Dec 13

This is what Economic Depression Looks Like: Boston BID presents “Downtown Holiday Magic”

The Macy’s tree at DTX

Presented by the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District (BID)
With Commonwealth Shakespeare Company, Huntington Theatre CompanyChristmas Revels, and Boston Ballet

Running Nov. 24 through Jan 31, 2021
Downtown Crossing, Boston, MA
Boston BID on Facebook

Article by Kitty Drexel

Boston — My delightful wife and I took a stroll through Downtown Crossing today to see the Downtown Boston Business Improvement District’s “Downtown Holiday Magic” decorations. Wreaths are hung on street lamps, flower pots had new holiday arrangements and trees had twinkly lights.

For all of its holiday cheer, and Boston BID is trying its hardest to be jolly, Downtown Crossing is downright depressing. Many DTX storefronts have been shuttered by the pandemic. The three-story Forever 21 is still vacant. Small businesses have been replaced by mega conglomerates that only want your money. A Western Union location that has existed on Winter St since I was in undergrad has gone out of business. Its sign advertising ice cold beverages is still up. This is what an economic depression looks like. Continue reading

Dec 11

Happiest of Holidays to All: SANTA’S HOLIDAY EXTRAVAGANZA!

Presented by Reagle Music Theatre with Eternal Artists NYC 
Written and created by Eternal Artists NYC
Appearances by Joey Cullinane, Justin Long, Shoshana Bean, Leanne Cope, Maria Bilbao, Nati Rabinowitz, Cristina Lucas, Erica Lustig, and more.
Orchestra: Rose van Dyne (Conductor), Sophie Manoloff (Trumpet), Earle Perez (Cello), Miles Plant (Piano/Overture Orchestrations), Michael Brinzer (Reeds), Cosima Ho (Bells)

December 10, 11, 12 and 13 at 12:30 p.m.
Streamed live via Zoom
Viewers are encouraged to reserve screens early. 
Tickets are limited to 120.

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Santa’s Holiday Extravaganza! is a holiday treat! This production injects the mid-day lunch hour with necessary levity. 2020 might be the worst of years since 2008, this week’s musical and dance potpourri brought to us by Reagle Music Theatre and Eternal Artists NYC shows us that festive celebration is good no matter the medium. 

December productions of A Christmas Carol are a tradition. Theatre companies do their darndest to infuse new life into this exhausted classic. A new show, unrelated to the Dickens story is a welcome change to the theatre landscape.  Continue reading

Dec 04

Do Not Forget to Breathe: “in the absence of things (work in progress)”

IN THE ABSENCE OF THINGS

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Commissioned by Krannert Center, Baryshnikov Arts Center (New York), and ArtsEmerson. This event is also presented in partnership with the National Black Theatre.
Writer and Performer: Somi
Director: Mariona Lloreta
Producer: Priscilla Nzimiro Nwanah
Editor: Victor Xavier Monzó
Sound Designer: Justin Ellington
Cinematographers: Sara Escobar & Jon Lowenstein
Lighting Designer: Michael Williams
Set Designer: Priscilla Nzimiro Nwanah

Live screening on Dec. 01, 2020 at 7PM
On Demand viewing Dec. 1 @ 9:30PM – 15 @ 6:00PM
FREE! 

Review by Kitty Drexel

ArtsEmerson/On Demand — in the absence of things is a ritual. Applause starts the film and fades to silence. Vocalist & songwriter Somi is presented with her back to us on an altar in darkness and shadows. She lies on trifold swathes of champagne, white, chocolate, and bronze fabrics while cradled from three sides by delicate purple flowers and greenery. Thin branches stand tall as if reaching to the heavens. Virtuosic piano music plays as a voice the texture of noil silk says in voice-over, “In the absence of things, there is breath.”  Continue reading

Oct 20

The Dreams of Youth are the Regrets of Maturity: “The Sun Is Sleeping”


Presented, written and performed by Michael John Ciszewski for his 27th birthday
Featuring the talents of Rachel Belleman (she/her), Teresa Langford (she/her), Steven Maier (he/him), Pier Lamia Porter (she/her), Regine Vital (she/her)
Voice work by Kevin Becerra (he/him), Elissa Bonito (she/her), Bryan Guffey (they/them), Sarah Oakes Muirhead (she/her), Noah Simes (he/him)
Music by Nicky B (he/him), Sam Graham (he/him)

Viewed on Oct. 18, 2020
Next screening on Oct. 24, 8PM EST
http://www.michaeljohnciszewski.com/
Social media: @micjcis

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM – Happy birthday Michael John Ciszewski – belated! The Sun Is Sleeping: A Queer Reverie is was released in June to celebrate Pride month and Ciszewski’s 27th circle around the sun. How does one celebrate a birthday during quarantine? (If my own April birthday was any indication) With heartfelt disappointment. Rather than suffer his madness, Ciszewki turned it into art.  

The Sun Is Sleeping is the expression of an extrovert’s existential frustration with the soul-crushing confinement of quarantine and pop music. Ciszewski plays the Sun Prince (and other roles), golden royalty forced into impotent exile. His revels are ended; depression is setting in. Unlike the sweet lipped and jubilant Persephone, our Sun Prince doesn’t have a dark King awaiting him in the underworld. He has Zoom and it provides poor comfort to His Majesty.  

