Oct 14

Jigsaw Transcendence: “Angels in America – Perestroika”

Photo found on Umbrella Facebook page. Currently uncredited.

Photo found on Umbrella Facebook page. Currently uncredited.

Presented by Umbrella Arts
By Tony Kushner
Directed by Nancy Curran Willis

The Umbrella
Concord, MA
October 3 – October 18, 2014
Umbrella Arts on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Concord, MA) In 100 years, Tony Kushner’s sprawling masterpiece of Angels in America might be studied by school-kids, much like the Odyssey. That might be the right setting, providing a full semester to fully take in this script. Kushner asks us to follow along as he pinballs between real and surreal, politics and religion, gay culture and religion. Each well-developed scene feels like a glistening jewel of a short story, complete in pacing and characters, but it can be very hard to understand how these pieces come together into one cohesive story. If you’re watching the play for the first time, it can feel like reading a New Yorker magazine from cover to cover in one sitting. Continue reading

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Jan 28

Older Than Most College Students and Still Relevant: TOP GIRLS

Top Girls

Presented by Theatre@First
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Liz Adams

January 23 – February 1, 2014
Davis Square Theatre
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Somerville)

Theatre@First offers an earnest take on Caryl Churchill’s meditation on womanhood in the 1980s.  The production is best in the lighter moments, when the realities of the character’s lives seem far less crushing.

Top Girls itself is not traditional, but is and was a groundbreaking piece which provides incisive snapshots of women beyond as well as within classical archetypes. A show which only represents female voices is not necessarily feminist by default, but feminism as it relates to the time as well as the past pops up regularly.  Central themes such as success and sacrifice are embodied by Marlene, played effectively as a witty and ruthless vamp by Kathy-Ann Hart, who has achieved autonomy by choosing the advancement of her career over other areas of her life. Continue reading

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Nov 08

There is a train immediately behind this train: “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me”

Photo courtesy of Kevin Hadfield for Bad Habit Productions.

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
by Frank McGuinness
Directed by A. Nora Long

November 1-16
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Boston) In the second show of their seventh season, called Ambition & Sacrifice, Bad Habit Productions continues to create theatre in small spaces that convey big ideas. At a grueling two hours without intermission in a studio theatre, this production feels at times like a test of endurance for the audience and the three person ensemble. Continue reading

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Jul 26

It’s Like A Jungle . . . Sometimes: HOW WE GOT ON

© Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by Company One
by Idris Goodwin
Directed by Summer L. Williams

July 19-August 17
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Company One Facebook Page

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Boston) Company One has spent over a decade in Boston bringing theater to bear on a list of problems, which is nearly as long as their list of awards.  Their latest is a vibrant production that lays down a phat beat for diversity.  The audience I sat in was the most visibly excited and diverse audience I’ve experienced all year, possibly due to one of its key topics:  hip-hop. Continue reading

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Mar 10

Impressive, Uneven and Important: REFLECTIONS OF A ROCK LOBSTER

Felix Teich as ‘Paul Guilbert’ and Ian Shain as ‘Aaron Fricke’, Photo by Saglio Photography, Inc.

Reflections of a Rock Lobster by Burgess Clark, based on the true story of Aaron Fricke, Boston Children’s Theatre, Wimberley Theatre at Boston Center for the Arts, 3/3/12-3/11/12, http://bostonchildrenstheatre.org/season/rocklobster/.

Reviewed by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston, MA) To be a gay teen often has meant living every moment in hostile territory, where everything you do is wrong because of who you are.  Too often, it has meant years of enforced isolation and violence.

This is what the Boston Children’s Theatre production of Reflections of a Rock Lobster does best, creating the claustrophobia of a gay teen’s world where everything feels hostile, including one’s own feelings.  The play, put on by the Boston Children’s Theatre with a few grown-ups thrown in the mix, chronicles the true story of a pair of trailblazing gay teens who in 1980 challenged their school’s ban on same-sex couples at the prom and made the world a little bit less hostile.  Continue reading

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