Mar 10

Geeks Review Books: “Boston Theatre Marathon XXIII: Special Zoom Edition Anthology”

Boston Theatre Marathon XXIII: Special Zoom Edition Anthology
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Edited by Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director
Smith & Kraus, Inc
Softcover, 340 pages
ISBN: 9781575259611
Copyright 2021
$20.00
Purchase the Anthology 

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Boston Theatre Marathon XXIII: Special Zoom Edition Anthology is the physical manifestation of the 23rd Annual Boston Theatre Marathon on Zoom. #BTMXXIIIelectricZOOMaloo 

The Boston Theatre Marathon was live and in-person until COVID-19 struck the Earth like a biblical pestilence. Years 2020 and 2021 were over Zoom. This anthology puts the magic and the mystery of 2021’s plays in one book.

From the Boston Playwrights’ Theatre website: “For more than two decades, the Boston Theater Marathon has brought together playwrights, directors, and theatre companies in an effort to foster collaboration between artists and producers.  Continue reading

Mar 08

Strange and a Little Bit Lonely: “This Bitter Earth”


Presented by TheatreWorks Hartford
By Harrison David Rivers
Directed by David Mendizábal
Fight and intimacy direction by Rocío Mendez
Digital playbill

Live on stage: February 16 – March 20
Streaming: March 7-20
TheaterWorks Inc
233 Pearl Street
Hartford, CT 06103
TWH on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Content warning: This Bitter Earth contains partial nudity as well as mature language and themes.

STREAMING ONLINE — This is a review for the pre-recorded, streamed version of This Bitter Earth.

Relationships are hard work. The kind of work a relationship requires depends upon the people in it. As the white person in a biracial relationship, you either educate yourself to understand the experiences of your partner of color, or you lose them. Your partner will either love you back by meeting you halfway with patience and sympathy, or they will lose you. 

This Bitter Earth is the first play that I’ve seen in my ten years as a critic to specifically, comprehensively address the complex issues of a modern biracial relationship. Other plays have broached the subject; none have been as successful as This Bitter Earth. Continue reading

Mar 07

Suck It, Hambone: “Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold”

Queen’s own photo from Chelsea Theatre Works.

Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold
Presented as part of the Resident Artist Program at Chelsea Theatre Works.
Written by Libby Schap & Luke Robbins
Featuring: Lauren Foster, Lisa Joyce, Molly Kimmerling, Libby Schap

March 4-12, 2022
Fridays and Saturdays @8PM
Chelsea Theatre Works in the Black Box Theatre
189 Winnisimmet Street
Chelsea, MA 02150

Covid19 policy: masks & vaccination are required

Review by Kitty Drexel

CHELSEA, Mass. — Naked lightbulbs hang from scaffolding over a raw black box stage. Their pull-chains gently sway from the motion of patrons choosing their seats. The naked stage leaves lots of room for the performance of Peggy Shippen is…, an enigmatic new play that’s running about ten minutes late.  

Peggy Shippen is… a play about the wife of Benedict Arnold is a little weird, a lot unusual, and not boring. It borrows from Hamilton’s leftover hype and sidles up to the creative demands of Jordan Tannahill’s Theatre of the Unimpressed Continue reading

Mar 02

Writing for the Moms the World Ignored: “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End”

Karen MacDonald. My parents have that end table. Photo by Megpix/Meghan Moore

Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End
Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
By Allison Engel and Margaret Engel
Based on the life and works of Erma Bombeck
Directed by Terry Berliner
Original music by Brett Macias
Filmmaker: Kathy Wittman
Featuring Karen MacDonald

FEB 24-MAR 13, 2022
Simultaneously Live and Streaming
Hall/Lowell Memorial Auditorium
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA 01852
MRT on Facebook 

Approximate run time: 80 minutes, no intermission

Review by Kitty Drexel

Lowell, Mass. — Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End is a serviceable, inoffensive one-woman show about humorist Erma Bombeck. Folks who remember Bombeck will enjoy the show. 

