Jul 15

Blame it on the Unquiet Ducks: “Hamlet”

Photo via Praxis Stage on Facebook: Elena Toppo, Eric McGowan, Joan Raube-Wilson; not dead yet.

Presented by Praxis Stage 
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kim Carrel
Dramaturgy by Michael Anderson
Fight choreography by Kim Carrell

Jul 6 – Jul 14, 2019
Danehy Park
99 Sherman St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Jul 18 – Jul 28, 2019
Longfellow Park 
Cambridge, MA 02138
Praxis Stage on Facebook
Critique by Kitty Drexel

Murther [ mur-th er ] – noun, verb (used with or without object) Obsolete:

  1. Murder. 

 – From Dictionary.com

(Cambridge, MA) I don’t prefer productions performed out of doors. The novelty has never appealed to me. I’ve only acted in one Shakespeare in the Park production and, while grateful for the experience, I wouldn’t do it agin. Actors must complete with offstage noise, there’s the weather, and, at dusk, there are the MOSQUITOS. Nature in all its splendor cannot compare to the creature comforts offered by the great indoors. That being said, Praxis Stage’s Hamlet is fun.

A summary of Hamlet is provided by Encyclopedia Britanica (contains spoilers). Unlike many, many Hamlets before, Praxis’ interpretation doesn’t paint Hamlet (Eric McGowan) the man as a wounded emo-hero torn apart by his circumstances. Praxis takes a more feminist approach by establishing Hamlet as a man-child culpable for his abusive actions: he’s rash and impulsive; a murderer and a misogynist.  Continue reading

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Jun 17

Close Your Eyes and Think of England: “Cloud 9”

Cast of “Cloud 9”
Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Presented by the Nora Theatre Company
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Voice and Music direction by Caitlin Gjerdrum
Dramaturgy by Sophie Gore
Text and dialect coaching by Allison Olivia Choat

June 6 – 30, 2019
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Warning: this post contains spoilers. The spoilers are necessary to the conversation.

Trigger warnings: child abuse, mentions of domestic violence, racism, sexism, creepy dolls

Satire: (noun) sat·​ire | \ ˈsa-ˌtī(-ə)r
Definition of satire

1 : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly – Per the Merriam-Webster online dictionary

(Cambridge, MA) Satire doesn’t have to be funny. Most satire is funny, but it isn’t a hard and fast rule. Much of comedy is found funny because of its treatment of serious topics. For example, jokes about the Boston Str8 Pride Parade* will get a laugh in some situations. In other situations, the jokes don’t land because this parade represents unadulterated hate towards the LGBTQ+ community. We understand why your jokes are “funny,” but it’s our lives those neo-nazis are protesting. The protest might be funny if it were satire – But it isn’t. It’s real. We’re real too. 

I mention this because the themes that Caryl Churchill attacks in Cloud 9 are real too. Heteros still think that the LGBTQ+ community is asking for extra protections. People of Color (POC) are being massacred in the US for their audacity to take up space. These things aren’t funny but jokes about them can be if told properly. Cloud 9’s themes are still relevant. Continue reading

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Jun 12

ImprovBoston Presents “Terpsichore,” A Masterclass for all female-identifying individuals

Sunday, June 23, 12 – 4pm
Registration: Tickets via ImprovBoston

ImprovBoston
Main Theater
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139
IB on Facebook

“Terpsichore” is an improvised storytelling theatre piece in movement, dance, music, and spoken word. The format is simple enough and focuses on actors breaking the 4th wall to tell captivating tales supported by their cast who operate as one entity like a Greek chorus to support the action of the story. Through dance, movement, co-creation, and support, the cast weaves narratives that transport the audience to different times and places and blend fiction and non-fiction together in a heady phantasmagoria of sound, movement, and speech.

The workshop for this project itself is a crash course through decades worth of research, interdisciplinary study, and artistic exploration. During the 4 hour workshop, the performers will learn a shared vocabulary of group mind, movement, storytelling, dance, musicality, mime, and object work to create something truly awe-inspiring that will open up their creative centres and let them radiate as performers. The exercises involve mime, dance and movement, narration and storytelling, singing and vocal support, responsibly respectful contact improv, use of the environment and space, concrete and abstract deconstruction, points of inspiration and above all else support of fellow castmates and celebrating mistakes through repetition and support and elevating ideas until the whole piece becomes a matrix of unified thought.

“Terpsichore” is designed to break the mold of what improvised theatre is expected to be, even from within the improv community. It urges performers to stand outside of themselves and their perceived limitations and co-create something truly extraordinary using skills they didn’t even know they possessed before the process began.

FROM LINDSAY: This project is about providing advanced training specifically to benefit and encourage the next generation of female improvisers. With that goal, the cost to be a part of this unique and exciting opportunity is kept low.

REGISTRATION IS $20 AND IS OPEN TO ALL FEMALE IDENTIFYING PERFORMERS

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Lindsay Gonzales is a stand-up comedienne and improvisor lately of Chicago, Illinois. Continue reading

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May 23

We Will Be Free When We Are All Free: “We Live in Cairo”

The cast of “We Live in Cairo.” Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Presented by the A.R.T.
Book, music, lyrics by Daniel Lazour and Patrick Lazour
Directed by Taibi Magar
Choreography by Samar Haddad King
Music directed by Madeline Smith

May 14 – June 23, 2019
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) There are a few things that must be established for a white audience to fully digest the A.R.T.’s production of We Live in Cairo.

