Sep 18

Witness History Repeating: “Prayer for the French Republic”

The cast of “Prayer for the French Republic.” Photo by T Charles Erickson.

Presented by The Huntington
By Joshua Harmon
Directed by Loretta Greco
Featuring: Amy Resnick, Nael Nacer, Tony Estrella, Joshua Chessin-Yudin, Talia Sulla, Carly Zien
Lighting Design by Christopher Akerlind
Scenic Design by Andrew Boyce
Dramaturgy by Charles Haugland

September 7-October 8, 2023
264 Huntington Ave
Boston MA

Review by Maegan Bergeron-Clearwood

Content advisory: This production contains vivid descriptions and discussions of antisemitism, violence and death related to the Holocaust, hate crimes, and sexual violence. It also contains one instance of blood.

BOSTON, Mass. — A classic adage: if you ask two Jews a question, you’ll get three opinions. Joshua Harmon’s Prayer for the French Republic features so many Jewish characters – secular and religious, Sephardic and Ashkenazi, patrilineal and matrilineal, Zionist and antizionist (and everywhere in between) – most of whom are relatives living under the same roof. Opinions are too numerous to count. Naturally, the play is three hours long.

The play is massive in other ways as well, bouncing between 2016 and 1944 and featuring 11 characters played by 10 actors. Harmon traces the legacy of the Salomon family, who have been living a comfortable middle-class life in Paris for decades, only to find themselves grappling with the same terrifying questions that their great-grandparents (and many Jewish ancestors before them) once faced: Are we safe here anymore? Is it time to flee? Continue reading

Jun 16

Liminal Spaces for Desettlement: “The Orchard”

The Making of THE ORCHARD Virtual Experience from Igor Golyak on Vimeo.

Presented by Arlekin Players Theatre & (zero-G) Lab
Conceived, adapted, and directed by Igor Golyak
Based on The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov, as translated by Carol Rocamora 
With new material by Igor Golyak 
Robotics designed by Tom Sepe
Music composition by Jakov Jakoulov
Emerging technologies design by Adam Paikowsky
American Sign Language direction by Seth Gore
Translations by Carol Rocamora
Full creative crew credits are HERE
Featuring Jessica Hecht, Juliet Brett, Darya Denisova, Elise Kibler, John McGinty, Nael Nacer, Mark Nelson & Ilia Volok
Mikhail Baryshnikov as Anton Chekhov and Firs

June 16 – July 3, 2022
The Orchard is a hybrid piece of theater and can be seen in two formats:
Live & In-Person
Baryshnikov Arts Center, NYC
&
Virtual Experience, Online
(zero-G) Lab

The show runs just under 2 hours, with no intermission.

Review by Kitty Drexel

This review is of the virtual performance of The Orchard on Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

New York & Online — The Arlekin Players are no strangers to the digital theatre. Their productions of chekhovOS / an experimental game/, Witness, and State vs. Natasha Banina were wildly successful. chekhovOS / an experimental game/ and Witness were both live and audience-interactive in ways that the theatre community hadn’t seen before. These shows navigated the new frontier of digital theatre by showing artists and audiences what is possible. 

They were also super cool to watch.  Continue reading

Feb 19

Please Live Life to Its Fullest Responsibly: “People, Places & Things”


Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company 
Written by Duncan MacMillan
Directed by David R Gammons
Dramaturgy by Rulas A Muñoz

Feb. 11 – March 5, 2022
Audio Description – February 19 at 8pm and February 20 at 3pm
Open Captioning – March 3 at 2pm and 7:30pm
South End / Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St.
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

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

Jul 30

Ariel, the Human World, It’s A Mess: “The Tempest”

The cast of “The Tempest.” Gods, it’s good to see theatre again. Photo by: Evgenia Eliseeva

FREE Shakespeare on the Common
Presented by Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Steven Maler
Choreographer/ Movement coaching by Levi Philip Marsman
Sound design and compositions by David Reiffel
COVID Safety Manager by Brian Robillard

July 21-August 8, 2021
Parkman Bandstand, Boston Common
Boston, MA
CommShakes on social media: @commshakes

The Accessibility program dates:
Open Captioning: July 31
Audio description and ASL interpreted performances: August 1 and August 6
Rain Date for all Access services: August 8

Running time is about 110 minutes; there is no intermission.

Register for tickets HERE
COVID-19 restrictions are HERE.

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — Theatre is my favorite thing. To me, there is no greater experience than the communion of theatre. It’s been 17 months, and I have missed live-performance every day. Seeing the cast of The Tempest walk onstage to face our crowd of masked-until-seated strangers brought me to tears. It felt like coming home. 

Commonwealth Shakespeare Company celebrates 25 years of free Shakespeare on Boston Common with their production of William Shakespeare’s The Tempest. It stars John Douglas Thompson as Prospero, a role that fits him like a glove. A cadre of beloved local talent plays major and minor roles. Continue reading

Jun 10

Fate from a Fish Called Olga: “chekhovOS /an experimental game/”

chekhovOS /an experimental game/: Pretty in pink

chekhovOS /an experimental game/
Presented by Arlekin’s Zero Gravity (zero-G) Lab & The Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation
Inspired by The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov
Conceived & Directed by Igor Golyak
Produced by Igor Golyak & Sara Stackhouse
Starring Jessica Hecht, and Anna Baryshnikov, Anna Bortnik, Darya Denisova, Jeffrey Hayenga, Melanie Moore, Nael Nacer & Mark Nelson
Mikhail Baryshnikov as playwright Anton Chekhov
Program slides are HERE (scroll down)

May 16 – June 24, 2021
Streamed over Zoom
Tickets are HERE
Arlekin Players on Facebook 

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Wheel of Morality turn, turn, turn/Tell us the lesson that we should learn.” – Yakko Warner, The Animaniacs  

ZOOM — Science fiction is now in black and white Chekhovian color streaming to an internet tool near you. chekhovOS /an experimental game/ only has a few more performances, so check it out before it disappears forever

There is a brief segment in the Animaniacs cartoon franchise called “The Wheel of Morality” that pokes fun at both game shows and cartoon shows that teach morality while also employing slapstick violence for laughs. In the segment, Yakko Warner turns a large game show wheel while siblings Wakko and Dot watch. Reliably, the spinning wheel lands on a number causing a small computer to print out the episode’s morale. The morale is often silly and almost never applies to the episode. The siblings are then chased off of the lot by Ralph the Guard. We love The Animaniacs in our house for its irreverence. 

