Mar 08

Strange and a Little Bit Lonely: “This Bitter Earth”


Presented by TheatreWorks Hartford
By Harrison David Rivers
Directed by David Mendizábal
Fight and intimacy direction by Rocío Mendez
Digital playbill

Live on stage: February 16 – March 20
Streaming: March 7-20
TheaterWorks Inc
233 Pearl Street
Hartford, CT 06103
TWH on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Content warning: This Bitter Earth contains partial nudity as well as mature language and themes.

STREAMING ONLINE — This is a review for the pre-recorded, streamed version of This Bitter Earth.

Relationships are hard work. The kind of work a relationship requires depends upon the people in it. As the white person in a biracial relationship, you either educate yourself to understand the experiences of your partner of color, or you lose them. Your partner will either love you back by meeting you halfway with patience and sympathy, or they will lose you. 

This Bitter Earth is the first play that I’ve seen in my ten years as a critic to specifically, comprehensively address the complex issues of a modern biracial relationship. Other plays have broached the subject; none have been as successful as This Bitter Earth. Continue reading

Feb 05

Lead Me On to the Light: “The Bluest Eye” at The Huntington

The cast in The Huntington’s production of The Bluest Eye by Lydia R. Diamond; Photo by T Charles Erickson.

Presented by The Huntington 
Based on the American classic novel by Toni Morrison
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Choreography by Kurt Douglas
Music direction by David Freeman Coleman
Original music by Justin Ellington 
Dramaturgy by Sandy Alexandre 
Intimacy direction by Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson

January 28 – March 13, 2022
Digital access available through March 27, 2022
ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, February 11 at 8pm.
OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30pm.
AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, February 26 at 2pm
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

The Bluest Eye plays in approximately one hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.

Content warning: every kind of violence amidst a Black community

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Coming together in a circle to tell a story is essential to our humanity. That’s what we’re inviting the community into with The Bluest Eye.” – Director Awoye Timpo

Boston, MA — The synopsis for The Bluest Eye would have a newcomer believe that the play is about unattainable, western i.e. colonialist beauty standards. It is, but The Bluest Eye is about much more. 

Pecola Breedlove (Hadar Busia-Singleton) has come to stay with Claudia (Brittany-Laurelle) and Freida (Alexandria King). We learn through Claudia’s narration all about the Breedloves.  Mrs. Breedlove (McKenzie Frye, who tears the roof off in her role) and Mr. Cholly Breedlove (Greg Alverez Reid) are scarred from growing up in the Midwest. 

Through an examination of their stories, we come to understand Pecola and why she dreams of having blue eyes. Ramona Lisa Alexander,  Brian D. Coats and Lindsley Howard round out the cast. The cast is excellent together and individually in their own right.
Continue reading

Jan 25

Poverty is Expensive: Rattlestick’s “Addressless”

A screen grab from “Addressless.” The cast discusses their options.

Presented by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Community partnered with Urban Pathways, Community Access
Adapted from
STEREO AKT‘s and Lifeboat Unit’s Hungarian production of Addressless.
Created & directed by Martin Boross
Written by Jonathan Payne
Script consultants: Hope Beaver, Cassie Desalines, Shams DaBaron aka “Da Homeless Hero”
Video editing by Matthew Russell
Graphics & animation by Maiko Kikuchi
Streaming technician: Keenan Hurley
Featuring: Joey Auzenne, Hope Beaver, Shams DaBaron a.k.a. “Da Homeless Hero,” & Bianca Norwood

Thursday, January 13 – Sunday, February 13, 2022
Presented over Zoom
Tickets
Digital Program
Rattlestick on Facebook

Content warnings: Addressless discusses at length issues faced by the unhoused community such addiction and sobriety, bigotry, sex trafficking, shame, government benefits programs, and other forms of abuse. This show can be intense. It may not be appropriate for children under 12. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Addressless is heart-breakingly honest digital theatre. If you’re looking for something to take you out of the monotony of COVID-living, creators Boross and Payne have a solution for you. Their two-hour, interactive, roleplaying theatre game is a reminder that life’s struggles don’t end just because there’s a pandemic at your door. 

This production begins like any other over Zoom: the host invites attendees in, we wait patiently for the show to start. Addressless is slightly different because it asks attendees to fill out a survey via a link in the chat. The survey asks participants personal questions about their identity, financial situation, and if they’ve ever been unhoused. Have you lived on the streets? For how long?  Continue reading

Dec 29

You Don’t Have to Understand Your Queer Family to Love Your Queer Family: “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge”

Rehearsal for “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge.” Photo by Meghan Moore/Megpix

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Trista Baldwin
Directed by Courtney Sale
Cast: Kristian Espiritu, Karen MacDonald, Eliza Simpson, Milicent Wright

Now – January 4, 2022
Video on Demand via Mandolin.com
MRT Playbill 
MRT on Facebook

