Feb 21

“The Honey Trap” Sweet Like Honey, Sting Like a Bee

Maureen Keiller, Barlow Adamson. Photograph credit: Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre & Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre
Written by Leo McGann
Directed by Adam Kassim

February 16-26, 2017
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre on Facebook
Boston University New Play Initiative

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) According to the old cliché, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. The truth of this is debatable, but it’s true that, when luring something, or someone, to its doom, it’s much simpler to do it in a soft, sweet way. On multiple levels, this was the crux of how Leo McGann’s The Honey Trap told a story of history, guilt, and revenge. Continue reading

Jan 27

Colors, Flavors and Spices: THE ATHEIST

Photo by Kalman Zabarsky, Georgia Lyman as Augustine Early.

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written and directed by Ronan Noone
Performed by Georgia Lyman

Jan. 19 – Feb. 5, 2017
BPT
949 Commonwealth Ave
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Trigger warnings: “alternative fact” telling, domestic abuse, discussion of rape, invasion of intimate privacy, crooked politics  

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It’s as if Ronan Noone timed his production of The Atheist with Kellyanne Conway’s “alternative fact” BS on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Noone’s Atheist captures the distasteful spirit of dirty tactics to make the untrue plausible. Trump’s team is gaslighting its way into our heads. Noone shows us how. Continue reading

Dec 13

“Faithless”: Waiting Room Family Reunion

Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre & the Boston University College of Fine Arts School of Theatre
Written by Andrew Joseph Clarke
Directed by Stephen Pick

December 8-18, 2016
Boston, MA
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre on Facebook
Boston University New Play Initiative

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) The holidays are a good time of year to be surrounded by family. Holidays are also a good time of year to be reminded how much you hate being surrounded by family. Family reunions of any kind can be awkward, but provide the perfect landscape for tension to explode and for secrets to be revealed. And a hospital waiting room is where playwright Andrew Joseph Clarke decided to explore this dynamic in Faithless. Continue reading

Oct 24

Sacrifice and Cultural Conflict in “Memorial”

Photo credit: Kalman Zabarsky

Photo credit: Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre & Boston University College of Fine Arts School and Theatre
By Livian Yeh
Directed by Kelly Galvin

October 13-23, 2016
Boston, MA
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre on Facebook
Boston University New Play Initiative

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I’ve never seen the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and never been to DC for that matter, but the storytelling in Livian Yeh’s Memorial is strong enough to make me believe I have. Continue reading

Feb 16

“Baltimore”: Damn Straight it’s About Race

2/9/16 Boston Center for American Performance and New Repertory Theatre present BALTIMORE, A BU New Play Initiative Production by Kirsten Greenidge - Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue - After she’s dismissed from her job in the athletics department, Shelby Wilson becomes Resident Advisor to a group of freshmen—after all, it’ll look good on her resume. She soon discovers that a racially charged incident has set student against student, and it’s up to her to mediate the situation. In this world premiere production, playwright Kirsten Greenidge explores the complexities of racism from the perspective of eight culturally diverse college students. Boston University Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave. (Lane-Comley Studio 210) 2016-02-09-BALTIMORE_033.nef - Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

2/9/16- Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Center for American Performance and
New Repertory Theatre at the Boston University Theatre
By Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

February 10-28, 2016
Boston University Theatre
Lane-Comley Studio 210
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) I know what you’re thinking. Oh great, another play about race. And yes, this is a play about race. But the problem people don’t see in this thought process is that art exists as a response to society and our experiences living in it. Plays about race would not need to be written if we did in fact live in a post-racial society. So yes, this is a show about race, and if that bothers you then you are exactly the person that needs to see this play. Continue reading

Feb 14

After so long, we’re still back to this: BACK THE NIGHT

2/3/14 Boston Playwrights' Theatre presents 'Back the Night' By Melinda Lopez. Directed by Daniela Varon. February 4-28-2016. With violence on campus rising to epidemic proportions, Em is in total denial. But when her best friend Cassie gets assaulted, Em makes some unexpected personal discoveries. Sometimes you do the wrong thing for the right reason. 2016-02-03_BACKTHENITE_002.jpg - Photograph By Kalman Zabarsky

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Daniela Varon

February 4-28, 2016
Boston Playwright’s Theatre
Boston, MA
BPT on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

Trigger warnings: sexual assault and physical violence, sexual situations, adult language, suicide, mental health, activism

(Boston, MA) Institutional support of criminals and criminal behavior either through incompetence or genuine ignorance is common. Although a college campus is the setting of Melinda Lopez’s Back the Night, it could be a stand-in for a fancy secondary school or any urban space. It is both cheaper and simpler in these forums to blame the victim than actually pursue justice.

Em, Sean and Cassie pit themselves against assault on campus after Cassie is injured one night. Em is the pre-med Nancy Drew who likes putting things into proper boxes and Melissa Jesser portrays her with an intensity that simmers just below the surface. Cassie (Amanda Collins), long an ardent anti-violence advocate, is finally putting a lot of her principles to the test. Sean just wants everyone to make it to graduation alive. Along the way, the undergraduates realize that intentions aren’t pure on any side of the issue. The set served as both metaphor and scenery, with decaying infrastructure and dorm furniture offset by autumn leaves and warm lighting.

When I attended, the audience of mostly college aged students and a few older attendees were both amused and engaged. Although the play is a new work, the topics have been stewing in higher education for some time. Local universities such as Boston University responded in the past three years to federal investigations related to sexual harassment under Title IX by leveraging pre-existing resources and coordinating new sets of training for incoming and ongoing students, staff and faculty. For survivors as well as for those who work at or attend a university, the transitions toward justice seem insignificant and much less than what was promised.

To be fair, there are a lot of great sea changes still occurring: a queer character like Sean, played by a bouncy Evan Horwitz, or a non-white character like Em can exist on a campus, which is a sign of progress. Authorities can’t produce those specific, permanent and positive transitions in a vacuum. Rallying and other forms of pressure by non-authorities as well as pushback, then, is more like a dance: there is movement over time, even if there is no easily discernible direction. Also, dances end, and it can take time before a different dance begins.

Lopez gets the internet’s impact on survivor’s rights in many ways: frequently the ability to reach lots of potential activists doesn’t lead to the revolution, especially since the internet reaches not only sympathetic minds, but also perpetrators and victim-blamers who are all too willing to sit on the sidelines and throw stones. At the very least, perpetrators are not given a forum in the play. There’s still lots of meat to chew on. Even when your friends are a mirror or an inspiration, they can still misunderstand and make demands on your sanity that can be almost as terrible as physical trauma. At a fairly short hour and a half, humor between the three friends lightens the frustration, exhaustion and constant questioning. Lopez has captured the voice of modern undergraduates and also provided a snapshot of the strained relationships of students to the adults who are supposed to guide and shield them.

Next on deck for Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is Rhinoceros a co-production with Suffolk University written by Eugene Ionesco at the Modern from February 25-March 13.