Oct 06

Better to Take the Risk:”The Skriker”

Emma Tayce Palmer in the title role. Photo via Entropy Theatre on Facebook.

Presented by Entropy Theatre
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Joe Juknievich and Kayleigh Kane
Performed by Emma Tayce Palmer, Jamie Lin, Sydney Grant, Demi DiCarlo, Julia Hertzberg, Tim Hoover, Ryan Lemay

Sept. 30 – Oct 2, 2021
Martin Hall
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 2021
Entropy Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Entropy Theatre reopened to sold-out performances last weekend. Its production of Caryl Churchill’s The Skriker was imperfect but bold. It took great risks. Sometimes those risks paid off; sometimes they didn’t. What matters is that Entropy Theatre didn’t let perfection get in the way of telling an important story and having a good time. 

Cuddle me with your entrails. Barguest by Earlnoir on Deviant Art.

According to Britannica.com, the Lancashire striker was a monstrous specter hound. “Its broad, sometimes backward-pointing feet made a splashing noise, and it howled horribly,” says the site. Those who saw it were marked for death. There was no way out of it. The UK gave the dog many names: the Demon of Tidworth, the Black Dog of Winchester, the Padfoot of Wakefield, the Barghest of Burnley, Gwyllgi, the Dog of Darkness, and Cwn Annwn, the Dogs of Hell. It wasn’t some snuggly pup looking for a cuddle.  Continue reading

Oct 04

Trust Your Gut: “The Sound Inside”

Jennifer Rohn and Nathan Malin in SpeakEasy Stage’s production of The Sound Inside. Photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Adam Rapp
Directed by Bryn Boice
Cast: Nathan Malin, Jennifer Rohn

Sept. 24 – Oct. 16, 2021
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy on Facebook
SpeakEasy’s COVID-19 protocols

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of self-harm.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“It will always be impossible to know, for the good reason that all writing is itself this special voice, consisting of several indiscernible voices, and that literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.” 

– From The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes

BOSTON, Mass. — In watching SpeakEasy’s production of The Sound Inside, I was reminded of Roland Barthes’ infamous essay, The Death of the Author. The Death of the Author is an essay that argues for stripping an author’s intentions and personal biography from a reader’s interpretation of their writing. A reader should separate the author from their art. 

Barthes says writing is intended to be read by others. Regardless of the author’s intentions, the reader will formulate their own understanding of the work. The reader’s interpretation is no less valid than the author’s.  Continue reading

Sep 21

Don’t Hate the Players, Hate the Stage: Shit-Faced Shakespeare’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

One of the SGS: AMSND casts; Photo credit- Nile Scott Studio.

Presented by Shit-faced Shakespeare®
The Saturday night cast:
Compere (the host)- Tyler Rosati
Hermia- Elizabeth Hartford
Demetrius- Evan Turissini
Lysander- Sam Fidler
Helena- Grace Graham
Puck- Brett Milanowski
Lights and sound- Sarah Morin

Sept. 16 – Dec. 4 at 7PM
The Rockwell Theater
Davis Square
Somerville, MA
SFS social media: shitfacedshake; Sfacedshakespeare.us

Review by Kitty Drexel

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts…”

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The premise of Shit-Faced Shakespeare: A Midsummer Night’s Dream is simple: there’s a cast of five actors performing an abridged version of Shakespeare’s play. One of them is very drunk. The drunk actor changes every performance, as does the cast. A mediator, the Compere (Tyler Rosati), opens the show and keeps the drunk person on task. 

Before the show, the Compere gives the audience three tools to make the performance more interesting. A gong and cowbell, when played, mandate that the drunkard must imbibe another drink. A bucket is employed when the drunkard has had too much. It assumed that the gong and bell are used once each but the trove of onstage beverages kept for this purpose held many more than two. A bucket-holder, bless them, will know if the bucket is needed more than once from the muffled sounds of discomfort echoing from the drunkard.  Continue reading

Sep 04

Pawpaw Trees are the Gateway to Orgiastic Ritual: “Hurricane Diane”

Jennifer Bubriski, Kris Sidberry, Esme Allen, Marianna Bassham, and Rami Margron “Hurricane Diane” Photo: Nile Hawver

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Madeleine George
Directed by Jenny Koons 
Original music and sound design by Ben Scheff
Voice coaching by Christine Hamel
Intimacy Consultant: Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson

The Playbill
August 27 – September 26, 2021
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 
527 Tremont Street 
Boston MA 02116
The Huntington on social media: @huntington

PLEASE NOTE: This production includes strobe lighting effects and a simulated thunderstorm.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“You can lead a horticulture, but you can’t make her think.”

– Dorothy Parker, theatre critic, poet & hero

BOSTON, Mass. — Hurricane Diane is fun and topical. It smacks of “The Witches of Eastwick.” Please go see it. 