Age Recommendation: 14 and older. Some adult content/language.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Video-On-Demand — The copious productions of The Christmas Carol that come around every year are for mainstream Christmas celebrators. The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge is a Christmas production for the rest of us. It’s intersectionality feminist. It passes the Bechdel Test. It’s under two hours, and you can drink rum-nog the entire time from your own home. Cheers! 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house… Carol (New England darling Karen MacDonald) was stirring because her daughter Holly (Kristian Espiritu) was finally coming home to Brockton, Mass.! This year Holly is bringing her special friend Jordan (Eliza Martin Simpson). Worlds, politics, and identities collide when Holly reveals to Carol that Jordan is more than just her Jewish, progressive liberal friend from Portland.

Milicent Wright plays the online Zumba cueing, comestible baking, excellent listener and BFF neighbor Chris. I would take Zumba class with Chris/Millicent any day. She seems fun.  Continue reading

Dec 15

No Room at the Inn: “Witness”

WITNESS: A new virtual documentary theater piece

A screen capture of the online platform.

Presented by Arlekin Players’ (Zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab
Conceived and directed by Igor Golyak
Written by Nana Grinstein with Blair Cadden & Igor Golyak
Scenography & Costume Design by Anna Fedorova
Virtual Design by Daniel Cormino
Sound Design by Viktor Semenov
Produced by Sara Stackhouse
Dramaturgy by Blair Cadden 
Featuring the Arlekin Acting Company

December 10, 2021 – January 23, 2023
Over the Arlekin (zero-G) virtual Theater Lab platform
and Zoom
Arlekin Players on Facebook
Playbill

Review by Kitty Drexel

“It doesn’t feel virtual; it feels real.” 

– Talkback moderator Inessa Rifkin, a founder of the Russian Jewish Community Foundation and a founder of the Russian School of Mathematics, after the December 13 performance of Witness.  

ONLINE/Zoom  — It’s almost Yule! Here’s a Christmas story: In May 1939, the MS St. Louis carried 937 passengers from Nazi-occupied Germany to Havana, Cuba. The Cuban government refused the ship. Its passengers remained onboard; the ship didn’t dock. Cuba had cancelled the immigration papers of the onboard immigrants without notifying them. 

The United States refused the ship too. The US had space to put the passengers but our politicians let money and immigration law stop them from welcoming the passengers. We made a 1976 secular movie about it called “Voyage of the Damned” with Faye Dunaway. How American of us. 

The Jewish passengers were finally allowed some succor when the ship returned to Europe that June.  254 of the passengers died in the Holocaust: 84 in Belgium; 84 in Holland, and 86 in France. There was no room at the inn or the stable with Mary and Joseph. 

Witness by Arlenkin Players is about the fluffy talent show that the passengers held to boost morale. Local New Englanders who are also immigrants play passengers on the boat. It’s about the stark tragedy that our country, a nation that says it welcomes immigrants at its front door on the East Coast, decided that Jewish immigrants fleeing for their very lives should go elsewhere. Popup text boxes invite us to learn about who the passengers were and if they survived the ship. It’s about the multigenerational fight against anti-Semitism in the US. The Arlekin Acting Company portrays Jewish characters from across the decades. Continue reading

Dec 09

Feed Your Head: “White Rabbit Red Rabbit”


White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Presented by ArtsEmerson
Written by Nassim Soleimanpour/Iran
Performance viewed on Dec. 7, 7:30 PM
Dec. 7 – 12, 2021
Virtual Performance via Zoom
Program playbill
ArtsEmerson on Facebook 

ArtsEmerson Age Recommendation: 14+. We understand that certain types of content could trigger past traumatic experiences for some viewers. Please be aware that this production contains scenes discussing suicide.

ArtsEmerson Accessibility: White Rabbit Red Rabbit will feature live captions throughout the performance.

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — White Rabbit Red Rabbit is not a production to be enjoyed. It is to be endured. It behooves everyone with the means to watch to endure White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Continue reading

Nov 19

And still those voices are calling from far away: “Zoo Motel”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
A play by Thaddeus Phillips
Cocreated and directed by Tatiana Mallarino
Designed by Steven Dufala
Magic by Steve Cuiffo
Night Clerk: Newton Buchanan

November 16—21, 2021
The final performances! A virtual event via Zoom
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

AE Production Program featuring leadership team bios, a synopsis of the performance, and the full list of staff, artist and creative team credits for the production.

Originally presented via Miami Light Project Sept. 28 – Oct. 25, 2020. It is the longest running theatre play on the world wide web.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Virtual Boston, Mass — New England Theatre Geek reviewed Zoo Motel on October 14, 2020. The Quarantine was a dark time that produced some dark writing. Our ridiculously written review can be read here.

