Jul 21

Superfans in Cosplay Having the Best Time: “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Adapted from the book, The Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan 
Book by Joe Tracz
Music and lyrics by Rob Rokicki
Directed by Stephen Brackett
Music direction by Wiley DeWeese
Choreography by Patrick McCollum
Fight direction by Rod Kinter
New puppetry design by AchesonWalsh Design Studios

July 17 – 28, 2019
Huntington Avenue Theatre
264 Huntington Ave
Boston, MA
The Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) Saturday afternoon’s performance of The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical was an event for superfans and their friends. Children in Camp Half-Blood t-shirts and their adults congregated to the Huntington Theatre to watch this musical about modern day children of Greek gods. It’s not a production for everyone; it’s specifically written for devotees to the Rick Riordan book. Theatre-lovers will appreciate the ingenuity of the design team but they should attend knowing that this musical isn’t for them; It’s for fans in their childhood years. Continue reading

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Jul 17

Universal Appeal Through Puppetry: “A Chance Encounter”

Image via https://english.moc.gov.tw

Presented by Puppet Showplace Theater
Written and performed by I Wan Jan Puppet Troupe

Saturday July 13, 2019
Puppet Showplace Theater
32 Station Street
Brookline, MA 02445
Puppet Showplace on Facebook 

Critique by Piyali Mukherjee

(Brookline, Mass.) I Wan Jan  is a puppet troupe from Taiwan who presented their debut and only performing show in Boston on July 14th. The troupe was founded by Li Tien-Lu, who named the group “I Wan Jan” (translation: “like natural”) because he believed that a puppet show could be as convincing as any performance by a live actor. The members of the troupe are fourth and third generation descendants of Li Tien-Lu. Continue reading

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Jul 15

Blame it on the Unquiet Ducks: “Hamlet”

Photo via Praxis Stage on Facebook: Elena Toppo, Eric McGowan, Joan Raube-Wilson; not dead yet.

Presented by Praxis Stage 
Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Kim Carrel
Dramaturgy by Michael Anderson
Fight choreography by Kim Carrell

Jul 6 – Jul 14, 2019
Danehy Park
99 Sherman St.
Cambridge, MA 02140

Jul 18 – Jul 28, 2019
Longfellow Park 
Cambridge, MA 02138
Praxis Stage on Facebook
Critique by Kitty Drexel

Murther [ mur-th er ] – noun, verb (used with or without object) Obsolete:

  1. Murder. 

 – From Dictionary.com

(Cambridge, MA) I don’t prefer productions performed out of doors. The novelty has never appealed to me. I’ve only acted in one Shakespeare in the Park production and, while grateful for the experience, I wouldn’t do it agin. Actors must complete with offstage noise, there’s the weather, and, at dusk, there are the MOSQUITOS. Nature in all its splendor cannot compare to the creature comforts offered by the great indoors. That being said, Praxis Stage’s Hamlet is fun.

A summary of Hamlet is provided by Encyclopedia Britanica (contains spoilers). Unlike many, many Hamlets before, Praxis’ interpretation doesn’t paint Hamlet (Eric McGowan) the man as a wounded emo-hero torn apart by his circumstances. Praxis takes a more feminist approach by establishing Hamlet as a man-child culpable for his abusive actions: he’s rash and impulsive; a murderer and a misogynist.  Continue reading

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Jul 12

New Rep Theatre Announces Open Captioning for 2019-2020 Season

New Rep header via http://www.newrep.org

New Repertory Theatre
Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Story coverage by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA)  New Repertory Theatre will provide one open captioned performance per each of its six productions during the 2019-2020 season due to a grant from the Theatre Development Fund, said a July 5 press release.

This project is also funded by the National Endowment for the arts, according to the press release. New Rep will offer discounts to those who require open captioned services. Continue reading

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Jun 28

Tranquility isn’t Bliss: “Reagan Esther Myer”

Photo taken by the Queen Geek; oh look, a room full of nightmares.

Presented by Rebecca Kopycinski
Mixing and video art by Michael Dewberry

June 27 – 30, 2019
Center for the Arts at the Armory
191 Highland Ave
Somerville, MA
Instagram It

Critique by Kitty Drexel

 “WARNING! You exhibit symptoms of a glitched ThotBot. An ULTRA Operative has been deployed to reboot your operating system. Avoid contact with other Bots until you have been successfully rebooted.”  – ThotBot.me, http://thotbot.me/glitch.html on 6/28/2019.

SOMERVILLE, Mass. — The ThotBot Implantation Center fliers are all over Camberville. An acquaintance assumed they were for a cult. No, they are for Reagan Esther Myer, a one-woman, multimedia, performance art concert about a dystopian future in which The Ultra leads through thought-control and nearly all human brains rely on tech to retain peace of mind. In these days of Texas concentration camps and selling your gold for cash, this science fiction drama isn’t at all far fetched.    Continue reading

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Jun 25

“Corteo”: What Circus Dreams May Come

Presented by Cirque du Soleil 
Directed and Created by Daniele Finzi Pasca and Line Tremblay
Music Composed and Directed by Jean-Francois Cote, Phillipe LeDuc, and Maria Bonzanigo

June 19th – June 30th, 2019
Agganis Arena
925 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Corteo on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Mauro, the Dreamer Clown, tells the audience, “I dreamed of my funeral.” Except it’s no dream; this character is actually on his deathbed. A funeral becomes a party and the party becomes a circus. Angels fly on wires above, shoes walk across the stage on their own, and our narrator relives childhood memories while he’s fitted for wings. The somber frame narrative balances the rest of the show, which is cheeky, saccharine, and full of dream imagery that seems to have been cut, raw, from a sleeper’s mind. Continue reading

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Jun 18

Darkness Eats Unwanted Souls, or The Homeless are Human: “King of Shadows”

Trinidad Ramkissoon and Laura Chowenhill in “King of Shadows.” Photo via Flat Earth’s Facebook page.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
Directed by Michael Hisamoto
Puppetry by Amy Lehrmitt
Intimacy direction by Betsy S. Goldman

June 7 – 22, 2019
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Critique 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.

