Nov 03

Art within Cultural Context: “Kiss”

Kiss presented by ArtsEmerson
Written by Guillermo Calderón
Directed by David Dower

October 26 – November 19, 2017
Emerson Paramount Center՚s Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Washington Street
Boston, Massachusetts
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Review by Holly Goss

(Boston, MA) Kiss is a play within a play that tells the story of a zealous young theatre group՚s gross misinterpretation of a Syrian play called Kiss. These naive and fresh-faced actors, come up against a nasty dose of realism when they learn what Kiss really means. However the play falls apart when the cast try to diligently apply their new knowledge, to re-perform this seemingly simple love story and reveal the true horror of the war lurking underneath. This second performance falls flat and fails to deliver the big twist the audience anticipate. Kiss tackles a breadth of themes, the war in Syria, the importance of cultural context, the purpose of art. However, the writing is ultimately overly ambitious and is unable to get to the heart of these important questions. Continue reading

Jan 23

Complaining Grows the Heart: OUR SECRETS

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Co-presentation with: The Baryshnikov Arts Center and Dartmouth’s Hopkins Center
Created by Béla Pintér and Company
Directed and written by Béla Pintér

Jan. 19-22, 2017
Emerson/Paramount Center
Robert J. Orchard Stage
Boston, MA
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Performed in Hungarian with English supertitles

Review by Noe Kamelamela and Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAIt is 1980’s Budapest. Communism is the rule of the land (more on this important info is HERE, thanks to the ArtsEmerson blog). Impotent folk musician, István Balla Bán can only get it up for children. He is inconveniently attracted to his step-daughter Timike. At his wife’s request, he sees a therapist to whom he reveals his disgusting secrets. Govt. spies secret record his admission and use the recording to blackmail him. To avoid responsibility for his illness, István spies on his friend who writes an underground, anti-Communist magazine.  Please note, the graphic sexual content in this production involves adult actors playing minors. It is appropriately disturbing. Continue reading

Nov 05

Death is Not A Fight You Win: MALA

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Written and performed by Melinda Lopez
Directed by David Dower
Dramaturgy by P. Carl

Oct 27 – Nov. 20, 2016
Audio Described Performance: SAT, NOV 12 @ 2PM
American Sign Language Performance: SAT, NOV 19 @ 2PM
Emerson/Paramount Center
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Forgiveness is a conscious act of releasing pain. To forgive oneself is to choose to unburden purposeful self-torment. It’s one of the hardest gifts to give ourselves and the most necessary. Mala is not a show about a woman who has forgiven herself for the role she played in her parents deaths. It is about a woman so torn up that she must relive her role in them with each performance. Continue reading

Oct 06

Figments of the Id: HERE ALL NIGHT

Presented by ArtsEmerson and Gare St Lazare Ireland
Conceived and created by Judy Hegarty Lovett, Paul Clark, Conor Lovett, Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh
Includes texts from Watt, The Unnamable, First Love, Words and Music, and Malone Dies by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett
Composed/music directed by Paul Clark
Additional compositions by Caoimhin O’Raghallaigh

Oct. 5 – 9, 216
Emerson/Paramount Main Stage
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Here All Night is a chamber opera with women’s ensemble based on the works of Irish playwright Samuel Beckett. Let that sink in; it’s a contemporary opera with source texts by the man who wrote Waiting for Godot (among other abstractions). This is not a “normal” piece of pleasant theatre. Buckle your seatbelts and gird your loins, it’s going to be a bumpy night. Continue reading

Jul 18

Some Like it Hot: CUISINE & CONFESSIONS

CAPTION: ANNA KICHTCHENKO & MELVIN DIGGS Photo Credit: Alexandre Galliez

Anna Kichtchenko & Melvin Diggs; Photo Credit: Alexandre Galliez

Presented by The 7 FingersArtsEmerson and Jonathan Reinis Productions
Created and Staged by Shana Carroll and Sébastien Soldevila

