May 15

Battle Uphill, Downhill, and Hopping Across: “Touching the Void”

The cast of “Touching the Void.” Photo by Danielle Fauteux Jacques.

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Based on Joe Simpson’s bestselling memoir Touching the Void
Written by David Greig
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Scenic & Sound Design: Joseph Lark-Riley
Costume Design: Elizabeth Rocha 
Lighting Design: Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Featuring: Patrick O’Konis, Kody Grassett, Parker Jennings, Zach Fuller

April 19- May 26, 2024 (Extended!)
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA

Running Time: estimated 2 hours with one intermission

Performances followed by a Reception with the actors

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Apollinaire Theatre Company’s Touching the Void is about two men chasing death up a mountain. Death chases them back down.  It runs through May 26 at Chelsea Theatre Works.

It is 1985. Two Brits, Joe Simpson (Patrick O’Konis) and Simon Yates (Kody Grassett) are mountaineers who decide to climb a dangerous mountain together: the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes. These dumbass himbos don’t have a backup plan, just a hippy acquaintance with no useful skills, Richard (Zach Fuller), watching their gear at base camp. Touching the Void is told in imaginary flashforwards and backs that feature Joe’s sister Sarah (Parker Jennings). Sarah wants to understand why Joe, Simon, and even Richard would do such a foolhardy thing as climbing a treacherous peak. Me too, Sarah.  Continue reading

Apr 15

Uncle Barney Wasn’t Particular: “The Birthday Party”

The cast. Photo credit: Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by Praxis Stage
By Harold Pinter
Directed by James Wilkinson

April 11- 28, 2024
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Article by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Praxis Stage did everything right. It collected a great cast; it hired James Wilkinson to direct. Pinter’s The Birthday Party is an absurd play, but it’s tight. Sometimes, even when all the elements of success are there, you still fall short. 

Meg (Sharon Mason) and Petey (Paul Valley) run a boarding house in a sleepy seaside town. Despite being on a prestigious list of boarding houses, they have only one tenant, Stanley (Zair Silva). Lulu (Darya Denisova) arrives to taunt Stanley and deliver a package for Meg. All is well until Meg & Petey receive two new guests, Goldberg (Daniel Boudreau) and McCann (Kevin Paquette).  Continue reading

Mar 11

All I Ever Wanted Was to Not Have to Act Normal (Gurl, same): “The Antelope Party”

Photo by Danielle Jacques.

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
By Eric John Meyer
Directed by Brooks Reeves
Stage Manager: Kaleb Perez
ASMs: Miguel Dominguez, William Benjamin
PA: Alexandra Gregory
Scenic & Sound Design: Joseph Lark-Riley
Costume Design: Elizabeth Rocha
Lighting Design: Danielle Fauteux Jacques

February 23-March 17, 2024
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150
Directions

Runtime is approximately 120 minutes with one intermission.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Playwright Meyer thoroughly researched the radicalization of marginalized internet communities to write his play. The Antelope Pary is an accurate depiction of the marginalized-person-to-political-extremist pipeline on a reduced schedule. He layers insidious nuances such as tolerance to intolerance and manipulation of social dynamics to reveal his characters’ layers of deception. Meyer shows us how insecure but privileged persons may inflict great violence when they take up the mantle of powerlessness in a world they feel has left them behind.

The Antelope Pary is also about Bronies. Theatre about My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is easier to consume than another drama about the alt-right. Its message is the same: any community can be radicalized to extremist beliefs given the right conditions and environment. The argument and casual rejection that a community as fluffy as the Bronies could lead to violence is the point. Disbelief is a weapon.  Continue reading

Jan 03

A Bite-Sized Wrench in the Machine: “Lunch Bunch”

(at table) Laura Hubbard as Nicole, Alex Leondedis as Greg, Parker Jennings as Tuttle, Cristhian Mancinas-García as Jacob, Michael (Shifty) Celestin as Tal, Paola Ferrer as Hannah, Julia Hertzberg at Mitra – Photos: Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Play by Sarah Einspanier
Direction and Sound Design by Danielle Faeuteux Jacques
Scenic and Sound Design by Joseph Lark-Riley
Featuring: Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia, Parker Jennings, Paola Ferrer, Michael (Shifty) Celestin, Alex Leondedis, Julia Hertzberg, Laura Hubbard, Dev Luthra, Katie Pickett, Brooks Reeves

