Nov 15

Geeks Read Books: TCG Plays by Women in 2018

(New York, NY/Somerville, MA) On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review newly published plays. Below are reviews for Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau, Let Me Down Easy by Anna Deavere Smith, and Cost of Living by Martyna Majok. All books are available via the TCG website Continue reading

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Nov 09

Save Corner Store Caroline a Seat: “Just Another Lynching”

Jeghetto Interview – Just Another Lynching from Puppet Showplace Theater on Vimeo.

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater
Created by Tarish “Jeghetto” Pipkins
Musical score by Shana Tucker
Eulogy written and narrated by Tommy Noonan
Puppeteers: John Reagan, Elbert Joseph, Scotty Swan, Brenda Ray, Roxanna Myhrum, Tarish Pipkins
Tech by Brad Shur

Nov. 8 & 9, 2018
Puppet Showplace Theater
Brookline, MA
PST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: gunshots, graphic images of violence, wypipo fuckery 

(Brookline, MA) The United States has an historic problem of white violence against people of color that stretches to today. Anyone looking for proof need only search today’s newspaper. Just Another Lynching: An American Horror Story reminds us with shocking clarity just how little things have changed for People of Color in the US. Continue reading

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Oct 15

Ratched Isn’t Bossy; She’s the Boss: “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest”

Nurse Ratched and McMurphy spar. Mary Dennis Photography.

Presented by Theatre Uncorked
By Dale Wasserman
Based on the novel by Ken Kesey
Directed by Bobbie Steinbach

Oct. 13, 2018
3:30pm and 7:30pm
Martin Jewett Hall
First Church Cambridge
11 Garden St
Cambridge, MA
Theatre Uncorked on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the play is a different beast from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the novel. The novel is directly influenced by author Ken Kesey’s experiences as an orderly at a mental health facility in California. The novel was written amidst the Civil Rights movement and is a direct response to the deinstitutionalization movement. It is imperative that and audience understand the stark differences between care expectations between the 60’s and today. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest the novel is a heavy read. The play as staged by Theatre Uncorked could be viewed by nearly anyone. Continue reading

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Oct 14

Netflix and Fringe: A Fireside Chat with Theatre on Fire

Photo from a TOF production. Theatre On Fire Presents “FireSide Chat: Tell Us What You Want” on October 17, 7-8PM

The first of many FireSide Chats with the new Theatre On Fire company! This enriching, moderated cyberspace discussion with Theatre on Fire company members and you, the patrons, will center on how our small theater company can be everything that it should, especially given that it’s pretty easy now for people to just stay home and watch Netflix and whatnot.

What was your favorite thing a theater company ever did for you as an audience? We want to know. Least favorite? We want to know that too. What would you like to see from us in the next few months? We want to know that always.

To take part, go to patreon.com/theatreonfire, make sure you’re signed up at any level (even $2!), and watch for our posts there beginning at 7:00.

“FireSide Chat: Tell Us What You Want”
Hosts: Darren Evans, Kitty Drexel, Carl Danielson
October 17, 2018
7:00-8:00 PM
Attend online: patreon.com/theatreonfire

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Oct 11

Frankenstein was the Monster: “Frankenstein”

Produced by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater; A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production; Design by Bird Graphics.

Presented by Central Square Theater
Produced by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater
By Nick Dear
From the novel by Mary Shelley
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Hilary Rappaport
Ensemble: Remo Airaldi, Omar Robinson, John Kuntz, Ashley Risteen, David Keohane, Debra Wise

Oct. 4 – Nov. 4, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Trigger warning: rape, violence, body horror, strobe effects, spoilers

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Prometheus stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to mankind. For his indiscretion, Zeus condemned the Titan to an eternity of epic liver failure (a complication of eagle hunger). Shelley’s novel Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus warns a relatively modern audience not to play with fire lest one get burned. It plays out similarly in contemporary Halloween favorites such as The Rocky Horror Show and Prometheus that frustrating movie by Ridley Scott. It takes new form as Central Square Theater’s current production. As long as there is science, there will be humans poking around where they shouldn’t be poking. Continue reading

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Sep 21

Kindness Can’t Kill Systemic Disease: “Between Riverside and Crazy”

Oswaldo and Pops at breakfast. Photo by Nile Scott Studios

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene
Fight choreography by Greg Maraio
Dialect coaching by Kelly Sabini

Sept. 14 – Oct. 13, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“I may look how i look. That don’t mean I am how I look.”  – Lulu

