Nov 25

The More Things Stay The Same: “An Iliad”


Presented by ArtsEmerson: A Homer’s Coat Production In Association with Octopus Theatricals
Written By Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare
Based on Homer’s Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Starring Denis O’Hare
Bassist: Eleonore Oppenheim

November 20 – 24, 2019
Emerson Paramount Center Robert J Orchard Stage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

(Boston, MA) In pre show moments, I wondered about the cluttered stage and oppressive light fixture prominently placed stage left. I worried that I would need to shield my eyes if it remained. Then An Iliad began and its purpose clarified with a wash of sound and light cues that left our star, Denis O’Hare, in its wake. One of many instances that proved I had no need to worry. Continue reading

Nov 25

What Jesus Would Do: “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot”

Photo by Hub Theatre Company; Jesus (Jaime Hernandez) and Judas (Cristian Mancinas-Garcia)

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Steven Bogart
Fight choreography by Matthew Dray
Dialect coaching by Charles Linshaw

Nov. 8 – 23, 2019
First Church Boston66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: blasphemy, betrayal, cursing, portrayals of Satan, extreme Christianity

(Boston, MA) Stephen Adly Guirgis doesn’t give his audience answers in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. He gives them a question: does Judas belong in Hell for his actions against Jesus of Nazareth? Guirgis supplies an answer to this question but his answer is only one answer of many. It’s up to audience members to discern the answer that makes the most sense to them. 

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Nov 20

Art and Capitalist Consumption and “Room&Board&Opera”

Presented by Boston Opera Collaborative
Music by Jonathan Bailey Holland
Libretto for “The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry” and “Naomi in the Living Room” by Jonathan Bailey Holland
Libretto for “Always” by Jon Jory
Music Director & Pianist for “Always” by Patricia Au
Stage Director for “Always” by Ingrid Oslund
Music Director & Pianist for “The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry” and “Naomi in the Living Room” by Jean Anderson Collier

November 7, 2019
Room&Board
375 Newbury Street, 
Boston, MA 02115
Room&Board&Opera

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Room & Board is a US-chain of upscale furniture stores that started in Minnesota about three decades ago. The particular one I went to on Newbury Street has a showroom that has been utilized in a number of Boston-based events, so maybe it’s not so surprising that a theater company would see an opportunity to bring art into an unlikely space. Boston Opera Collaborative has pushed forward with this unexpected, incongruously hilarious venue, setting three, ten-minute comic operas in this space for what was a one-night only event and a unique moment in my time as a theater critic. Continue reading

Nov 19

Some of Them Want to Be Abused: “The Moors”

Photo via Entropy’s Facebook page.

Presented by Entropy Theatre Company
By Jen Silverman
Directed by Joe Juknievich
Dramaturgy by Jo Michael Rezes
Movement Direction by Kayleigh Kane

November 8 – 17, 2019
Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Entropy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Some of them want to use you/Some of them want to get used by you
Some of them want to abuse you/Some of them want to be abused”
— “Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by the Eurythmics

(Boston, MA) The Moors is Brontë novel fanfiction. It condenses all of the winsome trappings of gothic romance novels into one melodramatic package for our amusement. Jen Silverman funnels archetypal characters from gothic romances into dark, mysterious environments. They are forced to confront unsettling truths against a backdrop of death and decay. Then Silverman makes us watch. For the right viewer, The Moors is voyeurism.   Continue reading

Nov 19

Forge Theater Lab presents “Chasing the Ghost,” December 7 – 14, 2019


CHASING THE GHOST
A New Play by Ashley Lauren Rogers
Presented by Forge Theater Lab
Directed by Samantha deManbey
Dramaturgy by Natalie Scott

December 7, 13, and 14 at 8:00 PM
December 8 at 2:00 PM
December 12 at 6:30 PM (Pay What You Can)

Wallace Theater for Performing Arts
McKay Building at Fitchburg State University

67 Rindge Road, Fitchburg, MA
$15 General / $5 Students & Seniors (60+)
Buy tickets online or pay cash at the door

About the Play: Kurt, a vlogger in the early days of YouTube who used to scream about video games, is married to Patty, a struggling vampire romance author. While Kurt has left that life behind him, anger and all, their relationship will be put to the test when one night he is visited by a shadow person…who won’t stop tickling his feet.

​This play is not recommended for children under 14 because of profanity and disturbing situations.

Featuring Charles Amaral, Noah Dawson, Amy DeMar-DuBois, Brittany Messuri, Leeann Monat, Austin Swallow, and Cheyenne Winley. Lighting design by Phillip T. Smith.

Chasing the Ghost is made possible by a generous donation from show sponsor Justin Nelson.

More information about the artists and the production can be found at https://www.theforgetheaterlab.org/chasing-the-ghost.html.

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

Nov 12

Vintage Neuroses in a Noir Package: “Unusual Things Have Happened: Tales of Everyday Horror”

Photo via Facebook; the cast at Charlestown Working Theatre.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Produced by special arrangement with the children of Shirley Jackson, and Catalyst Management, LLC. 
By Shirley Jackson
Directed by Mathew Woods
Ensemble: Laura Detwiler, Denise Drago, Lauren Foster, Molly Kimmerling, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Jennifer Taschereau

November 2nd – November 16th, 2019
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA  02129
The Beasts on Facebook

Trigger warning: psychological horror, emotional trauma, spooky ghosts

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Journeys end in lovers meeting; I have spent an all but sleepless night, I have told lies and made a fool of myself, and the very air tastes like wine. I have been frightened half out of my foolish wits, but I have somehow earned this joy; I have been waiting for it for so long.”― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

(Charlestown, MA) imaginary beasts’ latest production, Unusual Things Have Happened: Tales of Everyday Horror brings the psychological pain of everyday anxiety into sharp focus. The beasts tell six stories adapted from the works of Shirley Jackson in a style that they have named “narrative theatre.” Cast members dictate the action onstage just as a third-person voice narrates the passages of a book.  It looks and sounds like a one or two-person Greek chorus.

The vignettes that make up the production examine the commonplace terrors that women experience on the daily: isolation, powerlessness, and disorder. There is puppetry, mime, and yes, scene narration. The narrators are like impartial babysitters watching their human companions toddle towards danger. They might stop them, but where’s the fun in that?  Continue reading

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. 

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