Aug 04

“Macbeth” Gets Bloody Good: Part II

Presented by Liars & Believers
Directed by Jason Slavick
Original Music and Sound Design by Jay Mobley
Additional Video by Sam Powell

June 18, 2020 – Present (Weekly)
View – https://www.liarsandbelievers.com/show/pandemicplay/
LAB on Facebook, Twitter

Review by Gillian Daniels

ZOOM – When we last left our antiheroes, Macbeth (Jesse Garlick) found his ambitions for the throne awoken by three, soothsayer witches (all played by Rebecca Lehrhoff in different registers and Instagram filters) and Lady Macbeth (Rachel Wiese) decided to do whatever was in her power to climb the hegemonic ladder and stomp on every person who got in their way as bloodily as possible. Betrayal has yet to visit ruin and mental anguish on their lives. Continue reading

Jul 07

Socially Isolated with “Macbeth”

Presented by Liars & Believers
Directed by Jason Slavick
Original Music and Sound Design by Jay Mobley
Additional Video by Sam Powell

June 18, 2020 – Present (Weekly)
https://www.liarsandbelievers.com/show/pandemicplay/

Review by Gillian Daniels

ZOOM — Liars & Believers slices off bite sized pieces of the Scottish Play for serialized consumption! In a world that demands us to simultaneously be far apart while empathizing with each other’s difficulties, we revisit a cautionary tale of a man whose name has become synonymous with backstabbing cruelty. In serializing Macbeth, we watch a show that absorbs the changes and horrors of our contemporary headlines and sense of unease each passing week. Continue reading

Mar 02

100% That Witch: “Hansel & Gretel”

The “Hansel & Gretel” cast. C/o imaginary beasts on Facebook.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written & directed by Matthew Woods
Additional text by the Ensemble: Laura Detwiler, Lauren Foster, Colin McIntire, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Kiki Samko, Jamie Semel, Sivan Spector, Jennifer Taschereau, Matthew Woods
Puppets designed by Elizabeth Owens & Jill Rogati

Feb. 7 – March 1, 2020
The Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA
The beasts on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Charlestown, MA — The run of Winter Panto 2020: Hansel & Gretel by imaginary beasts ended on March 1. You are out of luck if you are reading this review now. It was wonderful! The cast’s acting talents were in excellent form because the script was chock full of boisterous puns and pop culture references. Scenery chewing extended to the audience just a little bit so as to rope all comers into the play’s antics. Best of all, the audience was game to interact with the show for the duration of the took the two-and-a-half-hour performance. If you watch the beastie website, you can catch them next year.  Continue reading

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

Nov 06

“Peter and the Starcatcher,” and Vote Yes on 3!

With Lindsay Eagle, Robert Benton Orzalli, Michael John Ciszewski, Lauren Elias, Joey Cletis Pelletier, Molly Kimmerling, Claire Koenig and Bob Mussett. Picture by Tim Gurczak.

Produced by Hub Theatre of Boston
Written by Rick Elice
Music by Wayne Barker
Based on the novel by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
Directed by Sarah GazdowiczNovember 2 – 17, 2018
First Church of Boston
66 Marlborough Street
Boston, MA 02116

Hub on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) Peter and the Starcatcher is a reimagined origin story for Peter Pan. Before he was the boy who wouldn’t grow up, Peter was an orphan with no name, no friends, and no home. Robbed of their childhoods, Peter and his fellow lost boys are sold to the treacherous, orphan-hating captain of The Neverland, Bill Slank. Slank has stolen Queen Victoria’s treasure trunk and left a decoy in its place on HMS The Wasp. Also aboard The Neverland is Molly Aster, daughter of The Wasp’s captain, righteous and patriotic Lord Leonard Aster. The Asters are revealed to be more than imperial apologists when a band of pirates capture The Wasp and sail for Neverland’s stolen treasure. The adventure lands everyone on Mollusk Island, inhabited by a tribe of English-hating Italian chefs, allowing Peter to discover who he truly is and where he belongs.
Continue reading

Jun 11

#Gamergate, Too: “The Nether”

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Jennifer Haley
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 8 – 23, 2018
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, 02472
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: pedophilia, sexual abuse, implied physical violence, predatory grooming

(Watertown, MA) Flat Earth’s production is expectedly excellent but it isn’t enjoyable. Well actually, The Nether is about ethics in gaming journalism. It’s a political metaphor for gamer identity protection. Just kidding: It’s about abusive communities on the internet and the people who dwell in them. Identity protection and “ethics” are smoke screens for heinous behavior in the name of free speech and implausible deniability. #yesallwomen Continue reading

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

Aug 04

“Translations” and Tribulations

Credit: Paul Cantillon, Lidecphoto.com

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
by Brian Friel
directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

August 2-17, 2014
Boston Center for the Arts
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

Cultural erasure and the silencing power of colonialism—Translations is not a play that minces words. It’s a tragedy of linguistics. During the 19th century, the English army seeks to map out the Irish countryside, specifically the town of Baile Beag. In order to have unified names for the maps they draw, the soldiers end up Anglicizing the Gaelic names of rivers, roads, and mountain ridges. Staged by Bad Habit Productions, this play rages at the disappearance of local tradition in the name of Imperialism. Continue reading

Apr 10

“Far Away” is Close to Home

Presented by Whistler in the Dark
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Meg Taintor

April 3-19, 2014
The Charlestown Working Theatre
Charlestown, MA
Whistler on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

One of the most terrifying things about dictatorships, dystopias, and police states are how they turn what is savage and ridiculous into what is mundane and even acceptable.  Blood doesn’t flow on stage at any point during Whistler in the Dark’s production of Far Away.  No one pulls out a gun or stabs another character to prove a point.  With the power of playwright Caryl Churchill’s words and Meg Taintor’s direction, they don’t need to. Fear  lay heavily over the show already; we don’t need any clearer sign things are uncertain and wrong. Continue reading

Nov 13

A Grim Giggle at Giving in “The After-Dinner Joke”

Displaying Joke2.JPG

Photo care of Christopher McKenzie

Presented by Whistler in the Dark Theatre
By Carol Churchill
Directed by Meg Taintor

November 7-24, 2013
The Charlestown Working Theatre
442 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
Whistler on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown) A system has been built around giving to the poor and helping the needy.  Whistler in the Dark’s The After-Dinner Joke is a bleak comedy lampooning a culture that’s been created around charity: those who give to it, those who decide where the money goes, and those still in need when the giving is done.  It’s a show full of pratfalls and particularly British moments of social observation.  The titular joke, however, is overshadowed by grim realizations about human nature. Continue reading