Feb 02

Beijing to Melbourne to Boston: “Made in China 2.0”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
A Malthouse Theatre Production
Written & Performed by Wang Chong   
Codirected & Production designed by Emma Valente  
Codesigned by Emma Lockhart Wilson  
Dramaturgy by Mark Pritchard

February 1 – 12, 2023
American Sign Language Performance – Saturday, February 11 at 2:00 PM 
Audio Described Performance – Sunday, February 12 at 2:00 PM 
Emerson Paramount Center 
Jackie Liebergott Black Box 
559 Washington Street 
Boston, MA 02111

Recommended for Ages 16+
60 minutes, no intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA — ArtsEmerson respectfully asked journalists attending Wang Chong’s Made in China 2.0 to please refrain from discussing certain topics in an email days before the performance. They did this to ensure Chong’s safety while he visits the US and when he eventually leaves the US. Boston can be dangerous. 

Journalists were encouraged to discuss Chong as an artist, his previous work, how his work was received, and his upcoming work. We were asked to be sensitive when discussing Chong’s style of theatre-making and why it’s considered risky. 

I readily agreed to ArtsEmerson’s request. Freedom of speech is important to me. The sanctity of human life is too. America loves freedom!  Continue reading

Oct 28

The Precise and the Indefinable: “On Beckett” 

Photo via https://artsemerson.org/events/on-beckett/

Presented by ArtsEmerson, with Irish Repertory Theatre 
Produced by Octopus Theatricals
Conceived and performed by Bill Irwin
Based on the writings of Samuel Beckett, Texts for Nothing, The Unnamable, Watt, and Waiting for Godot.

October 26 – 30, 2022
Open Captioning, Oct. 29, at 2:00 PM
Audio Description, Oct. 30, 2:00 PM
Emerson Paramount Center
559 Washington St
Boston, MA 02111

Beckittns on Instagram

90 minutes, no intermission

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ArtsEmerson isn’t asking you to turn your phone off for its health. Turn your damn phone off, you git. 

BOSTON, Mass — On Beckett is a masterclass taught by Bill Irwin on the works of playwright, novelist, Nobel Prize winner, and, among other things, WWII resistance fighter Samuel Beckett. Irwin’s dedicated performance, journalistic dramaturgy, and storytelling transcend the medium of the solo show. 

On Beckett isn’t merely a performance incorporating the works of the infamous playwright; it is a doctorate-level dissertation. Emerson, give Irwin his honorary Ph.D.     Continue reading

Oct 13

Can’t Stop the Beat: “Drumfolk”

Photo from https://artsemerson.org/events/drumfolk/

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Performed by Step Afrika!
Directed by Jakari Sherman
Composed by Steven M. Allen
Mask Design by Erik Teague
Lighting by Marianne Meadows
Sound designed by Patrick Calhoun and engineered by Danielle McBride
Costumes by Kenaan M. Quander
Step Afrika! was founded by C. Brian Williams, with Mfoniso Akpan serving as Artistic Director

October 5 – 16, 2022, 8 p.m., with weekend matinees at 2 p.m.
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116
Drumfolk is made possible by the New England Foundation for the Arts’ National Dance Project with lead funding from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Review by Craig Idlebrook

BOSTON — The Africans who were stolen from their continent to become slaves in the American colonies and many of their descendants created and continue to recreate strong ties of family, music, and community while the forces of white supremacy continually work to strip away their efforts and deny their humanity. This process is as constant as waves cresting on the shore. It can be traced back to the earliest days of the colonization of what would become the United States. Continue reading

Apr 23

God Is Change: “Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Created by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon
Co-Directed by Eric Ting & Signe V. Harriday 
Music and Lyrics by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon 
Music Direction by Toshi Reagon  
Choreography by Millicent Johnnie 
Movement Director: Yasmine Lee 
Performed by Marie Tatti Aqeel, Alina Carson, Helga Davis, Kyle Garvin, Jared Wayne Gladly, Toussaint Jeanlouis, Karma Mayet Johnson, Morley Kamen, Alexandra Koi, Josette Newsam, Shelley Nicole, Toshi Reagon, Noah Virgile, Evie Schuckman Orchestra Monique Brooks Roberts, Zach Brown, Bobby Burke, Fred Cash, Jr., Chogyi, Matt Graff 
Orchestra: Monique Brooks Roberts, Zach Brown, Bobby Burke, Fred Cash, Jr., Chogyi, Matt Graff

April 21 – 24, 2022  
Open Captioning: Fri, April 22 @ 8:00 PM
American Sign Language: Sun April, 24 @ 2:00 PM
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre 
219 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02116

Recommended for Ages 13+  

Running Time: 120 minutes, no intermission 

Please Note: Proof of vaccination or a negative test is required for entry

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“All that you touch
You Change.
All that you Change
Changes you.
The only lasting truth
Is Change.
God
Is Change.”
Earthseed, Lauren Olamina in The Parable of the Sower

BOSTON, Mass. — The audience was small on Thursday night but grateful. We’d waited over two years to see Toshi Reagon’s Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower. The air was palpable with anticipation. We had each other to talk to and other excited conversations to easedrop on. When the theatre held the house lights for an extra 20 minutes to allow late audience members to straggle in, we were okay with it. 

