Feb 21

Hidey-Ho Rangerinos: “Rx Machina”

Anastasia Olowin, Robyn Unger; Photo by Stratton McCrady.

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre and the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre
By Caity-Shea Violette
Directed by Blair Cadden
Intimacy choreography by Jesse Hinson
COVID-19 Safety Management by Jay Eddy
Featuring: Anastasia Olowin, Robyn Unger, Lisa Tucker, Lila Heller, Isabel Van Natta
The digital program

February 17-27, 2022
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

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

Feb 19

Please Live Life to Its Fullest Responsibly: “People, Places & Things”


Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company 
Written by Duncan MacMillan
Directed by David R Gammons
Dramaturgy by Rulas A Muñoz

Feb. 11 – March 5, 2022
Audio Description – February 19 at 8pm and February 20 at 3pm
Open Captioning – March 3 at 2pm and 7:30pm
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

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

Feb 05

Lead Me On to the Light: “The Bluest Eye” at The Huntington

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

Dec 21

Art is a Gateway Drug to Realness: “Passing Strange”

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

Dec 17

Messing with Your Algorithm or Not Your Daddy’s Inspiration Porn: “Teenage Dick”


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

December 3 – January 2, 2022
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

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

Oct 23

It Was the 90s: “Lorena: A Tabloid Epic”

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre 
By Eliana Pipes
Directed by Erica Terpening-Romeo
The digital program 

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook

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

Sep 30

Some Things Do Matter: “Be Here Now”

The cast; Photo by Mark S. Howard

Presented by Lyric Stage Boston
By Deborah Zoe Laufer 
Directed by Courtney O’Connor 
Intimacy direction by Ted Hewlett
Original compositions and sound design by Dewey Dellay

Sept. 24 – Oct. 17, 2021
Lyric Stage Company of Boston
140 Clarendon Street
Boston, MA 02116
Lyric Stage on social media: Facebook, Twitter 
The Lyric’s COVID-19 Policy

Review by Kitty Drexel

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

Aug 26

Nine Rhode Island Venues and Organizations Mandate Vaccines and Masks for Indoor Performances

August 25, 2021
Article by Kitty Drexel

Info for patrons attending in-door events:

  • 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.

These are the Rhode Island organizations in the cohort:
Festival Ballet Providence
Gamm Theatre
Island Moving Company
Providence Performing Arts Center
Rhode Island Philharmonic Orchestra & Music School
Trinity Repertory Company
United Theatre
Veteran’s Memorial Auditorium
Wilbury Theatre Group

Jun 07

On the Wheels of a Dream: “The Chance to Fly”

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

May 02

What About that 5-Ever?: “TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever”

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

April 30 – May 13, 2021
Streaming on Vimeo
TICKETS
SpeakEasy on Facebook, Twitter 

RUN TIME: 1 hour and 35 minutes

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 Justice reincarnated) 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