BOSTON — Rx Machina by Caity-Shea Violette is one of two plays about addiction currently running in Boston. It’s no coincidence. COVID-19 has decimated our mental health.
The modern human, when faced with a medical crisis and no affordable solutions, will turn to legal and illegal self-medicating. The CDC’s website says that the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis. The news, any channel, will confirm this statement. Continue reading →
CONTENT ADVISORY: This production contains depictions of addiction and self-harm, discussions of sexual assault, an extended strobe light sequence, herbal cigarette smoke, and loud noises.
BOSTON — A friend once told me, despite the burden mental illness can present, that the brain is trying to help. The myriad painful symptoms I and many others experience as effects of mental illness are the brain’s way of facilitating, even normalizing the abnormalities of life. Sometimes, I’d rather it not.
Just because the brain is trying to help, it doesn’t mean the brain is actually helping. It takes tremendous discipline to correct negative behaviors and toxic thoughts and to learn new ones. Failure is inevitable. If it takes a village to teach toxic patterns, it takes another village to reinforce positive ones.
SpeakEasy Stage’s People, Places & Things running at the BCA is about addiction, mental health, the theatre, and identity. Emma (Marianna Bassham in a performance that will blow your mind) is in denial. She abuses drugs to cope with her performing career, her family, and the life that happens in-between. She’s on so many drugs when she collapses on stage during a production of The Seagull, it’s a miracle she isn’t dead already. Continue reading →
The cast in The Huntington’s production of The Bluest Eye by Lydia R. Diamond; Photo by T Charles Erickson.
Presented by The Huntington Based on the American classic novel by Toni Morrison Written by Lydia R. Diamond Directed by Awoye Timpo Choreography by Kurt Douglas Music direction by David Freeman Coleman Original music by Justin Ellington Dramaturgy by Sandy Alexandre Intimacy direction by Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson
January 28 – March 13, 2022 Digital access available through March 27, 2022 ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, February 11 at 8pm. OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30pm. AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, February 26 at 2pm Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Boston, MA The Huntington on Facebook
The Bluest Eye plays in approximately one hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.
Content warning: every kind of violence amidst a Black community
Critique by Kitty Drexel
“Coming together in a circle to tell a story is essential to our humanity. That’s what we’re inviting the community into with The Bluest Eye.” – Director Awoye Timpo
Boston, MA — The synopsis for The Bluest Eye would have a newcomer believe that the play is about unattainable, western i.e. colonialist beauty standards. It is, but The Bluest Eye is about much more.
Pecola Breedlove (Hadar Busia-Singleton) has come to stay with Claudia (Brittany-Laurelle) and Freida (Alexandria King). We learn through Claudia’s narration all about the Breedloves. Mrs. Breedlove (McKenzie Frye, who tears the roof off in her role) and Mr. Cholly Breedlove (Greg Alverez Reid) are scarred from growing up in the Midwest.
Through an examination of their stories, we come to understand Pecola and why she dreams of having blue eyes. Ramona Lisa Alexander, Brian D. Coats and Lindsley Howard round out the cast. The cast is excellent together and individually in their own right. Continue reading →
The cast getting down. Photo Credit: Nikolai Alexander
Presented by Moonbox Productions Written by Stew with collaborator Heidi Rodewald Orchestrations by Heidi Rodewald Directed by Arthur Gomez Music direction by Julius LaFlamme Choreography by Elmer Martinez Intimacy consulting by Olivia Dumain Band: Miles Ahlstrom, Hector Saint-Hilaire, Sahil Warsi
12/10/21 – 1/1/22 South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA Boston, MA Moonbox on Facebook
Critique by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON – I was today years old when I realized that “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” is an bacronym for LSD, the psychedelic drug made famous by Harvard Professor Timothy Leary. It took watching Moonbox Productions’ Passing Strange on Saturday afternoon to figure it out. Several hours and a weak tea later, I realized I was a total square.Continue reading →
Presented by The Huntington Produced in association with Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company and Pasadena Playhouse Written by Mike Lew Directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel
Assistant direction and movement coordination by Ashleigh King Choreography by Jennifer Weber Fight choreography by Robb Hunter
Content warning: Disabled people exist everywhere 24/7. If this play “expands your world,” you should know that’s ableist, and it’s really not about you.
BOSTON — This one time, in the Before Times, I was taking an ashtanga-style yoga class, and a random woman told me I was “inspirational.” I was dripping in sweat after having performed 60-minutes of intermediate poses with only one arm, and a brunette Karen in Athleta and Lululemon compression wear decided it was super important to tell me that I inspired her. She didn’t say what I inspired her to do, just that I was “inspirational.”
I wish I could say that I told the Karing Karen she inspired me to vomit a little in my mouth, but I was too shocked to say much of anything. I picked up my mat, and I skedaddled out of the studio to fume inspirationally in peace.
This horse can’t even do yoga.
I live with brachial plexus palsy, a permanent paralysis of my left arm from my shoulder through my fingers. (Coincidentally, it’s also the sexiest of the palsies.) Sometimes complete strangers find my ability to do completely normal, everyday things Inspirational. Showing up to yoga is difficult for everyone, Karen.
