Jul 10

What We Mean When We Say Black Lives Matter

Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA 10th Anniversary Ribbon Cutting: (L-R) BCA Chairman Philip W. Lovejoy, Huntington Trustees Gerald and Sherryl Cohen, Calderwood Charitable Foundation Trustee John Cornish, former Huntington chairman J. David Wimberly, (behind) Paul Grogan of The Boston Foundation, BCA Executive Director Veronique Le Melle, Huntington Chairman Carol G. Deane, (behind) former BRA member Harry Collings, former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino, Bank of America Massachusetts State President Robert Gallery, Huntington Artistic Director Peter DuBois, (behind) former Huntington president William P. McQuillan, Huntington President Mitchell J. Roberts, Nancy Roberts, Huntington Managing Director Michael Maso, photo: Paul Marotta

Article by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — The July 9 press release said, “Huntington Theatre Company announces the election of 4 new board members and the promotion of two Huntington Advisors to Trustee level. The election took place during the Huntington’s year-end meeting of the Board of Trustees and Advisors on June 8, 2020.”

The headliner of the press release, Tony, Emmy, and Grammy Award winner, director of Huntington productions, and historically relevant badass Billy Porter is a new trustee of the Huntington. Porter and global businessman Professor George Yip are the only two people of color added to the Huntington’s snowflake white board leadership. Three of the six promotions are white women. The other is, of course, a rich, cis, white male.

While we congratulate all of the new board and trustee members, we can’t help but notice the Huntington’s hypocrisy. The theatre penned and posted a Black Lives Matter solidarity statement on its website. The election of four white people flies in the face of that solidarity statement. Continue reading

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Jun 11

#BlackLivesMatter #BIPOCLivesMatter – A Starter Pack for White People

The New England Theatre Geek asserts that Black Lives Matter, BIPOC Lives Matter, Immigrant Lives Matter. 

These lives matter now that it’s popular and convenient for white communities to pledge that they matter.  These lives will continue to matter to us when it’s inconvenient and the Black Lives Matter movement is no longer popular in mainstream journalism. The New England Theatre Geek pledges to widen its activism and remain vigilant. 

Racism isn’t something white people with comfortable lifestyles can solve in a few months during quarantine when we’re all at home anyway with a couple of Twitter posts and a simple website banner (that a Black person made anyway).  Racism is systemic; it is aggressive; it is subverted. Deconstructing systemic racism requires equally aggressive, daily practice, and vigilance.  We pledge ourselves to this daily practice. 

It’s a list. It’s a start that should lead to one’s own personal research.  

Racism is an inherent system that affects everyone existing in society. Perpetuating racism isn’t conscious or explicit; it isn’t rational. You can’t choose to live outside of racism. You can be a “good/nice person” and be racist. Racism is a social reality for all.

White people, you will mess up. You will say and do racist things accidentally. Don’t get defensive. Messing up doesn’t make you a bad person. It makes you a person. Thank the person of color who corrects you (if you’re lucky enough to have a relationship with someone who will) and keep educating yourself.

Don’t ask Black people to explain race/racism to you. That’s not their job. Not even if they’re your friends/colleagues. Attend a training or workshop. Contact your HR. Read a book. Google it. Read the room.

You can have conversations about race/racism with your Black friends if your relationship is conducive to that dialogue. Ask for consent first. If you don’t know why it’s important to ask for consent, you are not ready to have this conversation with your Black friend/s.

Do have conversations with other white people about whiteness/race. Our skin has a color; it affects the world around us. We need the conversational practice.

Don’t try to be the “cool white person.” BIPOC will not see you that way.

White people love to think that racism is something that only exists in history, that it isn’t something we do now. Racism evolves as people do.

Race might not be real but racism is. It will take your entire life to deconstruct your inherent beliefs about white supremacy. Keep going. 

Happy Pride! 

This conversation continues on Facebook and Twitter. More links and resources are posted there. Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/

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Jun 02

Sounds of Ethereal Violence: John Aylward’s “Angelus”

New Focus Recordings presents John Aylward’s Angelus 
Conducted by Jean-Philippe Wurtz
Release Date: April 24, 2020
Genres: Classical, Contemporary Chamber Music
Text translations and adaptations by John Aylward.

