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

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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

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Oct 30

Moby Dick, Disassembled in [or, the whale]

Photo courtesy of imaginary beasts’ Facebook page.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written by Juli Crocket
Directed by Matthew Woods
Musical Composition by Kangaroo Rat Music (Anna Bell & Tim Desrosiers)
Movement Coaching by Molly Kimmerling and Amy Meyer

October 14-November 4, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, Massachusetts
[or, the whale] on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “No one remembers an Ahab with two legs,” SHE (Raya Malcolm) tells the third member of the Ahab chorus, Danny Mourino, before sweeping him through a door that exudes a blue, haunting light. This disassembled retelling of Moby Dick is similarly haunting, stylish, and similarly full of light, specifically light slapstick, cheerful music, and a cast of tumblers on a colorful, creepy set complete with giant whale ribs. It’s delightful and strange, and I would expect nothing less from imaginary beasts. Continue reading

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Apr 05

imaginary beasts’ “Alice in Wonderland”

alice

Created by the Manhattan Theatre Project
Based on the novel by Lewis Carroll
Presented by Imaginary Beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods

April 1 – 23, 2016
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston
Imaginary Beasts on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) It is no small challenge to take on a piece with so much cultural baggage as Alice in Wonderland.  Audiences have seen, heard, and read this story over and over again from our childhoods unto the present day.  Alice is everywhere in so many forms that adding something new to the tale is a Herculean task.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that artistic director Matthew Woods quite had a handle on it. Continue reading

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Jan 19

Somewhere Over, Under, in Front of, Behind the Rainbow: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

Photo credit: Diane Anton

Photo credit: Diane Anton; the cast stepping out

Presented by imaginary beasts 
Written and Directed by Matthew Woods
Based on the Oz novels of L. Frank Baum

January 9-30, 2016
imaginary beasts on Facebook
BCA Plaza Black Box Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MAPlaying fast and loose with both Oz canon and popular culture, imaginary beasts returns to the marvelous lands and characters L. Frank Baum created to amuse and entertain children at the turn of the century in Winter Panto 2016:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  People unfamiliar with the pantomime tradition should not come expecting a regular play, or the musical version of the show, or even a rundown of all of Baum’s Oz books.  Rather, it’s a rollicking variety of scenes that parodies both the source and contemporary mores. Continue reading

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Apr 13

Daniil Kharms Continues to Charm in imaginary beasts’ Betty Bam!

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods, Joey C. Pelletier, and Michael Underhill
Written by Daniil Kharms
Translation by Zoya Derman
Adapted by The Ensemble

April 10 – May 2, 2015
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) The innovative and evocative imaginary beasts continue with their year-long exploration of Stalinist-era author, Daniil Kharms, with Betty Bam! Their last attack on his material, KNOCK!, was a condensed affair, a multi-character and multi-story primer on Kharms’ bleak humor and deeply unsettling monologues. The actors took pratfalls and grafted the absurdist theater onto a sort of vaudeville act. In Betty Bam!, the visual nods remain in the early-twentieth century, but the aesthetic switches to black and white film, page-boy cuts, and a set styled into a cartoon explosion. The five actresses who depict Betty Bam’s fractured identity (Beth Pearson, Amy Meyer, Molly Kimmerling, Sarah Gazdowicz, and Kiki Samko) are each a live action Betty Boop caught in an explosion of a different sort, one that takes the guise of an interruption into their life: the police, Ivan (Cameron Cronin) and Pytor (William Schuller). As with KNOCK!, the police are an oppressive force, one here to take Betty to an unknown fate. The action of taking her away makes up the entirety of the plot. Continue reading

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Mar 31

Playful Rendering of Moliere’s “Lovers’ Quarrels”

Displaying CarouselFullCast.jpg

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Molière
Directed by Matthew Woods
Translation by Richard Wilbur

March 28 – April 19, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) imaginary beasts’ production of Lovers’ Quarrels is less concerned with emotional authenticity than the beauty of its artifice.  The 17th century romantic comedy is not exactly a work of realism, and thankfully, is not treated as such.  Its plot hinges on a girl who has been raised as a boy, Ascagne (Lynn R. Guerra), tricking a young man she likes, Valère (Will Jobs), into marriage by pretending to be her extremely feminine sister, Lucile (Erin Eva Butcher). imaginary beasts presents this material with all the seriousness it deserves, creating an innocent, funny romp through improbable obstacles. Continue reading

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Oct 07

The Darkness Hides Gothic Metaphor: Angela Carter’s HAIRY TALES

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=eacf24cc2b&view=att&th=14184f51c57570ee&attid=0.4&disp=inline&realattid=f_hmdt1esw6&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-8Q_l0QzPMOYuJpu9b4yGh&sadet=1381175239451&sads=OdvDtUQSpD0JQHDVDkF_bqe5Y58

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf; Amy Meyer and Poornima Kirby as The Countess. The Countess is beside herself. See what I did there? No? Fine.

