Feb 11

Humorous Teachings: Sketch Writing MasterClass with Kevin McDonald

McDonald’s headshot

Presented by Improv Boston
Sketches Thru Improv – the Kids in the Hall Way
February 2, 2019, 10AM – 5:30PM
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, Massachusetts
IB on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge, MA) Kevin McDonald has enough accolades under his belt as a writer and performer that one could have forgiven him if he had chosen to mail it in during his seminar on sketch comedy at Improv Boston. A founding member of the Kids in the Hall, McDonald has decades of experience in comedy writing and a resume that would earn him the right to lecture from on high to comedy newbies. Continue reading

Feb 11

“Cendrillon” is a Sweet, Sugary Cinderella

Presented by The Harvard College Opera
Composed by Jules Massenet
Music Directed by Benjamin P. Wenzelberg
Stage Directed by Madeline Snow

Agassiz Theater
Cambridge, MA
Feb 1-3 & 8-10
Facebook Event

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) If Massenet’s Cendrillon was a cake, it would be covered in thick, buttery frosting, have crushed sugar cookies inside, and funfetti melted into every layer. This version of Cinderella is one of the sentimental renditions of a wildly popular but very reliable recipe. As a fan of multiple versions of the rags-to-riches, wish-fulfillment fairy tale, which includes the much bleaker version explored in Into the Woods, I enjoyed the sweetness that the Harvard College Opera leans into so very hard in this production. Continue reading

Feb 11

The Largesse of the Sea Maidens: A Conversation with “Endlings” Playwright Celine Song

Han Sol Dive Suit Costume Rendering by Linda Cho

A Conversation with “Endlings” Playwright Celine Song
Presented by American Repertory Theatre
By Celine Song
Directed by Sammi Cannold

February 1 – March 17, 2019
ASL Interpreted performances: Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30PM and Sunday, March 17 at 2PM
Open Captioned performances: Thursday, March 14 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Audio Described performances: Friday, March 15 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
7till8 Wetsuits on Facebook

OpEd and interview by Diana Lu

They are sometimes called “Korean mermaids,” and sometimes “sea women,” or haenyeo. The female free divers of Jeju Island are the last keepers of a centuries-old tradition of ocean floor fishing, one that created a unique matrilineal craft and matriarchal economy. In the 1960s, there were more than 26,000 haenyeo. Today there are less than 4,500. Nearly all are over 50 years old, with few young women interested in replacing them. It is difficult, dangerous work, diving without oxygen, wearing lead weights for up to two minutes at a time. About nine haenyeo a year are lost to the sea. Continue reading

Feb 05

BLO Hosts Free Event: “Reclaiming Lucretia” on Feb. 7, 2019 at 6PM


Costume rendering for Lucretia by designer Robert Perdziola for the new BLO production.

Acclaimed actress Paula Plum directs a cast of Boston-area singers and actors this week to explore the myth of Lucretia, the ancient Roman woman whose cruel sexual violation brought down an empire, and whose story has been retold for centuries by poets, playwrights and painters.  The free public event, “Reclaiming Lucretia: Responding to Sexual Violence through Music, Poetry and Story,” takes place Thursday, February 7 at 6 pm at District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue in the Boston Seaport. RSVPs are encouraged at BLO.org/calendar.

“Reclaiming Lucretia” is produced by Boston Lyric Opera in advance of its production of Benjamin Britten’s masterpiece opera, “The Rape of Lucretia,” which runs March 11-17, 2019.

Plum helms a fascinating one-hour look at the Lucretia story through the Britten’s music, the poetry of William Shakespeare, and the words of contemporary sexual assault survivors.  Plum weaves together song, spoken word and theatrical interpretation with a cast that includes: well-known Boston-area actors Aimee Doherty and Ed Hoopman; local singers Brianna Robinson (BLO’s newest Emerging Artist) and Jesse Darden (BLO’s first Principal Artist-in-Residence); returning mezzo-soprano Renee Tatum (seen in The Metropolitan Opera’s 2018 production of “Marnie” and as Jenny in BLO’s 2018 “The Threepenny Opera”); Longmeadow, Mass.-native and baritone David Tinerva; and pianist and Boston University lecturer Douglas Sumi.

The event is followed by an audience question-and-answer session with cast members, reflections from a representative of Boston Area Rape Crisis Center — which along with domestic violence support organization Casa Myrna is collaborating with BLO to bring context, support and contemporary perspective to content in “The Rape of Lucretia” — and a post-event reception.

