May 22

An Alternate Tyranny and Timeline in Handel’s “Silla”


Presented by The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble
Music by G.F. Handel
Libretto by Giacomo Rossi
Music Directed by Juliet Cunningham
Stage Directed by Ingrid Oslund
Produced/Executive Direction/Translation by Martha Birnbaum
Rossana Chung, violin
Rob Bethel, violincello
Lisa Putukian, oboe
Juliet Cunningham, harpsichord
May 17 – May 19, 2019
Warehouse IX
Somerville, MA
The Cambridge Chamber Ensemble on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville, MA) Roselin Osser as Silla has the wild eyes, swagger, and exquisite cheekbones of a villain as he dominates the stage. In this alternate version of 2019, the Roman Republic is alive and well and Silla, after a successful military campaign, announces that he plans to rule as Perpetual Dictator of Rome. The reporters are horrified. Silla’s wife, Metella (the hilarious Theresa Egan) grits her teeth and stands by her man. As Silla begins to openly lust after other women and jail his political enemies, however, Melania–I mean, Metella, yes, begins to wonder just how much her loyalty to a tyrant husband is worth. Continue reading

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Apr 25

Guns Are Implicitly Made for Killing: “Trigger Warning”

L to R: Steve Auger, Lilly Brenneman, Liz Adams; Photo courtesy of Zeitgeist Stage Company

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
By Jacques Lamarre
Directed by David J. Miller

April 12 – May 4, 2019
Plaza Black Box Theater
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: gunshot sound effect, screaming, domestic violence, mentions of suicide, historically accurate newsreel depicting survivors fleeing danger, cop violence  

(Boston, MA) This month marks the 20 year anniversary of the Columbine High School massacre. I remember watching it on TV with my brothers before, realizing there was nothing I could do, going to work out. I just knew that my thoughts and prayers would bolster the victims through those hard times.

I was 18 and naively trusted our government to prevent this tragedy from ever repeating. Unfortunately, as the students of Parkland, Virginia Tech, Sandyhook and others attest, the US Govt. has failed its citizens. It can’t even pass moderate gun control measures. Theatre such as Zeitgeist’s Trigger Warning will continue to be necessary until our money-grubbing politicians can wean themselves of the NRA’s violence-hemorrhaging teets. Continue reading

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Apr 22

Sometimes God Eats People: “Caroline or Change”


L to R: Pier Lamia Porter* as “The Washing Machine”, Davron S. Monroe* as “The Dryer” and Yewande Odetoyinbo* as “Caroline Thibodeaux” ; Photograph: Sharman Altshuler

Presented by Moonbox Productions
Book and lyrics by Tony Kushner
Score by Jeanine Tesori
Directed by Allison Olivia Choat
Music directed by Dan Rodriguez
Choreography by Yewande Odetoyinbo

April 20 – May 11, 2019
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Moonbox on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) It isn’t true that money can’t buy happiness. Science, as dressed in commercially digestible articles from Time or Entrepreneur, told us in 2017 that happiness begins at an income that covers payment of non-negotiable needs such as food, rent, and other expenses. That amount was approximated between $50,000 – $75,000. Anything less or more than fiscal solvency lowers our quality of life. Minimum wage is still $7.25. And the 1% wonder why the 99% are angry all the time.   

Caroline or Change is about a poor, Black woman raising four kids on her own in 1963 at the peak of the Civil Rights movement in Louisiana. She’s a maid in the Gellman household where she makes $30 a week (roughly $250/week in 2019) and it’s not enough. Caroline Thibodeaux (Yewande Odetoyinbo) isn’t paid enough to deal with any of the nonsense like throws at her but she does it anyway.  Continue reading

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Jun 05

“Les Liaisons Dangereuses”: When You Play the Game of Patriarchy, Everyone Loses

Jaime Carrillo (Volanges), Greg Maraio (Merteuil), Dan Whelton (Valmont) & Stewart Evan Smith (Danceny). Photo: Jorden Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Adapted by Christopher Hampton
Novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

May 31st – July 1st, 2018
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Content Warning: (In the show’s own words.) Full nudity, sexual content, violence, and a damn good sword fight. Suggested age: 18 and over.

