May 23

“A Midsummer Night’s Dream” in Midspring

The “Mechanicals” in the play within a play: Mac Young, Elle Borders, Monica Giordano, Jake Athyal and a prone Steven Barkhimer. Photo by Nile Scott Shots.

Presented by Actor’s Shakespeare Project
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Patrick Swanson

May 10-June 4, 2017
Multicultural Arts Center
41 Second Street
Cambridge, MA 02141
Actors’ Shakespeare Project on Facebook and Instagram

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) Any fan of Shakespeare’s work knows how malleable his plays are. You could see the same show for years and years and still experience something different each time. In Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s most recent production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, this trend continues. Continue reading

Dec 08

The Dude Does Not Abide: “Return of the Winemaker”

Print

Presented by Tir Na Productions
Written by Bernard McMullan
Directed by Carmel O’Reilly

Dec. 2 – 20, 2015
Davis Square Theater
Somerville, MA
Tir Na Theatre on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Return of the Winemaker: An Irish Christmas Comedy  takes the piss out of two beloved institutions: Ireland and Christmas. It is not for the artistically insistent or the prudishly religious. In it, God sends his only begotten son to Ireland, of all places, to try again. Continue reading

May 06

A Different Cup of Tea: BOXER SHORTS

Photo credit: Brown Box Theatre Project

Photo credit: Brown Box Theatre Project, “Play”

Presented by Brown Box Theatre Project
Works by Samuel Beckett, Harold Pinter, Tenessee Williams, Diana Raznovich
Works directed by Darren Evans, Kyler Tausin, Anna Trachtman
Performed by Cameron Gosselin, Meredith Stypinski, Lizzie Milanovich, Johnny Quinones, Janelle Mills

Boston: April 24 – May 3, 2015
Atlantic Wharf
290 Congress St

Delmarva: May 8 – 11, 2015
Ocean City Center for the Arts
Ocean City, MD
Brown Box on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Brown Box Theatre’s mission involves bringing accessible theatre to uncommonly accessible spaces. They’ve made a home on Atlantic Wharf and Delmarva (MD). Their current production Boxer Shorts: an evening of short plays brings many genres to the same stage. In one sitting, the audience experiences a range of theatre from the mundane to the absurd. The result is an interesting evening of entertainment with varying levels of success. Continue reading

Feb 02

Where the Shadows Run from Themselves*: ECHOES

echoesPresented by Brown Box Theatre Co.
Written by N. Richard Nash
Directed by Kyler Taustin
Brown Box on Facebook

January 30-February 1 & February 5-8
Atlantic Wharf @ 7:30
290 Congress Street, Boston, MA

February 13-16
Ocean City Center for the Arts @ 7:30
502 94th Street, Ocean City, MD

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Panic Attacks, emotional violence, minor physically violent episodes – While the majority of the events are non-violent, actions depicted on stage may also trigger PTSD.

(Boston, MA) I must caution that extra-sensitive individuals or individuals with a negative associations with in-patient mental health facilities carefully consider attending Echoes. I mention this because the acting is very good, very realistic and, for this reason, potentially triggering. The play by N. Richard Nash focuses on the how the brain copes with trauma when faced with an unsafe reality. It is also about taking the first impossibly difficult steps from that reality towards treatment. This is difficult enough in real life. This production may impede the good work one has done outside of the theatre. Not attending this production falls under the category of  “self-care to stay safe and stable.” Everyone else and their Mom’s uncle’s sister should attend. Continue reading

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

Jan 15

“Vinegar Tom”: A Deceptively Timely Play

Photo credit: Whistler in the Dark; This show contains material that may trigger PTSD  - please try to see it anyway.

Photo credit: Whistler in the Dark; This show contains material that may trigger PTSD – please try to see it anyway.

presented by Whistler in the Dark Theatre
Vinegar Tom is presented by special arrangement with Samuel French, Inc.

by Caryl Churchill

directed by Mac Young
songs composed by Molly Allis, Juliet Olivier & Veronica Barron
music Composed and Performed by: Veronica Barron & Tony Leva
lyrics by Caryl Churchill

January 11th-February 2nd
The Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
539 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02116
Whistler in the Dark Theatre Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

TRIGGER WARNING

(Boston) Historical fiction is often said to reflect the era in which it’s written rather than the era it’s written about.  Caryl Churchill’s Vinegar Tom, originally performed in 1976, mirrors the growing awareness of feminism.  In 1600’s England, a group of women deal with being unmarried, unrepresented, and unwanted. The result is a play that’s appropriately bleak.

Vinegar Tom begins with Alice, portrayed by the excellent but often subtle Becca A. Lewis.  Lewis playfully drives the show as a young woman with a feather-light conscience despite having an infant son out of wedlock.  Her performance is credible not as a woman anachronistically independent or “ahead of her time,” but as someone who wants to marry and live on her own terms.  She is aided by her mother, Joan (Karin Webb), who is largely dismissed and derided by their town as an old hag. Continue reading

Nov 12

Aerial Stunts and Re-Kindling Mythic Passion: Ted Hughes’ Tales from Ovid

With Jennifer OConnor, Aimee Rose Ranger and Danny Bryck at Paramount Center.

based on Tales from Ovid, by Ted Hughes published by Faber & Faber, Ltd.
Composer: David McMullin
Composer/Musician/Ensemble: Shaw Pong Liu

presented by Whistler in the Dark Theatre
directed by Meg Taintor
in association with ArtsEmerson: The World Onstage

November 8-18th
Jackie Liebergott Black Box at the Paramount Center
559 Washington Street
Boston, Massachusetts 02111
Whistler in the Dark Facebook Page

Review by Gillian Daniels

Ancient Greek myths, when adapted to the stage, need not be built-up to be timely. The dissonance between myth and the modern era can be distracting in contemporary adaptations. If anything, here, the stories chosen from Ovid’s Metamorphoses are stripped down. The production has few props and no costumes, giving the ensemble room to breathe. Whistler in the Dark is the perfect sort of theater to spur to life the passions beneath the age-old Greek myths, which will surely please both casual and Classicist audiences. Continue reading

Jan 26

‘A Number’ of Sons

Mark Cohen and Danny Bryck, Photo Credit by Whistler in the Dark

 

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

Reviewed by Becca Kidwell

(Boston, MA) If you were/are a parent, what would you do if you had a chance to fix the mistakes you made raising your child?  As a child, what would you do if your parents told you that you were not their original child, but a new, improved version made to fix the mistakes they made with their first child?  Caryl Churchill’s play, A Number deals with a controversial matter:  cloning.  Since the Dolly the sheep was cloned in the late nineties, fear and wonder has surrounded the possibility of cloning a human being.  This play speculates on what might result from such a procedure and the repercussions of such a decision upon a father and his son. Continue reading

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.

Continue reading