Apr 04

Geeks Read Books: TCG Play Reviews, April 2019

On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review recently published plays. The Antipodes is the latest release from Annie Baker. In it, Baker takes on corporate culture from a storyteller’s perspective. The Prisoner by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne is not well written. The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek discusses apartheid via an artist’s life work. A Doll’s House, Part 2 played on Boston’s Huntington Theatre’s stage in early 2019. Hnath’s script is deserving of several reads. Please read on below.

The Antipodes
By Annie Baker
TCG
New York, 2018
Paperback, 120pp
$14.95

The Antipodes takes place in a static, windowless room with office chairs behind which are stacked many boxes of seltzer. This could be a soulless writers room, a marketing research discussion room, or even one of those rent-an-office conference spaces available in communal office complexes. The location is specifically nondescript to allow the strange goings on of Baker’s play shine. Strange goings on of both the occult and Office Space varieties bleed through the mundane to unsettle the lives of everyone involved.   Continue reading

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Apr 04

Mass Cultural Council Presents Communication Access in Plymouth, April 9, 2019

Join the Mass Cultural Council for a Community Conversation on the use of captions in theatre and performance!

Access to Theatre: Captions and Communications
Plymouth Library:  Tuesday April 9; 5:30-7:30pm
Please RSVP

massculturalcouncil.org
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(Plymouth, MA) Access is more than ramps and bathrooms.  Communication access is an obligation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  If you are a patron of the arts, have you simply stopped going to events? If you are a producer of theater, what do you know about captioning? This community conversation is for all of us on both sides of the experience.

Captioning can engage new audiences as well as re-engage old audiences.  Our discussion will address institutional obligations, effective messaging, captioning software, and funding resources; as well as the BIG aspirational principles of “access” when striving for robust audience engagement.

Join us for a Community Conversation on effective accessible communication practices in theatre and live performance!

The Plymouth Public Library is located at 132 South Street in Plymouth MA 02360. 1-508-830-4250. RSVP or Sandy Spekman at sspekman@gmail.com

This event is sponsored by the Hearing Loss Association of America, Plymouth Chapter (HLAA), and the Mass Cultural Council’s Universal Participation (UP) Initiative. This event will be captioned in Real Time (CART). The library is physically accessible.

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Feb 11

“Mala” by Melinda Lopez Now available on Audible.com

“’Mala’ means ‘bad.’ Not that you have done something bad, but that you are, in your core, bad.” – Melinda Lopez, from Mala


Mala
By Melinda Lopez
Narrated by Melinda Lopez
Length: 1 hr and 17 mins
Regular price: $6.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

Melinda Lopez’s one-woman show, Mala is now available on Audible. The New England Theatre Geek previously critiqued Mala on January 26, 2018 and November 5, 2016. The New England Theatre Geek was given a download of Mala in exchange for this review. 

Audible is an app by Amazon that can be downloaded to phone or other internet accessible device. Mala can be purchased through the Audible app or through Amazon. Audible plays the narrated book or script while other apps are in use or on its own. Mala has naturally occurring pauses between scenes that will allow the listener to enjoy at their own pace.

Lopez narrates Mala with her usual candor and charisma. This recording gives her storytelling the NPR treatment: her consonants are crisp, her timbre lilting. It’s as if Lopez is speaking directly into your ear. This recording sounds like a private performance. It hits the heart like a live production. If you loved the stage play and also enjoy listening to recorded books and plays, Mala will be treat for your ears and heart. 

Please note: The passages of Mala originally in Spanish are retained and not translated into English. Monolingual listeners should fire up an online translator for the full experience.

Audible members will be able to enjoy listening to Mala for free during the month of February as part of the company’s Originals Member Benefit. Previous theatrical productions that have released on Audible for millions of listeners globally include Girls & Boys(Carey Mulligan), Harry Clarke (Billy Crudup), Feeding the Dragon (Sharon Washington), and After Anatevka (Alexandra Silber), all of which have been Audible bestsellers.

About the Author and Performer
Melinda Lopez is the playwright-in-residence at the Huntington Theatre Continue reading

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Feb 05

BLO Hosts Free Event: “Reclaiming Lucretia” on Feb. 7, 2019 at 6PM


Costume rendering for Lucretia by designer Robert Perdziola for the new BLO production.

