Mar 23

Book Release and Online Event:”There Must Be Happy Endings” by Megan Sandberg-Zakian is Released Today!

There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty
By Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Published by The 3rd Thing Press
Olympia, 2020
Available on Kickstarter with a $24.00 pledge
Paperback, 230 pages

LIVE ONLINE EVENT!
Megan Sandberg-Zakian in conversation with Melinda Lopez
March 23, 2020, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free on the HowlRound website! More info below.
Event on
Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“An ending doesn’t have to be happy to be satisfying. A good ending, happy or not, draws a line around the experience of story hearing and telling. It picks the story up, holds it in its hands, and offers it out, whole. It gives us the opportunity for a collective breath. A good ending is honest: a boundary we can feel, the knowledgable edge of a reliable container. It is a ritual threshold between story and not-story.” 

— Megan Sandberg-Zakian, “There Must Be Happy Endings,” There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty, 2020.

Somerville, Mass — There Must Be Happy Endings by Megan Sandberg-Zakian is an exploration in the personal dramaturgy of the mind and spirit. In her first book of essays, the author takes a deep dive into the works that have made a lasting impression upon her. They are an extension of her need to share stories through theatre. Whether by quoting Homer, The Dark Knight or Annie, these essays draw the reader into the author’s personal story by circumnavigating the landscape of the greater western narrative. She tells us why happy ends are important and why they are especially important to her. Her title essay isn’t demanding sappy closure but commanding a divine right to culminate our narratives with an end to the suffering within them.  Continue reading

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Mar 03

Grow to Live: “The Children”

Paula Plum, Karen McDonald, Tyrees Allen. Photo by Maggie Hall Photography.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Lucy Kirkwood
Directed by Bryn Boice
Fight & intimacy consulting from Jessica Scout Malone

Feb. 28 – March 28, 2020
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“You have a choice, don’t you, exactly, at our age which is that you slow down, melt into your slippers, start ordering front fastening bras out of Sunday supplements, or you make a committed choice to keep moving you know because you have to think: This is not the end of our lives but a new and exciting chapter.” – Hazel, The Children by Lucy Kirkwood

Boston, MA — Science fiction is about how humans interact with each other and the world amidst scientific and/or technological changes. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of what is and isn’t science fiction, The Children is science fiction theatre. It has a lot to offer to everyone: science fiction enthusiasts will see themselves represented on the stage; science fiction cynics will see scientists as people. Everyone will see a great play by Lucy Kirkwood. Continue reading

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Mar 02

100% That Witch: “Hansel & Gretel”

The “Hansel & Gretel” cast. C/o imaginary beasts on Facebook.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written & directed by Matthew Woods
Additional text by the Ensemble: Laura Detwiler, Lauren Foster, Colin McIntire, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Kiki Samko, Jamie Semel, Sivan Spector, Jennifer Taschereau, Matthew Woods
Puppets designed by Elizabeth Owens & Jill Rogati

Feb. 7 – March 1, 2020
The Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA
The beasts on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Charlestown, MA — The run of Winter Panto 2020: Hansel & Gretel by imaginary beasts ended on March 1. You are out of luck if you are reading this review now. It was wonderful! The cast’s acting talents were in excellent form because the script was chock full of boisterous puns and pop culture references. Scenery chewing extended to the audience just a little bit so as to rope all comers into the play’s antics. Best of all, the audience was game to interact with the show for the duration of the took the two-and-a-half-hour performance. If you watch the beastie website, you can catch them next year.  Continue reading

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Feb 25

Honor Your Boundaries: “Hir”

Photo via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apollinairetheatre/photos/a.59182456990/10156464525606991/?type=3&theater

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Written by Taylor Mac
Directed by Brooks Reeves

February 14 – March 8, 2020
Chelsea Theatre Works
Chelsea, MA
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

Chelsea, MA — This month, Apollonaire Theatre Company tackles Hir, Taylor Mac’s comedy of manners fixing  conservative against expansive American views on gender, class and sex.  It is understood, even in the writing, that quite a few of the concepts will cheerfully ride over the heads of the audience.  Advanced gender studies classes may not be enough of an education to appreciate the entire play, but the production unfolds for as more than just the text: with costume, set dressing, emotion, repetition, intonation and even art in the lobby to bolster meaning and heighten context.  At 120 minutes with a single intermission, the time passes quickly, but I do caution people who are sensitive to issues such as domestic violence, elder abuse, teen bullying, and post traumatic stress disorder to perhaps read a synopsis or steel themselves to potentially be triggered. Continue reading