Abled people have a nasty habit of deriving inspiration from the inabilities of disabled people. We aren’t inspirational just because you find relief from not being disabled. Your inability to see us as people with lives is a You problem. As Buck says in Teenage Dick now at The Huntington, “Please don’t involve me.”Continue reading →
Content advisory: Because it follows Lorena Bobbitt’s case, this play contains descriptions (not depictions) of sexual assault and domestic violence. A strobe light is also used in the performance.
Review by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON — Lorena: A Tabloid Epic by Eliana Pipes re-examines the public spectacle that was the 1993 Bobbitt trial. Lorena (Bobbitt) Gallo’s voice wasn’t heard then. It takes center stage now.
The 90s were a mess. One of the biggest messes was the Bobbitt trial. Lorena Bobbitt was a young Ecuadorian immigrant woman living in Virginia who survived years of abuse from her husband. One night, after she was raped again, Bobbitt cut off her husband’s penis with a kitchen knife while he slept upstairs. The tabloids (talk shows, trashy magazines, new media, and other outlets) could only focus on what she did to John, not on her story. Continue reading →
BOSTON, Mas.. — Be Here Now is the Lyric Stage Company’s first in-person show since society came crashing down in March 2020. Its characters navigate nihilism. It is with a spirit of cheerful nihilism that this critique is written.
Bari (Samantha Richert) is a nihilist. She teaches she used to teach nihilism at a New York university. She moved to her parents’ rural cottage in her hometown to finish her dissertation – ten years ago. In those ten years, Bari has burrowed more deeply into her nihilism like a frog in the mud for winter. She’s so convinced that life is meaningless that she’s unconcerned when she passes out from one of her recurring headaches. Continue reading →
Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 required
Proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken in the prior 72-hours
Proof of a negative COVID-19 antigen test taken in the prior 6-hours
All patrons must wear a mask over the nose and mouth.
PROVIDENCE, RI — A cohort of nine Rhode Island performance venues and organizations will require audiences, staff, artists, and volunteers to be vaccinated and to wear masks in new COVID-19 protocols, an August 25 press release said. These protocols are in effect until further notice.
The nine companies formed a partnership so they may safely return to performing indoors said the press release. Protocols are based on current scientific evidence and best practices around the country.
A list of the venues and theatre companies are below.
Vaccines are not yet available for children. Visit a theatre’s website to learn more about an organization’s rules and regulations.
Details may be revisited or revised based on CDC guidance and the evolving circumstances of the pandemic, the press release said. Audience members are advised to visit the websites of individual venues for additional restrictions or details.
Imprint: Amulet Books, New York Publication Date: April 13, 2021 Price: $16.99 ISBN: 978-1-4197-4393-1 EAN: 9781419743931 Page Count: 288 Format: Hardcover Additional formats: Ebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
BOOK — The saying goes that “there are no small parts, only small actors.” Adults that say this are usually overtired, impatient and trying to sell you something. That something is usually complacency and obedience. Theatre kids deserve better.
Thirteen-year-old Nat Beacon’s dream to sing the role of Eliza Schuyler in Hamilton on Broadway. But, she’s never seen a Broadway show, or even been in a musical before! This changes when Nat moves with her family from California to New Jersey. Nat is all set to meet her new wheelchair racing team coach when she spies a flier promoting auditions for a summer production of Wicked. Suddenly, Nat is thrown into ensemble rehearsals. She’s making new friends in her new town and meeting Malik, the cutest boy she’s ever met. When trouble upsets their production, Nat and her friends learn to roll with the punches (pun sort of intended). Nat lets go of her insecurities and embraces her inner diva! Continue reading →
Tah-Janay Shayoñe as Sally in SpeakEasy’s “TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever”
Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company Written by James Ijames Directed by Pascale Florestal In Partnership with Boston Conservatory at Berklee Video Production by Wesley Verge Lighting Design by Aja Jackson Costume Design by Rachel Padula-Shufelt Sound Design & Music by David Freeman Coleman Choreography by Kira Cowan Troilo Featuring: Dru Sky Berrian, Jordan Pearson, Tah-Janay Shayoñe, Sadiyah Dyce Stephens, Jared Troilo
SpeakEasy Stage’s CONTENT ADVISORY: TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever contains scenes involving strong language, sexual harassment, slavery, and Black trauma. Viewer discretion is advised.
NETG Advisory: TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever also features an adult white man in academia who knows better making an absolute fool of himself to appear young and cool to attract a woman. If you’re offended by the portrayal of this character’s antics, you may know or be that white man. Get help.
Review by Kitty Drexel
VIMEO — Thomas Jefferson, US founding father, raped Sally Hemings. They weren’t in love. She wasn’t his mistress. Hemings was a slave without autonomy. She was raped repeatedly and mothered seven children by Jefferson. An owned person can’t give consent.
TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever put this #MeToo epidemic and holds it under a microscope of history by comparing it to Thomas Jefferson’s ownership of Sally Hemings. Play character Sally (Tah-Janay Shayoñe looking like Janet Jackson in Poetic Justicereincarnated) is a university fellow of smarmy university administrator TJ (Jared Troilo). TJ won’t let Sally’s “nos” get in the way of his orgasm. She is supported by her best friends and historic voices of reason Pam (Dru Sky Berrian) and Annette (Sadiyah Dyce Stephens). Meanwhile study buddy Harold (Jordan Pearson) is challenging the university’s legacy of slavery one protest at a time. These students are trying to get an education that includes them. TJ can’t understand he isn’t cool anymore. Continue reading →