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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Mar 05

Driving Mr. Daisy: “The White Card”

Karen Pittman and Daniel Gerroll in The White Card. Photo: Gretjen Helene Photography; Charlotte manages Charles’ microaggressions.

Presented by ArtsEmerson with the American Repertory Theatre
By Claudia Rankin
Directed by Diane Paulus
Dramaturgy by P. Carl

Feb. 24 – April 1, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center
Robert J. Orchard Stage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Reviews by Kitty Drexel and Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) The White Card is a conversation starter for those unused to discussing race at length. It’s for those who think we live in a post-racial society, the kind of person who resents the dialogue because there are “bigger problems” to fix. Other attributes include denying racism because they have imaginary Black friends, thinking “all lives matter,” and feeling threatened when any indication of their own culpability within society’s systemic racism. Those who have regular discussions on race, inequalities and the struggles for justice will have their work affirmed. Continue reading

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Feb 22

A Queer Bildnungsroman “Torrey Pines”

Presented by ArtsEmerson 
Torrey Pines
Directed by Clyde Petersen
Animated by Clyde Petersen & Chris Looney
Original music recorded in collaboration with Kimya Dawson and Chris Walla (Death Cab for Cutie)

Feb. 14 – 17, 2018
Jackie Liebergott Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

ArtsEmerson presented a lovely set of screenings of “Torrey Pines” with a live band and live foley.  A stop motion film about a young adolescent’s experiences, the lead in the film was also the lead in the band which played, Your Heart Breaks.  The Seattle band has been touring with this movie since its premiere in 2016.  It is wonderful that this movie was brought to Boston, especially since there are few art pieces with trans creators at the helm. Continue reading

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Jan 26

Caregiver Vents and Mourns in “Mala”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company and ArtsEmerson
Written and performed by Melinda Lopez
Directed by David Dower

Jan. 6 – Feb. 4, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “Dying doesn’t make you wise,” says Melinda Lopez, describing the death of her tough, stubborn mother. “Dying doesn’t make you generous.” The words could serve as the thesis of Mala, a story of a loyal daughter processing guilt and bitterness over the death of her elderly parents. Baked into the subject matter is a grim but gentle humor, one that picks at the coat of polish usually applied to recollections of the grieving process. Lopez’s pain, here, is visceral and true, not some softly lit movie set. Continue reading

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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
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

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

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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
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

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

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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
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

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

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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
Arts Emerson on Facebook
Gare St Lazare Ireland on Facebook

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

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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
The 7 Fingers on Facebook
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

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

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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
Company One on Facebook
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

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

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