Jun 28

Tranquility isn’t Bliss: “Reagan Esther Myer”

Photo taken by the Queen Geek; oh look, a room full of nightmares.

Presented by Rebecca Kopycinski
Mixing and video art by Michael Dewberry

June 27 – 30, 2019
Center for the Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA
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Critique by Kitty Drexel

 “WARNING! You exhibit symptoms of a glitched ThotBot. An ULTRA Operative has been deployed to reboot your operating system. Avoid contact with other Bots until you have been successfully rebooted.”  – ThotBot.me, http://thotbot.me/glitch.html on 6/28/2019.

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The ThotBot Implantation Center fliers are all over Camberville. An acquaintance assumed they were for a cult. No, they are for Reagan Esther Myer, a one-woman, multimedia, performance art concert about a dystopian future in which The Ultra leads through thought-control and nearly all human brains rely on tech to retain peace of mind. In these days of Texas concentration camps and selling your gold for cash, this science fiction drama isn’t at all far fetched.    Continue reading

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Jun 25

“Corteo”: What Circus Dreams May Come

Presented by Cirque du Soleil 
Directed and Created by Daniele Finzi Pasca and Line Tremblay
Music Composed and Directed by Jean-Francois Cote, Phillipe LeDuc, and Maria Bonzanigo

June 19th – June 30th, 2019
Agganis Arena
925 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Corteo on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Mauro, the Dreamer Clown, tells the audience, “I dreamed of my funeral.” Except it’s no dream; this character is actually on his deathbed. A funeral becomes a party and the party becomes a circus. Angels fly on wires above, shoes walk across the stage on their own, and our narrator relives childhood memories while he’s fitted for wings. The somber frame narrative balances the rest of the show, which is cheeky, saccharine, and full of dream imagery that seems to have been cut, raw, from a sleeper’s mind. Continue reading

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Jun 25

The Emperor Has No Clothes: ‘Masquerade’ Was a Smug, Misogynistic Mess


Presented by Cherry Orchard Festival
Produced by Vakhtangov State Academic Theatre of Russia
Based on the ‘verse drama’ by Mikhail Lermontov
Directed by Rimas Tuminas
Set Design by Adomas Yatsovskis
Costumes by Maxim Obrezkov
English Subtitles by Ivan Samokhin

June 18—19, 2019
Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre
Boston, MA 02116
Cherry Orchard Festival on Facebook

Critique by Diana Lu

(Boston, Mass.) My program calls Masquerade a “verse drama.” That’s about the most pretentious thing I’ve ever seen. Even Shakespeare just wrote “plays.” Other reviewers keep comparing this 19thcentury Russian romantic play to Shakespeare’s Othello. I’m sure writer Mikhail Lermontov filched his basic plot points from The Bard, but the similarities end there. Continue reading

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Jun 18

Darkness Eats Unwanted Souls, or The Homeless are Human: “King of Shadows”

Trinidad Ramkissoon and Laura Chowenhill in “King of Shadows.” Photo via Flat Earth’s Facebook page.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Directed by Michael Hisamoto
Puppetry by Amy Lehrmitt
Intimacy direction by Betsy S. Goldman

June 7 – 22, 2019
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: I auditioned for this production, and was not cast. It is my opinion that only a jackass would allow rejection, a natural process of auditioning, to taint their review.

Trigger warnings: mentioned sexual abuse, mentioned sex work (which is real work)

(Watertown, MA) There is a lot of ambiguity in Aguirre-Sacasa’s King of Shadows. He doesn’t communicate a clear message to his audience.  Specifically, he doesn’t clarify what it is he’s trying to say. At no fault of Flat Earth, Hisamoto or the cast, Aguirre-Sacasa implies in only uncertain terms that teen homelessness is bad, rich grad students with savior complexes are ineffective, and fairytales are fun. The details are a mishmash of complications. Flat Earth does a good job with the script, but Aguirre-Sacasa isn’t doing them any favors. Continue reading

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Jun 17

Close Your Eyes and Think of England: “Cloud 9”

Cast of “Cloud 9”
Photo: Nile Scott Studios

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

June 6 – 30, 2019
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Warning: this post contains spoilers. The spoilers are necessary to the conversation.

Trigger warnings: child abuse, mentions of domestic violence, racism, sexism, creepy dolls

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

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Jun 14

Like A Bird Made of Light: “Yerma”

Nadine Malouf (Yerma). Photo Credit: T Charles Ericksonn© 

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Adapted and translated by Melinda Lopez
Based on the play by Ferderico Garcia Lorca
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Original music by Mark Bennett
Choreography by Misha Shields
Fight direction and intimacy direction by Claire Warden & Ted Hewlett

May 31 – June 30, 2019
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: sexual acts, hallucinations & mental illness

(Boston, MA) It is 2019 and the United States government is at war with its people. Laws that aim to control anyone with a uterus are rushing through courthouses at an unprecedented rate. They aren’t protecting life; they are punishing women for having sex. Cadavers have more agency than women. Meanwhile, the foster care services in these same states are overwhelmed with children that desperately need good homes. Saying that the Huntington’s production of Yerma is topical is an understatement. Yerma approaches childbirth not from an opposite standpoint but an adjacent one. The right to choose also means choosing to have a child. Continue reading

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Jun 12

ImprovBoston Presents “Terpsichore,” A Masterclass for all female-identifying individuals

Sunday, June 23, 12 – 4pm
Registration: Tickets via ImprovBoston

ImprovBoston
Main Theater
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139
IB on Facebook

“Terpsichore” is an improvised storytelling theatre piece in movement, dance, music, and spoken word. The format is simple enough and focuses on actors breaking the 4th wall to tell captivating tales supported by their cast who operate as one entity like a Greek chorus to support the action of the story. Through dance, movement, co-creation, and support, the cast weaves narratives that transport the audience to different times and places and blend fiction and non-fiction together in a heady phantasmagoria of sound, movement, and speech.

