Feb 24

Don’t Feed the Troll: “Deal Me Out”

Photo by Stratton McCrady; Rachel Belleman, Matthew Bretschneider, Hannah Beebe, Dev Blair, Caleb Cedrone

Presented by Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Written by MJ Halberstadt
Directed by Shana Gozansky
Dramaturgy by Ally Sass

February 13 to March 1, 2020
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215
BPT on Facebook
Critique by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA — We all know that one toxic person who refuses to go away: they show up everywhere, you grew up together, they were hired when the company first started, etc. No one in your circle wants to get singled out by kicking them to the curb. Instead, everyone brines in their own contempt because confronting Toxic Tilly might upset the barely tolerable status quo. Boston Playwrights’ Theatre’s Deal Me Out directly addresses the harm they do. Continue reading

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Feb 07

Pride & Shame Are Brothers: “Sweat”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Lynn Nottage
Directed by Kimberleigh Senior
Original music & sound design by Pornchanok Kanchanabanca
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 31 – March 1, 2020
Huntington Avenue Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington Theatre Co on Facebook

Content warnings: This production includes the smoking of cocoa shell cigarettes (100% nicotine-free). It contains themes of drug use, drug addiction, alcoholism, and homelessness.

Trigger warnings: racial and gender microaggressions, intentional bigotry, sexism, racism, graphic violence, implied drug use, exploitation of a disabled person, and Republican politics

The Huntington Theatre Company website says that those who are interested in more information should please reach out to Ticketing Services at 617 266 0800.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA — Lynn Nottage’s Sweat won the 2017 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. After reading in in 2017 and seeing it live last night, it is not difficult to understand why. Sweat balances gender, race, and class discrimination issues like a well-crafted dagger. This art represents the struggling people of Reading, PA that Nottage interviewed to write her play. It gives insight into the dangers of unchecked greed while commenting on the political events that provoked into a capitalist fury. Sweat has you in the palm of its metaphorical hand… And then it drops you on your ass. Continue reading

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Feb 04

Children Are People: “Wolf Play”

L-R_ Inés de la Cruz, Minh-Anh Day, Greg Maraio, Adrian Peguero; Photo by Andrew James Wang.

Presented by Company One
By Hansol Jung
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Dramaturgy by Ilana M. Brownstein
Fight choreography by Jessica Scout Malone
Boxing consultations by Kimberleigh A. Holman

January 30 – February 29, 2020
Boston Public Library
Rabb Hall
Central Library in Copley Square
Boston, MA
C1 on Facebook

All Tickets are Pay-What-You-Want

Critique by Kitty Drexel

SPOILER ALERT

Trigger warnings: child abuse, physical violence, bigotry

Boston, MA — Wolf Play made me so angry I wanted to punch a philosopher. There is so much going wrong in Wolf Play. Good people do not sell or purchase children from the internet. They do immediately contact child services when they discover parents attempting to sell their adopted child. They do contact organizations working on behalf of exploited children. They do not attempt to liberate a child on their own because the US’s messed up legal system thinks that LGBTQ+ adults aren’t fit to raise kids. I know it’s pretend but it’s based on fact. The adults caught up in these actions are telling themselves that they are still good people. They are not. Continue reading

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Jan 31

Extraordinary Acts of Intersectional Feminism: “Gloria: A Life”

Presented by American Repertory Theatre
By Emily Mann
Directed by Diane Paulus
The cast includes Patricia Kalember as Gloria Steinem with Gabrielle Beckford, Joanna Glushak, Patrena Murray, Erika Stone, Brenda Withers, and Eunice Wong. Rachel Cognata is the swing.

January 24 – March 1, 2020
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA 
ART on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

People say ‘beware!’
But I don’t care
The words are just
Rules and regulations to me, me”
 “Gloria” by Patti Smith

Cambridge, MA — Gloria Steinem is creating the world she wants to see. She is a multi-generational, intersectional feminist activist, an unflinching journalist, and a courageous journalist. Steinem is kind, compassionate, persistent, patient, and she wants a better world for all of us. The human population is damn lucky to have her fighting on our side. She is one of my personal heroes. 

Gloria: A Life by Emily Mann invites us to participate in the events of Steinem’s life as the unfold onstage. A performance feels like watching the text of Steinem’s My Life On the Road leap off the page. (The book is great! I highly recommend it.) Both are about Steinem’s personal life and career. The greatest difference between Mann’s play and the book is that the play invites the audience into Steinem’s head. Steinem is no longer at a distance. We’re allowed to celebrate and grieve with her in realtime.    Continue reading

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Jan 24

“The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Becomes”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
Created by Back to Back Theatre, Australia
Authored by Michael Chan, Mark Deans, Bruce Gladwin, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price, Sonia Teuben
Directed by Bruce Gladwin
Composed by Luke Howard Trio – Daniel Farrugia, Luke Howard, Jonathon Zion
Performed by Michael Chan, Simon Laherty, Sarah Mainwaring, Scott Price

Jan. 23–26, 2020
Emerson Paramount Center’s Jackie Liebergott Black Box
559 Washington Street
Boston, MA 02111
ArtsEmerson on Facebook 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA —  One of the ignoble truths of living as a disabled person is that people stare. People stare at us because we’re different. They stare because they can. Performance is one way that disabled people wrestle back control. We get to choose when people stare at us. It is liberating.

