May 08

A Majestic “Migration”


Presented by Step Afrika!
Produced by 
ArtsEmerson
Choreographed by Jakari Sherman, Jackie Semela, Paul Woodruff
Percussionists: Artis Olds, Jakari Sherman, Andrew Vinson

May 3 through 6, 2018
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street, Boston, MA

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

“One of the most important functions of jazz has been to encourage a hope for freedom, for people living in situations of intolerance or struggle.”  –Herbie Hancock, jazz pianist and bandleader

(Boston, Massachusetts)  I could feel the crackling energy of the show, even before it started.  I could anticipate that it’d be a layered and textured theatrical experience that engaged the audience, even before dancers and musicians arrived on stage.  I am a person who is always listening to music. Likewise, I’m a patron who yearns for a show’s soundtrack to play both before and after the performance, as well as during its intermission.  The recording of African drum music, peppered with the rattling of gourds and the rhythmic clapping of hands, was vitalizing and encouraged a social atmosphere before the show began. Most patrons were out of seats, strolling around, greeting each other, standing in small circles having spirited conversations, smiling while sipping drinks; it was the pre-party I always wished for. Continue reading

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May 20

On Behalf of Women’s Bodies: IN THE BODY OF THE WORLD

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva.

Photo Evgenia Eliseeva. Ensler transcends. 

Presented by the American Repertory Theater
Written and performed by Eve Ensler
Directed by Diane Paulus

May 10 – 29, 2016
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: nudity not for the purpose of female objectification, implied drug use, graphic depictions of violence and cruelty, raw feminism

(Cambridge, MA) Our iPads, tablets, game consoles, phones and anything else that requires processed natural minerals and metals are the by-products of systematic rape. This is an oversimplified statement but it is true. The ongoing conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and complications within the mineral supply chain means that conflict minerals end up in everyday items. The computer I’m using to write this review likely has conflict minerals in it. The device you’re using to read this review likely has conflict minerals in it. By not pushing for a transparent mineral supply chain, we are aiding the conflict in the Congo. By not taking an active stance, we are telling the companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc. that we approve of their trade dealings with companies that don’t require transparency. As ignorant consumers, we are part of them problem.   Continue reading

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Dec 04

Sharing the Joyful Word: BLACK NATIVITY

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Banner image borrowed from https://paramountboston.org/

Langston Hughes’ Black Nativity Dec. 2, 2015
Presented by Emerson College and National Center of Afro-American Artists
Book by Langston Hughes
Music & Lyrics chosen by Langston Hughes
Based on text from the Gospel of St. Luke
Executive Producer and Director: Voncille Ross
Assistant to the Director for Music: Stephen Hunter, Sr.
Choral Director for Children: Marilyn Andry
Choral Director for Adults: Milton L. Wright
Ballet Mistress: Desiree Springer

Dec. 4 – 20, 2015
ASL interpreted performances: Dec. 4, 6, 12, 13, 19, & 20, 2015
The Paramount Theater
Boston, MA
Paramount Theater on Facebook
Black Nativity Boston on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Performances are open to the public beginning on Friday, Dec. 4. I was invited to a dress rehearsal. This review will be based on the wonderful performance the NCAAA so graciously allowed me to attend on Dec. 2, 2015.

(Boston, MA) Jesus was a Jewish man from Israel. Israel shares a border with Egypt which is in Africa. His birthplace, Bethlehem, is approximately six miles from Jerusalem. It takes about five hours to get to Be’er Sheva from Bethlehem if you catch the right bus (thank you Googlemaps). From there, you could get within the borders of Africa if you really wanted to but the journey would be pointlessly rough. I mention this to prove a point: given the physical location of Nazareth, Bethlehem and Jerusalem on a map, it is highly unlikely that Jesus was the blonde haired, blue eyed, white man that Christians enjoy depicting today. You’d have to travel on foot through Lebanon, then Syria and finally Turkey, or voyage across the Mediterranean Sea to Greece or Italy before hitting any majority of white people… And that’s in 7-2 BCE. Good luck finding an agent willing to sell you travel insurance. Continue reading

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Jun 10

Securing the Myth-ing Link: GIDEON’S KNOT

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
By Johnna Adams
Directed by Karen MacDonald

June 5 – 22, 2014
the Boston Center for the Arts
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warnings: Graphic depiction of rape and violence, controversial and political arguments, full-body hugging

“Turn him to any cause of policy,
The Gordian Knot of it he will unloose,
Familiar as his garter”
(Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 1 Scene 1. 45–47)

(Boston) Alexander the Great is famous for marching through Asia and Africa in the name of Greece when he was 18 years old. He was a merciless conqueror and much of his work shaped the known BCE world. According to popular myth, in 333 BCE Alexander was shown a intricate knot in tying a chariot to a pole left by the sloppy founder of the city of Gordium. It was foretold that only the future ruler of Asia could untie the knot. Alexander, being the sensitive and thoughtful boy he wasn’t, instead hacked through the knot with his sword. Earlier versions of the myth imply Alexander first tries cunning to sort out the mess but eventually uses the pointy end of a sword to solve the riddle. These are the origins of the term “cutting the Gordian Knot.” It has come to mean using creative measures (cheating) in order to solve an convoluted problem. Continue reading

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Jan 31

For F*ck’s Sake, It’s Not About White People: “We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915”

Presented by Company One Theatre and Arts Emerson
Written by Jackie Sibbles Drury
Directed by Summer L. Williams

January 10 – February 1, 2014
The Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Emerson/Paramount Center
559 Washington St.
Boston, MA 02111
Company One on Facebook
Arts Emerson on Facebook

Performance run from 90 to 100 minutes. There is no intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) We Are Proud to Present a Presentation about the Herero of Namibia, Formerly Known as Southwest Africa, from the German Sudwestafrika, Between the Years 1884-1915 is a scripted, semi-interactive history lecture cum improv experiment dissecting the historical events of the German occupation of what is now Namibia. 6 actors attempt to reenact the experiences of German soldiers as they ousted the Herero tribe from their lands. It starts with a chipper cast playfully giving a lecture. As with much of history, it has a somber ending. Continue reading

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