Mar 25

“Paradise Blue”: Rich and dynamic audio play

Presented by Audible Originals & the Williamstown Theatre Festival
Written by Dominique Morisseau
Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson
Sound design by Darron West
Music composed by Kenny Rampton and Bill Sims Jr 
With André Holland, Kristolyn Lloyd, Simone Missick, Keith Randolph Smith, and Blair Underwood
Williamstown Theatre Festival on Facebook

Audiobook is available at Audible.com on March 25 at 3 PM.

Review by Afrikah Smith

AUDIOBOOK — Rich, dynamic jazz fills my ears. Paradise Blue starts off with explosive keys, steady drums, a wailing trumpet solo, and a bang. The silence that followed piqued my curiosity until cymbals shook it off and the jazz picked up once again. We are whisked away to Paradise Club. The best place to hear jazz in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood. Continue reading

Mar 17

A Review in Which the Magic Tricks Aren’t Described: “The Conjurors’ Club”

Geoff Kanick performs in ‘The Conjurors’ Club.’ Photo courtesy of A.R.T.

Presented by American Repertory Theatre
Created by Vinny DePonto and Geoff Kanick
Original Music by Alex Harris
Voiceover work by Artist Isuri Wijesundara
Opening Video by Gabe Jacobs
Video Voiceover by Isabela Salgado
Technical Consultancy by Joshua Samuels
Web Design by Eleanor Philips
Zoom Wizardry by Alycia Marucci and Sumner Ellsworth
Scenic/Background Consultancy by Heather Morris
Costume Consultancy by Alma Reyes Burgos
Lighting Consultancy by Joseph Lorenzen
Digital Systems Programming by Justin Paice & Michael Policare

March 12 – April 11, 2021
A virtual event
Stream HERE
Follow @TheConjurorsClub on social media

Disclaimer: This review contains minor spoilers. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — The Conjurors’ Club starts long before the Zoom room opens with a brown 8.5 x 11 envelope with a stamp from Jean Eugene’s Fine Watches. This envelope arrives within another envelope from the American Repertory Theatre. Don’t open it! Its contents are a surprise. Continue reading

Mar 01

Black Spatial Relics Second Annual Convening, Day 3: A Day of Dreaming and Envisioning

Presented by Black Spatial Relics
Facilitated by Arielle Julia Brown

February 23rd-27th 2021
ZOOM & HowlRound Livestream
Black Spatial Relics on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

ZOOM — Working towards a future for Black creative spaces that foster exploration, community, and liberation, Black Spatial Relics (BSR) hosts their second annual convening in celebration of their five-year anniversary. Running February 23rd to February 27th, the Black Spatial Relics Annual Convening is free and open to the public.

At its February 25th session, Black Spatial Relics presented three workshops hosted by 2020 BSR artists-in-residence Danielle Deadwyler and Ada Pinkston, and guest artist Angel Edwards.

In the first workshop, Deadwyler shared her documentary busitopen. Exploring Black womanhood and motherhood through the lives of four Black women, Deadwyler juxtaposed the repetition of sound, movement, and various historic images of working class Black women. Through each woman’s relationship to labor and love, Deadwyler focused on the practices of recollection, ritual, and their significance. 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

Dec 28

Williamstown Theatre Festival Releases “Animals” & “Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club” on Audible.com


Williamstown Theatre Festival 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/wtfestival
Insta: www.instagram.com/wtfestival
Twitter: www.twitter.com/wtfest

Audible/theater titles
Facebook: www.facebook.com/audibletheater
Insta: www.instagram.com/audibletheater
Twitter: www.twitter.com/audibletheater

Reviews by Kitty Drexel

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.

Best,
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

Dec 27

An Interview with Liars & Believers About Their Upcoming Project, “Beyond A Winter’s Day”


“To Bed To Bed” & Vasalisa The Blessed” written by Rachel Wiese
“Malka and the Behema” written by Jesse Garlick
Directed by Jason Slavick
Costume design by Kendra Bell
Puppet design by Faye Dupras
Shadow puppet design by Rebecca Lehrhoff
Mask design by Becca Jewett
Video editing by Sam Powell
Original music by Carlos Odria
Featuring: Rachel Wiese, Rebecca Lehrhoff, Glen Moore, Jesse Garlick, Cynthia Hu, Carlos Odria, Singer Mali

More information about their upcoming performances in January will be available via the LAB website: https://www.liarsandbelievers.com/show/beyondawintersday/

Interview by Kitty Drexel

EMAIL — The good, creative folks at Liars & Believers held two preview workshops of their upcoming production Beyond a Winter’s Day on December 17 and 20. They generously answered some questions over email about their work, the pandemic, and their hopes for the New Year. Please keep reading for responses. 

Thank you Jason, Jesse, Glen, Cynthia, Rebecca, and Rachel! We look forward to Beyond A Winter’s Day in January. We hope all of your New Year wishes are liberated into being with bright joy, cheer and grace.

———————-

Queen Geek: Please talk about your role in the show.  

Jason – I’m Jason Slavick, the Artistic Director of Liars & Believers, and the director of the show. I provide the guiding vision for the whole project and I shape each individual element. I’m much like a conductor in an orchestra. The individual artists play their parts, but I shape the tempo, the tone, and the overall feel. I try to create opportunities for the other artists to express themselves. And I try to help them do their best work. My biggest job is to make sure you in the audience feel engaged and understand what’s going on.

