Nov 09

African Traditions and European Expectations: “The Magic Flute”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Performed by the Isango Ensemble

Based on the opera by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and libretto in German by Emanuel Schikaneder

Adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May
Music Arranged by Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis

November 6 – 10, 2019
Open Caption Performance: Sun, November 10, 2PM
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
Boston, MA

The Magic Flute is performed in English, Xhosa, Zulu and Tswana

Review by Kitty Drexel 

(Boston, MA) This weekend the Isango Ensemble returns to Boston for a weekend of performances of The Magic Flute. It is an exceptional performance of a classic, beloved opera. They overhaul Mozart’s composition by obliterating the standards of white, European traditions. Their production instead incorporates indigenous African performance traditions of dance, music, and storytelling. It’s a pleasant culture shock to the senses.  Continue reading

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.

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

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. And then it pounds it into you so you never forget. Continue reading

Nov 04

Don’t Tell Me the Odds: “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka”

Photo by Nile Scott.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly
Adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald
Based on the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Directed by Emily Ranii
Music directed by Nathan Urdangen 
Choreographed by Russell Garrett

Oct 25 – Nov. 17, 2019
Boston University
200 Riverway 
Boston, MA 02215
Wheelock on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Wheelock Family Theatre’s production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka (2004) should not be confused with the West End and Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is currently touring in the US (now in Omaha!). Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka is not. Both incorporate elements from Dahl’s novel and the two Hollywood movies. They are similar but not the same.  

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka cannot compete with the novel or the movies. Fans of the other Wonka media should view this iteration as the children’s theatre it is and not compare it to its source materials. They will be disappointed. Continue reading

Nov 04

All Together Now #11: On Artists Mark Lipman and Jenee Halstead

All Together Now #11 

Presented by All Together Boston
Saturday, Nov 9, doors at 6 PM
Midway Cafe, 3496 Washington St, Somerville
Tickets are found HERE 
Facebook Event Page

Article by Noelani Kamelamela

(Somerville, MA) A day before their first dress rehearsal for All Together Now #11, collaborators Mark Lipman and Jenee Halstead sounded excited and hopeful, clearly in the middle of their creative process. A three way call before Halstead’s latest gig was bouncy and peppy with occasional noises as the connection faded in and out.  Deferring politely to each other at times, they had an easy back and forth and provided me with insight into their recent reworking of the performance art piece “Welcome to the Closet.” 

Photo by Jon Beckley.

Continue reading

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.

Oct 31

The Lost Treasures in “Cambodian Rock Band”

Matthew Yee, Peter Sipla, Aja Wiltshire, Eileen Doan, Greg Watanabe; Photo by Liz Lauren courtesy of Victory Gardens

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
A co-production with Victory Gardens Theatre in Chicago and City Theatre in Pittsburgh
By Lauren Yee
Directed by Marti Lyons
Featuring the songs of Dengue Fever, Sinn Sisamouth, Voy Ho, and Rose Serey Sothea
Cast includes Eileen Doan (Pou, keyboards), Albert Park (Duch), Christopher Thomas Pow (Leng/Ted, guitar), Peter Sipla (Rom, drums), Greg Watanabe (Chum, bass),  and Aja Wiltshire (Neary/Sothea, vocals).

Oct 16-Nov 10
Merrimack Repertory Theatre 
Lowell,MA
MRT on Facebook 

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

(Lowell, MA) The history one learns from Cambodian Rock Band will vary based on previous knowledge of the Cambodian genocide, the Vietnam War, and other geopolitical histories of that era. Lauren Yee’s narrative blends details about how characters survived genocide with elements from the real stories of countless others. Yet, one doesn’t leave the theater with fresh tears of sadness, rather, with smiles over tear-stained faces. The actors, particularly the father-daughter pair of Chum (Greg Watanabe) and Neary (Aja Wilshire), have both very touching and comical exchanges throughout the over 2 hour run time. 

It weaves together a portrait of a father, a mystery, history, and amazing music. From the pre-show announcement to ‘cold open’, both in Khmer, audiences are taken on a ride between the 70’s to the early 2000s features a band from the 70s, singing in Khmer. Continue reading

Oct 30

An important work amid political crisis: “The Revolutionists”

Presented by Newton Nomadic Theater
Written by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Nicole Galland

Performance dates: Nov 1 – Nov 10
Various locations:
Fri 11/1 & Sat 11/2, 7:30 PM: Gregorian Rugs, Newton Lower Falls, 2284 Washington St.
Fri 11/8 & Sat 11/9, 7:30 PM: Finch/Robinson home, Waban
Sun 11/10, 4:00 PM: Dunn Gaherin’s Pub, Newton Upper Falls, 344 Elliot St.
NNT on Facebook

Review by Chloé Cunha

(Newton, MA) What do you do when you’re in the middle of a revolution and your only discernible skills are to write good plays? According to The Revolutionists, whatever happens, don’t write a musical (but maybe add a puppet or two)! Continue reading

Oct 28

“Tomes of Terror: Beyond Grimm”

Presented by the Post-Meridian Radio Players
“A Hare-Raising Tale” by Naomi Hinchen, directed by J. Deschene
“The Myling” by Adrian Cory, directed by Tegan Kehoe
“The Boy Who Drew Cats” by Greg Lam, directed by Laura Corliss
“La Siguanaba” by Liz Salazar, directed by Joye Thaller

October 25th – November 2, 2019
Boston Brunch Church (formerly Responsible Grace)
204 Elm Street, Somerville, MA
PMRP on Facebook

Review by Piyali Mukherjee

(Somerville, MA) On Friday night, the Post Meridian Radio Players presented their Tomes of Terror: Beyond Grimm dramatized radio show at the Boston Brunch Church. The stories, collected from Norway, Ireland, Japan and Honduras, were presented as a show-case. The show provided a visual spectacle with a visible foley team and all actors in costume. Continue reading