(Boston, MA) Fuck the police. Fuck them for killing Black people at unprecedented rates. Fuck them for killing gay/queer/trans people because they can. Fuck them for raping women while in uniform. Fuck them for #bluelivesmatter. Fuck the police and their scare tactics, faulty de-escalation training, and their playing to the sympathies of ignorant white people. No one should die of a routine anything because a trigger happy cop couldn’t keep their shit together. Fuck them for making small changes and expecting big credit. Fuck the police and the lame white horse they rode in on. Fuck the goddamn police. Continue reading

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Sep 12

One Ironic Goose Step At A Time; or Two Geeks, One Show: “Straight White Men”

Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures. The cast in a moment of superficial contemplation.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Written by Young Jean Lee
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

Sept. 7 – 30, 2018
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Mainstage Theater
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Representation matters. Straight White Men is written by an Asian playwright. Noelani Kamelamela was asked to write a review in addition to the critique written by Kitty Drexel. Both are posted below.

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Watertown, MA) The synopsis of Straight White Men seems like it would be a Men’s Rights Activist’s nearest and dearest dream brought to life.  I imagine a white man in a polo shirt and khakis sitting down by the light of a tiki torch to read what would be a thoroughly delightful description: after all, the main action only involves four white men.  Yup. Four white men. No women. No people of color. This hypothetical straight white man would see the name Young Jean Lee and maybe remember sweet ole Robert E. Lee. Perhaps it hearkens him back to time before, when America was great.  “What a fine night of theatre!” this man in a barcalounger would remark aloud as he reached for his credit card and purchased a ticket to New Rep Theatre’s production which runs at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown through September 30th. Continue reading

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Aug 27

The Monkey is Omniscient: “Timbuktu, USA”

Top row (l-r): Karos, McMaster, Kaiss, Astudillo
Bottom row (l-r): Wiseman, Hillyer, Baltay; photo credit to David Marshall

Presented by Sleeping Weazel
Written and directed by Kenneth Prestininzi
Assistant direction from Teresa Cruz
Fight choreography by Drew Frayre

Aug. 25 – Sept. 1, 2018
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Sleeping Weazel on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: references to bestiality, incestuous kissing

(Boston, MA) Sleeping Wezel’s Timbuktu, USA is an absurd political satire made digestible via the mechanics of a bedroom farce. There is opportunity a plenty to be delightfully offended by the comings and goings of Prestininzi’s chaotic neutral politicians. The buffoonery so closely resembles the US current political boondoggle that audience members may leave confused. Fear not, Timbuktu, USA is a diversion well worth any disorientation. Continue reading

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Aug 06

A State of Virginal Ecstasy; Or, Needs More Snakes in Bowls: “Dark Room”

Ensemble | Photo Credit, Andrew Brilliant

Presented by Bridge Repertory Theater
Written by George Brant
Inspired by the life, death, and photography of Francesca Woodman
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio
Associate director and dramaturgy by Alexander Platt
Choreography by Doppelgänger Dance Collective

July 27 – August 16, 2018
In residence at the Multicultural Arts Center
Cambridge, MA
Bridge Rep on Facebook

Review 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.

(Cambridge, MA) Producer and director, D’Ambrosio gives an important, informative speech before Dark Room to guide audience expectations. She suggests we allow the performance to wash over us. Should we become puzzled by the actions onstage, rather than self-interpret what we see, we should allow the performance to explain itself through continued observance. I’d further posit that audience members do proper research before attending. The chiaroscuro style of Francesca Woodman is emphatically stirring. To fully absorb the performance, it behooves an audience to google Woodman’s art. Continue reading

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Jul 13

The Link Between Cause and Effect: “AddictShunned”

The cast. Photo: Avenue Stage

Presented by Avenue Stage
By Judith Austin
Directed by Michael O’Halloran

Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave.
Boston, MA 02215
Avenue Stage on Facebook

AddictShunned was originally titled Spiro Spero, which roughly translates to “While I Breathe, I Hope.”

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain; they change its structure and how it works. These brain changes can be long lasting and can lead to many harmful, often self-destructive, behaviors.”
— NIDA website, “The Science of Drug Abuse and Addiction: The Basics” https://www.drugabuse.gov/

(Boston, MA) Addiction is as much of a disease as Diabetes. Yet, while we don’t demand diabetics to will themselves healthy, we do demand this of addicts. Addicts need and deserve compassion, understanding, and resources to break the cycles of abuse. Avenue Stage’s AddictShunned compassionately reframes the stories of addicts. The audience is made to find commonality with characters it would prefer to remain anonymous.   Continue reading

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