Jesse- I’m Jesse Garlick, an artistic associate with Liars & Believers as well as being the company’s director of education. I wrote Malka and the Behema as well as performing with the puppets in the piece. I also perform in the final piece, To Bed To Bed, as Rabbit. And lastly I play Stanislov in the interstitial pieces.   

Glen- I’m Glen Moore an artistic associate with Liars & Believers. I helped to devise and build content for the original production of “A Story Beyond” which was the inspiration for this online version. In this zoom production I play the storyteller Fargus, perform puppetry in the story Malka and the Beheyma, and lastly I don the mask of Bear in the story To Bed To Bed. 

Cynthia – I’m Cynthia I am the zoom master of the show. I control all the tech behind what you see and make sure “the magic” happens on time. Outside of the show I’m an actor and I’m pursuing my MFA in acting at The Actors Studio Drama School.

Rebecca- I’m Rebecca Lehrhoff, an Artistic Associate with Liars & Believers. I’ve worked with the company since 2014. I helped devise the content for both “Beyond A Winter’s Day” as well as the original 2018 production the show is inspired by, “A Story beyond.” In addition to playing Mishka and the mole, I designed, created and performed (along with Rachel Wiese) the shadow puppetry for Vassilisa the Blessed.

Rachel- And I’m Rachel Wiese, an Artistic Associate with LAB. I worked on writing and devising the original “A Story Beyond” and performed as Isabel in that production. For Beyond a Winter’s Day, I again portrayed Isabel as well as Condor and puppeteered (along with Becca) Vasalisa the Blessed. I wrote Vasalisa the Blessed and To Bed, To Bed. I had lots of fun scouting the location for To Bed, To Bed which we shot on Worcester Trust Land near my home in Worcester, MA.  Continue reading

Dec 18

Williamstown Theatre Festival Releases “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “Photograph 51” on Audible.com

Williamstown Theatre Festival 
Facebook: www.facebook.com/wtfestival
Insta: www.instagram.com/wtfestival
Twitter: www.twitter.com/wtfest

Audible/theater titles
Facebook: www.facebook.com/audibletheater
Insta: www.instagram.com/audibletheater
Twitter: www.twitter.com/audibletheater

Reviews by Kitty Drexel

AUDIBLE.COM — In April, the Williamstown Theatre Festival announced that it was presenting its seven productions planned for its 2020 season in partnership with Audible, the Amazon streaming service. Below are reviews for A Streetcar Named Desire and Photograph 51.

Additional reviews of Animals by Stacy Osei-Kuffour and Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club by Shakina Nayfack will post next week.

Happy Streaming!

A Streetcar Named Desire
By Tennessee Williams
Directed by Robert O’Hara
Assistant directed by Nicholas Polonio
Sound design by Lindsay Jones
Dialect coaching by Dawn-Elin Fraser and Deborah Hecht
Intimacy direction by Claire Warden

Featuring: Joel Reuben Ganz (Doctor), Joe Goldammer (Steve Hubbell), Carla Gugino (Stella Kowalski), Carmen M. Herlihy (Eunice Hubbell), Sullivan Jones (Harold Mitchell), Brian Lucas (Young Collector), Audra McDonald (Blanche DuBois), Stacey Raymond (Nurse), Cesar J. Rosado (Pablo Gonzales), and Ariel Shafir (Stanley Kowalski)

Disclaimer: This review contains spoilers for a play that first premiered on Broadway in 1947. We assume that readers will have a working knowledge of this Tennessee Williams classic.

This radio drama version of Streetcar requires a listener to engage with it. It’s not something to listen to while driving or finishing a project. The listener will miss out on the actors’ subtleties and new takes on this classic. Audra McDonald, Carla Gugino, and Ariel Shafir use their voices as instruments. They fill silence with artistic nuance. Doing anything more complicated than idle hobby work will take away from the experience of their performances. Continue reading

Dec 14

Tweeting Truth to Power: How Far Has Cyrus Come?


Presented by Fort Point Theatre Channel and Boston Cultural Council
By Cyrus McQueen

Tuesday, Dec 1, 2020, 7 PM
Streamed Live via Youtube
Boston Cultural Council on Facebook
FPTC on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

YOUTUBE–Cyrus McQueen used to be just your everyday standup comedian of Last Comic Standing fame. In the Age of Trump, he’s also become Twitter-famous as a cultural critic, offering race and politics analyses and wisecracks 280 characters at a time. He’s developed his experiences over the last four years into a first book, Tweeting Truth to Power: Chronicling our Caustic Politics, Crazed Times, & The Great Black & White Divide, which is supposed to be equal parts memoir and political discourse. 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

Aug 14

Burning Down the Establishment One BIPOC Critic at a Time: A Profile of Pascale Florestal

Florestal, image from www.pascaleflorestal.com

Profile by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON/ZOOM — Boston’s theatre journalism scene is a barren wasteland of white maleness. The desperate cries of BIPOC performing artists and designers for accurate representation are carried by winds off of the Atlantic ocean to diversity-parched cities and towns across New England: where are the critics of color?

Critiquing and reviewing circles have remained steadfastly white for the last few decades. Out of the current eleven members of the Boston Theater Critics Association, six are white men, five are white women.

The Front Porch Arts Collective launched the Young Critics Program in spring 2019 in partnership with WBUR the ARTery. It is the only independent training opportunity specifically geared towards young BIPOC journalists in New England. Boston-based director, dramaturg, educator, writer, and collaborator Pascale Florestal is the woman in charge. Continue reading