The workshop for this project itself is a crash course through decades worth of research, interdisciplinary study, and artistic exploration. During the 4 hour workshop, the performers will learn a shared vocabulary of group mind, movement, storytelling, dance, musicality, mime, and object work to create something truly awe-inspiring that will open up their creative centres and let them radiate as performers. The exercises involve mime, dance and movement, narration and storytelling, singing and vocal support, responsibly respectful contact improv, use of the environment and space, concrete and abstract deconstruction, points of inspiration and above all else support of fellow castmates and celebrating mistakes through repetition and support and elevating ideas until the whole piece becomes a matrix of unified thought.

“Terpsichore” is designed to break the mold of what improvised theatre is expected to be, even from within the improv community. It urges performers to stand outside of themselves and their perceived limitations and co-create something truly extraordinary using skills they didn’t even know they possessed before the process began.

FROM LINDSAY: This project is about providing advanced training specifically to benefit and encourage the next generation of female improvisers. With that goal, the cost to be a part of this unique and exciting opportunity is kept low.

REGISTRATION IS $20 AND IS OPEN TO ALL FEMALE IDENTIFYING PERFORMERS

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Lindsay Gonzales is a stand-up comedienne and improvisor lately of Chicago, Illinois. Continue reading

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Aug 03

PROSPERA – la Señora de la Isla: “La Tempestad”

Presented by Trinity Repertory Company with Rhode Island Latino Arts (RILA)
Originally Written by William Shakespeare
Translated to Spanish by Orlando Hernandez
Directed by Tatyana-Marie Carlo

June 28 through July 27, 2018
Toured around Rhode Island. Schedule with locations is HERE
Trinity Rep on
Facebook
RILA on
Facebook

Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Roger Williams Park, Providence, Rhode Island)  This bilingual English-Spanish adaptation of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest was part of the Rhode Island Latino Arts’s (RILA) program Teatro en El Verano (Theater in the Summer).  It was directed by the Brown/Trinity second-year Tatyana-Marie Carlo, who was drawn to the humor and magic of The Tempest.  Carlo’s ensemble cast performed the play in a hybrid Spanglish, switching back and forth between the two languages mid-stanza, sometimes mid-line. Continue reading

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Jun 28

Your Ticket is Problematic: LUZIA


Presented by Cirque du Soleil
Written by Julie Hamelin Finzi and Daniele Finzi Pasca
Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca
Acrobatic performance designed by Philippe Aubertin
Composed and music directed by Simon Carpentier
Acrobatic choreography by Edesia moreno Barata, Debra Brown, Sylvia Gertrúdix González

June 27 – August 12, 2018
Suffolk Downs
525 William F McClellan Hwy
Boston, MA 02128
Parking available for $20.00
CdS on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Cirque du Soleil’s scheduling of its Luzia American tour is so poorly-timed that it’s nearly offensive. The producers couldn’t have known, could they? On the one hand, there’s the appreciation of Mexico’s song, dance, and natural resources. On the other, there’s the fact that ICE is indefinitely detaining immigrants as well as asylum seekers near the Mexican border. It’s deporting LEGAL residents across the US. It had been separating families because it could. “But why does light entertainment have to be dragged through politics? It’s just a show!” Because the political is personal, my friends. There are immigrants living in Boston who are at risk of deportation as I type. We, as artists and audience members, can’t forget the fascist actions of the the President because it’s convenient. We must be better. Continue reading

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Jun 27

Laura Neill’s “DIVAS”

The ensemble

Presented by OperaHub in collaboration with DIVA Museum
Written by Laura Neill
Produced and Stage Directed by Adrienne Boris
Music Directed and Collaborative Piano by Patricia Au
Starring Chelsea Beatty, Kathryn McKellar, Lindsay Conrad, Glorivy Arroyo, and Christie Lee Gibson

June 21 through 30, 2018
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street, Boston
OperaHub on Facebook

Reviewed by Bishop C. Knight

(South End, Boston, Massachusetts) DIVAS is a new play by the writer and educator Laura Neill.  It is being performed for the rest of this week in a black box at the BCA.  On the Sunday I attended, the black box was very warm. The man sitting next to me repeatedly wiped the sweat trickling down his brow, and half the audience was skimming through their programs, while the other half fanned their perspiring faces.  The small theatre’s high temperature didn’t seem to bother most of the patrons, who had either greying or thoroughly whitened hair. OperaHub’s noble mission is “to present high-caliber, affordable, and accessible classical music to a wide community of music and art lovers,” but looking around the audience, it was easy to remember that the classical music community remains mostly white and older. Continue reading

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