BOSTON — Rx Machina by Caity-Shea Violette is one of two plays about addiction currently running in Boston. It’s no coincidence. COVID-19 has decimated our mental health.
The modern human, when faced with a medical crisis and no affordable solutions, will turn to legal and illegal self-medicating. The CDC’s website says that the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis. The news, any channel, will confirm this statement. Continue reading →
CONTENT ADVISORY: This production contains depictions of addiction and self-harm, discussions of sexual assault, an extended strobe light sequence, herbal cigarette smoke, and loud noises.
BOSTON — A friend once told me, despite the burden mental illness can present, that the brain is trying to help. The myriad painful symptoms I and many others experience as effects of mental illness are the brain’s way of facilitating, even normalizing the abnormalities of life. Sometimes, I’d rather it not.
Just because the brain is trying to help, it doesn’t mean the brain is actually helping. It takes tremendous discipline to correct negative behaviors and toxic thoughts and to learn new ones. Failure is inevitable. If it takes a village to teach toxic patterns, it takes another village to reinforce positive ones.
SpeakEasy Stage’s People, Places & Things running at the BCA is about addiction, mental health, the theatre, and identity. Emma (Marianna Bassham in a performance that will blow your mind) is in denial. She abuses drugs to cope with her performing career, her family, and the life that happens in-between. She’s on so many drugs when she collapses on stage during a production of The Seagull, it’s a miracle she isn’t dead already. Continue reading →
Phase 4: Large venues (arenas, stadiums, night clubs—in process of defining large venues)
All our love from six feet away,
Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks
P.S. This post is a late due to mental health/personal reasons. It is important that we take care of ourselves at all times but especially now. Life is stressful for all manner of reasons. It’s okay not to do the thing, all of the things, or any of the things. It is okay not to be productive. Our health must come first.
American Repertory Theatre — American Repertory Theater at Harvard University announces upcoming free virtual conversations and events. Conversations are open to the general public, though advanced RSVPs are required. 1776 IN DIALOGUE TONIGHT—Tuesday, May 26 at 6PM
With Diane Paulus, director of 1776; Timothy Patrick McCarthy, Professor of History and Literature at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education and Core Faculty at the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at the John F. Kennedy School of Government; and Oneika Phillips from the cast of 1776. Register for 1776 in Dialogue here
CITIZENSHIP 1776 – 2026: APPROACHING 250 YEARS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Monday, June 1 at 4PM
With Annette Gordon-Reed, Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School; Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University
As we approach the 250th anniversary of the founding of the United States of America, it is worthwhile to consider what it means to be a citizen of the country that was created in 1776. Harvard Professor Annette Gordon-Reed explores the questions of how citizenship is expressed in this modern context, how we kept the republic, and what might the future hold for our republic. Register for Citizenship 1776 – 2026 here.
THE SHOW MUST GO SEAN
Tuesday, June 4 at 6:30PM
The 2020 Tony Awards were postponed, but the celebration goes on! Join A.R.T. for The Show Must Go Sean, a special Tonys-themed trivia night hosted Broadway aficionado and A.R.T.’s Assistant Director of Membership and Donor Relations, Sean Cummings. Bring a team of your favorite theater enthusiasts for an interactive evening of merriment and multimedia trivia—teams of any size and participants of all ages and knowledge levels are welcome! Register for The Show Must Go Sean here.
LUNCH WITH LUNSFORD
The A.R.T continues its Lunch with Lunsford series with guests announced for the month of June. Hosted by Artistic Producer Mark Lunsford, the Tuesday noontime webinar features curated conversations with artists in A.R.T.’s orbit, followed by interactive audience Q&A. Learn more and RSVP for Lunch with Lunsford here.
Apollinaire Theatre Company — Apollinaire Theatre is excited to invite you to join us for Apollinaire at Home, a free online play & film script reading gathering! Apollinaire at Home is hosted by your Apollinaire favorites, and the cast includes You. Readings will be Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings at 7:30, and Sunday “matinee” at 3:00.
We’ll post the schedule for each week at the beginning of the week (check on Tuesday afternoon or Wednesday morning).
A New Normal: A Zoom play by David Perkinson — Written by David Perkison, A New Normal is a dryly comic look at 3 friends trying to cope during the pandemic. A one act performance recorded entirely in one take using Zoom recording software. Follow the YouTube link to watch!
