Photo credit to Nile Scott; Image shows Jasmine M. Rush in Queens Girl in the World, sitting on a swing. Behind her, the set, which predominantly features a large, white house, is lit with a mixture of purple and orange lights. In the scene, Jasmine’s character is smiling happily.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — There is a practice in the UK that I absolutely love: you can purchase a copy of the show you’re there to see at the bar. Going to see a new play? Buy a copy of it with your Malbec. Attending the show alone? Peruse your new copy while sipping Chardonnay at intermission. (Or Diet Coke if you’re reviewing.)
In the case of last night’s Queens Girl in the World, I wanted to buy and immediately read the entire Queens Girl Trilogy: Queens Girl in the World, Queens Girl in Africa, Queens Girl: Black in the Green Mountains. Character Jacqueline Marie Butler, written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, is so captivating I want to know more about her. Continue reading →
BOSTON — Fourteen theatre companies in the Greater Boston area will require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all artists, staff members, and audiences as live, indoor performances resume for the 2021/2022 season, said a press release dated August 19. Masks are also required.
The list of participating theatres is below.
The press release said that these policies begin immediately and remain valid through October 31. Policies are per CDC guidelines and will be reevaluated as COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
“Proof of vaccination may include showing either a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record (through an app such as Bindle at www.joinbindle.com/people),” said the press release. Audience members without proof of vaccination will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering.
Individual theatres will list specific protocols and guidelines on their websites. At this time, New England Theatre Geek has received protocol updates from the Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Central Square Theater in addition to the joint press release from the fourteen theatres.
The New England Theatre Geek eagerly awaits updates from other New England performing institutions. “We are reluctant to attend or review indoor performances by organizations that do not enact similar protocols and safety measures,” said Queen Geek Kitty Drexel.
“Our primary mission is to support our theatre community. We cannot do that if organizations aren’t first taking the necessary steps to protect their staff, crew and casts. Audience members can’t make informed decisions if they aren’t assured the community’s health is a priority.”
The June 2021 results of the ArtsBoston Audience Outlook Monitor survey said that 73% of audiences plan to resume indoor performances by Sept 2021. Audience Outlook Monitor is a longitudinal survey to keep tabs on arts attendees thoughts, concerns and intentions as the pandemic and the state’s reopening guidelines evolve, said ArtsBoston.com.
The 14 theatre joint press release said that the most recent round of Audience Outlook Monitor survey data (collected August 9 – 13, 202) found that 80% of respondents indicated that proof of vaccination would make them more likely to attend indoor events. 50% said that proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is a prerequisite for their attendance. 98% of respondents reported being fully vaccinated or planning to do so.
Theatres in New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established similar policies requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test and mask wearing.
It is good practice to stay home if experiencing COVID symptoms on the day of the performance. Common symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell.
Central Square Theater 450 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge, MA 02139 CST on Facebook
Critique by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM/Cambridge, MA — Central Square Theatre’s presentation of Fannie Lou Hamer: This Little Light was a hot and sticky mess. This event didn’t have technical difficulties; it had technical catastrophes. An evening that should have been about civil rights warrior Hamer was rife with distractions instead.
The audience was told at the beginning of the event that Dr. Young wouldn’t be able to perform for us that evening but that a recording of her performance would be played. While this was unfortunate, we could sympathize with Dr. Young. Her body is her instrument and instruments can be fickle. The Women’s Vote Centennial Panel would continue as scheduled. Continue reading →
September 18 to 20 at 7:30PM Starlight Square
84 Bishop Allen Drive
Cambridge, MA 02139
Critique by Afrikah Smith
“The law is a weapon if you know how to use it.” – Justice Thurgood Marshall
Cambridge, MA — In light of the passing of Justice Ruth Bader-Ginsburg, Thurgood reminds audiences of the obstacles BIPOC American citizens have overcome and continue to overcome every day, as we witness political events leading up to the 2020 elections.