Acclaimed actress Paula Plum directs a cast of Boston-area singers and actors this week to explore the myth of Lucretia, the ancient Roman woman whose cruel sexual violation brought down an empire, and whose story has been retold for centuries by poets, playwrights and painters.  The free public event, “Reclaiming Lucretia: Responding to Sexual Violence through Music, Poetry and Story,” takes place Thursday, February 7 at 6 pm at District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue in the Boston Seaport. RSVPs are encouraged at BLO.org/calendar.

“Reclaiming Lucretia” is produced by Boston Lyric Opera in advance of its production of Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece opera, “The Rape of Lucretia,” which runs March 11-17, 2019.

Plum helms a fascinating one-hour look at the Lucretia story through the Britten’s music, the poetry of William Shakespeare, and the words of contemporary sexual assault survivors.  Plum weaves together song, spoken word and theatrical interpretation with a cast that includes: well-known Boston-area actors Aimee Doherty and Ed Hoopman; local singers Brianna Robinson (BLO’s newest Emerging Artist) and Jesse Darden (BLO’s first Principal Artist-in-Residence); returning mezzo-soprano Renee Tatum (seen in The Metropolitan Opera’s 2018 production of “Marnie” and as Jenny in BLO’s 2018 “The Threepenny Opera”); Longmeadow, Mass.-native and baritone David Tinerva; and pianist and Boston University lecturer Douglas Sumi.

The event is followed by an audience question-and-answer session with cast members, reflections from a representative of Boston Area Rape Crisis Center — which along with domestic violence support organization Casa Myrna is collaborating with BLO to bring context, support and contemporary perspective to content in “The Rape of Lucretia” — and a post-event reception.

Reclaiming Lucretia: Responding to Sexual Violence through Music, Poetry, and Story
Thursday, February 7, 2019 | 6:00pm 
District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston Seaport
Free; RSVPs encouraged

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Jan 28

ImprovBoston Presents: KEVIN MCDONALD, Sketch Writing Classes on Feb. 2 & 3, 2019

Sketch Writing w/Kevin McDonald:
SAT, Feb. 2, 10AM-6PM
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA

Workshop cost: $180. Payment Plans are available by contacting comedyschool@improvboston.com

The Sketch Writing Workshop gives you the chance to put your work in the hands of sketch comedy royalty. In addition to gaining firsthand knowledge of how Kevin approaches writing sketches, you’ll get the opportunity to gain some personal and direct feedback from Kevin on a sketch that you’ll create…from a single premise! Bring with you a premise for a sketch, such as: ” A person with toasters for hands” or “A person who is $10 short of being a millionaire” and Kevin will guide you in turning that idea into a fully formed sketch.  Whether you’re a brand new sketch writer or a seasoned pro, this is the perfect workshop for anyone looking to gain experience in writing sketch comedy!  

Sketch Thru Improv: The Kids in the Hall Method w/Kevin McDonald 
SUN, Feb. 3, 10AM-5:30PM
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA

Workshop cost: $180. Payment Plans are available by contacting comedyschool@improvboston.com

In this one day intensive workshop, Kevin McDonald takes you through the journey of how the Kids in the Hall would create sketches by using improvisation. After Kevin shares his views and experience on how to create comedy sketches, he will lead the students to discover comedic premises through improv games and scenes. Those scenes will then be replayed and dissected, eventually becoming a fully written, original sketch! This is a fantastic class for anyone looking to gain insight into how to turn your brilliant improv scenes into something more than one and done!   Continue reading

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Dec 27

Geeks Read Books: TCG Selections, December 2018

Book reviews by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY/Somerville, MA) On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review newly published plays. Miss You Like Hell is a musical about an mother/daughter road trip. Mary Jane is a loving insight into compassionate primary caregivers. Uncle Vanya is a piece of classic dramatic literature that places the significance of the #metoo movement within an historical context.  Continue reading

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Nov 15

Geeks Read Books: TCG Plays by Women in 2018

(New York, NY/Somerville, MA) On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review newly published plays. Below are reviews for Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith, and Cost of Living by Martyna Majok. All books are available via the TCG website Continue reading

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Oct 15

Cirque of the Dead Preview: The Nightmare Continues

Presented by Boston Circus Guild
Directed by Joseph C. Walsh
October 19 – October 31, 2017

The Oberon
2 Arrow Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Cirque of the Dead on Facebook

Preview by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Last year, in 2017, Cirque of the Dead delighted me with Jumanji-esque antics and host Wes Hazzard’s charisma.