When the lights finally dimmed to signal the start of the show, a hush fell over us. Finally, after all this waiting, it was time for church. 

Octavia E. Butler’s The Parable of the Sower is an opera adapted by Toshi Reagon and Bernice Johnson Reagon from the Afro-futurist science fiction writer Octavia E. Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower.  The ArtsEmerson website says it is “a genre-defying, modern congregational opera that celebrates two centuries of Black music.”  Continue reading

Apr 17

Stop Wasting Food: “BURGERZ”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Written & performed by Travis Alabanza
Produced by Hackney Showroom
Directed by Sam Curtis Lindsay
Movement by Nando Messias
Dramaturgy by Nina Lyndon

April 13 – 23, 2022
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theater
Boston, MA 
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

Content warning:  gender-based violence and transphobia are discussed in this review and also in BURGERZ.

BOSTON, Mass. –In the time before the COVID pandemic started here in the States, the danger of being visibly queer felt risky and fun to me, heading to the strip mall eager to anger gender essentialists a bit like poking caged bears, a way to appease my past teenaged, quieter, closeted self. I was armed with keen attention to exits and entrances, always ready to leave. I would relate scenes to friends about children asking me what it was to be different.  Or people – rude people, very rude – being weird to me about what bathroom I went to, regardless of whatever I wore or which bathroom I used it was always wrong. Continue reading

Mar 19

I Need Your Hand on My Heart: “Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends”

Presented by ArtsEmerson and Sleeping Weasel
Written by Charlotte Meehan
Directed by Tara Brooke Watkins
Choreographed by Peter DiMuro
Videography by Lee Francois
Original composition “Alone Together” by Kirsten Volness

Live: March 12 – March 27, 2022
Streamed: April 1 – 10, 2022
Emerson Paramount Center
Jackie Liebergott Black Box
559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends by Charlotte Meehan is about people. People are confusing, leaky, wonderful, breakable creatures capable of great love and harrowing despair. 

This play is also about disability. We are introduced to Meehan’s characters and their relationships, and then we learn about their relationships to Parkinson’s Disease. People with disabilities are human first so it is right that we learn the world of the play in this order. 

In Everyday Life and Other Odds and Ends, three imperfect couples navigate their relationships. We watch them live with Parkinson’s Disease. The persons with PD are surviving. The caretakers are too. Survival means something different to each couple. We learn what survival means at the same time they do.  Continue reading

Dec 09

Feed Your Head: “White Rabbit Red Rabbit”


White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Presented by ArtsEmerson
Written by Nassim Soleimanpour/Iran
Performance viewed on Dec. 7, 7:30 PM
Dec. 7 – 12, 2021
Virtual Performance via Zoom
Program playbill
ArtsEmerson on Facebook 

ArtsEmerson Age Recommendation: 14+. We understand that certain types of content could trigger past traumatic experiences for some viewers. Please be aware that this production contains scenes discussing suicide.

ArtsEmerson Accessibility: White Rabbit Red Rabbit will feature live captions throughout the performance.

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — White Rabbit Red Rabbit is not a production to be enjoyed. It is to be endured. It behooves everyone with the means to watch to endure White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Continue reading

Nov 19

And still those voices are calling from far away: “Zoo Motel”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
A play by Thaddeus Phillips
Cocreated and directed by Tatiana Mallarino
Designed by Steven Dufala
Magic by Steve Cuiffo
Night Clerk: Newton Buchanan

November 16—21, 2021
The final performances! A virtual event via Zoom
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

AE Production Program featuring leadership team bios, a synopsis of the performance, and the full list of staff, artist and creative team credits for the production.

Originally presented via Miami Light Project Sept. 28 – Oct. 25, 2020. It is the longest running theatre play on the world wide web.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Virtual Boston, Mass — New England Theatre Geek reviewed Zoo Motel on October 14, 2020. The Quarantine was a dark time that produced some dark writing. Our ridiculously written review can be read here.