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) When dividing the population into a binary construct where one group is viewed as perpetually in danger of committing sexual indiscretions and possessing virtue that they may only give to certain people, and the other group is seen as committing indiscretions and betrayals because they can’t help themselves, yes, some awful dynamics are at play. In this production, the source material of Les Liaisons Dangereuses is not much altered, but the way it’s performed is. The players all appear to be male without makeup, dresses, or distinctive cosmetic traits, beyond the apparently random distribution of a few bits of jewelry, rosary beads, and gloves. To clarify, this is a faithful adaptation of a story where two manipulative, almost-lover aristocrats spend their time “ruining” innocence. The gender of the characters remains the same as it was in Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 1782 novel. The gender of the actors just doesn’t always conform to those of their characters. In having an all-male cast, gender is shown as the flimsy construct it is, and adherence to stringent, narrow roles reproduce only an eventual misery in everyone. But just because the proud Vicomte de Valmont (Dan Whelton) and perceptive Marquise de Merteuil (Greg Maraio) seem to see the pieces of the social contraption in which they move doesn’t mean they can escape the trap. Continue reading

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May 31

Disabled Children Are No More a ‘Life Sentence’ Than Any Other Child: “Fall”

Joanne Kelly, Josh Stamberg, Nolan James Tierce, Joanna Glushak, and John Hikock  ©Photo: T. Charles Erickson

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Bernard Weinraub
Directed by Peter DuBois

May 18 – June 16, 2018
South End/Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Trigger warnings: Ablism, historically-accurate slurs, misogyny

Review by Kitty Drexel

Tokenism
noun/to·ken·ism/ˈtōkəˌnizəm/
The practice of making only a perfunctory or symbolic effort to do a particular thing, especially by recruiting a small number of people from underrepresented groups in order to give the appearance of sexual or racial equality within a workforce.

(Boston, MA) Bernard Weinraub tried so hard to be respectful of the Down Syndrome community. Fall would be a good play about Arthur Miller and Inge Morath if it didn’t fail so hard at including Daniel Miller. Unfortunately, it misses the mark. A lot. Continue reading

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May 25

Business As Usual: “The Plague”

The cast of Praxis Stage’s THE PLAGUE (left to right): Dawn Davis, Danny Mourino, Steve Auger, Michael Rodriguez, and Dayenne C. Byron Walters.

Presented by Praxis Stage
After La Peste by Albert Camus
Adapted by Neil Bartlett
Directed by Daniel Boudreau

May 23 – 27, 2018
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
Boston, MA
Praxis on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“And they answered, “Five gold tumors and five gold mice corresponding to the number of Philistine rulers, since there was one plague for both you[a] and your rulers. 5 Make images of your tumors and of your mice that are destroying the land. Give glory to Israel’s God, and perhaps He will stop oppressing you,[b] your gods, and your land.”
1 Samuel 6:4-5, Internet Bible

“”Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” President George W. Bush in response to Michael Brown’s failure to provide basic relief services to the victims of Hurricane Katrina, 2005.

(Boston, MA) History is not taught because educators are sadists with penchants for boring their victims into pliancy. Rather, not just for that. Taught history is meant to remind each generation of what previous generations have done; how they have succeeded and, more importantly, to prevent them from similar failures. The Plague reinforces our need to learn from history now because we will repeat it. We always do.   Continue reading

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May 22

Batman Burlesque Brings Out the Brave and the Bold

Presented by The Slaughterhouse Society

May 20 – May 25, 2018
The Oberon
2 Arrow Street
Cambridge, MA
The Slaughterhouse Society on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

CONTENT WARNING: Psychosexual camp with some abuse and violence for good measure.

