Jul 18

Mommy Issues on Foreign Soil: BRENDAN

Photo credit: Josephine Anes;  Avery Bargar and Kiki Samko.

Photo credit: Josephine Anes; Avery Bargar and Kiki Samko, not so snugly.

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company
Written by Ronan Noone
Directed by Brett Marks and Victor L. Shopov

July 15-30, 2016
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont St

Boston, MA 02116
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: I auditioned for this show way back when. I wasn’t cast. Only a self-serving, insecure butt-face would let something like that color their review.

(Boston, MABrendan marks the return of Happy Medium Theatre Company. Welcome back, guys; we’ve missed you. Please don’t ever leave us like that again. Continue reading

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Apr 03

From the Back of the House to Center Stage: LIFERS

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Written by John Shea and Maureen Cornell
Directed by Brett Marks
Produced by Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions

March 20-April 4, 2015
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium and Argos on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) Happy Medium Theatre and Argos Productions have joined forces to bring to life a piece of Bostonian, working class history in Lifers.  At an enjoyable hour and a half even with a ten minute intermission, this well-edited and lively play is an ode to the people who make your meal at a local diner possible. Continue reading

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Jun 16

Dancing Wilde(ly) with Boston Actors Theater

Photo from BAT facebook page

Presented by Boston Actors Theater
Adapted by Elizabeth DuPré and Nicole Howard
Directed and Choreographed by Danielle Lucas

Playing June 13th – June 28th
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
BAT on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

One of the very best and worst things about Oscar Wilde is that his reputation proceeds him. His piercing one-liners and scathing insults are quoted extensively in speeches, jokes, and birthday cards. Wilde’s private life is largely viewed as decadent, however factual that is. Because of this, it’s surprising that the fairy tales he wrote during his career, in sharp contrast to his perceived debauchery, are syrupy and Victorian. Boston Actors Theater attempts to marry the brevity and wit of Wilde’s legacy with the softer side of his stories for children and the result, while enthusiastic, is uneasy. Continue reading

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May 28

Buchenwald, Those Were the Days: LEBENSRAUM

Photo Credit: Josephine Anes

Photo Credit: Josephine Anes; photo chosen specifically for its derp factor.

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Co.
By Israel Horovitz
Directed by Brett Marks

May 9 – 23, 2014
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
Happy Medium on Facebook

Featuring: R. Nelson Lacey, Audrey Lynn Sylvia, Michael Underhill

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Nazis, Holocaust, Death, Violence, Microaggressions, Gloucester references

(Boston) “Lebensraum” literally translated means “living space.” For the Nazis, it was local colonialism, an expansion of territory in order to displace inferior people. It is based on the manifest destiny principle*.

Lebensraum, the drama, is about the world reaction to a German Chancellor’s televised invitation to the Jewish community to return to Germany. It has a tender love story, media hype and politics to poke your eye out. While the events of the script are not real, the characters’ reactions to the fictional events are. Horovitz’s script is striking because, were the events of the show to actually occur, they would likely occur as they do in his script. His argument is convincing and his psychology is sound. Horovitz has analyzed the human population and found us territorial, racist and surprisingly resilient. It is horrifying to know that while we teach the Holocaust in history, humans have learned almost nothing from it. Continue reading

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Feb 25

“Baby with the Bathwater”: Dysfunctional Family and Oddly Cheerful Dark Comedy

DSC_0233 (2)

Photo credit: Happy Medium Theatre Co

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Co.
By Christopher Durang
Directed by Lizette M. Morris

February 14-22nd, 2014
Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays 8 pm, Saturdays 4 pm, Sundays 3 pm
The Factory Theater
791 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02118
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre’s Baby with the Bathwater is searing, cruel, and weirdly loving.  A lopsided family portrait, the play is a satire on abusive upbringings dramatized for entertainment.   The show appears to take place in a warped alternate universe where new parents John (Jeremy Towle) and Helen (Denise Drago) are too dimwitted to understand one holds a baby when it cries or that children aren’t allowed Nyquil. Their misnamed son, Daisy (Mike Budwey), endures a home life so skewed but with parents so achingly human, it becomes chillingly akin to real dysfunction. Continue reading

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Oct 28

“Brewed”: Happy Medium Stirs the Pot

Credit: Debut Cinematic/Karen Ladany

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company
By T. Scott Barsotti
Directed by Mikey DiLoreto

October 24th-November 2nd, 2013
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre and writer T. Scott Barsotti embrace the American gothic tradition with enthusiasm in Brewed. It’s a fully fleshed-out horror story with the bones of a family melodrama, a violent reaction to the ties that bind blood siblings.  The whose story is a creepy creature and a bleakly humorous outing for the Halloween season. Continue reading

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Jul 29

Of Two Minds: PSYCHO BEACH PARTY

1077436_10151973249680101_1438822466_oPresented by Happy Medium Theatre Co. with Heart & Dagger Productions
by Charles Busch
Directed by Barbara DiGirolamo