We were interested in seeing Zoo Motel again to see if it had updated since its 2020 run. Its creators have taken this show to audiences all over the world: Stockholm, Madrid, Perth, London, and now Boston. We can say that Zoo Motel still inspires wonder and awe. Continue reading

Feb 11

Protect Yourself as Needed: ArtsEmerson Presents”Julia”

Presented by ArtsEmerson 
Director: Christiane Jatahy
Adaptation of Miss Julie by August Strindberg
Performed by: Julia Bernat and Rodrigo de Odé
Performed in the film: Tatiana Tiburcio
Music: Rodrigo Marçal
Photography: David Pacheco
Camera Live: Paulo Camacho
Video Technician: Felipe Norkus
In Portuguese with English subtitles

Virtual Event – On-Demand Viewing
Pick Your Price
Get Tickets 
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Ages 18+, Performance contains mature content, nudity, and intense sexual situations with an implied minor

This is the warning under an arrow on ArtsEmerson’s Julia page

“We understand that certain types of content could trigger past traumatic experiences for some viewers. Please be aware that this production contains scenes depicting sexual violence, racialized verbal abuse, racial slurs, allusions to suicide, and animal cruelty.”

This warning should not be hidden to the side. It should be somewhere obvious so no one will miss it. 

ON-DEMAND  — I’ve been recovering from PTSD triggered by Julia since watching ArtsEmerson’s premiere on Tuesday. Actions in the play depict violent sexual relations between two consenting individuals. I am a survivor of sexual violence, but I’ve never been triggered by a theatrical production to a degree like this before. I thought I was okay to watch Julia. I was wrong. Survivors, please protect yourself. 

I’m not special; many women are survivors of violence. We must factor potential violence into our everyday decisions to protect ourselves from further harm. We never know if we’re being too cautious or not cautious enough. We learn from a young age – through the malevolent actions of others or by making irrevocable mistakes – that we must take special care not to be caught off guard. Julia is the visual, multimedia story of a young woman as she learns this lesson the hard way.  Continue reading

May 19

Streamed Content to Prevent COVID-19 Brain Drain: Can You Smell What the Pollen is Cooking?

Dear Readers,

The theatre community exploded over the weekend! There’s enough content here to keep you busy for weeks. Please stream responsibly.

All our love from six feet away,
Kitty
Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

Let us know if we missed something! Email us at blognetheatregeek@gmail.com or find us on our social media pages.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/

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Apollinaire Theatre Company — Apollinaire at Home announces the special event: Queer Soup’s Mal Malme and The Invasion of Pleasure Valley. Queer Soup Theater’s Mal Malme and members of the original cast of The Invasion of Pleasure Valley join Apollinaire at Home next Thursday, May 21st to revisit their early campy hit.

ArtsEmerson — ArtsEmerson is thrilled to announce that renowned musician, composer, producer, and activist Toshi Reagon is launching Parable Path Boston, based on the tenets of Octavia E. Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower. Parable Path Boston will kick-off on Friday evening, May 22 with a one-night-only streaming event, the centerpiece of which is a full presentation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Concert Experience.
To access any or all of the May 22 online events, please visit ParablePathBoston.com.

Central Square Theater — “ART IS OUR ACTIVISM – Online Series,” is a series of online play readings, Central Conversations, and educational programs specifically designed to engage audiences in a conversation for the here and now.
Wild Goose Dreams
By Hansol Jung. Directed by Debra Wise
Monday, May 18 at 7PM on Facebook Live! 
Presented by Underground Railway at Central Square Theater

A Conversation with Sherry Turkle & Sarah Shin
Thursday, May 21 at 7PM on Zoom & Facebook Live!
Join Dr. Sherry Turkle, a researcher of human relationships with technology, and Sarah Shin, a co-founder of Asian American Theatre Artists of Boston, for a conversation about Wild Goose Dreams. Dr. Turkle will discuss how technology supports and inhibits connection in the play, while Ms. Shin will speak to the Korean cultural aspects.

Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare. Directed by Eric Tucker
Monday, May 25 at 6PM on Zoom & Facebook Live!
Presented by Bedlam

The Phlebotemists
By Ella Ford. Directed by Cassie Chapados.
Monday, June 29 at 7PM on Facebook Live!
Presented by The Nora at Central Square Theater

Classic Stage Company — Classic Conversations continues on CSC’s Facebook page every Thursday at 6PM. Follow and Subscribe to watch every premiere Thursdays at 6pm.
Tony Nominee, Ethan Slater, Thurs. May 21 at 6pm, Spongebob Squarepants, Fosse/Verdon
Steven Pasquale, Thurs. May 28 at 6pm, The Bridges of Madison Country, American Son
Bianca Horn, Thurs. June 4 at 6pm, The Great Comet, The Awesome 80s Prom

Luminarium Dance Company — Luminarium continues to present its TEN4TEN Performance Series celebrating its tenth anniversary season with curated shows every two weeks, highlighting its award-winning repertory spanning 2010 to present. This week’s online performance features early examples of Luminarium Dance Company’s interdisciplinary take on community engagement. Enjoy choreographic collaborations that go “beyond dance” with the New England Quilt Museum (2013) and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (2015).