It is recommended that attendees get vaccinated. Everyone must wear a mask (even performers when not actively performing). It’s not just your friendly, neighborhood theatre critic telling you, it’s also on The Huntington’s website

There are two sets of ushers after the BCA’s Box Office waiting to assist patrons into the theater. The first set of BCA staff will confirm your vaccination status or proof of a recent negative COVID-19 test. It behooves you to have this info at the ready so one doesn’t create a traffic jam.  Continue reading

Sep 03

“Pass Over” Reopened On Broadway. Its Truths Extend to Boston and Beyond.

Photo: Joan Marcus

“Pass Over”
Written by Antoinette Chinonye Nwandu
Directed in Boston by Monica White Ndounou, January 3 – February 2, 2020
Directed in New York by Danya Taymor
August Wilson Theatre
245 W 52nd St, New York, NY 10019
Tickets on sale now

Article by Kitty Drexel

NEW YORK, NY and BOSTON, Mass.– Broadway stopped all activity in March 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic closed indoor entertainment venues across the nation.

Thirty-one plays and musicals were running before the shutdown, including eight new shows in previews. An additional eight productions were in rehearsals and preparing to open in the spring the Broadway League said. COVID-19 closed them all.

The fat lady had sung. Continue reading

Aug 31

Connecticut’s Flagship Producing Theaters Announce Mask and Vaccine Requirements

Article by Kitty Drexel

CONNECTICUT — A six-member consortium of Connecticut Flagship Producing Theaters announced mandatory indoor-space vaccination and mask requirements for all audience members, staff, crew, and artists to minimize exposure to COVID-19 said an August 30 press release. 

The theatres say patrons must be masked and fully vaccinated with an FDA-authorized vaccine to attend an indoor performance. The vaccination and mask requirements are effective immediately and follow current CDC and state and local official guidelines. It represents a collective investment in the well-being of their respective audiences. 

Theatre vaccination and masking measures will be reassessed with changing conditions. Patrons should refer to a theatre’s website for specific requirements and possible exemptions (medical, age, etc.). 

Public Relations Manager Patricia Blaufuss said in an email, the CFPT will accept the Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines from patrons.

On August 23, the FDA approved the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine for the prevention of COVID-19 said the FDA website. It will be marketed as Comirnaty and available to treat COVID-19 in individuals 16 years of age and older.  

The Moderna COVID-19 vaccine and the Janssen COVID-19 are approved for emergency use.

Please refer to these websites for more information on safety protocols and more information about seasons, ticketing, and other updates. 

About Connecticut Flagship Producing Theaters:

CFPT is comprised of six nonprofit institutions: Eugene O’Neill Theater Center, Goodspeed Musicals, Hartford Stage, Long Wharf Theatre, Westport Country Playhouse, and Yale Repertory Theatre. Though distinctive in their missions, programming, and daily operations, CFPT members are significant contributors to Connecticut’s economy, responsible for $42M in direct economic activity each year, and enriching the lives of the more than 330,000 patrons who visit and enjoy CFPT productions annually.

Aug 20

14 Greater-Boston Theatres Announce Proof of Vaccination and Mask Requirements

Article by Kitty Drexel

  • Proof of vaccination or a Negative COVID-19 test is required
  • Masks must be worn
  • New survey results show majority of arts goers support these measures
  • Bindle, a digital vaccine record app, is free. http://www.joinbindle.com/people

BOSTON — Fourteen theatre companies in the Greater Boston area will require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all artists, staff members, and audiences as live, indoor performances resume for the 2021/2022 season, said a press release dated August 19. Masks are also required. 

The list of participating theatres is below.

The press release said that these policies begin immediately and remain valid through October 31. Policies are per CDC guidelines and will be reevaluated as COVID-19 pandemic evolves. 

“Proof of vaccination may include showing either a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record (through an app such as Bindle at www.joinbindle.com/people),” said the press release. Audience members without proof of vaccination will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering.

Individual theatres will list specific protocols and guidelines on their websites. At this time, New England Theatre Geek has received protocol updates from the Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Central Square Theater in addition to the joint press release from the fourteen theatres. 

The New England Theatre Geek eagerly awaits updates from other New England performing institutions. “We are reluctant to attend or review indoor performances by organizations that do not enact similar protocols and safety measures,” said Queen Geek Kitty Drexel. 

“Our primary mission is to support our theatre community. We cannot do that if organizations aren’t first taking the necessary steps to protect their staff, crew and casts. Audience members can’t make informed decisions if they aren’t assured the community’s health is a priority.”  