Continue reading

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May 07

“black odyssey boston”: Greek Myth Meshes Beautifully with African Diaspora

Brandon G. Green & Johnny Lee Davenport. Photo: Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by by The Front Porch Arts Collective & Underground Railway Theater
Written by Marcus Gardley
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush
Choreographed by Melissa Alexis
Music Directed by Alyssa Jones

April 25 – May 19, 2019
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
black odyssey boston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Brandon G. Green is Ulysses Malcolm Lincoln, a soldier who’s unmoored. Not just unmoored on the sea, but unmoored in time, place, and personhood. We follow him on a journey as episodic as The Odyssey with as much raw, mythic power. The classic epic has been broken down and rebuilt with a mosaic of African diaspora culture. black odyssey boston is truly an epic in that it is three hours of fantastical and strange adventures. It finds its way home, however, not when it tries to piece together every popular touchstone it can lay its hands on, but when it focuses on the human relationships of its characters. Continue reading

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Apr 01

He’s Asking For It: “Extremities”

Photo credit: Ashley Yung; Alissa Cordeiro (Marjorie)

Presented by Also Known As Theatre
In partnership with Boston Area Rape Crisis Center (barcc)
By William Matrosimone
Directed by Alexandra Smith
Fight choreography by Jessica Scout Malone

March 28 – April 13, 2019
First Church Cambridge
11 Garden St.,
Cambridge, MA 02138

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: assault, sexual assault, gas lighting, victim blaming

(Cambridge, MA) It’s a cruel and unusual punishment to be found at guilty of assault when protecting oneself from attacker. Cyntoia Brown served 15 years in prison for murdering a man who bought her for sex so she could flee. At 16 years old, she was tried her as an adult and sentenced to 51 years in prison without parole. She has only recently received clemency for her unreasonably harsh and unjust sentencing. Also Known As Theatre’s production of Extremities puts into stark relief just how easy it is for the US legal system to turn on women for not performing victimhood to exacting standards. Brown is receiving a modicum of justice but how many women will not? Continue reading

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Mar 22

On A Dime: “Dragon Lady”

Presented by by A.R.T. Breakout, part-one of the Dragon Cycle
Created and performed by Sara Porklob
Original music by Peter Irving
Band: Hot Damn Scandal
Directed by Andrew Russell

March 20 – April 6
Club Oberon
2 Arrow Street
Cambridge MA, 02138
A.R.T. on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MADragon Lady is the courageous story of how potty-mouthed, gangsta grandma Maria Porkalob traveled from the Philippines to the US as told by her granddaughter Sara Porkalob.  This one woman show/dramatic cabaret is intensely passionate. The events of Maria’s stories might not be exactly true. What is true is the emotional veracity with which it is told.

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Mar 09

For “Endlings,” Death Becomes Her

Presented by American Repertory Theatre
By Celine Song
Directed by Sammi Cannold

February 26 – March 17, 2019
ASL Interpreted performances: Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30PM and Sunday, March 17 at 2PM
Open Captioned performances: Thursday, March 14 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Audio Described performances: Friday, March 15 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Cambridge, MA) Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and everyone in the world knows his name. Young Jean Lee was the first Asian female playwright on Broadway, and that is all she’s known as: “Asian female playwright”. Even in headlines about her work, white newspapers didn’t bother to print her name. Most people don’t know her name, including Asian women outside of theater. Let’s face it. White people like white plays, and the occasional token, minstrel show. Continue reading

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Mar 05

Not That Kind of Review: Bedlam’s “Pygmalion”

The cast; Photo by Nile Scott Studios

Presented by Bedlam Theatre Company
Directed by Eric Tucker
Written by George Bernard Shaw

January 31, 2019 – March 3, 2019
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Cambridge, MA) Central Square Theatre hosts New York City’s Bedlam Theatre Company in their revamped version of Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw. This is the classic story of English phonetician Henry Higgins (Eric Tucker) discovering and training working class waif Eliza Doolittle (Vaishnavi Sharma) on the speech and manners of a proper English lady, to the ultimate folly of both. Bedlam’s new interpretation returns to Shaw’s original feminist conception of Eliza and Henry’s fraught relationship and also changes the Doolittle family to Indian immigrants, ostensibly to reflect modern day issues of gender, class, and immigration in the US. It was a very well done production, and I’m sure there will be many reviews which praise all its various technical merits. This review isn’t one of them. Continue reading

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Feb 11

Humorous Teachings: Sketch Writing MasterClass with Kevin McDonald

McDonald’s headshot

Presented by Improv Boston
Sketches Thru Improv – the Kids in the Hall Way
February 2, 2019, 10AM – 5:30PM
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, Massachusetts
IB on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Cambridge, MA) Kevin McDonald has enough accolades under his belt as a writer and performer that one could have forgiven him if he had chosen to mail it in during his seminar on sketch comedy at Improv Boston. A founding member of the Kids in the Hall, McDonald has decades of experience in comedy writing and a resume that would earn him the right to lecture from on high to comedy newbies. Continue reading

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