Mar 20

Her Name is Dr. Franklin, You Git: “Photograph 51”

Pictured: Stacy Fischer; Photo by Maggie Hall

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production
The Brit d’Arbeloff Women in Science Production Series
Written by Anna Ziegler
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Voice and dialect coaching by Rebecca Schneebaum

March 14 – April 14, 2019
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139
CST on Facebook

Trigger warnings: vintage sexism, gaslighting, victim blaming

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Photograph 51 is depressing – not because it’s a depressing play, but because it tells us (STEM researchers, women, women within STEM, etc.) how little progress towards gender equality we have made since Dr. Rosalind Franklin discovered the structure of DNA. Her work, her words went largely ignored and men took all of the credit for her work. This is disturbing. That women in STEM are still silenced is even more so.   Continue reading

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Jan 11

Quality Beats Out Content in “Brilliant Adventures”

Michael Underhill as Rob, Sam Terry as Luke. Photo by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company & United Talent Agency
Written by Alistair McDowall
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

December 28, 2016-January 21, 2017
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA 02150
Apollinaire Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Chelsea, MA) Every theatre geek knows that good theatre should ask questions and initiate a conversation. It should do something as small as make the audience think of something from a different perspective or as large as make you question everything. These were the expectations I had when sitting down to watch Apollinaire Theatre Company’s production of Brilliant Adventures. Continue reading

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May 17

A Few Eyes Lost Between Brothers: EYES SHUT. DOOR OPEN.

Photo by Marc J. Franklin

Photo by Marc J. Franklin; nothing says family like violent hugs.

Presented by CMS Productions & Wax Wings Productions
Written by Cassie M. Seinuk
Directed by Christopher Randolph

May 13 – 26, 2016
Warehouse XI
11 Sanborn Court
Somerville, MA
ESDO on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville, MA) Eyes Shut. Door Open. was not what I expected. I anticipated a dramatic play about two brothers sorting out their issues after an art exhibit. One of the characters wears an eye patch, I expected some silly pirate jokes and an origin story. There’s a lady in the show. I expected a feminist twist or two. I did not expect to be creepy out of my seat by jaw-clenching psychological thrills. This play starts out tame but it doesn’t stay that way. Continue reading

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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

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Jun 23

“Dying City” Brought to Life in Small Space

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Photo credit: Josephine Anes

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Company
Part of the Home Grown Theater Project
Written by Christopher Shinn
Directed by Cameron Cronin

June 25 – July 11, 2015
Dates and seats are limited due to the nature of the production. More information can be found here.
Boston, MA
Happy Medium on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) If less does is fact mean more, the Happy Medium Theatre’s production of Dying City has a lot of potential to surprise audiences.

Performed in the literal living room of actors Kiki Samko and Michael Underhill, a married couple, Dying City opens on Kelly, a widow in her late twenties living in New York City. As she packs up some of her belongings, her estranged brother-in-law, Peter, who also happens to be her deceased husband’s identical twin, arrives without warning, much to Kelly’s discomfort. Continue reading

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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

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Dec 15

No, Thank YOU Susan: NECCESARY MONSTERS

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By John Kuntz
Directed by David R. Gammons
Dramaturgy by Walt McGough

Dec.5, 2014 – Jan. 3, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: Strobe lighting, smoking, unsexy sex, murder, drugs, wiring from an electrical engineer’s worst nightmare

(Boston, MA) The proverb goes, “some people are only alive because it is illegal to kill them*.” The majority of the people who advertise that they apply this statement to their life philosophies are frequently ignorant, bigoted and deeply stupid. One just doesn’t say such things (lest your friends and loved ones think you’re one of them. No one wants to be considered one of them). That doesn’t mean the rest of us don’t agree. On the contrary, we frequently do but refuse to publicly admit it because our Mommies taught us better than that. We only admit we agree with this proverb in the quiet of the night, privately and alone. But it’s true isn’t it? There are certain people that we believe are bad and therefore must be stopped. Sometimes it’s a terrible man like Hitler, and sometimes it’s Celia in 24B across the hall with her 4 incessantly yapping corgis, 2am vacuuming, and magazine stealing habits. Sometimes Celia, and what she represents, must die. It’s thoughts like these that fuel Necessary Monsters. Continue reading

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May 28

Buchenwald, Those Were the Days: LEBENSRAUM

Photo Credit: Josephine Anes

Photo Credit: Josephine Anes; photo chosen specifically for its derp factor.

Presented by Happy Medium Theatre Co.
By Israel Horovitz
Directed by Brett Marks

May 9 – 23, 2014
The Factory Theater
Boston, MA
Happy Medium on Facebook

Featuring: R. Nelson Lacey, Audrey Lynn Sylvia, Michael Underhill

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger Warning: Nazis, Holocaust, Death, Violence, Microaggressions, Gloucester references

(Boston) “Lebensraum” literally translated means “living space.” For the Nazis, it was local colonialism, an expansion of territory in order to displace inferior people. It is based on the manifest destiny principle*.

Lebensraum, the drama, is about the world reaction to a German Chancellor’s televised invitation to the Jewish community to return to Germany. It has a tender love story, media hype and politics to poke your eye out. While the events of the script are not real, the characters’ reactions to the fictional events are. Horovitz’s script is striking because, were the events of the show to actually occur, they would likely occur as they do in his script. His argument is convincing and his psychology is sound. Horovitz has analyzed the human population and found us territorial, racist and surprisingly resilient. It is horrifying to know that while we teach the Holocaust in history, humans have learned almost nothing from it. Continue reading

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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

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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

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