Continue reading

Oct 09

Upstaged By A Wandering Mouse: “Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light”


Presented by Central Square Theatre 
In partnership with City of Cambridge Citizens’ Committee on Civic Unity & YWCA Cambridge.
Written and performed by Dr. Billie Jean Young 

October 7, 2020, at 7PM
A virtual event over Zoom 

Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM/Cambridge, MA — Central Square Theatre’s presentation of Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light was a hot and sticky mess. This event didn’t have technical difficulties; it had technical catastrophes. An evening that should have been about civil rights warrior Hamer was rife with distractions instead. 

The audience was told at the beginning of the event that Dr. Young wouldn’t be able to perform for us that evening but that a recording of her performance would be played. While this was unfortunate, we could sympathize with Dr. Young. Her body is her instrument and instruments can be fickle. The Women’s Vote Centennial Panel would continue as scheduled.  Continue reading

Aug 16

Respect the Rules or Stay Home or, Live Theatre Once Again: “Judy Punches Back”

Image via https://www.centralsquaretheater.org/shows/judy-punches-back/

Presented by Central Square Theater and Puppet Showplace Theater 
Written, directed, and performed by Sarah Nolan 

August 13 & August 14 at at 8PM
Starlight Square
84 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Puppet Showplace on Facebook
CST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Cambridge, MA — Starlight Square is the brand, heckin’ new stage within Central Square intended for public performance, art and community brought to us by the Central Square Business Improvement District, Flagg Street Studio, and Boyes-Watson Architects. The performances are FREE thanks to their sponsors (although some dance classes are at a fee because teaching artists deserve to get paid). On Friday, August 14, we masked our faces and girded our loins to attend Sarah Nolan’s Judy Punches Back.  Continue reading

Jul 29

A Modern Irish Classic: “The Weir”

Produced by Irish Repertory Theatre
By Conor McPherson
Directed by Ciaran O’Reilly
Video Editor – Sarah Nichols
Sound Designer – M. Florian Staab
Assistant Director – Jeff Davolt
Production Assistant – Simon Geaney

A Performance On Screen
7/21-7/25
132 West 22nd Street
New York, NY
Irish Rep on Facebook

Critique by Noe Kamelamela

YOUTUBE — Live theatre seems to be lingering in rebroadcast and livestream purgatory. On the one hand, this does increase accessibility in various directions, but on the other hand, quality varies.  Irish Rep’s production of McPherson’s modern Irish classic The Weir is definitely on the higher end of the scale. Continue reading

Jul 18

More Entitled than a Cis, White Man on the T at Rush Hour: “Incredibly Annoying Women”

Produced by HowlRound Theatre Commons
Presented by Asian American Theatre Artists of Boston (AATAB)
By Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro
Directed by Mallika Chandaria
Stage Managed by Karin Naono

Originally streamed on Wednesday, July 15 at 7 PM EDT
AATAB on Facebook
Featuring: Roxanne Y. Morse, Kendra Jain, Lisa Yuen, Vijaya Sundaram, Emily Kuroda

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM/HowlRound — The characters in Incredibly Annoying Women by Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro are unapologetic. These women take up space with their bodies and emotions like a cis man on the T at rush hour: legs sprawling to the left and right, arms resting on seat backs, backpack taking up a fourth seat. They aren’t inherently annoying but their unfounded entitlement is. Continue reading

Jul 10

What We Mean When We Say Black Lives Matter

Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 10th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting: (L-R) BCA Chairman Philip W. Lovejoy, Huntington Trustees Gerald and Sherryl Cohen, Calderwood Charitable Foundation Trustee John Cornish, former Huntington chairman J. David Wimberly, (behind) Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation, BCA Executive Director Veronique Le Melle, Huntington Chairman Carol G. Deane, (behind) former BRA member Harry Collings, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Bank of America Massachusetts State President Robert Gallery, Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, (behind) former Huntington president William P. McQuillan, Huntington President Mitchell J. Roberts, Nancy Roberts, Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso, photo: Paul Marotta

Article by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — The July 9 press release said, “Huntington Theatre Company announces the election of 4 new board members and the promotion of two Huntington Advisors to Trustee level. The election took place during the Huntington’s year-end meeting of the Board of Trustees and Advisors on June 8, 2020.”

The headliner of the press release, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award winner, director of Huntington productions, and historically relevant badass Billy Porter is a new trustee of the Huntington. Porter and global businessman Professor George Yip are the only two people of color added to the Huntington’s snowflake white board leadership. Three of the six promotions are white women. The other is, of course, a rich, cis, white male.

While we congratulate all of the new board and trustee members, we can’t help but notice the Huntington’s hypocrisy. The theatre penned and posted a Black Lives Matter solidarity statement on its website. The election of four white people flies in the face of that solidarity statement. Continue reading

Jul 07

Socially Isolated with “Macbeth”

Presented by Liars & Believers
Directed by Jason Slavick
Original Music and Sound Design by Jay Mobley
Additional Video by Sam Powell

June 18, 2020 – Present (Weekly)
https://www.liarsandbelievers.com/show/pandemicplay/

Review by Gillian Daniels

ZOOM — Liars & Believers slices off bite sized pieces of the Scottish Play for serialized consumption! In a world that demands us to simultaneously be far apart while empathizing with each other’s difficulties, we revisit a cautionary tale of a man whose name has become synonymous with backstabbing cruelty. In serializing Macbeth, we watch a show that absorbs the changes and horrors of our contemporary headlines and sense of unease each passing week. Continue reading