July 12 – August 7
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont St. Boston
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Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) I’ve noticed a really exciting trend in Circus arts lately.  The Circus, in many ways, is going through a pivotal transitional period: as animal acts continue to dwindle in reaction to the many valid concerns about humane animal treatment, circus performers are finding more and more creative ways to showcase not just the feats of inhuman strength, flexibility, and dexterity that we’re used to seeing, but also the humanity of the performers themselves.  Story telling is becoming more and more central to the outstanding circuses touring the world and I couldn’t be more excited to have a front row seat to the incredible fruits of this transition. Continue reading

Feb 16

It’s A Privilege To Be So Offended: AN OCTOROON

(photo cred: Jeremy Fraga)

(photo cred: Jeremy Fraga)

Presented by Company One and ArtsEmerson
Written by Branden Jacobs-Jenkins
Directed by Summer L. Williams

Jan. 29 – Feb. 27, 2016
Emerson/Jackie Liebergott Black Box
559 Washington St; Boston MA, 02111
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Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MAI know enough about civil and political rights to know that I don’t know nearly enough to speak with authority; I know enough to know that white people need to shut up and show up in support of the voices of people of color (POCs). That white people have done more than enough talking on behalf of the peoples we oppress. My suggestion is to attend An Octoroon and stay for the talk back. Use your money to express your belief that everyone deserves equal rights and equal representation. Use your attendance as an opportunity to start a respectful conversation about the US’s race problem. Let POCs know that their fight doesn’t exist in a vacuum.  Continue reading

Jan 21

Remixed: “Twelfth Night”


Presented by Filter Theatre Company in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Sean Holmes
Music and Songs by Tom Haines and Ross Hughes
Presented at ArtsEmerson

January 20 – 30, 2016
Paramount Center
559 Washington St., Boston, MA 02111
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Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) Let’s start here: this ain’t your mama’s Twelfth Night. Continue reading

Nov 15

Dreaming the Dream: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”

Presented by the Isango Ensemble
Adapted and Directed by Mark Dornford-May
Music Arrangement by Mandisi Dyantyis
Music Directored by Pauline Malefane and Mandisi Dyantyis
Choreography by Lungelo Ngamlana

Presented at ArtsEmerson
November 10 – 22, 2015
Cutler Majestic Theatre
219 Tremont street, Boston
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Isango Ensemble on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) I don’t know about you, but A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of those shows that I’ve seen so often it’s nearly lost all meaning. It might be a professional hazard: as a Shakespearean dramaturge/actor/fight director/scholar, Midsummer pops onto my project radar so frequently in so many different settings: it’s a favorite of high school drama clubs, regional Shakespeare theatres, and any company looking to do “Shakespeare with a twist”. Midsummer lends itself well to many different interpretations, and has enough zany, wacky antics to support a multitude of artistic styles and choices. Continue reading

Sep 29

Falsely Upbeat Conclusion Makes “Mr. Joy” Hard to Enjoy

1_DSC1397 copy

Photo by Paul Marotta

Presented by ArtsEmerson.
By Daniel Beaty
Directed by David Dower

September 22nd-October 18th, 2015
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre at the
The Paramount Center
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Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Black box theater is traditionally a great medium for experimental productions, so when I, along with other audience members of Mr. Joy, was told that the play would speak to us and that we were expected to talk back, I was quite excited—I’m a sucker for audience par-tish. And while my expectations for live audience feedback were never met (don’t anticipate improvised scenes, but rather, a couple moments of audience contribution) what I did manage to enjoy about Mr. Joy was how it addressed current issues in a loud way. Continue reading

Sep 25

Climb Every Mountain: “Earnest Shackleton Loves Me”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Lyrics by Valerie Vigoda
Music by Brendan Milburn
Book by Joe DiPietro
Directed by Lisa Peterson
Musical Direction by Ryan O’Connell
Composers Ryan O’Connell and Brendan Milburn

September 20 – October 4, 2015
Paramount Mainstage
599 Washington Street, Boston
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Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) At the heart of every impossible task is a glimmer of hope that, if followed, might just make the impossible happen.  As I enter the final stages of writing my dissertation for my PhD, this message simply can’t be repeated loudly or frequently enough.  Lucky me, the kind folks at ArtsEmerson understood exactly what I needed to hear tonight and so brought me (personally) Earnest Shackleton Loves Me to soothe my over-wrought mind and charm my tired adventurer’s heart. Continue reading