Mar 05

It’s Time to Talk About White on White Crime: “Ripe Frenzy”


Left to right: Veronika Duerr, Stacy Fischer, Samantha Richert. Photo by Kalman Zabarsky. It’s a strange cruelty to photograph actors from below.

Presented by NewRep Theatre and Boston University College of Fine Arts
By Jennifer Barclay
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

Feb. 24 – March 11, 2018
BU College of Fine Arts
Studio ONE
Boston, MA
NewRep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: references to gun violence, references to animal abuse, references to violent behavior, references to suicide, stalking. NewRep/BCAP don’t include trigger warnings and they should. 

(Boston, MA) The people who commit monstrous wrongs are still people. The man who murdered 17 in the recent Florida tragedy took an Uber to get to the school. After, he went to Walmart, bought a drink at Subway and ate at McDonald’s. He was arrested as he walked out on his own (a common occurrence for white shooters). In Ripe Frenzy, a similar tragedy is told from the perspective of a mother who lived through the event. It is possible to cherish a monster even as he commits horrendous acts. Continue reading

Mar 05

Driving Mr. Daisy: “The White Card”

Karen Pittman and Daniel Gerroll in The White Card. Photo: Gretjen Helene Photography; Charlotte manages Charles’ microaggressions.

Presented by ArtsEmerson with the American Repertory Theatre
By Claudia Rankin
Directed by Diane Paulus
Dramaturgy by P. Carl

Feb. 24 – April 1, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center
Robert J. Orchard Stage
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Reviews by Kitty Drexel and Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MA) The White Card is a conversation starter for those unused to discussing race at length. It’s for those who think we live in a post-racial society, the kind of person who resents the dialogue because there are “bigger problems” to fix. Other attributes include denying racism because they have imaginary Black friends, thinking “all lives matter,” and feeling threatened when any indication of their own culpability within society’s systemic racism. Those who have regular discussions on race, inequalities and the struggles for justice will have their work affirmed. Continue reading

Feb 12

See the Movie First: Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast”

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre
Book by Linda Woolverton
Music by Alan Menken
Lyrics by Howard Ashman & Tim Rice
Directed by Jane Staab
Music direction by Steven Bergman
Choreography by Laurel Conrad

Feb. 2 – March 4, 2018
Feb. 25 & March 2, ASL and audio-described
Wheelock College; Boston Campus
200 The Riverway
Boston, MA 02215
WFT on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” ― attributed to Margaret Atwood.

(Boston, MA) Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (DBatB) is beloved in all its forms. The 2017 film with Emma Watson, Dan Stevens, Luke Evans, Emma Thompson, and a vastly underutilized Audra McDonald, is a charming retelling with updates to make it more palatable for contemporary audiences. The 1994 musical adaptation of the 1991 film is not. The original Disney movie was notable for its strides in animation technology, but not for its intersectionally feminist portrayal of accepting others for their differences. Unfortunately for Wheelock Family Theatre, this problematic musical hasn’t received the update treatment. In some ways, it’s worse that the 1991 film. Continue reading

Jan 25

Subvert Everything; 1 Critique and 1 Op-Ed: “Proof”

Photo: Forden Photography. Design: Bird Graphics; Featuring Michael Tow & Lisa Nguyen.

Presented by the Nora Theatre Company
Written by David Auburn
Directed by Michelle M. Aguillon

Jan. 18 – Feb. 18, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Introduction: Below are two pieces in response to The Nora Theatre’s production currently playing at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA. First is my critique of the production. The second is an opinionated response from fellow Geek Noelani Kamelamela. I asked Noelani to write a response to the production because representation is important. Three out of four cast members of Proof are Asian-American. This is significant because David Auburn didn’t factor race into his writing process. This means white was his default. No one gets extra credit for treating people of color like human beings. The Nora does get kudos for subverting the racial paradigm.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“In a good proof there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy. The argument takes so odd and surprising a form; the weapons used seems so childishly simple when compared with the far-reaching consequences; but there is no escape from the conclusions.”  – G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology

(Cambridge, MA) The stigma around mental illness remains sharp. The Nora Theatre’s production of Proof doesn’t tackle this stigma so much as wait until the audience is pliable and then viciously assault it. It isn’t gentle but it is effective.   Continue reading

Dec 06

There’s No Remedy for Fascism: “Man of La Mancha”

The cast; photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Based on the novel by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Book by Dale Wasserman
Music by Mitch Leigh
Lyrics by Joe Darion
Original production staged by Albert Marre
Directed by Antonio Ocampo-Guzman
Music direction by David Reiffel
Movement direction by Judith Chaffee

Dec. 1 – 24, 2017
Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) There were children in attendance the night I saw this production. Please note that while no one is ever undressed and strong language is avoided, MoLM does approach adult themes. Parents unwilling to discuss why a cowardly group of adult men with rage issues would rape a woman because their feelings were hurt should not bring their kids to this musical. Kids the answer is: they do it because they can.