December 30, 2023 – January 21, 2024
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St
Chelsea MA, 02150

Content advisory: dialogue about diet culture

Review by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

CHELSEA, Mass. — Lunch Bunch feels longer than its snappy one-hour run time, and that’s very much a positive: the lives depicted onstage are so harried, so high-stakes, so existentially draining, that I left Apollinaire Theatre Company feeling as though I’d lived an entire lifetime. Continue reading

Jul 03

Beyond Brotherly Bickering to Mutual Respect: “619 Hendricks”

Victor Hugo Hart, Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia, and Juan Carlos Pinedo Rivera in “619 Hendricks.” Photo from Teatro Chelsea’s Facebook page.

Presented by Teatro Chelsea
Written by Josie Nericcio
Directed by Armando Rivera
Fight choreography by Matthew Dray

June 15-July 1, 2023
Chelsea Theatre Works
181 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

This play was a finalist in Teatro’s 3rd Annual A-Tipico Latinx New Play Festival.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Teatro Chelsea’s production of Josie Nericcio’s 619 Hendricks ran at Chelsea Theatre Works through July 1. The run is over but maybe, if we ask nicely, it will play somewhere else soon. Massachusetts needs to celebrate more quality theatre like 619 Hendricks.

The general rule, when it comes to family or friends and money, is don’t lend. Give. That money is already gone and will never be paid back once it changes hands. Humans have a short memory for gratitude.  

In Laredo, Texas, two brothers mourn the death of their mother. Mama has left them her house in her will. The eldest, Nesto (Juan Carlos Pinedo Rivera), wants to sell right away to a big developer in town. Richie, a fancy Hollywood writer, (Cristhian Mancinas-Garcia) wants to wait. They stubbornly refuse to discuss why they feel this way. Their inability to talk leads to a war for the house and for their pride.  Continue reading

Apr 17

I Want to Heal the World Through Dance: “Dance Nation”

Schanaya Barrows as Ashlee (front), Alison Butts as Sofia, Paola Ferrer as Vanessa, Erik P. Kraft as Luke. Photo: Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company & the Chelsea Theatre Works
Written by Clare Barron 
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques 
Choreographed by Audrey Johnson
Dialect coaching by Christopher Sherwood Davis 

April 14-May 14, 2023
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St
Chelsea, MA 02150

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Being a girl isn’t for the faint of heart.  In Dance Nation, a troupe of girls prepare for a competition and young adulthood by pushing their bodies and personalities to the brink. Amina (Audrey Johnson), Ashlee (Schanaya Barrows), Connie (Srin Chakravorty), Maeve (Ann Carpenter), Sofie (Alison Butts), Zuzu (Katie Pickett), and Luke (Erik P Kraft) learn choreography and how to navigate society through the skills they learn in dance class.

They could take it all the way to Tampa – the ultimate competition for the ultimate trophy! Dance Teacher Pat (Dev Luthra) is their guiding light and their worst enemy. Paola Ferrera plays an assortment of dance moms and Vanessa, a dancer who should’ve known better.  Continue reading

Mar 07

Suck It, Hambone: “Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold”

Queen’s own photo from Chelsea Theatre Works.

Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold
Presented as part of the Resident Artist Program at Chelsea Theatre Works.
Written by Libby Schap & Luke Robbins
Featuring: Lauren Foster, Lisa Joyce, Molly Kimmerling, Libby Schap

March 4-12, 2022
Fridays and Saturdays @8PM
Chelsea Theatre Works in the Black Box Theatre
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Covid19 policy: masks & vaccination are required

Review by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Naked lightbulbs hang from scaffolding over a raw black box stage. Their pull-chains gently sway from the motion of patrons choosing their seats. The naked stage leaves lots of room for the performance of Peggy Shippen is…, an enigmatic new play that’s running about ten minutes late.  

Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold is a little weird, a lot unusual, and not boring. It borrows from Hamilton’s leftover hype and sidles up to the creative demands of Jordan Tannahill’s Theatre of the Unimpressed Continue reading

Nov 09

Seated in the Tonsorial Parlour: “Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street”

Presented by The Longwood Players
Music and Lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
Book by Hugh Wheeler
Directed by Kaitlyn Chantry
Music Directed by Jeremy Lang

November 5 – 20, 2021
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA
TLP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Chelsea, Mass. — TLP’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a forthright production. It takes no risks, but it lacks pretension. The staging is simple but the vocals are strong. The orchestra performs mightily. It is exactly what a good Sweeney Todd should be at a community level.  Continue reading

Apr 15

“A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival”: Theatre is Therapeutic, Not Therapy

A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival
Presented by Teatro Chelsea
A Resident Artist at the Black Box Theatre through Apollinaire Theatre Company’s Resident Artists at the Chelsea Theatre Works
Artistic Associate: Carla Mirabal Rodríguez
Program Director: Armando Rivera

Featured Works:
All performances start at 7 PM
Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers.
April 9, Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao
April 10, Malas Mañas by Alejandra Ramos Riera
April 15, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera
April 16,  Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores
April 17,  Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo

April 9-17, 2021
Streamed via Zoom at 7 PM
Chelsea, MA 02150
Teatro Chelsea on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Teatro Chelsea presents two weekends of play readings in A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival with English, Spanish and bilingual performances through April 17. 

I was told by program director Armando Rivera that the reading of Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao on April 9 was still “in development.” Plays involved in this festival are performed for audience feedback. I watched with the understanding that this play and its characters were still in their nascent phases. There is always room for compassion in a critic’s response. 

So color me surprised when the cast of Before We Focus On Others gave us a performance-ready show over Zoom on April 9. The cast* had great chemistry: they worked well off of each other, gave excellent facial cues; their dialogue was believable and sincere sounding; I could imagine these characters as real people off of the page. 

Before We Focus On Others is about marriage counseling from the perspective of a husband and wife involved in the counseling profession. Lanao’s research is credible. The dialogue between the husband, wife, and psychologist is realistic. Lanao takes great care to give equal weight to both the men and women in this script: it’s thoughtful, intersectionality feminist, and sympathetic to all sides.

This is a bilingual play but anyone with basic Spanish skills should understand the characters’ intentions when Spanish is spoken. The actors’ motives were clear. Lanao’s used Spanish sparingly but to embellish a scene’s drama. To complain about the Spanish in this play is to reveal one’s racism. 

Only the active Zoom chat brimming with missives of love and joy from friends and family gave away the reading’s intentions for feedback. Actors don’t receive the same feedback over Zoom as they do from a live audience.  An open chat alleviates the weight of performance insecurity. 

It is super duper exciting that Boston finally gets its own festival of Latinx plays! I hope there is more, much more where this came from. 

A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival continues this weekend:
Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers.
April 15 @ 7 PM, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera
April 16 @ 7 PM,  Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores
April 17 @ 7 PM,  Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo
Tickets are HERE

About A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival from the Teatro Chelsea website:
“In the American theatre space, the Latinx narrative reflected on stage can tend to revolve around narrow topics like the “border” or “disaster” play. While shedding light on the ongoing crisis on the Mexican-American border and the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico are narratives deserving of attention, these stories can overly narrow the breadth of Latinx experiences in the United States. Teatro Chelsea’s new Latinx play festival, A-Típico, aims to showcase and expand the focus on underrepresented Latinx stories.”

More from Teatro Chelsea.

Feb 25

Honor Your Boundaries: “Hir”

Photo via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apollinairetheatre/photos/a.59182456990/10156464525606991/?type=3&theater

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Written by Taylor Mac
Directed by Brooks Reeves

February 14 – March 8, 2020
Chelsea Theatre Works
Chelsea, MA
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

Chelsea, MA — This month, Apollonaire Theatre Company tackles Hir, Taylor Mac’s comedy of manners fixing  conservative against expansive American views on gender, class and sex.  It is understood, even in the writing, that quite a few of the concepts will cheerfully ride over the heads of the audience.  Advanced gender studies classes may not be enough of an education to appreciate the entire play, but the production unfolds for as more than just the text: with costume, set dressing, emotion, repetition, intonation and even art in the lobby to bolster meaning and heighten context.  At 120 minutes with a single intermission, the time passes quickly, but I do caution people who are sensitive to issues such as domestic violence, elder abuse, teen bullying, and post traumatic stress disorder to perhaps read a synopsis or steel themselves to potentially be triggered. Continue reading