Nov 13

A Grim Giggle at Giving in “The After-Dinner Joke”

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Photo care of Christopher McKenzie

Presented by Whistler in the Dark Theatre
By Carol Churchill
Directed by Meg Taintor

November 7-24, 2013
The Charlestown Working Theatre
442 Bunker Hill Street
Charlestown, MA 02129
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Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown) A system has been built around giving to the poor and helping the needy.  Whistler in the Dark’s The After-Dinner Joke is a bleak comedy lampooning a culture that’s been created around charity: those who give to it, those who decide where the money goes, and those still in need when the giving is done.  It’s a show full of pratfalls and particularly British moments of social observation.  The titular joke, however, is overshadowed by grim realizations about human nature. Continue reading

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Oct 07

The Darkness Hides Gothic Metaphor: Angela Carter’s HAIRY TALES

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Photo credit: Roger Metcalf; Amy Meyer and Poornima Kirby as The Countess. The Countess is beside herself. See what I did there? No? Fine.

Presented by Imaginary Beasts
Angela Carter’s Hairy Tales: “Vampirella: Lady of the House of Love”, “The Company of Wolves”
Directed by Matthew Woods
Music composition & sound by Sam Beebe
Choreography by Kiki Samko

October 4 – 26, 2013
Thursdays at 7:30 pm (Vampirella & The Company of Wolves)
Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm (Vampirella & The Company of Wolves)
Saturdays & Sundays at 4:00 pm (Puss in Boots)
Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
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Review by Kitty Drexel

***Be aware that this is NOT a children’s show. Unless you enjoy subjecting your dear ones to brief nudity, incest, cannibalism, necrophilia and heaps of innuendo. You sick bastards.***

(Boston) Some of the reviews for Hairy Tales lead with how author Angela Carter isn’t popular in the US. Not entirely true. She’s famous in the UK, yes, but she’s also famous here. She’s famous among people who enjoy magical realism (and modern fairytales) and can’t abide trashy alternatives. Carter’s not as famous as Jane Austen or the Brontës but famous enough that her books are still published in the US. They can be found at your local library or on Amazon. They are delicious. Read them.

Vampires and werewolves are scalding hot right now. There are more spinoff’s, movies and TV programmes than there are heaving bosoms to enjoy them. Supernatural creatures are often* metaphors for sexual desire and fulfillment. Female sexual objectification sells and, when paired with the supernatural, its related media will be inhaled by the angsty. Thus, we have a dearth of offerings to present to the generations that haven’t read Dracula but have read the famous Mormon fanfic. In the case of  “The Company of Wolves” (TCOW) and “Vampirella,” objectification gets a rest and liberation takes the stage. There is still enough angst to go around.   Continue reading

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Mar 25

Drama Gives the Power to Civilize Convicts in “Our Country’s Good”

With Jennifer OConnor, Mac Young and Lynn R Guerra; Photos by Chris McKenzie

Presented by Whistler in the Dark Theatre

by Timberlake Wertenbaker
directed by Meg Taintor

March 15-April 6th
The Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, MA 02129
Whistler in the Dark Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown) Timberlake Wertenbaker’s Our Country’s Good is not about the importance of plays but the importance of fiction—dreams, ambitions, and fantasies—to the downtrodden.  The convicts sent to the Australian penal colonies in 1788 have been dehumanized chiefly by circumstance.  The play the officers have the felons put on gives them the dignity they could not find in lives led as thieves and prostitutes in England.  The whole thing is an impressive meditation on how art fiercely alters perspective even if The Charlestown Working Theater’s production suffers peculiar pacing and lingering pauses. Continue reading

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Nov 18

Breaching the Dark: “The Man in The Couch”

Photograph by Becca A. Lewis

Writer and director Alison Meirowitz/McCarthy
Now running, Nov. 2-18 Thurs-Sat 8pm, Sun 3pm
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Boston) The Man in the Couchis a hard candy nugget of science fiction and horror. On the surface it is smooth and hard and the characters’ inner depths continue to be the same. It isn’t sweet but it can offer some satisfaction. Our main characters are the rock and hard place that they have to breach in order to regain relative sanity/peace. It is reminiscent of The Twilight Zoneepisode “Nothing in the Dark” about an old woman shut away in an apartment to avoid meeting “Mr. Death” (the swoon-inducing Robert Redford). Continue reading
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Nov 09

The Man in the Couch: Science Fiction Theatre Company

Photo credit: Becca A. Lewis

Now running, Nov. 2-18 Thurs-Sat 8pm, Sun 3pm
Boston, MA

 

Shut-in Gigi hasn’t had face to face contact with another human being in years. When a teleportation disaster leaves a soldier fused with her couch, Gigi is forced to diverge from her routine significantly. Time is quickly running out for the soldier but Gigi needs to figure out if he’s a friend, an enemy or something else entirely.
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Jan 25

FEN: In Between Living and Breathing

Fen by Caryl Churchill, Whistler in the Dark, The Factory Theatre, 1/20/12-2/4/12, (in repertory with A Number by Caryl Churchill),  http://www.whistlerinthedark.com/productions/wantedsomething.html.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) A lone girl sits amongst the dirt and potatoes of this agrarian society trying to chase away birds until she can try no more.  Striving for more than mere existence in a world controlled by tradition and an inflexible economy often seems futile in the Fenland.  Whistler In The Dark compels the audience to exist and hope with the characters for something more.

As the women in the play sing various choruses to songs, one is struck by the pure beauty in these women in this desolate place.  One also struggles with the evisceration of these women as they give their lives and their souls to the land.  With the assistance of Danny Bryck and an enormous amount of concentration, the actors speak with the flawless dialect of the British countryside.  Each cast member plays multiple characters in this dark landscape.  The main plot revolves around Val (Aimee Rose Ranger) who is trapped between her obligation to take care of her children and a desire for a better life in London with her lover.  She takes no solace in the vices of the other local folk such as valium, religion, dreams, or masochism as she is constantly pulled in both directions.  The one direction that she would want to go in, to London and a new life seems millions of miles away.

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Nov 17

Dark Matters: The Truth Is In Here

Photo credit: Science Fiction Theatre Company

Dark Matters by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, Science Fiction Theatre Company, The Factory Theatre, 11/4/11-11/20/11, http://www.sciencefictiontheatrecompany.com/.

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA, EARTH) The easiest thing in the world to do is to believe; the hardest thing to do in the world is to believe.  When a woman disappears and a husband searches desperately to find her.  She returns and her explanations seem dubious.  The quest for answers and understanding has a price for each of the characters in Science Fiction Theatre Company’s production of Dark Matters by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa.  Was Bridgett Cleary taken by aliens or by something much more nefarious?  What is real and what is imagined?  The Cleary family seeks the truth out in the world, but finds it much closer to home. Continue reading

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