Luminarium Dance Company & Monkeyhouse are thrilled to produce the seventh 24-Hour ChoreoFest!
TRI-STATE CHOREOFEST
SATURDAY, MAY 23
12-8pm: Live-streamed creation period & interviews
8pm: Live-streamed performance

Liars & Believers — LAB presents Ted & Marie by Joy Besozzi. It is live on its Pandemic Play page.
Coming Up: LAB has 3 shows in the pipeline, a big project gearing up, and a new experiment percolating.Plus several friends are creating shows and doing concerts. As long as this goes on, we’ll keep making art and sharing with you great things we find.

Merrimack Repertory Theatre —  Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s professional training program for high school students, the MRT Young Company, goes virtual this year with classes online from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for three weeks, July 13-31. Renowned Chicago educator, director, and actor Robert Cornelius returns to lead the intensive.
The rate is $450 per person for the full course. Past Young Company participants may register for only $350. To register, visit www.mrt.org/youngcompany or call the Box Office at 978-654-4678. The program requires a laptop or tablet and internet access; if needed, MRT will provide technical support for any student.

Open Theatre Project — Week 3 of the OTP Community Write. On Monday, featured playwright Nick Malakhow chose “Communication/Miscommunication” and “New Rituals” to inspire our community’s writing this week.  Performed by Alissa Cordeiro, Erik McGowan, Dave DiLillo, and Tasha Matthews.
PANDEMIC-MONUIM by Bob Williams with Dave DiLillo
Home Not Alone by Judith Black with Tasha Matthews
Talk To You by Nick Malakhow with Alissa Cordeiro & Erik McGowan

Puppet Showplace Theater The Hatchery: Virtual Project Night
Wednesday, May 27 | 6:30 – 8:30 pm
FREE Virtual “Drop-in” Event – Donations Welcome
Join Resident Artist Sarah Nolen for Puppet Showplace Theater’s first-ever digital Hatchery!

Silverthorne Theater Company — Silverthorne Theater Company presents Days of Possibilities by Rich Orloff. Streaming now-June 4. <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/WXc9WmKAjXc” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>

SpeakEasy Stage Company — Beginning Wednesday, May 20 at 5PM, is a five-week half-hour series offering an insider’s guide to the five shows making up SpeakEasy’s 2020-2021 Season, which is also the company’s 30th Anniversary year. Those interested can join by tuning into SpeakEasy’s Facebook page for each live 30-minute Q&A session. The schedule of shows and artists is as follows:
Once On This Island – Wednesday, May 20, 5:00-5:30pm; Artists present: Director Pascale Florestal, Music Director David Freeman Coleman
People, Places & Things – Wednesday, May 27, 5:00-5:30pm – Artists present: Director David R. Gammons, Actress Marianna Bassham, Actor John Kuntz
Slave Play – Wednesday, June 3, 5:00-5:30pm; Artist present: Director Tiffany Nichole Greene
Bright Star – Wednesday, June 10, 5:00-5:30pm; Artists present: Director Paul Daigneault, Actress Laura Marie Duncan, Choreographer Misha Shields, Music Director Eli Schildekraut
The Inheritance – Wednesday, June 17, 5:00-5:30pm; Artist present: Director Paul Daigneault

Announcing the SpeakEasy Play Discussion Club –  a weekly discussion surrounding some of today’s most exciting scripts! Join SpeakEasy staff and artists for an online conversation about the play’s major themes and impact on the American theatre canon.For this series of plays, the theme is Celebrating Contemporary Female Voices:
WEEK ONE:
Introduction Session or “Play Reading 101: A How-To Guide”
An optional resource for those interested in the tips and tricks of play reading!
Thursday, May 21 from 5:00 – 5:30pm (Sign Up Here)
WEEK TWO:
Cost of Living by Martyna Majok
Thursday, May 28 from 5:30 – 6:30pm (Sign Up Here)
WEEK THREE:
Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee
Thursday, June 4 from 5:30 – 6:30pm (Sign Up Here)
WEEK FOUR:
DIASPORA! by Phaedra Michelle Scott
Developed through SpeakEasy’s The Boston Project
Thursday, June 11 from 5:30 – 6:30 (Sign Up Here)
WEEK FIVE:
Wild Goose Dreams by Hansol Jung
Thursday, June 18 from 5:30 – 6:30pm (Sign Up Here)

Elsewhere, on the internet:
What’s streaming: https://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/whats-streaming-the-1998-theatrical-version-of-cat_90994.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=14may2020

Radio theatre podcasts: https://broadwaypodcastnetwork.com/podcast/dracula-a-comedy-of-terrors/%MCEPASTEBIN%

Gillian Anderson’s, Streetcar: https://www.theatermania.com/new-york-city-theater/news/gillian-anderson-streetcar-tom-hiddleston-coriolan_90974.html?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=14may2020