Curious by how outdoor theatre was going to work, the thoughtful layout of Starlight Square surprised me. After checking in at will call, house staff escorted me to my seat following COVID-19 guidelines. Inside the space were socially distanced seating that met the gathering limit and made it more intimate. Although heaters are coming soon to Starlight Square, I recommend wearing warm layers. Continue reading →
Cambridge, MA — Starlight Square is the brand, heckin’ new stage within Central Square intended for public performance, art and community brought to us by the Central Square Business Improvement District, Flagg Street Studio, and Boyes-Watson Architects. The performances are FREE thanks to their sponsors (although some dance classes are at a fee because teaching artists deserve to get paid). On Friday, August 14, we masked our faces and girded our loins to attend Sarah Nolan’s Judy Punches Back.Continue reading →
Apollinaire Theatre Company — Apollinaire at Home announces the special event: Queer Soup’s Mal Malme and The Invasion of Pleasure Valley. Queer Soup Theater’s Mal Malme and members of the original cast of The Invasion of Pleasure Valley join Apollinaire at Home next Thursday, May 21st to revisit their early campy hit.
ArtsEmerson — ArtsEmerson is thrilled to announce that renowned musician, composer, producer, and activist Toshi Reagon is launching Parable Path Boston, based on the tenets of Octavia E. Butler’s novel The Parable of the Sower. Parable Path Boston will kick-off on Friday evening, May 22 with a one-night-only streaming event, the centerpiece of which is a full presentation of Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Sower: The Concert Experience.
To access any or all of the May 22 online events, please visit ParablePathBoston.com.
Central Square Theater — “ART IS OUR ACTIVISM – Online Series,” is a series of online play readings, Central Conversations, and educational programs specifically designed to engage audiences in a conversation for the here and now. Wild Goose Dreams
By Hansol Jung. Directed by Debra Wise Monday, May 18 at 7PM on Facebook Live! Presented by Underground Railway at Central Square Theater
A Conversation with Sherry Turkle & Sarah Shin Thursday, May 21 at 7PM on Zoom & Facebook Live!
Join Dr. Sherry Turkle, a researcher of human relationships with technology, and Sarah Shin, a co-founder of Asian American Theatre Artists of Boston, for a conversation about Wild Goose Dreams. Dr. Turkle will discuss how technology supports and inhibits connection in the play, while Ms. Shin will speak to the Korean cultural aspects.
Much Ado About Nothing
By William Shakespeare. Directed by Eric Tucker Monday, May 25 at 6PM on Zoom & Facebook Live! Presented by Bedlam
By Ella Ford. Directed by Cassie Chapados. Monday, June 29 at 7PM on Facebook Live! Presented by The Nora at Central Square Theater
Classic Stage Company — Classic Conversations continues on CSC’s Facebook page every Thursday at 6PM. Follow and Subscribe to watch every premiere Thursdays at 6pm.
Tony Nominee, Ethan Slater, Thurs. May 21 at 6pm, Spongebob Squarepants, Fosse/Verdon
Steven Pasquale, Thurs. May 28 at 6pm, The Bridges of Madison Country, American Son
Bianca Horn, Thurs. June 4 at 6pm, The Great Comet, The Awesome 80s Prom
Luminarium Dance Company — Luminarium continues to present its TEN4TEN Performance Series celebrating its tenth anniversary season with curated shows every two weeks, highlighting its award-winning repertory spanning 2010 to present. This week’s online performance features early examples of Luminarium Dance Company’s interdisciplinary take on community engagement. Enjoy choreographic collaborations that go “beyond dance” with the New England Quilt Museum (2013) and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art (2015).
Luminarium Dance Company & Monkeyhouse are thrilled to produce the seventh 24-Hour ChoreoFest!
SATURDAY, MAY 23
12-8pm: Live-streamed creation period & interviews
8pm: Live-streamed performance
Liars & Believers — LAB presents Ted & Marie by Joy Besozzi. It is live on its Pandemic Play page.
Coming Up: LAB has 3 shows in the pipeline, a big project gearing up, and a new experiment percolating.Plus several friends are creating shows and doing concerts. As long as this goes on, we’ll keep making art and sharing with you great things we find.
