Feb 25

Honor Your Boundaries: “Hir”

Photo via Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/apollinairetheatre/photos/a.59182456990/10156464525606991/?type=3&theater

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Written by Taylor Mac
Directed by Brooks Reeves

February 14 – March 8, 2020
Chelsea Theatre Works
Chelsea, MA
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

Chelsea, MA — This month, Apollonaire Theatre Company tackles Hir, Taylor Mac’s comedy of manners fixing  conservative against expansive American views on gender, class and sex.  It is understood, even in the writing, that quite a few of the concepts will cheerfully ride over the heads of the audience.  Advanced gender studies classes may not be enough of an education to appreciate the entire play, but the production unfolds for as more than just the text: with costume, set dressing, emotion, repetition, intonation and even art in the lobby to bolster meaning and heighten context.  At 120 minutes with a single intermission, the time passes quickly, but I do caution people who are sensitive to issues such as domestic violence, elder abuse, teen bullying, and post traumatic stress disorder to perhaps read a synopsis or steel themselves to potentially be triggered. Continue reading

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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 04

“boom”: An End or A Beginning?

Nicholas Yenson* & Chloe Nosan as “Jules” and “Jo.”
Photo by Maggie Hall

Presented by Wellesley Repertory Theatre
By Peter Sinn Nachtrieb
Directed by Marta Rainer
With Nicholas Yenson, Chloe Nosan, Stephanie Clayman

January 16 – February 9, 2020
Ruth Nagel Jones Theatre
Wellesley College
Wellesley , MA 02481
WRT on Facebook

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

Wellesley, MA — The set for boom is a tank reminiscent of a gallery or museum exhibit, with assorted instruments set to the left. As it starts, Stephanie Clayman’s  (“Barbara”) crosses the stage in a jumpsuit and overcoat. Shortly thereafter,  Nicholas Yenson ( “Jules”) and Chloe Nosan (“Jo”) robotically take to the stage, arranged as an underground bunker. 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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Feb 03

Now with Bonus Toilet Goblin: “Vanity Fair”

Presented by Underground Railway Theater
By Kate Hamill
From the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray
Directed by David R. Gammons
Fight coordination by Victor Ventricelli
Dialect coaching by Erika Bailey
Dramaturgy by Hilary Rappaprt

January 23 – February 23, 2020
Central Square Theater 
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
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Critique by Kitty Drexel

Cambridge, MA — William Makepeace* Thackeray’s Vanity Fair postdates Voltaire’s Candide by almost 100 years. Kate Hamill’s Vanity Fair now at Central Square Theater compares strongly to the famed Bernstein operetta. One could expect the human race to have evolved to squabble over different intersocial problems after nearly a century. One would be wrong. Continue reading

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Feb 03

“Pass Over”: Repetition and Resonance

The cast at a friendly picnic. The cops were called. Photo by Nile Scott Studio.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Antoinette Nwandu
Directed by Monica White Ndounou
With Kadahj Bennett, Hubens “Bobby” Cius, Lewis D. Wheeler

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

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

Boston, MA — When directed to their seats, audience members were asked to stay clear of the stage. Set in-the-round, the four seating sections surrounded a square with an off-center lamp post and brick. Soon the direction became clear as Kadahj Bennett (Moses) and Hubens “Bobby” Cius (Kitch) took to the stage in the pre-show moments, with interactions that foreshadowed the events of the play. 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 29

Protest Harder, Longer, Faster: “Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical”

Cast of Hair. Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Book & Lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado
Music by Galt MacDermot
Directed and choreographed by Rachel Bertone
Music direction by Dan Rodriguez
Intimacy direction by Angie Jepson
Dramaturgy by Emily White

Jan 26- Feb 23, 2020
Open Caption services will be provided on Saturday, 2/8 during the 3:00pm performance.
MainStage Theater
Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Content Warning: This production contains strong language, frequent references to sex and illicit substances, and brief nudity. Recommended for ages 18+.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Watertown, MA —  Hair is the only time I’ve been (purposefully) naked onstage. I have fond memories of performing in Counter-Productions Theatre Company’s Hair in 2010. Getting naked as an expression of civil protest was just one of the perks of joining their cast. Continue reading

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Jan 27

Climate Terrors: “The Last Catastrophist”

Evelyn Holley as Marina and Shanelle Chloe Villegas as Lucia (L to R). Photo by Paul Fox.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre Company
By David Valdes
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz
Dramaturgy by Sarah Schnebly
Fight choreography by Marge Dunn

January 24 – February 8, 2020
Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Boston, MA — The opening of The Last Catastrophist last weekend coincides with a news update that the current president is going to repeal Obama era environmental protections for streams, wetlands, and groundwater. Repealing these measures is a step backwards from preventing the devastating effects of climate change on US lands. What small matter is clean, public drinking water so long as his precious golf courses are green? One can’t possibly spend one of every five working days golfing on his private business without golf courses greener than envy.

Water is life. 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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