New Rep’s production of Man of La Mancha is excellent. Get your tickets right now. Continue reading

Nov 06

It Starts in the Home: “3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show”

Wesley T. Jones, Vienna Carroll, Michael Bryan; Photo credits: David Marshall

Presented by Sleeping Weazel
Conceived and written by James Scruggs
Directed by Mark Rayment

Nov. 3-11, 2017
Nicholas Martin Hall
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) 3/Fifths’ Trapped in a Traveling Minstrel Show reclaims appropriated Black culture so to spit racism into the faces of oppressors. It’s beautiful and horrifying. Potential audience members please be aware that 3/Fifths’ contains nudity, graphic violence, and the unvarnished, unadulterated truth of what it is to be a Black man in America. Gunshots and police video are used because violence is our legacy and our future. 3/Fifths’ is a mirror showing us who we already are. Continue reading

Oct 03

Fair is Foul. Foul is Fair*: “Rev. 23: A Hellish, Farcical Opera”

Photo by Kathy Wittman; keep on rockin’ on, kids.

Presented by White Snake Projects
Creator and libretto by Cerise Lim Jacobs
Composed by Julian Wachner
Directed by Mark Streshinsky
Conducted by Lidiya Yankovskaya
Dramaturgy by Cori Ellison
Choreography by Yury Yanowsky

Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2017
John Hancock Hall
Boston, MA
White Snake Projects on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.”
Revelation 21:23Bible, New International Version  (NIV)

(Boston, MA) White Snake Projects is giving the BLO a run for their money. It’s my sincere hope that artists and their audience will watch the works of both companies but, if one has to choose, WSP may be the winner in the competition for attendees. Its edgy productions are worth the commitment. Continue reading

Sep 26

Conversations in the Life: WARHOLCAPOTE

Stephen Spinella and Dan Butler as Andy Warhol and Truman Capote. Photo: Gretjen Helene Photography

Presented by the A.R.T.
From the words of Truman Capote and Andy Warhol
Adapted by Rob Roth
Directed by Michael Mayer

Sept. 10 – Oct. 13, 2017
Loeb Drama Center
64 Brattle Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
ART on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) I wanted to enjoy WarholCapote more than I did. The script is adapted from actual conversations between two venerated artists of the 20th Century. I anticipated that it might offer some insight into their unique personas. And for some who watch this play, it will. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, WarholCapote is a two man show about two famous artists name dropping and gossiping like two grandpas at a checkerboard. It’s not for everyone, but it could be for you. Continue reading

Sep 18

Revising History for Most, Not Others: “Men On Boats”

The cast of Men On Boats. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Assistant directed by Sloth Levine

Sept. 8 – Oct. 7, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) SpeakEasy took some risks in putting up Men On Boats. Boston audiences are composed of plenty of folks that consider themselves liberal until it’s inconvenient. For example, Bernie Bros were all about feminism and other equalities until Hillary became a real threat. Then the silk gloves of human decency came off. Boxing gloves went on. MOB is the kind of show that will test its audience. The characters portrayed are real but the actors onstage do not strictly identify as men. There’s plenty of unlady-like and un-white-like behavior up there. It’s bound to ruffle some “erasing our history” feathers. Continue reading

Jun 26

Give Me What I Deserve ‘Cause It’s My Right: FIDELIO

Photo credit:; impatient for reform, the prisoner ensemble takes some sun.

Presented by NEMPAC Opera Project
Opera by Ludwig van Beethoven
Libretto by Joseph von Sonnleithner
Artistic and stage direction by Rebecca Miller
Music direction and conducting by Dr. Tiffany Chang

June 22-25, 2017
Faneuil Hall
The Great Hall
Boston, MA
NEMPAC on Facebook

Sung in German with supertitles, dialogue in German for performer acting and audience comprehension compatibility.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Beethoven nails the human condition with his only opera. Fidelio is about the lengths we go to for those we love. Yet, Beethoven reminds us, it is unwise to underestimate the insecurities of the vengeful. NEMPAC’s production was a challenging joy. Continue reading