The June 2021 results of the ArtsBoston Audience Outlook Monitor survey said that 73% of audiences plan to resume indoor performances by Sept 2021. Audience Outlook Monitor is a longitudinal survey to keep tabs on arts attendees thoughts, concerns and intentions as the pandemic and the state’s reopening guidelines evolve, said ArtsBoston.com.

The 14 theatre joint press release said that the most recent round of Audience Outlook Monitor survey data (collected August 9 – 13, 202) found that 80% of respondents indicated that proof of vaccination would make them more likely to attend indoor events. 50% said that proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is a prerequisite for their attendance. 98% of respondents reported being fully vaccinated or planning to do so. 

Theatres in New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established similar policies requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test and mask wearing.

It is good practice to stay home if experiencing COVID symptoms on the day of the performance. Common symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell. 

PARTICIPATING THEATRES:
Actors’ Shakespeare Project*
American Repertory Theater (ART)
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre*
Central Square Theater*
The Front Porch Arts Collective
The Gamm Theatre*
Gloucester Stage Company*
Greater Boston Stage Company*
The Huntington Theatre Company 
Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse*
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Moonbox Productions
SpeakEasy Stage Company*
Wellesley Repertory Theatre*
 *Member of New England Area Theaters (NEAT), an association of midsize theatres

Aug 01

Mní Wičóni.Water Is Life: “Moving Water”

KERMIT DUNKELBERG, XIMENA CALDERÓN, WILL SWYERS: image from a rehearsal. 

Presented by the Ko Theatre Festival 
a devised theatre production by Serious Play Theatre Ensemble 
written by Eric Henry Sanders
original music by Jonny Rodgers
directed by Sheryl Stoodley 
Cast: Kermit Dunkelberg, Ximena Salmerón, Will Swyers
Video design and technical coordination/operation by Robin W. Doty
Dramaturgy and visual inspiration by Rosalyn Driscoll  
Lighting design by Sabrina Hamilton 

Here is a list of activism resources made available on the Ko Fest website. 

July  30 – August 1, 2021 
Streamed Online via Vimeo
Ko Fest social media: @Kofest

In-person performances: July 22-25
33 Hawley Street
Northampton, MA

In English & Spanish with supertitles. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

Northampton, Mass. —  July 30 – August 1, Moving Water is available to stream as part of the Ko Theatre Festival out of Northampton, MA. It is a devised theatre production with dance, multi-media projection, and original music by the Serious Play Theatre Ensemble. 

Press materials said, “Moving Water îs centered on the global water crisis, and endeavors to bring audiences into a deeper understanding of our human relationship to water.” Here is a list of activism resources and reading list made available on the Ko Fest website.  Continue reading

Jul 30

Ariel, the Human World, It’s A Mess: “The Tempest”

The cast of “The Tempest.” Gods, it’s good to see theatre again. Photo by: Evgenia Eliseeva

FREE Shakespeare on the Common
Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler
Choreographer/ Movement coaching by Levi Philip Marsman
Sound design and compositions by David Reiffel
COVID Safety Manager by Brian Robillard

July 21-August 8, 2021
Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common
Boston, MA
CommShakes on social media: @commshakes

The Accessibility program dates:
Open Captioning: July 31
Audio description and ASL interpreted performances: August 1 and August 6
Rain Date for all Access services: August 8

Running time is about 110 minutes; there is no intermission.

Register for tickets HERE
COVID-19 restrictions are HERE.

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Theatre is my favorite thing. To me, there is no greater experience than the communion of theatre. It’s been 17 months, and I have missed live-performance every day. Seeing the cast of The Tempest walk onstage to face our crowd of masked-until-seated strangers brought me to tears. It felt like coming home. 

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company celebrates 25 years of free Shakespeare on Boston Common with their production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It stars John Douglas Thompson as Prospero, a role that fits him like a glove. A cadre of beloved local talent plays major and minor roles. Continue reading

Jun 22

Reintegration Through Art: “The Boston Project: Project Resilience”

Banner art by SpeakEasy Stage Co.

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Company 
Written by Fabiola R. Decius, Adriana RoCale, Nico Pang, Hortense Gerardo, Paige Monopoli, and Magda Romanska
Performed by Cheryl Singleton, Garciela Femenia, Jupiter Lê, Paige Clark, Gigi Watson, and Darya Denisova
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons, Michelle Aguillon, Desire Bennett, Michelle Ambila, Alex Lonati, and Dmitry Troyanovsky

Running June 18-30, 2021
Streaming Online 
Speakeasy Stage Company on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

ONLINE — Celebrating the unique identities and experiences that make up the city of Boston, Speakeasy presents The Boston Project: Project Resilience. Showcasing six original plays by Boston local playwrights, Project Resilience is part of Speakeasy’s initiative in supporting the creation of new play development set in Boston. Continue reading