We were interested in seeing Zoo Motel again to see if it had updated since its 2020 run. Its creators have taken this show to audiences all over the world: Stockholm, Madrid, Perth, London, and now Boston. We can say that Zoo Motel still inspires wonder and awe. Continue reading

Nov 17

Science, History, & Humanity: “The Half-Life of Marie Curie”

Produced by The Nora@Central Square Theater
A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production
Written by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Bryn Boice
Dramaturgy by Julie-Anne Whitney
Voice & text direction by Christine Hamel 
Starring Lee Mikeska Gardner & Debra Wise

November 11 –  December 12, 2021
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Digital streaming: The digital stream of The Half-Life of Marie Curie is available from November 28 to December 26, 2021. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

Cambridge, Mass. — The Half-Life of Marie Curie presented by The Nora Theatre Company is a platonic love story between two adult scientists separated by distance and their fields. It’s a show to see with your best friend. It is warmly written and bravely acted. 

In the summer of 1912, two-time Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie (Lee Mikeska Gardner) hermited herself with friend and confidant Hertha Aryton (Debra Wise who entered wig first), renowned mechanical engineer. Curie was hounded by pigeonous journalists for daring to love in her widowhood. Aryton opened her seaside home to Curie and her daughters. They spoke of science, nature, womanhood, and many other things.   Continue reading

Aug 19

Resign yourself to the influence of the Earth: “Walden”

Gabriel Brown, Diana Oh, and Jenna Yi | Photo: Christopher Capozziello

TheaterWorks Hartford, in partnership with Riverfront Recapture
By Amy Berryman
Directed by Mei Ann Teo
Set Design by You-Shin Chen 
Lighting Design by Jeanette Oi-Suk Yew
Sound Design by Hao Bai
Costume Designer by Alice Tavener
Playbill is HERE

In-person performances, Tuesday–Sunday at 8pm, now through August 29, 2021. 
100 Meadow Road
Windsor, CT
Streaming, August 15 — 29, 2021
TheatreWorks Hartford on social media: @TWHartford

Critique by Kitty Drexel

HARTFORD, Conn. — TheatreWorks Hartford, in partnership with Riverfront Recapture, presents Amy Berryman’s Walden. It is a play about estranged twin sisters who must reconcile their differing political beliefs with their need to remain connected in a world devastated by humanity-induced climate change. 

In-person performances for Walden continue now through August 29. Walden streams August 15 – 29. Check the tickets website for in-person, at home, or pop-up streaming options. 

Here is the summary from the TheatreWorks website: “In Walden, after returning from a year-long Moon mission, Cassie (Jeena Yi), a NASA botanist, finds herself in a remote cabin in the woods, where her estranged twin sister, Stella (Diana Oh), a former NASA architect, has found a new life with climate activist Bryan (Gabriel Brown). Old wounds resurface as the sisters attempt to pick up the pieces of the rivalry that broke them apart.” Continue reading

Aug 02

One Percenters Gone Wild: “7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death”

Prospero (Juliet Bowler) welcomes you! Photo via Flat Earth Theatre.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
New plays by Sari Boren, Hortense Gerardo, Gabriel Graetz, MJ Halberstadt, Michal Lin, Cliff Odle, Kelly Smith
Directed by Jessica Ernst, David R. Gammons, Lee Mikeska Gardner, Shira Helena Gitlin, Johnny Nichols, Jr., Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez, LaToya T. Robinson
“Prospero” by Amy Lehrmitt; directed by Lindsay Eagle; performed by Juliet Bowler.

Aesthetics Designs by Michael Clark Wonson
Sound by Kyle Lampe
Costumes by Zane Kealey
Props & special effects by S Ayala
Showrunner: Amy Lehrmitt

Dramaturgy by Betsy Goldman

Full cast of actors: Sydney Roslin, Kira Helper, Kristen Heider, Michael Lin, Sharmarke Yusuf, Shanelle Villegas, Kalee Burrows, Olivia Dumaine, Naomi Ibasitas, Evan Turissini, Jo Michael Rezes, Blair Nodelman, Lorraine Kanyike, and Miles Wheeler II.

July 28 – August 15, 2021
Steamed on Zoom 
Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can
Flat Earth on social media: @FE_theatre

Accessibility Notes: This online event offers captioning. Instructions are available before, and during the live-stream. 

Review by Kitty Drexel

Content Warnings: Blood, strong language, abuse of white privilege, mentions of cannibalism 

ZOOM — Flat Earth Theatre’s 7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death is a massive undertaking of considerably wide and deep proportions that will impress even the most nihilistic of digital theatre naysayers. 7 Rooms will tantalize; it’ll tease; it’ll entreat you to shake your booty. 

Running July 28 – August 15, audience members are invited to attend a party at Prospero’s (Juliet Bowler) extravagant mansion. There’s no need to rabble rouse with dirty plebes sick with the plague. Not when there’s a fancy ball to attend!   Continue reading