This year, in another callback to one’s youth for an adults-only murder show, the theme is Choose Your Own Adventure. The 2018 show promises new acts, acrobats, aerialists, butts, cannibalism, monsters, sex, and a bar full of specialty cocktails.

Joseph C. Walsh will be directing and says, “This exciting event combines breathtaking circus skills, startling theatricality and classic horror to offer its audience a unique and immersive experience. The incredible performers have stretched me artistically and inspired me with their astounding abilities and passion for pushing the boundaries of the modern circus genre.”

Music will be provided by Minusworld, a nerd-themed, “high-energy Synthrock” band.

Boston Circus Guild (BCG) describes itself as “a collaboration of over fifty musicians, artists, circus performers, dancers, and event producers from the Boston area. BCG members regularly perform at prestigious events and venues throughout New England including the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, Pfizer, Cirque du Soleil, and The Boston Bruins Foundation.” I had to scrape my jaw off the floor after witnessing last year’s acrobatics. I expect nothing less than spectacular.

Last year, I also wrote,  “The visuals are deeply compelling and wonderfully gross. […] The sense of escapism Cirque of the Dead represents, gory and grim as it may be, is invaluable and beautifully articulated with supreme commitment to physical flights of fancy.”

And I can’t wait for the next chapter.

Performances:
Friday, October 19: 7:00PM & 10:30PM
Saturday, October 20: 6:30PM
Thursday, October 25: 7:30PM
Friday, October 26: 7:00PM & 10:30PM
Saturday, October 27: 6:30PM
Wednesday, October 31: 7:00PM & 10:30PM

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Oct 14

Netflix and Fringe: A Fireside Chat with Theatre on Fire

Photo from a TOF production. Theatre On Fire Presents “FireSide Chat: Tell Us What You Want” on October 17, 7-8PM

The first of many FireSide Chats with the new Theatre On Fire company! This enriching, moderated cyberspace discussion with Theatre on Fire company members and you, the patrons, will center on how our small theater company can be everything that it should, especially given that it’s pretty easy now for people to just stay home and watch Netflix and whatnot.

What was your favorite thing a theater company ever did for you as an audience? We want to know. Least favorite? We want to know that too. What would you like to see from us in the next few months? We want to know that always.

To take part, go to patreon.com/theatreonfire, make sure you’re signed up at any level (even $2!), and watch for our posts there beginning at 7:00.

“FireSide Chat: Tell Us What You Want”
Hosts: Darren Evans, Kitty Drexel, Carl Danielson
October 17, 2018
7:00-8:00 PM
Attend online: patreon.com/theatreonfire

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Sep 07

Theatre on Fire and Charlestown Working Theater’s Latest Production is Not Safe

Presented by Theatre on Fire, and the Charlestown Working Theater
Written by Lucy Kirkwood
Directed by Darren Evans

Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street, Boston, MA

Performances:
Nov. 2-17, 2018
Ticket Prices: $5 – $15 – $25 (You choose)
Box Office: www.theatreonfire.org
866-811-4111 (toll free)

Charlestown, MA – Theatre on Fire (TOF) and Charlestown Working Theater (CWT) present NSFW by Lucy Kirkwood, directed by Artistic Director Darren Evans. A biting and hilarious satire of media mores and manipulation, NSFW takes on questions of who is responsible for mysogyny in our culture – men? women? producers? consumers? There are no easy answers in this scathing dark comedy.

The lads mag, “Doghouse,” has just proudly unveiled the winner of its Local Lovely 2018 competition. When buxom Carrie, 18, turns out to be only 14 years old, havoc ensure and her father threatens legal action. In an attempt to save the magazine, head editor Aidan sacks the well-meaning junior, Sam, who sanctioned the use of the shots. But Carrie’s irate father is not so easily mollified. When Sam shows up later at the women-centered “Electra” magazine, he gets to see another other side of the publishing world, for better or worse.

Premiering at the Royal Court in 2012, NSFW is a sharp, biting, satirical new comedy that marks the breakthrough of one of the United Kingdom’s most exciting playwrights. Continue reading

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