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

Share with Your Audience
May 07

She Will Cut You: TOP GIRLS

Sophia Ramos, Carmen M. Herlihy, Paula Plum, Kiara Pichardo, and Carmen Zilles; Photo: T. Charles Erickson,

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Liesl Tommy
Dramaturgy by Phaedra Michelle Scott
Original music & sound design by Broken Chord

April 20 – May, 2018
Huntington Theater
Avenue of the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Congrats to the Huntington for finally get that permanent ramp set up.

Top Girls is a feminist play by Caryl Churchill. It has a good script. It’s a good play for women. It isn’t Caryl Churchill’s only feminist play. It isn’t the only feminist play for a cast of women. There are others out there waiting to be produced, and yet, the New England theatre community loves this show. So much so that it’s been produced three times in the Boston-area alone in the past four years. The Kilroy’s List was supposed to end the ad nauseum repeats.   Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Apr 14

Harvard University presents FAR AWAY, April 26 – 30, 2017

The Theater, Dance & Media Concentration at Harvard University presents its spring production,
FAR AWAY

By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Annie Tippe

Cambridge, MA:  The newly formed Theater, Dance & Media Concentration at Harvard University launches its third production with Caryl Churchill’s FAR AWAY, directed by Annie Tippe.

Joan wakes up in the middle of the night and sees something she’s not meant to see.  She’s convinced to keep a secret that will forever alter the course of her life. Caryl Churchill’s brief and chilling Far Away paints a not so-far-away future where fear of “the other” rules supreme, and beauty, politics and violence strike an uneasy kinship. Equal parts humorous and horrifying, we are drawn into a fantastical world where even the birds and rivers are at war. Joan is left to ask herself: How do I know if I’m on the “right side”?

FAR AWAY performs April 26-30, in Farkas Hall in the heart of Harvard Square.  

Farkas Hall
12 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA
Wednesday, Apr. 26, 7:30pm
Thursday, Apr. 27, 7:30pm
Friday, Apr. 28, 7:00pm
Saturday, Apr. 29, 7:30pm
Sunday, Apr. 30, 2pm
Tickets are $5 for students/seniors and $10 for general admission, and are available through

The Harvard Box Office 
12 Holyoke St, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone:  617-496-2222
TTY:  617-495-1642
www.boxoffice.harvard.edu
For more information, please visit www.tdm.fas.harvard.edu Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Dec 30

Geeks Read Books: “Here We Go/ Escaped Alone: Two Plays” by Caryl Churchill

 

Here We Go/ Escaped Alone: Two Plays
Caryl Churchill
Theatre Communications Group (TCG)
New York, 2016
$14.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY meets Somerville, MA) As made evident by the title, Here We Go/ Escaped Alone contains two new plays by Caryl Churchill. They are as strange, and pleasantly unsettling as her other works. Churchill takes every opportunity to push buttons, and redefine theatre. Fans will be delighted by these two new scripts. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Oct 17

One Out of Three Ain’t Good: “A Number”

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Written by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Clay Hopper

Oct. 10 – Nov. 1, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Apologies to the cast, crew and staff of A Number. Mrs. Drexel caught the sniffle plague and was unable to write intelligibly.

(Watertown, MA) Churchill throws us into the middle of the conflict: Salter (Dale Place) and son are violently discussing the son’s birth origins. Regardless of the half-truths Salter weaves, it is made clear that the Bernards (Nael Nacer) is one of any number of clones. The Bernards hate each other. Salter must come to terms with his rash decision to play God. In her pithy way, Churchill approaches identity, the morality of cloning by way of personal property, and the timeless conflict between nature and nurture. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Apr 15

Bachelor’s Degree Preferred: TOP GIRLS

Photos courtesy of Paul Cantillon for Bad Habit Productions

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Liz Fenstermaker

April 12-27, 2014
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston) Bad Habit Productions closes their seventh season, “Ambition & Sacrifice,” with a sharp focus on the feminine. Their interpretation of Caryl Churchill’s work provides representation of classic and modern stereotypes of females while maintaining a quick pace. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
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

Share with Your Audience
Jan 28

Older Than Most College Students and Still Relevant: TOP GIRLS

Top Girls

Presented by Theatre@First
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Liz Adams

January 23 – February 1, 2014
Davis Square Theatre
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Somerville)

Theatre@First offers an earnest take on Caryl Churchill’s meditation on womanhood in the 1980s.  The production is best in the lighter moments, when the realities of the character’s lives seem far less crushing.

Top Girls itself is not traditional, but is and was a groundbreaking piece which provides incisive snapshots of women beyond as well as within classical archetypes. A show which only represents female voices is not necessarily feminist by default, but feminism as it relates to the time as well as the past pops up regularly.  Central themes such as success and sacrifice are embodied by Marlene, played effectively as a witty and ruthless vamp by Kathy-Ann Hart, who has achieved autonomy by choosing the advancement of her career over other areas of her life. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Nov 08

There is a train immediately behind this train: “Someone Who’ll Watch Over Me”

Photo courtesy of Kevin Hadfield for Bad Habit Productions.

Presented by Bad Habit Productions
by Frank McGuinness
Directed by A. Nora Long

November 1-16
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Bad Habit on Facebook

Review by Noe Kamelamela

(Boston) In the second show of their seventh season, called Ambition & Sacrifice, Bad Habit Productions continues to create theatre in small spaces that convey big ideas. At a grueling two hours without intermission in a studio theatre, this production feels at times like a test of endurance for the audience and the three person ensemble. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience
Jan 15

“Vinegar Tom”: A Deceptively Timely Play

Photo credit: Whistler in the Dark; This show contains material that may trigger PTSD  - please try to see it anyway.

Photo credit: Whistler in the Dark; This show contains material that may trigger PTSD – please try to see it anyway.

presented by Whistler in the Dark Theatre
Vinegar Tom is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

by Caryl Churchill

directed by Mac Young
songs composed by Molly Allis, Juliet Olivier & Veronica Barron
music Composed and Performed by: Veronica Barron & Tony Leva
lyrics by Caryl Churchill

January 11th-February 2nd
The Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
Whistler in the Dark Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

TRIGGER WARNING

(Boston) Historical fiction is often said to reflect the era in which it’s written rather than the era it’s written about.  Caryl Churchill’s Vinegar Tom, originally performed in 1976, mirrors the growing awareness of feminism.  In 1600’s England, a group of women deal with being unmarried, unrepresented, and unwanted. The result is a play that’s appropriately bleak.

Vinegar Tom begins with Alice, portrayed by the excellent but often subtle Becca A. Lewis.  Lewis playfully drives the show as a young woman with a feather-light conscience despite having an infant son out of wedlock.  Her performance is credible not as a woman anachronistically independent or “ahead of her time,” but as someone who wants to marry and live on her own terms.  She is aided by her mother, Joan (Karin Webb), who is largely dismissed and derided by their town as an old hag. Continue reading

Share with Your Audience