Oct 30

Moby Dick, Disassembled in [or, the whale]

Photo courtesy of imaginary beasts’ Facebook page.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written by Juli Crocket
Directed by Matthew Woods
Musical Composition by Kangaroo Rat Music (Anna Bell & Tim Desrosiers)
Movement Coaching by Molly Kimmerling and Amy Meyer

October 14-November 4, 2017
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, Massachusetts
[or, the whale] on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) “No one remembers an Ahab with two legs,” SHE (Raya Malcolm) tells the third member of the Ahab chorus, Danny Mourino, before sweeping him through a door that exudes a blue, haunting light. This disassembled retelling of Moby Dick is similarly haunting, stylish, and similarly full of light, specifically light slapstick, cheerful music, and a cast of tumblers on a colorful, creepy set complete with giant whale ribs. It’s delightful and strange, and I would expect nothing less from imaginary beasts. Continue reading

Jan 31

“The Princess and the Pea”: A Fairytale Political Drama

“Three Plot Twists”: Sarah J. Mann as Prince Percy, James Sims as Mick Motley, Matthew Woods as Captain Brightside; photo credit: imaginary beasts.

Presented by imaginary beasts
Written by The Ensemble
Based on the fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen
Directed by Matthew Woods

January 14 – February 4, 2017
Plaza Black Box Theatre at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
Boston, MA 02116
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) In this uncertain and tumultuous political climate, the arts are a fantastic medium to fight back. While this often applies to theatre, I must admit I was surprised that imaginary beasts’ production of The Princess and the Pea used the kid’s show to make a mockery of our current state of affairs. But it was effing brilliant. Continue reading

Oct 04

Lizzie is Not Herself Today: Angela Carter’s “The Fall River Axe Murders”

Presented by imaginary beasts
Adapted from the short story by Angela Carter
Directed by Matthew Woods

Oct. 1-22, 2016
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Anyone who lives in NE and isn’t familiar with the Lizzie Borden story, can’t call themselves a native. On August 4, 1892, Lizzie Borden allegedly murdered her father and stepmother with an axe. An axe any family of the times would have kept to chop wood for the kitchen or other necessary household fires. The Borden axe was spectacular for its extracurricular activities only. Continue reading

Apr 05

imaginary beasts’ “Alice in Wonderland”

alice

Created by the Manhattan Theatre Project
Based on the novel by Lewis Carroll
Presented by Imaginary Beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods

April 1 – 23, 2016
Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston
Imaginary Beasts on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Boston, MA) It is no small challenge to take on a piece with so much cultural baggage as Alice in Wonderland.  Audiences have seen, heard, and read this story over and over again from our childhoods unto the present day.  Alice is everywhere in so many forms that adding something new to the tale is a Herculean task.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that artistic director Matthew Woods quite had a handle on it. Continue reading

Jan 19

Somewhere Over, Under, in Front of, Behind the Rainbow: “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz”

Photo credit: Diane Anton

Photo credit: Diane Anton; the cast stepping out

Presented by imaginary beasts 
Written and Directed by Matthew Woods
Based on the Oz novels of L. Frank Baum

January 9-30, 2016
imaginary beasts on Facebook
BCA Plaza Black Box Black Box Theatre
Boston, MA

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Boston, MAPlaying fast and loose with both Oz canon and popular culture, imaginary beasts returns to the marvelous lands and characters L. Frank Baum created to amuse and entertain children at the turn of the century in Winter Panto 2016:  The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.  People unfamiliar with the pantomime tradition should not come expecting a regular play, or the musical version of the show, or even a rundown of all of Baum’s Oz books.  Rather, it’s a rollicking variety of scenes that parodies both the source and contemporary mores. Continue reading

Apr 13

Daniil Kharms Continues to Charm in imaginary beasts’ Betty Bam!

