 PM,  Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores
April 17 @ 7 PM,  Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo
Tickets are HERE

About A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival from the Teatro Chelsea website:
“In the American theatre space, the Latinx narrative reflected on stage can tend to revolve around narrow topics like the “border” or “disaster” play. While shedding light on the ongoing crisis on the Mexican-American border and the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico are narratives deserving of attention, these stories can overly narrow the breadth of Latinx experiences in the United States. Teatro Chelsea’s new Latinx play festival, A-Típico, aims to showcase and expand the focus on underrepresented Latinx stories.”

More from Teatro Chelsea.

Apr 14

SHADOW/LAND: A poetic force reckoning with the past

Presented by The Public Theater
Written by Erika Dickerson-Despenza
Directed by Candis C. Jones
Music composed by Delfeayo Marsalis
Sound design by Palmer Hefferan
Featuring Te’Era Coleman, Lizan Mitchell, Lance E. Nichols, Lori Elizabeth Parquet, Sunni Patterson, and Michelle Wilson.

The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
(at Astor Place)
New York, NY 10003
The Public Theater on Facebook 

Review by Afrikah Smith

PODCAST — Making its world premiere, SHADOW/LAND is a poetic force to be reckoned with. Mixing jazz and jook joint writing, Erika Dickerson-Despenza presents a vibrant play with a reckoning with the past. Continue reading

Apr 06

Keep Going, She Said: “The Catastrophist”

The Catastrophist TEASER from Marin Theatre Company on Vimeo.
Presented by Trinity Repertory Company
Coproduced by Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre
Written by Lauren M. Gunderson
Based on the life of virologist Nathan Wolfe
Directed by Jasson Mindakis
Performed by William DeMeritt

March 18 – May 31, 2021 
Trinity Rep and other theaters are streaming this production to their audiences in collaboration with the Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre.
Trinity Rep on social media: @trinityrepertorycompany

Critique by Kitty Drexel

STREAMING — Actor William DeMeritt is not virologist Nathan Wolfe. DeMeritt plays Wolfe with startling humanity, humor, and confidence. DeMeritt and Wolfe look similar in appearance: they both have medium complexions, curly kinks in their hair, and tall statures. Lest one falls into the trap of assuming that an actor is their character, we must establish that these two men are not the same person. DeMeritt only plays a virologist on screen.  Continue reading

Mar 22

Cry On Your Own Time: “A Fate Worse Than Death” #AFWTD21

Presented and Written by The Messy Theater Co. AFWTD Cast
Conceptualized and Directed by Billie Hassebrock
Assistant Directed by Stefan James
Stage Managers: Anika Nayak & Olivia Browne
Playwriting Consultant – Nick Freedson
Social Media Consultant – Sophia Schweik
Media Editor – Frank Mohler III
Featuring: Aaron Arpon, Alexandra Montalbano, Casey Corona, Curtis Andersen, Gloria Huang, Kristen Grace, Leo Goodman, Olivia Rose Nathan, Rhikki Cook, Sierra Hastings, Thomas Anawalt, and Tyler Davidson.

The online program is HERE

March 19-28, 2021
Streamed Online
All performances are FREE
Donations go to support the artists involved in this project.
Messy Theater Co on Instagram
#AFWTD21

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a toll-free national network of crisis centers in the US. Under the Lifeline website’s “Get Involved” tab, anyone can download Lifeline logos, get brochures, and read recovery stories. It even has an Instagram-specific toolkit. All of this can be accessed without making a donation. Using this information is gloriously free of charge. Interested parties can learn how to support Lifeline’s work via the “Participate” tab.  

To speak to someone at Lifeline, please call 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline on Twitter: @800273TALK, on Facebook, chat line

A Fate Worse Than Death by the Messy Theater Company is a show that includes strong themes of suicide and suicide prevention at the expense/ridicule of social media influencers. As of now, the show doesn’t communicate to its audience that it supports suicide prevention. Their website needs to include a logo, the name of the suicide prevention organization, quick links to resources, a suicide prevention organization donation button, and a phone number to call in an emergency. Just the phone number flashed briefly to the audience with a blurb at the end of the show isn’t enough. Continue reading

Mar 09

Ma, Look It Up: “The Pink Unicorn”

Stacy Fischer pretty in pink as Trisha Lee in “The Pink Unicorn.”

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Elise Forier Edie
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Featuring Stacy Fischer
Video production design by Ari Herzig
Music by John-Allison Weiss
Dialect coaching by D’Arcy Dersham

Post-show Panel: “Learning the Impact of Language”
Panelists: Taj M. Smith (he/him), Katie Omberg (she/they), Mx. Chris Paige (they/them), Leo Austin-Spooner (he/they)

March 5-18, 2021
The performance is available to stream
RUN TIME: 80 minutes, followed by a post-show panel discussion exploring the themes of the play
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

SpeakEasy Stage’s Content Advisory: “The Pink Unicorn follows one mother’s journey to accept her genderqueer teenager. In telling this story, this play contains multiple instances of transphobia and misgendering as well as ableist and fatphobic language.” 