Merrimack Repertory Theatre — Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s professional training program for high school students, the MRT Young Company, goes virtual this year with classes online from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for three weeks, July 13-31. Renowned Chicago educator, director, and actor Robert Cornelius returns to lead the intensive.
The rate is $450 per person for the full course. Past Young Company participants may register for only $350. To register, visit www.mrt.org/youngcompany or call the Box Office at 978-654-4678. The program requires a laptop or tablet and internet access; if needed, MRT will provide technical support for any student.
Open Theatre Project — Week 3 of the OTP Community Write. On Monday, featured playwright Nick Malakhow chose “Communication/Miscommunication” and “New Rituals” to inspire our community’s writing this week. Performed by Alissa Cordeiro, Erik McGowan, Dave DiLillo, and Tasha Matthews. PANDEMIC-MONUIM by Bob Williams with Dave DiLillo Home Not Alone by Judith Black with Tasha Matthews Talk To You by Nick Malakhow with Alissa Cordeiro & Erik McGowan
Silverthorne Theater Company — Silverthorne Theater Company presents Days of Possibilities by Rich Orloff. Streaming now-June 4. <iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/WXc9WmKAjXc” frameborder=”0″ allow=”accelerometer; autoplay; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture” allowfullscreen></iframe>
SpeakEasy Stage Company — Beginning Wednesday, May 20 at 5PM, is a five-week half-hour series offering an insider’s guide to the five shows making up SpeakEasy’s 2020-2021 Season, which is also the company’s 30th Anniversary year. Those interested can join by tuning into SpeakEasy’s Facebook page for each live 30-minute Q&A session. The schedule of shows and artists is as follows: Once On This Island – Wednesday, May 20, 5:00-5:30pm; Artists present: Director Pascale Florestal, Music Director David Freeman Coleman People, Places & Things – Wednesday, May 27, 5:00-5:30pm – Artists present: Director David R. Gammons, Actress Marianna Bassham, Actor John Kuntz Slave Play – Wednesday, June 3, 5:00-5:30pm; Artist present: Director Tiffany Nichole Greene Bright Star – Wednesday, June 10, 5:00-5:30pm; Artists present: Director Paul Daigneault, Actress Laura Marie Duncan, Choreographer Misha Shields, Music Director Eli Schildekraut The Inheritance – Wednesday, June 17, 5:00-5:30pm; Artist present: Director Paul Daigneault
Announcing the SpeakEasy Play Discussion Club – a weekly discussion surrounding some of today’s most exciting scripts! Join SpeakEasy staff and artists for an online conversation about the play’s major themes and impact on the American theatre canon.For this series of plays, the theme is Celebrating Contemporary Female Voices:
Introduction Session or “Play Reading 101: A How-To Guide” An optional resource for those interested in the tips and tricks of play reading!
Thursday, May 21 from 5:00 – 5:30pm (Sign Up Here)
WEEK TWO: Cost of Living by Martyna Majok
Thursday, May 28 from 5:30 – 6:30pm (Sign Up Here)
WEEK THREE: Cambodian Rock Band by Lauren Yee
Thursday, June 4 from 5:30 – 6:30pm (Sign Up Here)
WEEK FOUR: DIASPORA! by Phaedra Michelle Scott
Developed through SpeakEasy’s The Boston Project
Thursday, June 11 from 5:30 – 6:30 (Sign Up Here)
WEEK FIVE: Wild Goose Dreams by Hansol Jung
Thursday, June 18 from 5:30 – 6:30pm (Sign Up Here)
Below is a continuation of last week’s list. New England area theatre companies are keeping busy. And so should you! Many of the opportunities from last week are still active and thriving. Please check those links.
Keep washing your damn hands, getting enough exercize, Zooming your friends. Stay home.
All our love from six feet away,
Kitty, Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks
Apollinaire Theatre Company – ATC hosts Apollinaire at Home! It’s a free online play & film script reading gathering! Apollinaire at Home is hosted by your Apollinaire favorites, and the cast includes You!! Readings for the week are posted on Apollinaire’s main page on Tuesday evening/ Wednesday morning. Readings will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30, and Sunday “matinee” at 3:00.
Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom Edition – Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) presents “Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom Edition,” featuring ten-minute plays written by New England playwrights and presented by New England theatres via the video conferencing tool Zoom, April 1-May 17. Readings will begin each day at 12 noon and will last approximately 15-minutes. Audiences will need to download the free Zoom app to participate, and it is recommended they call in a few minutes before “curtain” time.
Central Square Theater – Central Square Theater has made available for streaming a video recording of its acclaimed production of PIPELINE. The recording is available today through April 5, 2020. Details on how patrons may purchase access the recording is included. TICKETS.
CompanyOne – C1 has its new C1 “New Work #socialdistancing Community” form. Please drop your ideas there. Company One Theatre is postponing the remaining productions of Season 21, Clare Barron’s Dance Nation and Inda Craig-Galván’s Black Super Hero Magic Mama. Both productions will shift to 2021 and become part of Season 22.
Upcoming from C1: Resident playwright Kirsten Greenidge is launching a series of online Open Writes. Kirsten will hold space for folx who want a communal, but quiet, energy to support their writing. The first is scheduled for Saturday April 11 (time tbd), and will be co-hosted with David Valdes. C1 will send out a formal announcement with a video link as the date approaches. Please watch the C1 website for updates.
Gallery 3: An exhibition of mixed media works by Cynthia Katz.
#TBT: Just AddedLyle Lovett Video– As we continue to digitize various Umbrella programming, we’re pleased to share for the first time a video excerpt of last fall’s amazing benefit concert by Lyle Lovett. The video was wonderfully produced with high-quality sound by video professional and Umbrella volunteer, Bob Greim.
TC Squared – In response to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, TC Squared has launched a new online reading series: VOLUME UP Virtual Play Readings. Videos can be found on its YouTube channel.Facebookand Twitter has the most up-to-date info.
There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty By Megan Sandberg-Zakian Published by The 3rd Thing Press Olympia, 2020 Available on Kickstarter with a $24.00 pledge Paperback, 230 pages
LIVE ONLINE EVENT! Megan Sandberg-Zakian in conversation with Melinda Lopez March 23, 2020, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm Free on the HowlRound website! More info below.
Event on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
“An ending doesn’t have to be happy to be satisfying. A good ending, happy or not, draws a line around the experience of story hearing and telling. It picks the story up, holds it in its hands, and offers it out, whole. It gives us the opportunity for a collective breath. A good ending is honest: a boundary we can feel, the knowledgable edge of a reliable container. It is a ritual threshold between story and not-story.”
— Megan Sandberg-Zakian, “There Must Be Happy Endings,” There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty, 2020.
Somerville, Mass — There Must Be Happy Endings by Megan Sandberg-Zakian is an exploration in the personal dramaturgy of the mind and spirit. In her first book of essays, the author takes a deep dive into the works that have made a lasting impression upon her. They are an extension of her need to share stories through theatre. Whether by quoting Homer, The Dark Knight or Annie, these essays draw the reader into the author’s personal story by circumnavigating the landscape of the greater western narrative. She tells us why happy ends are important and why they are especially important to her. Her title essay isn’t demanding sappy closure but commanding a divine right to culminate our narratives with an end to the suffering within them. Continue reading →
Playwright Ginger Lazarus; photo via www.gingerlazarus.com.
(Cambridge, MA) Playwright Ginger Lazarus said the journey to write her drama “The Akhmatova Journals” began in 1993 while visiting St. Petersburg, Russia.
Lazarus was completing a semester abroad in Moscow through the O’Neill Center’s National Theater Institute when fellow students invited her to visit the Anna Akhmatova Museum at the Fountain House with them. She said during a phone interview in late July that she planned on meeting her classmates there that afternoon but a sudden, touristy apathy convinced her to spend the afternoon sipping espresso in a cafe instead.
“I still kick myself for not going,” Lazarus said.
Lazarus’s play “The Akhmatova Journals” is scheduled for a dramatic play reading as part of the That’s What She Said program held by the Nora Theatre Company at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA. Continue reading →
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
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 →