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Dec 17

An Apocalyptic “Parade”

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Music and Lyrics by Jason Robert Brown
Book by Alfred Uhry
Directed by Jason Modica
Music direction by Catherine Stornetta
Choreography by Kira Troilo
Costume Design by Chelsea Kerl
Set Design by Lindsay Genevieve Fuori
Lighting Design by Steve Shack

Performance dates: Dec 15 – Dec 28, 2019
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA, Roberts Theatre, 527 Tremont St., Boston: 
Facebook link

Review by Chloé Cunha

(Boston, MA) “Where will you stand when the flood comes?” An angry mob asks the ominous question, and Parade gives little comfort in its answer. Moonbox Production’s staging offers an apocalyptic vision of the past and present, with little optimism for the future. It’s a dizzying tale well-told, but the bleakness it offers may be tough to swallow in the present day when hope feels increasingly scarce. Continue reading

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Nov 18

A Ritual and Remembrance: “What to Send Up When It Goes Down”

The company of What to Send Up When It Goes Down; Photo by Lauren Miller.

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
Produced by The Movement Theatre Company
Written by Aleshea Harris
Directed by Whitney White
Presented in collaboration with Hibernian Hall
Ensemble Alana Raquel Bowers (Three), Nemuna Ceesay (Four/​Eight), Rachel Christopher (One/​Made), Ugo Chukwu (Six/​Miss), Kambi Gathesha (Two), Denise Manning (Nine/​Song Leader), Javon Q. Minter (Seven), Beau Thom (Five/​Man/​Driver)

NOV 14 – 16 at Hibernian Hall
184 Dudley Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

NOV 20 – 24 at The Ex (Loeb Drama Center)
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

(Roxbury/Cambridge, MA) In its initial moments, What to Send Up When It Goes Down declares itself as a ritual for Black people. Acknowledging the non-Black people in the audience it welcomes all others, with a clear request that all partakers be respectful. Even before it began, I knew the performance would tackle important issues that I resonate with, but the play was surprisingly evocative for the larger audience as well. Continue reading

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Nov 07

Nora Theatre Company Seeks 10-Minute Plays for “Sport-a-thon”

Logo via https://www.centralsquaretheater.org

The Nora Theatre Company
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

(Cambridge, MA) The Nora Theatre Company’s new 10-Minute Play Festival, Sport-a-thon is a new play event for New England-based playwrights.

Riding the passion that all New Englanders have for sports of practically every kind, The Nora will be starting a festival of 10-minute plays about sports focusing on the feminine perspective. We welcome bold ideas and innovative forms of performance within these plays and look forward to seeing the many ways that “plays about sports” can be written.

As the Nora’s mission focuses on promoting the feminine perspective, we will be looking for plays that showcase the feminine voice. The Nora strongly encourages female-identifying artists to apply as it is our goal to make your voices heard. Additionally, we especially encourage artists of color, LGBTQ+, and diverse viewpoints to apply for this marathon.

  • Please send applications to The Nora’s Assistant to the Artistic Director, Samantha Stafford at sstafford@centralsquaretheater.org.

Overview
PARTICIPATION: Sport-a-thon uses a committee based selection process to ensure that a diverse set of projects, both in content and message, are selected for this marathon.

SCHEDULE: The Nora Theater Company will begin reviewing new projects starting in January of 2020. The Marathon will take place March 23 and 24, 2020.

RESOURCES: The Nora and Central Square Theater will provide space, technical support/design, and a small budget for performers and directors as determined by the Artist Director.

BOX OFFICE, TICKETING, FRONT-OF-HOUSE: Central Square Theater will provide event RSVP mechanisms through our box office and all contact information is kept for future use. Central Square Theater will provide FOH support.

PUBLICITY: Central Square Theater will provide a level of publicity for the marathon and all publicity will adhere to CST’s union contracts.

ARTISTIC SUPPORT: While you control the development of your project, the Nora’s Artistic Director and Central Square Theater’s Staff will provide advice and aid in the production of your work.