VIMEO — If it takes a white person to reach a white person on issues of racial inequity (it does), then one could reason that it takes a cis-hetero person to reach a cis-hetero person on issues of gender diversity. I’m not saying that these issues are at all equal. Hardly. What I am saying is that the compassionate tactics of one righteous cause will work on another equally as valiant cause.

SpeakEasy presents The Pink Unicorn through March 18. It is about a mother, Trisha Lee (Stacy Fischer in an endearing performance), coming to terms with her teenager’s genderqueer identity. Trisha is sharing her story through the virtual family and faith summit series, Walking Together. She sits at her kitchen table, sips tea and tells the anecdotes that culminate in her acceptance of her beloved child, Jo.   Continue reading

Feb 24

Semaphore Flags of Tension: “Solitaire Suite”

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Trent England 
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Stage management by  Madeline Hartrich
and Kelsey Whipple
Sound Design by Kyle Lampe
​Digital Design by Justin Lahue

Feb 20 – Feb 27 2021
Youtube Presentation
Boston, MA 02116
Hub on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

YOUTUBE — Anxiety is a feminist issue. Women are told they are too emotional, too sensitive, and too fragile. Our responses to stimuli are so criticized that we disbelieve our own experiences. We distrust our own instincts – no matter how perceptive. 

Believing women is the basis for the #MeToo movement. Trust women, we say. The message should carry a caveat to emphasize that society must grant women the benefit of the doubt in all situations. Believe us when we’ve been assaulted and at other times, too. Believe us all the time.  

Hub Theatre premiered Solitaire Suite by Trent England on February 20. Marty Mason is Celeste, a conscientious mother on a car ride with her husband Pete (Cristhian Mancinas) and their son, Tiger (Michael Lin). Celeste tells the viewer about how her family came across an unidentified flying object on their way home from retrieving Tiger from a failed sleepover. The family follows the UFO and has an unexpected engagement with the unknown.    Continue reading

Feb 11

Protect Yourself as Needed: ArtsEmerson Presents”Julia”

Presented by ArtsEmerson 
Director: Christiane Jatahy
Adaptation of Miss Julie by August Strindberg
Performed by: Julia Bernat and Rodrigo de Odé
Performed in the film: Tatiana Tiburcio
Music: Rodrigo Marçal
Photography: David Pacheco
Camera Live: Paulo Camacho
Video Technician: Felipe Norkus
In Portuguese with English subtitles

Virtual Event – On-Demand Viewing
Pick Your Price
Get Tickets 
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Ages 18+, Performance contains mature content, nudity, and intense sexual situations with an implied minor

This is the warning under an arrow on ArtsEmerson’s Julia page

“We understand that certain types of content could trigger past traumatic experiences for some viewers. Please be aware that this production contains scenes depicting sexual violence, racialized verbal abuse, racial slurs, allusions to suicide, and animal cruelty.”

This warning should not be hidden to the side. It should be somewhere obvious so no one will miss it. 

ON-DEMAND  — I’ve been recovering from PTSD triggered by Julia since watching ArtsEmerson’s premiere on Tuesday. Actions in the play depict violent sexual relations between two consenting individuals. I am a survivor of sexual violence, but I’ve never been triggered by a theatrical production to a degree like this before. I thought I was okay to watch Julia. I was wrong. Survivors, please protect yourself. 

I’m not special; many women are survivors of violence. We must factor potential violence into our everyday decisions to protect ourselves from further harm. We never know if we’re being too cautious or not cautious enough. We learn from a young age – through the malevolent actions of others or by making irrevocable mistakes – that we must take special care not to be caught off guard. Julia is the visual, multimedia story of a young woman as she learns this lesson the hard way.  Continue reading

Feb 04

The Horrors of Knocking: “No One at the Door”

No One at the Door” would be Odysseus’s catchphrase if he was a mailman.

Presented by Theatre of the Electric Mouth
written by Lyubomir Parushev
Directed by Molly Cohen
Sound by Zach Trebino
Video by Steve Barroga
Featuring Samantha Turret as Sam and Tom Vinson as Jack

Available on YouTube on Feb. 15, 2021
Theatre of the Electric Mouth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

*Knock, knock*
Who’s there?
The Void.

YOUTUBE — “Where do you want to get dinner?” is a question that defines many modern relationships (like mine). In the case of Jack and Sam, domestic bliss is interrupted by a rapping, rapping at their chamber door. Sam asks Jack to answer the door. Jack can’t do anything right. Continue reading