People who enjoy the work of Karen MacDonald will also enjoy the show. MacDonald is delightful. Thanks to her work with director Terry Berliner, MacDonald dominates the stage like she lives there. Continue reading

Feb 28

Play Nerd Games; Win Nerd Prizes: “Young Nerds of Color”

Nerds! James Ricardo Milord, Daniel Rios, Jr., Alison Yueming Qu, Kortney Adams, and Lindsey McWhorter, and Karina Beleno Carney in “Young Nerds of Color”. Photo: Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by Underground Railway Theater
The Brit d’Arbeloff Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production
Arranged by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Original music by Nona Hendryx
Dramaturgy by Des Bennett
Featuring: Kortney Adams(she/her), Karina Beleno Carney (she/her), Lindsey McWhorter (she/her), James Ricardo Milord (he/him), Daniel Rios, Jr. (he/him), Alison Yueming Qu (she/they)

All tickets come with Digital Insurance
Feb. 17 – March 20, 2022
Streaming: March 7 – April 3, 2022
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Please note: People of Color (POC) is a term used in Young Nerds of Color to describe people of Asian, Black, Native, Hispanic and Latino descent. It is not being used because white people are uncomfortable saying “Black.” They might also be that. 

Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

Critique by Kitty Drexel
A Note from Noelani Kamelamela is below.

Cambridge, Mass. — My wonderful partner is scientist of color (a note from them below). An adult nerd of color, if you will. They work at MIT. Seeing MIT through their eyes, knowing their experiences made watching Young Nerds of Color easier to believe and harder to endure. Young Nerds of Color is fun! It’s also chock full of difficult truths.  Continue reading

Feb 19

Please Live Life to Its Fullest Responsibly: “People, Places & Things”


Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company 
Written by Duncan MacMillan
Directed by David R Gammons
Dramaturgy by Rulas A Muñoz

Feb. 11 – March 5, 2022
Audio Description – February 19 at 8pm and February 20 at 3pm
Open Captioning – March 3 at 2pm and 7:30pm
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CONTENT ADVISORY:  This production contains depictions of addiction and self-harm, discussions of sexual assault, an extended strobe light sequence, herbal cigarette smoke, and loud noises.

BOSTON — A friend once told me, despite the burden mental illness can present, that the brain is trying to help. The myriad painful symptoms I and many others experience as effects of mental illness are the brain’s way of facilitating, even normalizing the abnormalities of life. Sometimes, I’d rather it not. 

Just because the brain is trying to help, it doesn’t mean the brain is actually helping. It takes tremendous discipline to correct negative behaviors and toxic thoughts and to learn new ones. Failure is inevitable. If it takes a village to teach toxic patterns, it takes another village to reinforce positive ones. 

SpeakEasy Stage’s People, Places & Things running at the BCA is about addiction, mental health, the theatre, and identity. Emma (Marianna Bassham in a performance that will blow your mind) is in denial. She abuses drugs to cope with her performing career, her family, and the life that happens in-between. She’s on so many drugs when she collapses on stage during a production of The Seagull, it’s a miracle she isn’t dead already.  Continue reading

Feb 05

Lead Me On to the Light: “The Bluest Eye” at The Huntington

The cast in The Huntington’s production of The Bluest Eye by Lydia R. Diamond; Photo by T Charles Erickson.

Presented by The Huntington 
Based on the American classic novel by Toni Morrison
Written by Lydia R. Diamond
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Choreography by Kurt Douglas
Music direction by David Freeman Coleman
Original music by Justin Ellington 
Dramaturgy by Sandy Alexandre 
Intimacy direction by Ayshia Mackie-Stephenson

January 28 – March 13, 2022
Digital access available through March 27, 2022
ASL-INTERPRETED PERFORMANCE: Friday, February 11 at 8pm.
OPEN CAPTIONED PERFORMANCE: Tuesday, February 15 at 7:30pm.
AUDIO-DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE: Saturday, February 26 at 2pm
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

The Bluest Eye plays in approximately one hour and 40 minutes with no intermission.

Content warning: every kind of violence amidst a Black community

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Coming together in a circle to tell a story is essential to our humanity. That’s what we’re inviting the community into with The Bluest Eye.” – Director Awoye Timpo

Boston, MA — The synopsis for The Bluest Eye would have a newcomer believe that the play is about unattainable, western i.e. colonialist beauty standards. It is, but The Bluest Eye is about much more. 

Pecola Breedlove (Hadar Busia-Singleton) has come to stay with Claudia (Brittany-Laurelle) and Freida (Alexandria King). We learn through Claudia’s narration all about the Breedloves.  Mrs. Breedlove (McKenzie Frye, who tears the roof off in her role) and Mr. Cholly Breedlove (Greg Alverez Reid) are scarred from growing up in the Midwest. 