July 25 – August 3, 2013
The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
Happy Medium Theatre Co Facebook Page
Heart and Dagger Productions Facebook Page
Charles Busch Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Psycho Beach Party is an affectionate homage to the beach party movies of the ’60s and Gidget as well as a spoof of psychological suspense films.  By that I mean movies such as Hitchcock’s Marnie and Spellbound, or The Three Faces of Eve and The Snake Pit: films where someone has a deep-rooted neurosis and after five minutes of hypnosis a childhood trauma is revealed and the patient is well enough to buy a house in the suburbs and live happily after.  Oh, I love them all.”    – Charles Busch

(Boston) Adults of a certain age may recall Psycho Beach Party (2000) as a movie staring Buffy the Vampire Slayer heartthrob Nicholas Brendon as Star Cat. The movie also featured Lauren Ambrose as Chicklet and playwright Charles Busch as the sexy Captain Monica Stark (the movie was rewritten to give Mr. Busch a role as he had aged out of his original role as Chicklet). It is an homage to the swinging beach party movies of the 60’s and incorporates the quick and dirty psychology of an Hollywood-type gimmick to redeem the unladylike antics of a female lead. Alas, things have not changed too much for women in 50 years. Ladies still aren’t of conventional value to the public unless they can fill out a top and outwit a room full of boys. In that order. Continue reading

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Jun 22

A Shrieking Mess: BLACK COMEDY

Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress?

Photo Credit: The Happy Medium Theatre Co. Where can I get that dress? – Kitty

presented by Happy Medium Theatre
by Peter Shaffer
Co-Directed by Lizette M. Morris and Michael Underhill

@ The Factory Theatre
Boston, MA
June 14th – June 22nd, 2013
Happy Medium Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Boston) There is the top, there is going over the top and then there is trampling on the top and spitting on its grave. You have to hand it to the talented Happy Medium cast that performs Black Comedy; they commit to an outrageously loud and brash style that infuses a punk sensibility to a tired and silly British farce. Each actor delivers their lines with such gusto that it’s like being in a room with a guitarist who cranks the amp up to 11. Unfortunately, this loud performance quickly grates, and it’s impossible to emotionally invest in the offensive, obnoxious and one-dimensional characters. The unfunny end product may waste the energetic performances by some talented actors, but at least there’s no danger of falling asleep. Continue reading

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Mar 18

Love & Hate Are Two Sides of the Same Spork: DOG SEES GOD

Joey C. Pelletier as Beethoven and Michael Underhill as CB. Credit: Happy Medium Theatre/Robyn Linden

Joey C. Pelletier as Beethoven and Michael Underhill as CB. Credit: Happy Medium Theatre/Robyn Linden

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company

Dog Sees God: Confessions of a Teenage Blockhead

by Bert V. Royal

Directed by Lizette M. Morris

Unofficially based on the comic by Charles M. Schulz

The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
March 14 – March 30
Happy Medium Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

This play dramatizes adult themes such as sex, violence and drugs. It is not suitable for kids under 14, prudes or the extra-sensitive.

(Boston) Hating someone for being gay makes as much sense as hating someone because they are 8 feet tall. Yet, in Dog Sees God (and much of the world), the peanut gallery unjustly hates Beethoven/Schroeder (Joey C. Pelletier) for just that. Beethoven is bullied mercilessly. They hate him because he is different, because that is easier than confronting what the real impetus behind their hate is. Inspired by the true stories of gay teenagers who were literally bullied to death by their peers and academic staff, Dog See God examines the consequences of absentminded hate speech and action. It points a finger of blame at the kids who bully and at the adults who watch. Continue reading

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Aug 25

What If? Racial Diversity in “Romeo and Juliet”

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee,
The more I have, for both are infinite.

Romeo and Juliet Act 2 Scene II

Photo Credit: Happy Medium Theatre

Director: Paula Plum
Dance Choreographer: Kiki Samko
Fight Choreographer: Angie Jepson

Happy Medium Theatre Company
Happy Medium Theatre Co. Facebook Page

Exposé by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Happy Medium Theatre (HMT) took a risk: it cast a black Romeo against a white Juliet (who had excellent chemistry by the by). Bravo HMT for having the chutzpah for casting biracially! Bravo for making your audience ask “what if?” What if Romeo had been a Moore like Othello? What if Juliet had fallen in love with her Romeo and the resulting drama was a result over their family names and not the color of their skin? What if their love was measured against all other loves and found to be equal? What if HMT’s version of Romeo and Juliet was the version that had been performed for centuries rather than the typical all White cast? Topical questions for 2012: What if, indeed.

In a time when the Supreme Court system cannot make up its mind as to whether marriage is a religious or a civil rights issue, HMT’s production forces us to take a look at the history of love. Just 15 years ago one wouldn’t see a biracial couple on daytime TV much less a reproduction of Shakespeare. It is time for all love to be measured by its inherent worth on the streets. It is also time for the shock to be amputated from love that exists outside the norm on the stage. If it has been acceptable for a 13-year-old girl to marry a 17-year-old boy for hundreds of years then it is certainly time for that couple to reflect its audience members.

As artists, we have an obligation to entertain and educate our audience, an obligation to leave our audience in better condition after the show than before it starts. It is our privilege as enthusiasts to create theater with our community. Thank you Happy Medium Theater Company for taking the opportunity to be poignant and to pose difficult questions. Thank you for being brave. Bravi tutti!

Performances ran August 10-25, 2012 at the Plaza Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts,
537 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116

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