(Cambridge, MA) Maybe it’s the number of expertly dressed femme fatales and smart suited gentleman villains in the rogue gallery. Maybe it’s just the spandex. All the same, Batman’s unique blended history of pulp, humor, and darkness puts it at the same cross-section of camp and psychosexual horror in which Boston’s happily weird burlesque scene specializes. The Slaughterhouse Society makes sure burlesque and Batman are a match made in vaudeville variety show heaven. Continue reading

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May 15

The Undiscovered Country: Heritage Hill Naturals

The cast. Photo via Fresh Ink Facebook page

Presented by Fresh Ink
Written by Francisca Da Silveira
Directed by Phaedra Michelle Scott

May 11 – 26, 2018
Deane Hall, The Standford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) Fresh Ink Theatre Presents: Heritage Hill Naturals is nominally an examination of the millennial generation’s anxiety, paralysis, and distractions from their unique existential malaise. These distractions come in the form of Buzzfeed memes, selfie stick subculture, and month-long agro-tourism stints in rural America. Our protagonist, Lucy, seeks self-enlightenment, or at least solace from her anxiety and depression at Heritage Hill Naturals, one such farm in rural Georgia. Here, she finds anything but, amongst a cast of quirky characters, and strange circumstances beyond her scope of experience or her best efforts at benevolence. Continue reading

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May 14

Quorum Boston presents “The Gay Spring”

Boston is super gay!

Quorum Boston is a local LGBTQ vocal ensemble. We program music almost exclusively by queer composers, with the goal of combating the erasure of queerness from canonical composers and amplifying the voices of living composers.

This concert explores themes of love, spring, and water. It features the world premiere of Upallay, a piece by inti figgis-vizuetta, our Resident Composer. Other works included in our program are Britten’s “Heaven Haven,” Barber’s “To be sung on the Water,” Cage’s “Litany for the Whale,” Mari Valverde’s “En la noche entraremos,” a rare choral work by Tchaikovsky, and several of Hildegard von Bingen’s chants.

Come enjoy the gay spring with us!
Performance Schedule:
May 14, 2018
8PM
Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center
123 Antwerp Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02134
Free!
Collected donations go to LGBTQ+ programming at the Josephine A. Fiorentino Community Center in Lower Allston.

Or,

May 19, 2018
8PM
First Church Somerville
89 College Ave, Somerville, Massachusetts 02144
Tickets:
Suggested Donation: $20
Student/Low Income: $10
No one turned away: Free if you can’t pay.

Both performance venues are accessible to disabled patrons. Rehearsals are too! Interested in joining Quorum Boston? Connect with us HERE.

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May 08

Fear Not the Creative Mind: “The Women Who Mapped the Stars”

Sarah Newhouse as Annie Jump Cannon, Christine Power as Antonia Maury, Becca A. Lewis as Williamina Fleming and Sarah Oakes Muirhead as Henrietta Swan Leavitt. (Courtesy A.R. Sinclair Photography)

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
By Joyce Van Dyke
Directed by Jessica Ernst

April 19 – May 20, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Now, there was a time/ when they used to say,
that behind ev’ry great man/ there had to be a great woman.
But oh, in these times of change/ you know that it’s no longer true.
So we’re comin’ out of the kitchen/ ’cause there’s something we forgot to say to you.
We say, Sisters are doin’ it for themselves”
-The Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”

(Cambridge, MA) It’s been a good few years for female scientists. Sally Ride came out posthumously in 2012. Hidden Figures rocked the box office in 2016/2017. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Goble/Johnson and the other human computers are finally receiving their due accolades. Women are entering STEM fields at increasing rates. Local company, Flat Earth Theatre produced Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky in March 2017. The Nora Theatre Company is playing The Women Who Mapped the Stars right now. There are many more successes, but it won’t be enough until women and other minorities receive the equal success as men. Continue reading

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