Through an examination of their stories, we come to understand Pecola and why she dreams of having blue eyes. Ramona Lisa Alexander,  Brian D. Coats and Lindsley Howard round out the cast. The cast is excellent together and individually in their own right.
Continue reading

Jan 25

Poverty is Expensive: Rattlestick’s “Addressless”

A screen grab from “Addressless.” The cast discusses their options.

Presented by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Community partnered with Urban Pathways, Community Access
Adapted from
STEREO AKT‘s and Lifeboat Unit’s Hungarian production of Addressless.
Created & directed by Martin Boross
Written by Jonathan Payne
Script consultants: Hope Beaver, Cassie Desalines, Shams DaBaron aka “Da Homeless Hero”
Video editing by Matthew Russell
Graphics & animation by Maiko Kikuchi
Streaming technician: Keenan Hurley
Featuring: Joey Auzenne, Hope Beaver, Shams DaBaron a.k.a. “Da Homeless Hero,” & Bianca Norwood

Thursday, January 13 – Sunday, February 13, 2022
Presented over Zoom
Tickets
Digital Program
Rattlestick on Facebook

Content warnings: Addressless discusses at length issues faced by the unhoused community such addiction and sobriety, bigotry, sex trafficking, shame, government benefits programs, and other forms of abuse. This show can be intense. It may not be appropriate for children under 12. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Addressless is heart-breakingly honest digital theatre. If you’re looking for something to take you out of the monotony of COVID-living, creators Boross and Payne have a solution for you. Their two-hour, interactive, roleplaying theatre game is a reminder that life’s struggles don’t end just because there’s a pandemic at your door. 

This production begins like any other over Zoom: the host invites attendees in, we wait patiently for the show to start. Addressless is slightly different because it asks attendees to fill out a survey via a link in the chat. The survey asks participants personal questions about their identity, financial situation, and if they’ve ever been unhoused. Have you lived on the streets? For how long?  Continue reading

Jan 18

Softness, Compliance, Forgiveness, Grace: The Lyric presents “Mr. Parent”

Maurice Emmanuel Parent in “Mr. Parent.” Photo by Mark S Howard.

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Written by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Megan Sandberg-Zakian
Public education consultant – Neema Avashia
Original music and sound design by Arshan Gailus 
Featuring Maurice Emmanuel Parent

January 13 – February 6, 2022
14 Claredon St, 2nd Floor
Boston, MA 
The Lyric on Facebook
Homework for Audiences

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Theatreworks Hartford streamed a version of Mr. Parent in March 2021. The Lyric’s live, in-person production is a different beast from TheatreWorks Hartford. While both versions tell the same story, the current production of Mr. Parent at The Lyric evolved for the stage. 

Maurice Emmanuel Parent is compassionate, generous, kind, and funny as Hell in Mr. Parent. The play’s story begins in New York City. Parent is a wide-eyed theatre professional seeking his fortune on Broadway and beyond when his agent sends him to Boston to audition for Angels in America. He gets the gig.

A miserable union salary and 2006 Boston rent prices force Parent to find a second job. He becomes a cluster substitute teacher in a Boston public school. His cluster-job was a clusterfuck of joys and frustrations.  Continue reading

Dec 21

A Bougie Meh: “Imagine Van Gogh”

Queen Geek’s own photo from the event.

Imagine Van Gogh
The original immersive exhibition in Image Totale© 
Annabelle Mauger & Julien Baron, Artistic Directors and creators
Curated by Androula Michael
Scenography by Annabelle Mauger & Julien Baron
Animation and effects by Julien Baron & Donatien Zébi
Translations by Sarah Jackson
Musical research by Gérard Thouret

December 21, 2021 to March 19, 2022.
December 2021 – March 2022
Open Daily 10 am – 9 pm
SoWa Power Station
550 Harrison Ave
Boston, MA
Info for Boston Attendees

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — I tried not to have expectations entering Imagine Van Gogh

Without intending to, I expected Imagine Van Gogh to be like Yayoi Kusama’s “Love Is Calling” which ran at the ICA. Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms is immersive and kaleidoscopic. Imagine Van Gogh is also immersive. Van Gogh’s paintings are magnified and set to the music of classical artists Saint-Saëns, Mozart, Bach, Delibes and Satie. It makes Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings accessible to an audience that can pay the ticket price. Continue reading