Performed by Ecce Ensemble: Nina Guo, voice; Emi Ferguson, flutes; Hassan Anderson, oboe; Barret Ham, clarinets; Pala Garcia, violin; John Popham, cello; Sam Budish, percussion

Disclaimer: Classical music is #whiteculture. While reading this critique please consider the impact white culture has on Black and Brown bodies. Right now is an excellent time for we white artists to figure out how to even the playing field. Black lives still matter during times of peace.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Digital Recording/Streaming — On the cover of Ecce Ensemble’s recording of Angelus is a reprinting of Paul Klee’s Angelus Novus. A glorified stick figure in beige and mulled yellow, this humanoid seraph bares conical, gapped teeth at observers that look ready to snap. Its wings are elongated fingers with nail beds. Its feet are stunted three-pronged talons. Klee’s angel is no sentimental rendering of a chubby baby in sheets. It is more Biblical destroyer than Anne Geddes. This image prepares the listener for the ethereal violence of Aylward’s work. Continue reading

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May 27

They stole her body and the pants off a white man: “Our Lady of 121st Street”

image via https://www.facebook.com/LABTheaterCo

Presented by LAByrinth Theater Company
Written by Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Elizabeth Rodriguez
Stage Directions read by David Deblinger

Performed on Saturday, May 23 @ 8PM
A Zoom performance

LAByrinth Theater Company
Cherry Lane Theatre
38 Commerce Street
New York, NY 10014
LAB on Facebook
LAB on Instagram

Holy cats, DONATE!

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Hang on because it’s gonna be dope.” – From the pre-performance speech by Elizabeth Rodriguez.

ZOOM — This production is made available to viewers as a part of LAByrinth Theater Company’s desire to continue existing past the coronavirus pandemic. If you viewed this production and you are able, please donate to LAByrinth Theater. Donate now so theatre can exist later.

Directors must stop apologizing for their Zoom readings. Our Lady of 121st Street’s triumphant director Elizabeth Rodriguez is not the first to apologize to a Zoom audience. If I had my druthers, she would be the last. It’s unfair to the cast and crew who have put so much energy into the performance. Now is not the time to apologize for variables spinning mundanity far beyond our control. There is no set precedent for corona-times streaming theatre.  We’re inventing the genre. Mistakes and minor emergencies are part of the fun of live theatre. Continue reading

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May 20

You’re Very Cute When You Say ‘Snacks’: A Virtual Presentation of “Eyes Shut. Door Open.”

A virtual presentation over Zoom 
May 18, 2020, 7:30PM
A fundraiser and awareness campaign for The Phoenix Sober Community
Please donate to the campaign HERE

Written by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Christopher Randolph
Sound design by Patrick Greene
Turner played by Michael Underhill
Johanna played by Melissa deJesus
Palmer played by Eliott Purcell
Stage Directions by Alex Leondedis

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — I reviewed Eyes Shut. Door Open. four years ago at Warehouse XI in Somerville, MA. This response to the May 18 reading does not supersede the 2016 critique. It exists in addition to it. It is critical to examine theatre’s adaptation to online performance.

One of the new rules of Zooming is to make your bed. If you insist on streaming from your bedroom, make your bed. Anyone watching you is already judging you on your household aesthetics (or lack thereof). Inviting viewers into your bedroom means sharing an intimate part of you. They will imagine you in that naughtily unmade bed. They will see your unwashed sheets and rumpled comforter and judge your hygiene. Better to make your bed than to feed the trolls. Never feed the trolls.

Speaking of rules. Necessity is forcing actors to develop new techniques for online streaming. Monday’s performance of Eyes Shut. Door Open revealed some mighty useful technical skills in its performers and sound technician. There was a lot to learn from this reading. Continue reading

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May 05

Streamed Content to Prevent COVID-19 Brain: Justin, It’s May

Dear Readers,

It’s May 5. Boston was originally expected to open yesterday. According to Mass.gov.com, that date was changed to May 18. It is important that we stay at home, use a mask that covers our noses and mouths when we’re outside, keep at least three to six feet from others, and to stay at home. For the love of Patti LuPone, please stay at home!

If you are a person who is consuming content and you can afford to, DONATE. If you can’t donate now, buy a ticket/tickets when the theatres reopen.

If you can do both, DONATE now and BUY A TICKET later.* Consuming streaming content without making a donation means that our theatres might not exist when the economy reopens.