Trigger warnings: mentioned sexual abuse, mentioned sex work (which is real work)

(Watertown, MA) There is a lot of ambiguity in Aguirre-Sacasa’s King of Shadows. He doesn’t communicate a clear message to his audience.  Specifically, he doesn’t clarify what it is he’s trying to say. At no fault of Flat Earth, Hisamoto or the cast, Aguirre-Sacasa implies in only uncertain terms that teen homelessness is bad, rich grad students with savior complexes are ineffective, and fairytales are fun. The details are a mishmash of complications. Flat Earth does a good job with the script, but Aguirre-Sacasa isn’t doing them any favors. Continue reading

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Jun 17

Close Your Eyes and Think of England: “Cloud 9”

Cast of “Cloud 9”
Photo: Nile Scott Studios

Presented by the Nora Theatre Company
By Caryl Churchill
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Voice and Music direction by Caitlin Gjerdrum
Dramaturgy by Sophie Gore
Text and dialect coaching by Allison Olivia Choat

June 6 – 30, 2019
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Warning: this post contains spoilers. The spoilers are necessary to the conversation.

Trigger warnings: child abuse, mentions of domestic violence, racism, sexism, creepy dolls

Satire: (noun) sat·​ire | \ ˈsa-ˌtī(-ə)r
Definition of satire

1 : a literary work holding up human vices and follies to ridicule or scorn
2 : trenchant wit, irony, or sarcasm used to expose and discredit vice or folly – Per the Merriam-Webster online dictionary

(Cambridge, MA) Satire doesn’t have to be funny. Most satire is funny, but it isn’t a hard and fast rule. Much of comedy is found funny because of its treatment of serious topics. For example, jokes about the Boston Str8 Pride Parade* will get a laugh in some situations. In other situations, the jokes don’t land because this parade represents unadulterated hate towards the LGBTQ+ community. We understand why your jokes are “funny,” but it’s our lives those neo-nazis are protesting. The protest might be funny if it were satire – But it isn’t. It’s real. We’re real too. 

I mention this because the themes that Caryl Churchill attacks in Cloud 9 are real too. Heteros still think that the LGBTQ+ community is asking for extra protections. People of Color (POC) are being massacred in the US for their audacity to take up space. These things aren’t funny but jokes about them can be if told properly. Cloud 9’s themes are still relevant. Continue reading

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Jun 14

Like A Bird Made of Light: “Yerma”

Nadine Malouf (Yerma). Photo Credit: T Charles Ericksonn© 

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Adapted and translated by Melinda Lopez
Based on the play by Ferderico Garcia Lorca
Directed by Melia Bensussen
Original music by Mark Bennett
Choreography by Misha Shields
Fight direction and intimacy direction by Claire Warden & Ted Hewlett

May 31 – June 30, 2019
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: sexual acts, hallucinations & mental illness

(Boston, MA) It is 2019 and the United States government is at war with its people. Laws that aim to control anyone with a uterus are rushing through courthouses at an unprecedented rate. They aren’t protecting life; they are punishing women for having sex. Cadavers have more agency than women. Meanwhile, the foster care services in these same states are overwhelmed with children that desperately need good homes. Saying that the Huntington’s production of Yerma is topical is an understatement. Yerma approaches childbirth not from an opposite standpoint but an adjacent one. The right to choose also means choosing to have a child. Continue reading

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Jun 12

ImprovBoston Presents “Terpsichore,” A Masterclass for all female-identifying individuals

Sunday, June 23, 12 – 4pm
Registration: Tickets via ImprovBoston

ImprovBoston
Main Theater
40 Prospect St
Cambridge, MA 02139
IB on Facebook

“Terpsichore” is an improvised storytelling theatre piece in movement, dance, music, and spoken word. The format is simple enough and focuses on actors breaking the 4th wall to tell captivating tales supported by their cast who operate as one entity like a Greek chorus to support the action of the story. Through dance, movement, co-creation, and support, the cast weaves narratives that transport the audience to different times and places and blend fiction and non-fiction together in a heady phantasmagoria of sound, movement, and speech.

The workshop for this project itself is a crash course through decades worth of research, interdisciplinary study, and artistic exploration. During the 4 hour workshop, the performers will learn a shared vocabulary of group mind, movement, storytelling, dance, musicality, mime, and object work to create something truly awe-inspiring that will open up their creative centres and let them radiate as performers. The exercises involve mime, dance and movement, narration and storytelling, singing and vocal support, responsibly respectful contact improv, use of the environment and space, concrete and abstract deconstruction, points of inspiration and above all else support of fellow castmates and celebrating mistakes through repetition and support and elevating ideas until the whole piece becomes a matrix of unified thought.

“Terpsichore” is designed to break the mold of what improvised theatre is expected to be, even from within the improv community. It urges performers to stand outside of themselves and their perceived limitations and co-create something truly extraordinary using skills they didn’t even know they possessed before the process began.

FROM LINDSAY: This project is about providing advanced training specifically to benefit and encourage the next generation of female improvisers. With that goal, the cost to be a part of this unique and exciting opportunity is kept low.

REGISTRATION IS $20 AND IS OPEN TO ALL FEMALE IDENTIFYING PERFORMERS

ABOUT THE INSTRUCTOR:
Lindsay Gonzales is a stand-up comedienne and improvisor lately of Chicago, Illinois. Continue reading

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