Reclaiming Lucretia: Responding to Sexual Violence through Music, Poetry, and Story
Thursday, February 7, 2019 | 6:00pm 
District Hall, 75 Northern Avenue, Boston Seaport
Free; RSVPs encouraged

Feb 04

Parental Supervision Requested: “Girlish”

Photo by Paul Fox; Eigo and Jensen in a lighter moment.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
By Alexa Derman
Directed by Melanie Garber
Dramaturgy by Corianna Moffatt and Ramona Ostrowski

Feb. 1 – 16, 2019
Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: catfishing, dubious consent, underage romantic activity

(Boston, MA) My cousin Aubrey* owned a coveted Samantha Parkington American Girl Doll growing up. I hadn’t known what jealousy was until I saw Samantha in Aubrey’s perfect, skinny arms. Sure, I occasionally suffered a nervous desire to own things that I couldn’t have such as Gap jeans or the a Skip-It, but I didn’t really know what wanting was until I espied Samantha in all her plastic, toothy glory. Samantha was everything Aubrey was, and nothing I’d ever be. I needed an AG doll. I’d die without one.   Continue reading

Jan 28

A Nourishing Treat: “Slow Food”

Joel Van Liew, Brian Beacock, Daina Griffith. Photo by Meghan Moore.

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Written by Wendy MacLeod
Directed by Sean Daniels

January 9 – February 3, 2018
50 E Merrimack St, Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) You know a play hooks you when you start to get uncomfortable from the opening moment. As the lights go up in Slow Food,, we see two diners, Peter and Irene (Joel Van Liew and Daina Michelle Griffith) looking wane in a Greek restaurant as they begrudgingly sip glasses of water and wait. By the time the waiter, Stephen (Brian Beacock), appears, it is hard not to hate him. Continue reading

Jan 28

ImprovBoston Presents: KEVIN MCDONALD, Sketch Writing Classes on Feb. 2 & 3, 2019

Sketch Writing w/Kevin McDonald:
SAT, Feb. 2, 10AM-6PM
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA

Workshop cost: $180. Payment Plans are available by contacting comedyschool@improvboston.com

The Sketch Writing Workshop gives you the chance to put your work in the hands of sketch comedy royalty. In addition to gaining firsthand knowledge of how Kevin approaches writing sketches, you’ll get the opportunity to gain some personal and direct feedback from Kevin on a sketch that you’ll create…from a single premise! Bring with you a premise for a sketch, such as: ” A person with toasters for hands” or “A person who is $10 short of being a millionaire” and Kevin will guide you in turning that idea into a fully formed sketch.  Whether you’re a brand new sketch writer or a seasoned pro, this is the perfect workshop for anyone looking to gain experience in writing sketch comedy!  

Sketch Thru Improv: The Kids in the Hall Method w/Kevin McDonald 
SUN, Feb. 3, 10AM-5:30PM
ImprovBoston
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA

Workshop cost: $180. Payment Plans are available by contacting comedyschool@improvboston.com

In this one day intensive workshop, Kevin McDonald takes you through the journey of how the Kids in the Hall would create sketches by using improvisation. After Kevin shares his views and experience on how to create comedy sketches, he will lead the students to discover comedic premises through improv games and scenes. Those scenes will then be replayed and dissected, eventually becoming a fully written, original sketch! This is a fantastic class for anyone looking to gain insight into how to turn your brilliant improv scenes into something more than one and done!   Continue reading

Jan 28

Here’s Your Coffee Ma’am: “Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow”

True love with dog. Photo by Alex Sandberg.

Presented by imaginary beasts & Charlestown Working Theater
Written by The Ensemble
Story conceived by Matthew Woods
Directed by Matthew Woods

Jan. 19 – Feb. 10, 2019
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill St
Charlestown, MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Charlestown, MA) Paul Bunyan and the Winter of the Blue Snow is about best friends and the lengths we go to love them. imaginary beasts treats us with another homegrown panto in the English tradition but with an American fringe flourish. Special effects are minimal but the appeal is high. The plot may wander but the panto’s generosity of spirit more than makes up for the meandering. Continue reading

Jan 24

“Heartland,” where the ache lies.

L-R: Shawn K. Jain as Nazrullah and Ken Baltin as Harold; Photography by Christopher McKenzie.

A national new play network rolling world premier
Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Written by Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

January 12—February 9, 2019
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Watertown, MA) Powerfully written and gorgeously staged, New Rep’s production of Heartland is a true masterpiece. Gabriel Jason Dean deftly transforms his experiences of person tragedy into a poignant and profound meditation of the American body politic, particularly our interventionalist foreign policies in the Middle East. Continue reading

Jan 21

Excuses Are Not Explanations:”Haroun and the Sea of Stories”

Photo by Clive Grainger.

Presented by Boston Modern Orchestra Project
Composed by Charles Wuorinen
Libretto by James Fenton
Conducted and stage direction by Gil Rose, Artistic Director

January 19, 2019
Jordan Hall at the New England Conservatory
Boston, MA
BMOP on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The opera Haroun and the Sea of Stories is based on Iranian author Salman Rushdie’s magical realism novel of the same title. This cast has an awful lot of white people in it for an allegorical opera set in the subcontinent of imaginary India. What an opera set in India about fictional Indians and their nonhuman, non-colonizer friends demands is actual Indians. Asian erasure is unacceptable in an art form bursting at the seams with underpaid, overeager POC* artists. Such casting means that disappointed POC audience members leave at intermission just like the lovely couple next to me quietly did on Saturday night. Opera is killing itself by failing to include the very people it seeks to serve with such casting decisions.    Continue reading