In Back to Back Theatre’s The Shadow Whose Prey The Hunter Becomes, the disabled cast wants you to stare so they can stare back. And when they do, they do not flinch. I’d wager good money that Thursday night’s audience has never had their gaze turned back on them. Witnessing this was deliciously rewarding. Continue reading

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Jan 23

Bickering is A Language of Love: “We All Fall Down”

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
by Lila Rose Kaplan
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Jan. 10 – Feb. 15, 2020
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Ring-a-round the rosie,
A pocket full of posies,
Ashes! Ashes!
We all fall down.” – Traditional song (American version)

Boston, MA — We All Fall Down is a family portrait that examines clashing egos during a period of family dilemma. The Stein family isn’t talking to each other. In their defense, they aren’t listening either. It’s Passover. Everyone has an agenda and none of them correspond. We All Fall Down is about the power we give denial. The stronger the denial, the tauter the family bond. Continue reading

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Jan 17

Calling the Police Over a Picnic:”Pass Over”

Photo by Nile Scott Studios; Lewis D. Wheeler, Kadahj Bennett, Hubens “Bobby” Cius

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co. with The Front Porch Arts Collective
By Antoinette Nwandu
Directed by Monica White Ndounou
Fight choreography by Brandon G. Green
Movement coaching by Mila Thigpen
Dramaturgy by Pascale Florestal

January 3 – Feb. 2, 2020
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
SpeakEasy on Facebook
The Front Porch on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: white guilt, language, fuck the police

(Boston, MA) The sheer volume of what one must understand as true regardless of personal belief in order to not merely understand but thoroughly digest Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over at SpeakEasy Stage is overwhelming. The role that white people play in perpetuating racism’s systemic horrorshow machinations against Black people (and all people of color) is astounding.

Here is a list of links containing basic concepts that could be helpful. 

  • It is not the responsibility of Black people to explain racism or to convince white people that it exists. 
  • Being nice isn’t the same as not being racist. Racist people are nice all of the time. Nice people are racist all the time.
  • Black friends won’t make a white person less racist. Dismantling internalized racism requires a lifetime of work.  
  • It should go without saying that Black people want equality. They don’t want to reverse their treatment at the hands of white people back onto white people. 
  • Racism is about power. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. 
  • White people have to stop taking personally Black resistance to oppression.  
  • All of this information is a Google search away. 

Continue reading

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Nov 26

Be Old Until You Are Young: “Quixote Nuevo”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company in association with Hartford Stage and Alley Theatre
A reimagining of Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes
By Octavio Solis
Directed by KJ Sanchez
Compositions and sound design by David R. Molina
Other compositions by Eduardo Robledo
Music direction by Jesse Sanchez
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett
Vocal and dialect coaching by Robert Ramirez
Dramaturgy by J. Sebastián Alberdi

Nov. 15 – Dec. 8, 2019
HUNTINGTON AVENUE THEATRE, 264 HUNTINGTON AVENUE
Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It’s only three days until Thanksgiving! So let me take this opportunity to remind you, dearest reader, that the very land you stand on was stolen by colonizers from Native American tribes. Quixote Nuevo takes place on the Mexican-American border. The US is currently keeping the children of immigrants in cages at that border. Their parents aren’t much better off. When you see this production, and you should because it is excellent, please consider the role colonizers and their progeny (us) have played in putting the land’s indigenous peoples behind bars. Continue reading

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Nov 25

What Jesus Would Do: “The Last Days of Judas Iscariot”

Photo by Hub Theatre Company; Jesus (Jaime Hernandez) and Judas (Cristian Mancinas-Garcia)

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Steven Bogart
Fight choreography by Matthew Dray
Dialect coaching by Charles Linshaw

Nov. 8 – 23, 2019
First Church Boston66 Marlborough St
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: blasphemy, betrayal, cursing, portrayals of Satan, extreme Christianity

(Boston, MA) Stephen Adly Guirgis doesn’t give his audience answers in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. He gives them a question: does Judas belong in Hell for his actions against Jesus of Nazareth? Guirgis supplies an answer to this question but his answer is only one answer of many. It’s up to audience members to discern the answer that makes the most sense to them. 

Continue reading
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Nov 12

Vintage Neuroses in a Noir Package: “Unusual Things Have Happened: Tales of Everyday Horror”

Photo via Facebook; the cast at Charlestown Working Theatre.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Produced by special arrangement with the children of Shirley Jackson, and Catalyst Management, LLC. 
By Shirley Jackson
Directed by Mathew Woods
Ensemble: Laura Detwiler, Denise Drago, Lauren Foster, Molly Kimmerling, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Jennifer Taschereau

November 2nd – November 16th, 2019
Charlestown Working Theater
442 Bunker Hill Street, Charlestown, MA  02129
The Beasts on Facebook

Trigger warning: psychological horror, emotional trauma, spooky ghosts

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Journeys end in lovers meeting; I have spent an all but sleepless night, I have told lies and made a fool of myself, and the very air tastes like wine. I have been frightened half out of my foolish wits, but I have somehow earned this joy; I have been waiting for it for so long.”― Shirley Jackson, The Haunting of Hill House

(Charlestown, MA) imaginary beasts’ latest production, Unusual Things Have Happened: Tales of Everyday Horror brings the psychological pain of everyday anxiety into sharp focus. The beasts tell six stories adapted from the works of Shirley Jackson in a style that they have named “narrative theatre.” Cast members dictate the action onstage just as a third-person voice narrates the passages of a book.  It looks and sounds like a one or two-person Greek chorus.

The vignettes that make up the production examine the commonplace terrors that women experience on the daily: isolation, powerlessness, and disorder. There is puppetry, mime, and yes, scene narration. The narrators are like impartial babysitters watching their human companions toddle towards danger. They might stop them, but where’s the fun in that?  Continue reading

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