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

Oct 17

One Out of Three Ain’t Good: “A Number”

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Photo by Andrew Brilliant / Brilliant Pictures

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Written by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Clay Hopper

Oct. 10 – Nov. 1, 2015
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Apologies to the cast, crew and staff of A Number. Mrs. Drexel caught the sniffle plague and was unable to write intelligibly.

(Watertown, MA) Churchill throws us into the middle of the conflict: Salter (Dale Place) and son are violently discussing the son’s birth origins. Regardless of the half-truths Salter weaves, it is made clear that the Bernards (Nael Nacer) is one of any number of clones. The Bernards hate each other. Salter must come to terms with his rash decision to play God. In her pithy way, Churchill approaches identity, the morality of cloning by way of personal property, and the timeless conflict between nature and nurture. Continue reading

Feb 24

The Intimacy of Lingerie: INTIMATE APPAREL

Photo by Glenn Perry.

Photo by Glenn Perry.

Presented by Lyric Stage Company of Boston
Written by Lynn Nottage
Directed by Summer L. Williams
Music directed/compositions by Allyssa Jones

Feb. 13 – March 14, 2015
140 Clarendon St
Boston, MA
Lyric Stage on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Intimate Apparel is a complicated show that discusses history, race, class, education, and gender in approximately two hours. It is summarized as being a play about a seamstress who crafts fancy underpants. She plans to open a beauty parlor but marries a man she’d only met through letters. It is so much more. Nottage gives a face to the women that history so frequently forgets: the sex workers, the day laborers, the socialites. The history books are filled to capacity with men who’ve changed history. Continue reading

Jan 20

A Resounding Meh: A FUTURE PERFECT

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo

Photo credit: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo. Beers were harmed in the making of this play.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Written by Ken Urban
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 9 – Feb. 7, 2015
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Inside every adult there is an 18 year old wondering what the Hell just happened. It feels like just yesterday you were a shy teenager prepping for college. You blink and there you are, 38 and wondering how you got into this mess. It’s a surprise to discover that we’re the adults now, the guys in charge. We’re the very people we protested against in our teens and 20’s and now we have to pretend it’s OK. While the initial money/freedom is nice, the rest feels like strange and unusual punishment for our childhood sins. Adulthood blows. Continue reading