Trigger warnings: sexual assault and physical violence, sexual situations, adult language, suicide, mental health, activism
(Boston, MA) Institutional support of criminals and criminal behavior either through incompetence or genuine ignorance is common. Although a college campus is the setting of Melinda Lopez’s Back the Night, it could be a stand-in for a fancy secondary school or any urban space. It is both cheaper and simpler in these forums to blame the victim than actually pursue justice.
Em, Sean and Cassie pit themselves against assault on campus after Cassie is injured one night. Em is the pre-med Nancy Drew who likes putting things into proper boxes and Melissa Jesser portrays her with an intensity that simmers just below the surface. Cassie (Amanda Collins), long an ardent anti-violence advocate, is finally putting a lot of her principles to the test. Sean just wants everyone to make it to graduation alive. Along the way, the undergraduates realize that intentions aren’t pure on any side of the issue. The set served as both metaphor and scenery, with decaying infrastructure and dorm furniture offset by autumn leaves and warm lighting.
When I attended, the audience of mostly college aged students and a few older attendees were both amused and engaged. Although the play is a new work, the topics have been stewing in higher education for some time. Local universities such as Boston University responded in the past three years to federal investigations related to sexual harassment under Title IX by leveraging pre-existing resources and coordinating new sets of training for incoming and ongoing students, staff and faculty. For survivors as well as for those who work at or attend a university, the transitions toward justice seem insignificant and much less than what was promised.
To be fair, there are a lot of great sea changes still occurring: a queer character like Sean, played by a bouncy Evan Horwitz, or a non-white character like Em can exist on a campus, which is a sign of progress. Authorities can’t produce those specific, permanent and positive transitions in a vacuum. Rallying and other forms of pressure by non-authorities as well as pushback, then, is more like a dance: there is movement over time, even if there is no easily discernible direction. Also, dances end, and it can take time before a different dance begins.
Lopez gets the internet’s impact on survivor’s rights in many ways: frequently the ability to reach lots of potential activists doesn’t lead to the revolution, especially since the internet reaches not only sympathetic minds, but also perpetrators and victim-blamers who are all too willing to sit on the sidelines and throw stones. At the very least, perpetrators are not given a forum in the play. There’s still lots of meat to chew on. Even when your friends are a mirror or an inspiration, they can still misunderstand and make demands on your sanity that can be almost as terrible as physical trauma. At a fairly short hour and a half, humor between the three friends lightens the frustration, exhaustion and constant questioning. Lopez has captured the voice of modern undergraduates and also provided a snapshot of the strained relationships of students to the adults who are supposed to guide and shield them.
Next on deck for Boston Playwrights’ Theatre is Rhinoceros a co-production with Suffolk University written by Eugene Ionesco at the Modern from February 25-March 13.
There will be two ASL-interpreted performances: Sunday, October 6 at 7PM and Friday, October 11 at 8PM.
Review by Kitty Drexel
(Southie) It is always a relief to see minorities portrayed by the Arts as their community deserves; with dignity, love and respect. We, the disabled, weren’t/aren’t always seen this way. It was (and still is) a commonly held belief of the Christian persuasion that people were born disabled as a punishment from God for sinning. This is despite Jesus saying that the disabled were walking, talking acts of God (John Chapter 9 verses 1-3). In specific, Christians used to believe that, since a deaf person couldn’t hear the word of God, they then couldn’t know God. Fast forward to modern day, the stigmas still exist even with the ADA protecting us. This is why it was so humbling to watch Speakeasy’s intelligent production of Tribes last Saturday. My hope is that this production is a sign that society is ready to welcome the disabled into the mainstream. Continue reading →
Some contemporary productions of Hamlet play with the ambiguity of the Prince of Denmark’s sanity. Is he seeking justice or satisfying a personal vendetta with the logic of a “ghost” to back him up, “mad north-north-west” or just vengeful? In Hamlet Asylum, this ambiguity is dismissed. Most of the play clearly takes place in the head of Bryan Bernfield’s Hamlet. A masked Greek chorus (Meghan Kelly, Amiel Bowers, and Samuel Guerin) speak in the voice of his father, his confidant Horatio, the gravediggers, and others, all in the guise of Hamlet’s repressed desires. It’s a clever idea. The result, though,
is a production both rich with symbols and dark with melodrama. Continue reading →