Nov 18

A Ritual and Remembrance: “What to Send Up When It Goes Down”

The company of What to Send Up When It Goes Down; Photo by Lauren Miller.

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
Produced by The Movement Theatre Company
Written by Aleshea Harris
Directed by Whitney White
Presented in collaboration with Hibernian Hall
Ensemble Alana Raquel Bowers (Three), Nemuna Ceesay (Four/​Eight), Rachel Christopher (One/​Made), Ugo Chukwu (Six/​Miss), Kambi Gathesha (Two), Denise Manning (Nine/​Song Leader), Javon Q. Minter (Seven), Beau Thom (Five/​Man/​Driver)

NOV 14 – 16 at Hibernian Hall
184 Dudley Street
Roxbury, MA 02119

NOV 20 – 24 at The Ex (Loeb Drama Center)
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

(Roxbury/Cambridge, MA) In its initial moments, What to Send Up When It Goes Down declares itself as a ritual for Black people. Acknowledging the non-Black people in the audience it welcomes all others, with a clear request that all partakers be respectful. Even before it began, I knew the performance would tackle important issues that I resonate with, but the play was surprisingly evocative for the larger audience as well. Continue reading

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Oct 23

An Unabashedly Queer Celebration: “The Rocky Horror Show”

L to R: Jaclyn Chylinski (Phantom), Carly Grayson (Janet), Alexander Boyle (Brad) and Alex Jacobs (Narrator); Photograph: Sharman Altshuler.

Presented by Moonbox Productions 
Music, Lyrics and Book by Richard O’Brien
Directed by David Lucey
Music direction by Mindy Cimini
Choreography by Dan Sullivan
Costume Design by David Lucey
Set Design by Cameron McEachern
Lighting Design by Sam J. Biondolillo

Performance dates: Oct 18 – Nov 2, 2019
25 Brattle St, Cambridge MA
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/MoonboxProductions/

Review by Chloé Cunha

(Cambridge, MA) As a lifelong Cambridge resident, I remember when the Harvard Square Theatre closed. Like many, I was deeply saddened by the loss of this cinema treasure, where I had spent many a day and night watching some fantastic– and truly terrible– movies. More specifically, it was painful for the loss of the weekly screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which had been an institution since 1984. Continue reading

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Sep 16

Completely Natural, Incredibly Beautiful: “The America Plays”

Amanda J Collins and Robert Najarian; photo by Corinne Elicone.

Presented by Mount Auburn Cemetery
By Patrick Gabridge, Mount Auburn Cemetary Artist-in-Residence 
Directed by Courtney O’Connor
Music in All the Broken Pieces written, performed and recorded by Arshan Gailus

September 12, 2019 – September 22, 2019
Mount Auburn Cemetery
Cambridge, MA
MAC on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The America Plays is a pleasant introduction to a select few of the curious residents interred at Mount Auburn Cemetery through theatre. These short plays in place preserve the lives of eight artists, politicians, and scientists while asking their audience to hike the cemetery grounds. It’s a charming way to meet some New England spirits and watch the grounds transition to their fall colors.  Continue reading

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Aug 27

Riffs, Shimmies, Herstory: “Six”

Anna of Cleves (Brittney Mack, at center) performs “Get Down” in SIX, written by Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss and directed by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage.
Photo: Liz Lauren

Presented by the American Repertory Theatre
By Toby Marlow and Lucy Moss
Direction by Lucy Moss and Jamie Armitage
Music direction by Roberta Duchak
Choreography by Carrie-Anne Ingrouille 

Aug. 21 – Sept. 29, 2019
The Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge MA 02138
A.R.T. on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: sexual abuse of a minor, gas lighting, female objectification

(Cambridge, MA) Six is catchy like Hamilton. They have similar harmonic elements; both borrow heavily from popular music formats. Unlike Hamilton, Six lends its female characters depth beyond the deeds of a man. The women of six will be remembered for more than a shared husband. They’ll be remembered for living and their shared husband.  Continue reading

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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.

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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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