Mar 05

Driving Mr. Daisy: “The White Card”

Karen Pittman and Daniel Gerroll in The White Card. Photo: Gretjen Helene Photography; Charlotte manages Charles’ microaggressions.

Presented by ArtsEmerson with the American Repertory Theatre
By Claudia Rankin
Directed by Diane Paulus
Dramaturgy by P. Carl

Feb. 24 – April 1, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center
Robert J. Orchard Stage
Boston, MA
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Reviews by Kitty Drexel and Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) The White Card is a conversation starter for those unused to discussing race at length. It’s for those who think we live in a post-racial society, the kind of person who resents the dialogue because there are “bigger problems” to fix. Other attributes include denying racism because they have imaginary Black friends, thinking “all lives matter,” and feeling threatened when any indication of their own culpability within society’s systemic racism. Those who have regular discussions on race, inequalities and the struggles for justice will have their work affirmed. Continue reading

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Feb 26

Show Up and Shut Up: “An Education in Prudence”

with Christa Brown, Caitlin Gjerdrum, Tenneh Sillah, Shana Elizabeth Jackson, Mary O’Donnell, Kevin Paquette, Jon Vellante & Regine Vital; photo by Matt McKee Photography.

Presented by Open Theatre Project
By Stefan Lanfer
Directed by Pascale Florestal
Inspired by the historical research of Beth Miller

Feb. 9 – 24, 2018
St. John’s Church
Jamaica Plain, MA
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“Grant me chastity and constancy, but do not grant it yet.” Saint Augustine of Hippo

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Jamaica Plain, MA) OTP’s An Education in Prudence sold out its run. If you missed the readings, the workshops, or the performances, then the joke’s on you. Do yourself a favor and donate to OTP so they can create more important works. Prudence deserves, at the very least, a performance in Canterbury, CT. They’ll need our help to get there. Continue reading

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Feb 22

Presenting the Black Female Experience in America is a Revolutionary Act: “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf”

Photography by Roberto Mighty; From left: Verna Hampton, Kerline Desir, Thomika Marie Bridwell, Dayenne CB Walters, Karimah Williams, Tonasia Jones. Not pictured: Ciera-Sade Wade.

Presented by Praxis Stage
By Ntozake Shange
Directed by Dayenne CB Walters
Choreography by W. Lola Remy

Feb.15 – 25, 2018
Hibernian Hall
Boston, MA
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Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) When theatre is about lifting up oppressed voices, it is a revolutionary act.  Praxis Stage’s production of “for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf” during Black History Month qualifies.  I recommend that locals go and see this production if they can.  Although “for colored girls . . .” is done regularly with student casts, such as the production at Boston College in 2014, it is inspiring to see a range of ages authentically represented in this show.  I will also mention that the space in Hibernian Hall is accessible, which is not always a possibility for theatre companies in the Boston area. Continue reading

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Feb 08

Rooted and Roots-less: “KNYUM”

Photo by Meghan Moore.

 

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Vichet Chum
Directed by KJ Sanchez

Venue: 50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
January 10 – February 4, 2018
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Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) We owe our individual existences to thousands of coincidences in history, but our identities are forged through careful curation. Many find their identities come preformed for them, whether
they like it or not, but some, like second-generation immigrants, must sort early in life through
conflicting information and cultural influences to find who they are. Continue reading

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Jan 30

“In the Eruptive Mode”: A Woman Can’t Live on Poetry

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Written and directed by Sulayman Al-Bassam
Sulayman Al-Bassam Theatre (SABAB Theatre)

Emerson Paramount Center
Boston, MA
Jan 24-28, 2018
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Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) In the Eruptive Mode is a quasi-feminist collection of monologues that tells a disjointed tale of suffering, hopes and personal struggle, set against the backdrop of the Arab Spring. The six monologues span a range of characters from a pragmatic prostitute unwillingly caught in a revolution, to a surreal American business woman pitching the next heir to an Arab throne to foreign investors. Hala Omran and Catherine Gowl give energetic and passionate performances that add vitality to Al-Bassam’s often intangible writing. In the Eruptive Mode, as the title suggests, is not a fully formed play. The script spills out unconstrained and oftentimes unintelligible and whilst there are bursts of poetry throughout, the piece overall felt flimsy and confusing. Continue reading

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Jan 29

Justice for Jerrod and Regina: “Hype Man”


Presented by Company One Theatre
By Idris Goodwin
Directed by Shawn LaCount
Music direction & beat making by Kadahj Bennett
Dramaturgy by Jessie Baxter, Tatiana Isabel Gil
Choreography by Misha Shields

Jan 26 – Feb 24, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
Plaza Theatre
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The prep work done for Hype Man is intensely impressive. From the dramaturgy work by Baxter and Gil, beat making staging/choreography performed in chorus with the sound engineering by Debra Marcus, the combined efforts of the cast and crew of are not to be taken lightly. A lot of it looks deceptively simple. It isn’t. That it does speaks greatly of the craft hours that went into this production. Continue reading

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Jan 26

Caregiver Vents and Mourns in “Mala”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company and ArtsEmerson
Written and performed by Melinda Lopez
Directed by David Dower

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “Dying doesn’t make you wise,” says Melinda Lopez, describing the death of her tough, stubborn mother. “Dying doesn’t make you generous.” The words could serve as the thesis of Mala, a story of a loyal daughter processing guilt and bitterness over the death of her elderly parents. Baked into the subject matter is a grim but gentle humor, one that picks at the coat of polish usually applied to recollections of the grieving process. Lopez’s pain, here, is visceral and true, not some softly lit movie set. Continue reading

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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
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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

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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
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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

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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
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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

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