The virtual morality of Arlekin Player’s production of chekhovOS /an experimental game/ (not to be confused with their last event Cherry OS /an experiment/) is a lot like the Wheel of Morality: the rules are unclear, the narrators are unreliable and the story isn’t linear. You’ll have a great time as long as you have no attachment to the ending. Try to have fun because nothing is certain. Or is it? Continue reading

Aug 03

10 Minute Stretch Breaks: “Dream Boston”

Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company
Dream Boston: A New Series of Audio Plays
The 54th in ’22 by Kirsten Greenidge
McKim by Brenda Withers
Overture by Kate Snodgrass
By the Rude Bridge by Melinda Lopez

Online now for free on the Huntington Theatre website
Huntington on Facebook, Twitter
Please remember to donate! Donate now so theatre can still exist later. 

Critique by Noelani Kamelamela

STREAMING – I appreciate theatre makers using online platforms to present pre-recorded work or livestream theatrical content. In these times, when it is prudent for people not to be in theatres or congregating outdoors for a concert, the creation of work that can be digested at home or even on a lunch break is a political act beyond taking general responsibility for the health and welfare of a community by cancelling in person productions.

Dream Boston is easy to digest in four separate audio plays and can be listened to with an internet connection on someone’s phone for less than ten minute stretches.  The playwrights and the directors for Dream Boston are women. Continue reading

Jan 08

Awkwardness is Part of the Process: “Small Mouth Sounds”

All photos by Nile Scott Studios. The cast. Digesting.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Bess Wohl
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 4 – Feb. 2, 2019
Boston Center for the Arts
The Calderwood Pavilion Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

This critique has been updated from its previous posting. The update includes corrections and clarifications. (1/31/19 KD)

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: penis, simulated pot smoking, heavy moaning

It’s January and chances are that you (or your acquaintances) are experiencing an influx of athletic practitioners in your studio of choice. For example, at my own neighborhood ashtanga yoga studio, January 1 meant that the floor became overwhelmed with novices and their wholesome, divot-free mats. Small Mouth Sounds(SMS) captures that awkward group consciousness of baby-yogis talking first “did I make a huge mistake?” steps towards enlightenment. An enlightened mind is not obtained overnight. The journey is schadenfreude for the audience. Continue reading

Sep 12

Hoping That the Next Leap Will Be Their Leap Home: “Constellations”

Nael Nacer & Marianna Bassham in CONSTELLATIONS. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by Underground Railway Theater
Written by Nick Payne
Directed by Scott Edmiston

Sept. 7 – Oct. 8, 2017
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook
Go here to learn more about how humans are killing bees at an alarming rate
MassBee.org
Follow the Honey for delicious local and beyond honey products

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) The ancient Greek believed that bees were the messengers of the Gods. Bees could divine the future, and acted as emissaries to Olympus. Keeping bees was and still is a sensitive vocation. It requires a gentle hand and a hardy constitution. Human beings require bees to live, but not vice versa. Continue reading

Jan 20

Better Out Than In: A DOLL’S HOUSE

Nael Nacer and Andrea Syglowski in “A Doll’s House;” Photo: T. Charles Erickson. Sh!t is about to get real.

Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
Written by Henrik Ibsen
Adapted by Bryony Lavery
Directed by Melia Benussen

Jan. 6 – Feb. 5, 2017
Avenue of the Arts
BU Theatre
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“If your laws don’t include me, well then, they don’t apply to me either.”
Anita Crown, Bad Girls

(Boston, MA) A Doll’s House (AHD) is a classic tragedy of manners. It features a female protagonist, and has feminist themes. On paper, it’s a strong educational tool. Its presentation on the stage is another matter entirely. ADH is a show with chatty dialogue that wiggles around its points like a Mexican jumping bean. The Huntington’s modernized production with updated script drags from the emotional constipation of its characters. Not even Bryony Lavery could salvage this one.   Continue reading

Nov 26

“Bedroom Farce”: The Art of Being in a Relationship

Bedroom Farce HTC 11-16 130Bedroom Farce, by Alan Ayckbourn, directed by Mariah Aitken at Huntington Theatre Company 11/10/16Set Design: Alexander DodgeCostume Design: Robert MorganLighting Design: Matthew Richards© T Charles Erickson Photographytcepix@comcast.net

Bedroom Farce, © T Charles Erickson

Presented by The Huntington Theatre Company
By Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Maria Aitken

November 11-December 11, 2016
BU Theatre at The Huntington Theatre Company
The Huntington Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Usually, I’m a sucker for anything British, especially accents and that special brand of English humor. Both passions, as well as the potential for bedroom antics, were just a couple reasons I was excited to attend a performance of English playwright Alan Ayckbourn’s Bedroom Farce. But by the end of the show I was disappointed to realize that the accents were the only British thing about it and the bedroom humor was rather lazy at best. Continue reading