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 →
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 →
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.”
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 →
(Chelsea, MA) Thanksgiving day. Generic WASP family, The Donnelly’s, converges on Two Mile Hollow, a family beach house. Younger son, Joshua, and daughter, Mary, are expecting drama with mother Blythe, but none are expecting older son Christopher to bring his “assistant,” Charlotte, especially not an “assistant”…OF COLOR. On this stormy night, secrets are spilled, social hierarchies are upended, and only one may leave with their self-esteem unscathed. Continue reading →
(Chelsea, MA) I sometimes think going to a play is a bit like going to a party where you know nobody at all, save for the person you bring with you. Sometimes, the party can leave you feeling adrift and awkward in your own skin. Other times, you meet some funny, clever people you never expected to meet. They are delighted to include you, for an hour or so (or an eighty minute run time without intermission), in the intimate secrets of their lives and draw you close with the honesty only complete strangers would dare to share with you. The sweet, hilarious, and deliciously bawdy “Or,” is such a party. I recommend attending as soon as possible in order to enjoy the yarn spun between Kaylyn Bancroft (Nell Gwynne/Lady Davenant/Maria/A Jailer), Michael Poignand (as slimily charming King Charles II and charmingly slimy William Scott, divided by a common language with different annunciation) and Anna Waldron (Aphra Behn). Continue reading →
(Chelsea, MA) Originally a 15th century Morality Play, British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s rewriting of Everyman holds the mirror up to our 21st century consumer-driven society…and the view isn’t pretty. Everyman was an ambitious undertaking for the Apollinaire Theatre Company and at points the script demands a larger stage and company than the Chelsea Theatre Works provides. Continue reading →
(Chelsea, MA) Having originally opened to critical acclaim at The Duke on 42nd Street in August 2015, Laufer’s hard hitting play is the most recent production from Chelsea’s Appolinaire Theatre Company. Resident company of Chelsea Theatre Works, Appolinaire endeavours to “offer audiences direct, intimate encounters with works of modern and contemporary theatre.” Informed Consent does exactly that. Deborah Zoe Laufer is an accomplished writer, marrying the universal with the personal, in this heart-wrenching story of one woman’s struggle to beat fate and save her daughter…“whatever the cost”.Continue reading →
(Chelsea, MA) Every theatre geek knows that good theatre should ask questions and initiate a conversation. It should do something as small as make the audience think of something from a different perspective or as large as make you question everything. These were the expectations I had when sitting down to watch Apollinaire Theatre Company’s production of Brilliant Adventures. Continue reading →
(Chelsea, MA) Leila (Alison Meirowitz McCarthy) and Rashid (Mauro Canepa) are introduced to the audience in their pajamas as self-styled intellectuals, struggling to be distant from their emotions. They’re Egyptian-Americans who open the play conversing like an editorial on gender politics, feminism, and cultural differences. Then comes in Doug (Geoff Van Wyck), the photographer they have invited into their bedroom for a sexual adventure. He’s blunt, cheerful, and thoroughly naked. He is the chaotic element that opens them up to the insecurities that run deep through their relationship. His attitudes don’t represent some enlightened, Western view as a cure-all to their squeamishness, however. No, Doug has his own insecurities he’s bringing in, too. What begins as an adult comic drama ends as a dark exploration of the political and personal. Continue reading →