Presented by Imaginary Beasts
Angela Carter’s Hairy Tales: “Vampirella: Lady of the House of Love”, “The Company of Wolves”
Directed by Matthew Woods
Music composition & sound by Sam Beebe
Choreography by Kiki Samko

October 4 – 26, 2013
Thursdays at 7:30 pm (Vampirella & The Company of Wolves)
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm (Vampirella & The Company of Wolves)
Saturdays & Sundays at 4:00 pm (Puss in Boots)
Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Imaginary Beasts on
Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

***Be aware that this is NOT a children’s show. Unless you enjoy subjecting your dear ones to brief nudity, incest, cannibalism, necrophilia and heaps of innuendo. You sick bastards.***

(Boston) Some of the reviews for Hairy Tales lead with how author Angela Carter isn’t popular in the US. Not entirely true. She’s famous in the UK, yes, but she’s also famous here. She’s famous among people who enjoy magical realism (and modern fairytales) and can’t abide trashy alternatives. Carter’s not as famous as Jane Austen or the Brontës but famous enough that her books are still published in the US. They can be found at your local library or on Amazon. They are delicious. Read them.

Vampires and werewolves are scalding hot right now. There are more spinoff’s, movies and TV programmes than there are heaving bosoms to enjoy them. Supernatural creatures are often* metaphors for sexual desire and fulfillment. Female sexual objectification sells and, when paired with the supernatural, its related media will be inhaled by the angsty. Thus, we have a dearth of offerings to present to the generations that haven’t read Dracula but have read the famous Mormon fanfic. In the case of  “The Company of Wolves” (TCOW) and “Vampirella,” objectification gets a rest and liberation takes the stage. There is still enough angst to go around.   Continue reading

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Mar 11

Sex, Sexy, Sexy (Sometimes Not), SEX: SUCH TIMES a SEX FESTIVAL

This is a website primarily for educated adults. We do review some Children’s theater for the benefit of all participants. If offended by the content below, one is cordially invited to skip this post. There are other delightful offerings on this site that will suit you better.

SUCH TIMES a SEX FESTIVAL of new work by Boston’s SEXIEST Playwrights

Presented by Heart & Dagger Productions

heartanddagger2

Audience members were invited to share their secret fantasies. They did. A lot.

The Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA 02215
Friday, March 1st @ 8pm – Saturday, March 9th @ 8pm
Heart & Dagger Productions Facebook Page

It should go without saying that with such a title that this production is not safe for children and prudish adults. It may lead an audience member to expect live-action porn. This was not the case. The production did not contain explicit acts of carnal engagement but the stagings were otherwise immediately revealing to all but the most innocent of eyes and ears.  Continue reading

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Feb 25

SUCH TIMES a SEX FESTIVAL of new work by Boston’s SEXIEST Playwrights

Heart & Dagger Productions
presents
SUCH TIMES a SEX FESTIVAL of new work by Boston’s SEXIEST Playwrights

This is NOT a family show. If you aren’t convinced after reading the summary, please seek (sexy or non sexy) therapeutic assistance.

Friday, March 1st @ 8pm – Saturday, March 9th @ 8pm
The Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215
Heart & Dagger Productions Facebook Page

Monologues, scenes, and dances based on sexual desires, situations, and dreams by:
Silvia Graziano, Mary-Ann Greanier, MJ Halberstaldt, Craig Houk, John J King, Grant MacDermott, Lesley Ann Moreau, Rick Park, Joey C. Pelletier, Mary ElizaBeth Peters, Devon Scalisi, Cassie M. Seinuk, Jesse Wood

Directed by: Devon Scalisi, Elise Weiner Wulff, Jesse Wood, Mikey DiLoreto, Danielle Leeber Lucas & Joey C. Pelletier

Featuring:  Amy Meyer, Jesse Coleman, Melissa De Jesus, Chuong Pham, Josh Coleman, Mike Budwey, Noah Tobin, Joey C. Pelletier, Elise Weiner Wulff, Erin Rae Zalaski
& MORE

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