Pay artists. DONATE.

All our love from six feet away,
Kitty, Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

*P.S. It should go without saying that if you don’t have the cash/are unemployed/are an essential worker, don’t donate.

Let us know if we missed something! Email us at blognetheatregeek@gmail.com or find us on our social media pages.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/

Boston Baroque — This 2015 production of Handel’s Agrippina is sexy and hits a little too close to home. The vocals are gorgeous! 

Entropy Theatre — Entropy Theatre offers Domestic Explorations, “a semiweekly series of recipes for creating meaningful experiences for yourself to have inside your home.” They just released Domestic Exploration #8. It is a delight! 

Flat Earth Theatre – Flat Earth continues A. Lehrmitt’s sci-fi radio play Fine-Tuned Universe. New chapters will stream for FREE on Saturday nights at 7pm through May 30th. Each week brings a new 20-minute chapter. Check Flat Earth’s YouTube channel if you missed the streamed reading. 

ImprovBoston — Live (Virtual) Shows this Weekend from ImprovBoston via Twitch. Some are family-friendly. Check the details for more info.

Liars & Believers — LAB has a new Zoom version of Greg Lam’s play, Interventions.

Luminarium Dance –  This week’s online performance features Luminarium’s 2012 production MYTHOS:PATHOS, originally presented at the Center for the Arts at the Armory (Somerville MA) and Arsenal Center for the Arts (Watertown MA), with a culminating sold-out performance at A.R.T.’s OBERON Theater (Cambridge MA).
Also! Luminarium Dance Company & Monkeyhouse are producing the seventh 24-Hour ChoreoFest!
Malden Choreofest
Saturday, May 9
12-6pm: Live-streamed creation period
8pm: Live-streamed performance
Links become available at https://www.luminariumdance.org/choreofest at 12pm & 8pm on May 9th.

MassOpera  – MassOpera is offering Mother’s Day Songs and Shout-outs through a  virtual event on Sunday, May 10th at 4:00 PM. Check this SITE for details. 

New Rep Theatre — New Repertory Theatre announces a call for the general public to describe their quarantine experiences for the Quarantine Creatives project. In an initiative to provide unique, engaging digital content while their doors are temporarily closed, New Rep aims to put real-life stories on the virtual stage. Submission form is HERE.

The Umbrella Arts — This week’s offering comes from Charlotte Anne Dore and Rosalita’s Puppets. “The Sea Story” is an undersea adventure tale based on Dore’s puppet characters.

Elsewhere on the Internets:
The Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center posted an “Alumni to Watch” list for Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and other platforms. The list doesn’t include links but it does include the names of the Theatre Center’s alumni and their attending years.
Playbill: Patti LuPone, John Malkovich, Dylan Baker, More to Kick Off New Online Play Reading Series
Broadway World: “Performing Arts Centers in South Korea Plan to Reopen This Week With New Guidelines,” by BWW News Desk.
May the Fourth be with You… And also with Babu.

This is freakin’ cool.

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May 02

Plague Drama from the Comfort of Your Own Home: “Nosferatu, The Vampyr”

Presented by Sparkhaven Theatre & Homesick Play Project
Written by by M Sloth Levine
Original music composed by Alissa Voth
Directed by Hannah Pryfogle
Musicians: Rebecca Elowe, Bri Tagliaferro, Andrew Gaffney

April 30, 2020
Streamed through HowlRound Theatre Commons 
The streamed version recorded for posterity (and to prove there were witnesses HERE)

Review by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: This review is a response to the experience of a Zoom performance of Nosferatu, The Vampyr.  

ONLINE, Everywhere — Nosferatu, The Vampyr, a play with original music about a mysterious plague with mysterious origins, is the dramatic queering that society needs. It was meant to run at Chelsea Theatre Works March 19 – 28, until the coronavirus, our factual plague, prevented its run. While it would have been brilliant to review Nosferatu, The Vampyr in real life, the Zoom version proves that great theatre can be created specifically for internet viewing with time, ingenuity, and some creative tweaking. Not all streamed theatre content is worth viewing. Nosferatu is.  Continue reading

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Apr 06

Streamed Content to Prevent COVID-19 Brain Drain: April 2020 and All is Weird

Dear Readers,

Here is the latest list with online community happenings and be-ins.