Selection Criteria

  • You must be a New England based playwright
  • Your 10 minute play must involve sports in some way
  • The subject must be focused on the feminine perspective

Selection Process
Your play will be reviewed by a committee in consultation with the Nora’s Artistic Director. You may be contacted by the project curators in order to discuss your project further or clarify certain details.

How to Apply / Contact
Please send applications to The Nora’s Assistant to the Artistic Director, Samantha Stafford at sstafford@centralsquaretheater.org.

Please submit the following:
The Project: Please include a copy of your 10 minute play. The script must be in standard play format, with a title page, a character listing, the setting, props, and any technical requirements or other production considerations. Your name must not appear on the script.

Personal Details: Include a brief bio of who you are and the work you do. Please put all contact information for the playwright, including name, address, telephone number and email address on this page as well.

Please contact Samantha Stafford at sstafford@centralsquaretheater.org with any further questions.

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Nov 05

Accidental Racism is Still Racism: “Admissions”

A nice family moment; photo by Maggie Hall Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company 
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Paul Daigneault 
Original music and sound design by Dewey Dellay

Oct. 25 – Nov. 30, 2019
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Please note: this critique contains minor spoilers. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“I get that there are entitled white men who assume they get a seat without having to do anything to earn it, I do go to Hillcrest after all, and I do have eyes, but I’m actually one of the people working really fucking hard to earn a seat, and every time I get close it’s like, ew! Not You!” — Charlie Luther Mason throwing a tantrum in Admissions by Joshua Harmon.

(Boston, MA)  It’s no longer okay for anyone to say they “don’t see race.” It is bad, very bad to say this now. When one professes that they don’t see race, what they are saying is that they don’t see racism. This statement is a red flag for bigoted behavior. It’s especially heinous coming from liberal-until-inconvenient, white democrats like the ones in SpeakEasy’ Stage Company’s Admissions. We’re supposed to set a better example. 

Continue reading

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Nov 05

It’s Moist-city in Here: “X”

The cast; Photo by Jake Scaltreto.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Alistair McDowall
Directed by Lindsay Eagle
Dramaturgy by Dee Rogers
Violence and Movement Consultant: Sarah Gazdowicz
Scenic Designer: Darren Cornell
Costume Designer: Erica Desautels
Lighting Designer: Connor S. Van Ness
Sound Designer: Kyle Lampe
Special Effects Designer: Lynn Wilcott
Props Designer: Jake Scaltreto
Cast: Cassandra Meyer, David Anderson, Nick Perron, Slava Tchoul, Abigail Erdelatz

Nov. 1 – 16, 2019
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: gore, blood, violence, psychological horror

(Watertown, MA) Flat Earth’s production of Alistaire McDowall’s X is a mind fuck. This psychological horror-ballet with dripping blood, broken minds, and sleep deprivation won’t let its audience get away with mindlessly consuming a performance. Then it pounds into you so hard you’ll never forget. Continue reading

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Nov 01

SpeakEasy Releases Community Expectations

Boston, Mass. – SpeakEasy Stage Company published its Community Expectations, a public page on facilitating respectful conversations for artists, patrons, board members and staff, on its website the afternoon of October 30, 2019.

This list of expectations is a continuation of SpeakEasy’s work towards an inclusive, brave and accessible environment, said the SpeakEasy website. “The only way we can facilitate effective and constructive conversations created by this work is by treating all people with respect,” said the website.

In an email, Community Programs Manager Alex Lonati said, “So much of the SpeakEasy community already feels like a family, and our hope with this Community Expectations statement is that we will continue to create a space where everyone feels welcome and safe to participate and enjoy.”

The theatre company expects artists, patrons, board members and staff to comply with the tenets of the Community Expectations. The conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • Respecting all cultural backgrounds and identities.
  • Understanding each individual’s right to be at the theater and enjoy it in their own way while being mindful of those around them.
  • Showing appreciation for the facility and those working within it.

“In this rather tumultuous time, we believe that our community can only benefit from a reminder of the respectful ways to act at the theater, and the fact that everyone is welcome to attend and enjoy art in their own way. If nothing else, we believe this statement will start a conversation and encourage people to really think about how they are impacting the experience of others,” said Lonati.

The website says that anyone who has experienced behavior that has negatively impacted their ability to fully participate the art SpeakEasy creates should reach out to Community Programs Manager Alex Lonati. Community members are also encouraged to contact SpeakEasy staff or the Board of Directors.

“We are here to listen,” says the website.

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