Nov 04

Don’t Tell Me the Odds: “Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka”

Photo by Nile Scott.

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newly
Adapted for the stage by Leslie Bricusse and Timothy Allen McDonald
Based on the book, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Directed by Emily Ranii
Music directed by Nathan Urdangen 
Choreographed by Russell Garrett

Oct 25 – Nov. 17, 2019
Boston University
200 Riverway 
Boston, MA 02215
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Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Wheelock Family Theatre’s production of Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka (2004) should not be confused with the West End and Broadway production of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2013). Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is currently touring in the US (now in Omaha!). Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka is not. Both incorporate elements from Dahl’s novel and the two Hollywood movies. They are similar but not the same.  

Roald Dahl’s Willy Wonka cannot compete with the novel or the movies. Fans of the other Wonka media should view this iteration as the children’s theatre it is and not compare it to its source materials. They will be disappointed. Continue reading

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Feb 14

After so long, we’re still back to this: BACK THE NIGHT

2/3/14 Boston Playwrights' Theatre presents 'Back the Night' By Melinda Lopez. Directed by Daniela Varon. February 4-28-2016. With violence on campus rising to epidemic proportions, Em is in total denial. But when her best friend Cassie gets assaulted, Em makes some unexpected personal discoveries. Sometimes you do the wrong thing for the right reason. 2016-02-03_BACKTHENITE_002.jpg - Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Daniela Varon

February 4-28, 2016
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

Trigger warnings: sexual assault and physical violence, sexual situations, adult language, suicide, mental health, activism

(Boston, MA) Institutional support of criminals and criminal behavior either through incompetence or genuine ignorance is common. Although a college campus is the setting of Melinda Lopez’s Back the Night, it could be a stand-in for a fancy secondary school or any urban space. It is both cheaper and simpler in these forums to blame the victim than actually pursue justice.

Em, Sean and Cassie pit themselves against assault on campus after Cassie is injured one night. Em is the pre-med Nancy Drew who likes putting things into proper boxes and Melissa Jesser portrays her with an intensity that simmers just below the surface. Cassie (Amanda Collins), long an ardent anti-violence advocate, is finally putting a lot of her principles to the test. Sean just wants everyone to make it to graduation alive. Along the way, the undergraduates realize that intentions aren’t pure on any side of the issue. The set served as both metaphor and scenery, with decaying infrastructure and dorm furniture offset by autumn leaves and warm lighting.

When I attended, the audience of mostly college aged students and a few older attendees were both amused and engaged. Although the play is a new work, the topics have been stewing in higher education for some time. Local universities such as Boston University responded in the past three years to federal investigations related to sexual harassment under Title IX by leveraging pre-existing resources and coordinating new sets of training for incoming and ongoing students, staff and faculty. For survivors as well as for those who work at or attend a university, the transitions toward justice seem insignificant and much less than what was promised.

To be fair, there are a lot of great sea changes still occurring: a queer character like Sean, played by a bouncy Evan Horwitz, or a non-white character like Em can exist on a campus, which is a sign of progress. Authorities can’t produce those specific, permanent and positive transitions in a vacuum. Rallying and other forms of pressure by non-authorities as well as pushback, then, is more like a dance: there is movement over time, even if there is no easily discernible direction. Also, dances end, and it can take time before a different dance begins.

Lopez gets the internet’s impact on survivor’s rights in many ways: frequently the ability to reach lots of potential activists doesn’t lead to the revolution, especially since the internet reaches not only sympathetic minds, but also perpetrators and victim-blamers who are all too willing to sit on the sidelines and throw stones. At the very least, perpetrators are not given a forum in the play. There’s still lots of meat to chew on. Even when your friends are a mirror or an inspiration, they can still misunderstand and make demands on your sanity that can be almost as terrible as physical trauma. At a fairly short hour and a half, humor between the three friends lightens the frustration, exhaustion and constant questioning. Lopez has captured the voice of modern undergraduates and also provided a snapshot of the strained relationships of students to the adults who are supposed to guide and shield them.

Next on deck for Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is Rhinoceros a co-production with Suffolk University written by Eugene Ionesco at the Modern from February 25-March 13.

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Nov 04

Sleeping Weazel Presents: BODY & SOLD

Posted with permission from Sleeping Weazel

Posted with permission from Sleeping Weazel

SLEEPING WEAZEL JOINS TEMPEST PRODUCTIONS FOR A PLAY READING TO RAISE AWARENESS ABOUT TEENAGE SEX TRAFFICKING IN THE UNITED STATES

Boston, Mass., October 20, 2015 — Multimedia theatre company Sleeping Weazel, with director Robbie McCauley, will present a staged reading of BODY & SOLD, a documentary play by Tempest Productions’ Founder and Artistic Director Deborah Lake Fortson on Monday, November 16, 2015, 7:30 pm at Charlestown Working Theater, 442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA 02129. This play is the result of interviews with young Americans from Boston, Hartford, and Minneapolis who ran away from home or were kidnapped and lured into prostitution before escaping with their lives. The BODY & SOLD Project was developed to foster a network of theaters and social agencies with the goal of raising national consciousness about the intertwined issues of child abuse, runaways, and child/teenage prostitution.

This reading, supported by a Sleeping Weazel Lab Residency at the Charlestown Working Theatre, is part of a series of readings being presented this season by the Nora Theatre, Fort Point Theatre Channel, Boston University, Emerson College, and Boston Playwrights’ Theatre.

CALENDAR LISTING
Sleeping Weazel and Tempest Productions present:

BODY & SOLD

written by Deborah Lake Fortson
directed by Robbie McCauley
Monday, November 16, 2015
7:30 pm

Tickets: FREE and open to the public, donations welcome
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129

About Sleeping Weazel
Charlotte Meehan and Adara Meyers are playwrights and co-directors of Sleeping Weazel, a Boston-based experimental multimedia theatre company with an online cyber art gallery exhibiting film, video, and sound art that expands “the theatrical.” Last year, Sleeping Weazel premiered critically acclaimed productions of Meehan’s 27 Tips for Banishing the Blues (September 2014) and Meyers’ Talk To At Me (June 2014) as part of the company’s Doubles, Demons, and Dreamers festival. In March, the company premiered Badass, a festival of new works by theatre greats Kate Snodgrass, Robbie McCauley, and Magdalena Gomez. Sleeping Weazel’s motto, “making different possible,” refers to the company’s mission to bridge the gap between mainstream and avant-garde, to present works that break the boundaries between art forms, and to work with artists across generations, cultures, and genres. www.sleepingweazel.com Continue reading

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