Zoombombing is a threat. Please keep yourselves safe by implementing security measures against these fuckboi trolls.

Articles for context:
The Verge,”Zoom adds new security and privacy measures to prevent Zoombombing.”
The New York Times, “‘Zoombombing’ Becomes a Dangerous Organized Effort.”
Buzzfeed News, “Here Are 8 Quick Tips To Keep You From Getting “Zoombombed” By Trolls”

Keep washing your hands, stay at home, and know that you are necessary and loved,
Kitty Drexel
Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom Edition – Boston Playwrights’ Theatre offers features free readings of ten-minute plays by New England playwrights in collaboration with New England theatres, via Zoom, April 1-May 17. They are excellent!

Central Square Theater – Central Square Theater is extending its online run of Pipeline! It’s available to watch until April 12. Get your TICKETS before it’s too late! 

HowlRound has oodles of online content by theatremakers to watch and it is FREE, whether streamed or recorded. Please go to the site for details. 

John J King/J-Rex Plays created a music video called, (Who Needs) Pants?! Featuring special guest star Ramona Rose King. 

Liars & Believers – LAB is sharing The Huns: a radio play by Peter Papadopoulos. Directed and edited by Jason Slavick. The Huns is twelve minutes long and the silliness we need in these dire times. 

Luminarium  Dance Company– Artistic Director Merli V. Guerra’s The One I Keep (2013), performed by long-time company member Jessica Chang, is now available to watch online via YouTube. 

New England New Play Alliance – New Play Alliance has a newsletter with information on local New England playwrights, podcasts, online events, and giveaways! Subscribe HERE.

Rockettes Dance Class: The Radio City Rockettes offer live dance classes on Instagram every week beginning on April 2 at 12PM EST. Additional classes will take place on successive Thursdays at noon. 

Trinity Repertory Theatre – Rhode Island’s Tony Award-winning theater is generating digital content and creating virtual events and classes, so that “the show goes on.” Content is being delivered through its social media channels and is aggregated at 

*Registration for all adult and kid’s classes and/or the knitting circle can be found HERE

*Streaming of the movie I Am A Seagull by directors Brian Mertes, Melissa Kievmanis, and The Chekhov Project is available to steam until April 15 by clicking HERE.

*Virtual tickets are available here for a streamed version of Asolo Rep’s production of Into the Breeches!, which had its world premiere at Trinity Rep in 2018. Available through April 14.

TCG (Theatre Communications Group) – TCG has assembled resources relating to Coronavirus and has held a Webinar that you can access here. Dispatches From Quarantine will be a quick-response way for theatre folks to share thoughts, feelings, griefs, hopes, and strategies for getting through this fraught and disorienting moment.

WGBH, ArtsEmerson, Huntington Theatre Company – WGBH will present a special broadcast of Mala, a poignant drama written and performed by local playwright and performer Melinda Lopez. This award-winning play will air on WGBH 2 and YouTube TV on Thursday, April 9 at 9 p.m.

Following the broadcast, ArtsEmerson will host a pre-recorded online conversation between playwright/performer Melinda Lopez and director David Dower at ArtsEmersonBlog.org.  

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Mar 30

Streamed Content to Prevent Brain Drain, Continued: Don’t Reach Out and Touch Someone

Dearest Readers;

Below is a continuation of last week’s list. New England area theatre companies are keeping busy. And so should you! Many of the opportunities from last week are still active and thriving. Please check those links.

Keep washing your damn hands, getting enough exercize, Zooming your friends. Stay home.

Let us know if we missed something! Email us at blognetheatregeek@gmail.com or find us on our social media pages.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/

All our love from six feet away,
Kitty, Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

Apollinaire Theatre Company – ATC hosts Apollinaire at Home! It’s a free online play & film script reading gathering! Apollinaire at Home is hosted by your Apollinaire favorites, and the cast includes You!! Readings for the week are posted on Apollinaire’s main page on Tuesday evening/ Wednesday morning. Readings will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30, and Sunday “matinee” at 3:00.

Bonnie Duncan and the Gottabees – For children of all ages, Bonnie Duncan & the Gottabees give you a few moments out of your (crowded!) day where you can enjoy being together as a family with puppets and music. A familiar, underpants-stealing-squirrel makes a cameo. 

Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom Edition – Boston Playwrights’ Theatre (BPT) presents “Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom  Edition,” featuring ten-minute plays written by New England playwrights and presented by New England theatres via the video conferencing tool Zoom, April 1-May 17. Readings will begin each day at 12 noon and will last approximately 15-minutes. Audiences will need to download the free Zoom app to participate, and it is recommended they call in a few minutes before “curtain” time.

Central Square Theater Central Square Theater has made available for streaming a video recording of its acclaimed production of PIPELINE. The recording is available today through April 5, 2020. Details on how patrons may purchase access the recording is included. TICKETS.

CompanyOne – C1 has its new C1 “New Work #socialdistancing Community” form. Please drop your ideas there. Company One Theatre is postponing the remaining productions of Season 21, Clare Barron’s Dance Nation and Inda Craig-Galván’s Black Super Hero Magic Mama. Both productions will shift to 2021 and become part of Season 22.

Upcoming from C1: Resident playwright Kirsten Greenidge is launching a series of online Open Writes. Kirsten will hold space for folx who want a communal, but quiet, energy to support their writing. The first is scheduled for Saturday April 11 (time tbd), and will be co-hosted with David Valdes. C1 will send out a formal announcement with a video link as the date approaches. Please watch the C1 website for updates.

Post-Meridian Radio Players – PMRP makes available “The Mysterious Traveler” on their Soundcloud for listening.  They ask that you please enjoy this thrilling story of the gentleman thief, Arsene Lupin. Auditions with PMRP’s summer will be announced on their website. 

The Umbrella Arts –  The Umbrella Arts Gallery has provided wider virtual access to exhibitions from their three gallery spaces at The Umbrella. 

  • Aperture: The annual group show featuring more than fifty Studio Artists, viewable as a 360 Virtual Tour, and with works available for purchase through Artcld. 
  • One Day I Will Walk Into The Umbrella: The Black Box Gallery exhibition of drawings created by Justin P. Douglass while incarcerated in Concord and in Norfolk. 
  • Gallery 3: An exhibition of mixed media works by Cynthia Katz. 
  • #TBT: Just Added Lyle Lovett Video – As we continue to digitize various Umbrella programming, we’re pleased to share for the first time a video excerpt of last fall’s amazing benefit concert by Lyle Lovett. The video was wonderfully produced with high-quality sound by video professional and Umbrella volunteer, Bob Greim. 

The Multicultural Arts Center – The Multicultural Arts Center has created a virtual gallery for Cambridge students, teachers, parents, and community members to showcase its K-8 Young Artist exhibition. 

TC Squared – In response to the COVID-19 novel coronavirus pandemic, TC Squared has launched a new online reading series: VOLUME UP Virtual Play Readings. Videos can be found on its YouTube channel.  Facebook and Twitter has the most up-to-date info.

Exquisite.

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Mar 23

Book Release and Online Event:”There Must Be Happy Endings” by Megan Sandberg-Zakian is Released Today!

There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty
By Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Published by The 3rd Thing Press
Olympia, 2020
Available on Kickstarter with a $24.00 pledge
Paperback, 230 pages

LIVE ONLINE EVENT!
Megan Sandberg-Zakian in conversation with Melinda Lopez
March 23, 2020, 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Free on the HowlRound website! More info below.
Event on
Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“An ending doesn’t have to be happy to be satisfying. A good ending, happy or not, draws a line around the experience of story hearing and telling. It picks the story up, holds it in its hands, and offers it out, whole. It gives us the opportunity for a collective breath. A good ending is honest: a boundary we can feel, the knowledgable edge of a reliable container. It is a ritual threshold between story and not-story.” 

— Megan Sandberg-Zakian, “There Must Be Happy Endings,” There Must Be Happy Endings: On Theatre of Optimism & Honesty, 2020.

Somerville, Mass — There Must Be Happy Endings by Megan Sandberg-Zakian is an exploration in the personal dramaturgy of the mind and spirit. In her first book of essays, the author takes a deep dive into the works that have made a lasting impression upon her. They are an extension of her need to share stories through theatre. Whether by quoting Homer, The Dark Knight or Annie, these essays draw the reader into the author’s personal story by circumnavigating the landscape of the greater western narrative. She tells us why happy ends are important and why they are especially important to her. Her title essay isn’t demanding sappy closure but commanding a divine right to culminate our narratives with an end to the suffering within them.  Continue reading

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