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
Directed by Matthew Woods, Joey C. Pelletier, and Michael Underhill
Written by Daniil Kharms
Translation by Zoya Derman
Adapted by The Ensemble

April 10 – May 2, 2015
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) The innovative and evocative imaginary beasts continue with their year-long exploration of Stalinist-era author, Daniil Kharms, with Betty Bam! Their last attack on his material, KNOCK!, was a condensed affair, a multi-character and multi-story primer on Kharms’ bleak humor and deeply unsettling monologues. The actors took pratfalls and grafted the absurdist theater onto a sort of vaudeville act. In Betty Bam!, the visual nods remain in the early-twentieth century, but the aesthetic switches to black and white film, page-boy cuts, and a set styled into a cartoon explosion. The five actresses who depict Betty Bam’s fractured identity (Beth Pearson, Amy Meyer, Molly Kimmerling, Sarah Gazdowicz, and Kiki Samko) are each a live action Betty Boop caught in an explosion of a different sort, one that takes the guise of an interruption into their life: the police, Ivan (Cameron Cronin) and Pytor (William Schuller). As with KNOCK!, the police are an oppressive force, one here to take Betty to an unknown fate. The action of taking her away makes up the entirety of the plot. Continue reading

Oct 01

imaginary beasts Will KNOCK! You Out of Your Comfort Zone

Photo by Roger Metcalf

Photo by Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Daniil Kharms
Directed by Matthew Wood
Dramaturgy by Matthew McMahan

Sept. 26 – Oct. 18, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
at the Boston Center for the Arts
539 Tremont Street, Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) A joke in the absurdist, Stalin-era work of Daniil Kharms is the same as a violent pratfall: random, shocking in its flippancy, and somehow charming.  The punchlines in Knock! The Daniil Kharms Project involve a man forgetting his name due to a number of bricks dropped on his head or a romantic couple disappearing in the middle of the night by the secret police.  Utilizing a fun, avant-garde set design by Christopher Bocchiaro and Matthew Woods, imaginary creatures adapts Kharms’ experimental black humor with confidence. The theatre group doesn’t let anything like a sketchy plot or a lingering sense of doom from an oppressive government get in the way of a good time. Continue reading

Mar 31

Playful Rendering of Moliere’s “Lovers’ Quarrels”

Displaying CarouselFullCast.jpg

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf

Presented by imaginary beasts
By Molière
Directed by Matthew Woods
Translation by Richard Wilbur

March 28 – April 19, 2014
At the Plaza Black Box Theatre
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston MA
imaginary beasts on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston) imaginary beasts’ production of Lovers’ Quarrels is less concerned with emotional authenticity than the beauty of its artifice.  The 17th century romantic comedy is not exactly a work of realism, and thankfully, is not treated as such.  Its plot hinges on a girl who has been raised as a boy, Ascagne (Lynn R. Guerra), tricking a young man she likes, Valère (Will Jobs), into marriage by pretending to be her extremely feminine sister, Lucile (Erin Eva Butcher). imaginary beasts presents this material with all the seriousness it deserves, creating an innocent, funny romp through improbable obstacles. Continue reading

Jan 15

Potty humor, Puns and a Ripping Good Time: “Rumpelstiltskin, or All That Glitters”

Photo credit: Roger Metcalf. The cast is wonderful – whether they wore pants or not.

Presented by Imaginary Beasts
Conceived and directed by Matthew Woods
Written by The Ensemble
Choreography by Kiki Samko, Daniel J. Raps, and The Ensemble

January 11 – February 1, 2014
Plaza Black Box Theatre
BCA
Boston, MA
Imaginary Beasts on Facebook

(Boston) The low-brow humor of the pantomime* is not for everyone. Not unlike the like satyr plays of the ancient Greeks, panto isn’t intended to educate an audience but to show it a ripping good time. It’s a celebration of adult immaturity heaping with potty humor, puns and physical comedy. Imaginary Beasts’ winter pantos deliver this and so much more. This year’s treat, Rumpelstiltskin, or All That Glitters, packs in the family-inappropriate funny while also tantalizing the brain with witty pop culture references, dance, and a dash of Alice in Wonderland. You can’t bring a kid to a satyr play but you should bring your baby of any age to Rumplestiltskin. Continue reading

Oct 07

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

https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=eacf24cc2b&view=att&th=14184f51c57570ee&attid=0.4&disp=inline&realattid=f_hmdt1esw6&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P-8Q_l0QzPMOYuJpu9b4yGh&sadet=1381175239451&sads=OdvDtUQSpD0JQHDVDkF_bqe5Y58

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
Imaginary Beasts on
Facebook

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