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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Jun 23

He Who Watches the Watchers: PATTERN OF LIFE

Nael Nacer as Rahmat Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo: Courtesy of New Repertory Theatre.

Handsome devils: Nael Nacer as Rahmat, Lewis D. Wheeler as Carlo; Photo courtesy of New Rep/BCAP Facebook page.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre and Boston Center for American Performance (BCAP)
By Walt McGough
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

June 14 – 29, 2014
Boston University Theatre – Lane-Comley Studio 210
264 Huntington Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook
BCAP on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston) President Obama has received flak from all political sides for his decision to back govt.-sourced  drone proposals. It has been 5 years and 5 months since the CIA conducted the first strike during Obama’s term and he shortly thereafter ramped up the attacks in Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. He went so far as to say that “he wrestle[s] with civilian casualties. But, he said, he has a solemn duty and responsibility to keep the American people safe. That’s my most important obligation as President and Commander-in-Chief. And there are individuals and groups out there that are intent on killing Americans — killing American civilians, killing American children, blowing up American planes.” (Huffington Post) While drone attacks have decreased once his numbers started suffering, attacks have not stopped entirely. Clearly, Obama “wrestles” with casualties enough to make a statement but not enough to discontinue drone use. Continue reading

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Sep 24

ADA Approved for the Mainstream: TRIBES

photo

Photo: Craig Bailey/Perspective Photo; Erica Spyres and James Caverly conversating.

Presented by Speakeasy Stage Co.
by Nina Raine
directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

September 13 – October 12
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

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

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Sep 16

Brilliance and Bravery in New Rep’s “The Kite Runner”

The Kite Runner adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler.
Novel by the same name by author Khaled Hosseini.
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Photo by Andrew Brilliant/ Brilliant Pictures.

Performances, September 9-30, 2012
New Repertory Theater
Charles Mosesian Theater
Arsenal Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA 02472

New Repertory Theater Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) New Rep’s The Kite Runner is adapted for the stage by Matthew Spangler from the novel by the same name by author Khaled Hosseini. Director, Elaine Vaan Hogue, interprets her subject with fresh perspective in our post-9/11 world with compassion and ingenuity. Continue reading

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