Apr 04

Geeks Read Books: TCG Play Reviews, April 2019

On occasion, the New England Theatre Geek will review recently published plays. The Antipodes is the latest release from Annie Baker. In it, Baker takes on corporate culture from a storyteller’s perspective. The Prisoner by Peter Brook and Marie-Helene Estienne is not well written. The Painted Rocks at Revolver Creek discusses apartheid via an artist’s life work. A Doll’s House, Part 2 played on Boston’s Huntington Theatre’s stage in early 2019. Hnath’s script is deserving of several reads. Please read on below.

The Antipodes
By Annie Baker
TCG
New York, 2018
Paperback, 120pp
$14.95

The Antipodes takes place in a static, windowless room with office chairs behind which are stacked many boxes of seltzer. This could be a soulless writers room, a marketing research discussion room, or even one of those rent-an-office conference spaces available in communal office complexes. The location is specifically nondescript to allow the strange goings on of Baker’s play shine. Strange goings on of both the occult and Office Space varieties bleed through the mundane to unsettle the lives of everyone involved.   Continue reading

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Mar 09

For “Endlings,” Death Becomes Her

Presented by American Repertory Theatre
By Celine Song
Directed by Sammi Cannold

February 26 – March 17, 2019
ASL Interpreted performances: Wednesday, March 13 at 7:30PM and Sunday, March 17 at 2PM
Open Captioned performances: Thursday, March 14 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Audio Described performances: Friday, March 15 at 7:30PM and Saturday, March 16 at 2PM
Loeb Drama Center
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Cambridge, MA) Neil Armstrong was the first man on the moon and everyone in the world knows his name. Young Jean Lee was the first Asian female playwright on Broadway, and that is all she’s known as: “Asian female playwright”. Even in headlines about her work, white newspapers didn’t bother to print her name. Most people don’t know her name, including Asian women outside of theater. Let’s face it. White people like white plays, and the occasional token, minstrel show. Continue reading

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Nov 11

Scarily Relevant Once More: WEST SIDE STORY

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Beverly, MA
November 1- 20, 2016
NSMT on Facebook

BOOK BY: Arthur Laurents
MUSIC BY: Leonard Bernstein
LYRICS BY: Stephen Sondheim
Director: Bob Richard
Music Director: Milton Granger
Choreographer: Diane Laurenson
Based on Conception of Jerome Robbins
Based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Beverly, MA) How quaint – working class whites and Hispanics fighting for control of a few city blocks. West Side Story is a fun period piece hearkening back to a time when institutionalized racism was the norm and …
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Oct 26

The Opposite of Hell Freezing Over: “When January Feels Like Summer”

Photo courtesy of CST Facebook page.

Photo courtesy of CST Facebook page.

Presented by Underground Railway Theater
Written by Cori Thomas
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush

Oct. 20 – Nov. 13, 2016
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Cambridge, MA) Spoiler alert: No one dies in When January Feels Like Summer. No one even gets beaten up. In fact, everyone gets a happy ending. Thomas’ play is extraordinary because sweet but nosy Indira gets to be happy. Thomas’ POC characters get to live their lives without some white person causing unnecessary trouble. It shouldn’t be unusual that a play about POCs or a trans woman isn’t about the violence inflected on them, but it is. It shouldn’t be revolutionary for a person to go about their business. Yet, here we are.       Continue reading

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Jul 30

Geeks Read Books: “Sotto Voce” by Nilo Cruz

Cover design by Lisa Govan.

Cover design by Lisa Govan.

 

 

 

“If the sea were to shout,
we would all be deaf.”
– Carlos Fuentes, “Destiny and Desire”

 

 

 

 

 

“Sotto Voce: A Play”
Nilo Cruz
TCG Books
Theatre Communications Group, New York, 2016
$14.95
Available: http://www.tcg.org/; https://www.amazon.com/; and other purveyors of fine dramatic literature.

Review by Kitty Drexel

(New York, NY) Sotto Voce is a three person (two women, one man) play about the ways we harness our fears to confront the past and understand our consequential future. Playwright Cruz’s prose lilts off the tongue like a lover’s kiss. His character interactions sweep the stage of the imagination like poetry: gentle, unrushed but intense. Yet, his script is not without its thematic and dynamic problems. With the exception of two German characters revealed in flashback, these individuals manipulate each other with little compassion. Continue reading

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Apr 12

Another Day, Another Review of “Rent”

Photo credit: Stratton McCrady

Photo credit: Stratton McCrady

Presented by the Suffolk University Theatre Department
Book, Music & Lyrics by Jonathan Larson
Directed by Paul Melone
Musical Direction by Scott Nicholas

April 7-10, 2016
C. Walsh Theatre
55 Temple Street, Boston, MA
C. Walsh Theater on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) So here we are again. Same play, another day, and another production. This time, the cherished show made its way to the Suffolk University Theatre Department. Continue reading

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Oct 08

Goddess Dumps “Kansas City Choir Boy”: A Love Story

Photo: Evgenia Eliseeva

Photo: Evgenia Eliseev

 

Presented by A.R.T.
Music and Lyrics by Todd Almond
Directed by Kevin Newbury
Choreography by Sam Pinkleton
Musical Direction by David Bloom

October 1 – 10, 2015
Club Oberon
Cambridge, MA
ART on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Courtney Love stars as Athena, the idealized, former girlfriend of the titular Kansas City Choir Boy (Todd Almond). The show begins when he sees a news story on TV that she’s been found dead in a New York City park.This touches off either a series of memories or a fantasy in which the two spend the show singing love songs to each other. Continue reading

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Aug 19

Desperate Jiving: SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER

Sam Wolf as Tony Manero in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER The Musical playing at North Shore Music Theatre August 11 - 23, 2015. Photo © Paul Lyden

Sam Wolf as Tony Manero in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER The Musical playing at North Shore Music Theatre August 11 – 23, 2015. Photo © Paul Lyden

Presented by North Shore Music Theatre
Original Stage Adaptation by Robert Stigwood & Bill Oakes
North American Adaptation by Sean Cercone & David Abbinanti
Directed by Richard Stafford
Choreographed by Nick Kenkel
Music direction by Milton Granger
Assistant music direction by Joseph Mohan

August 11th – 23rd, 2015
62 Dunham Road
Beverly, MA 01915
NSMT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

An old Rolling Stone profile of the Bee Gees, the band behind the music for Saturday Night Fever, included a heartbreaking moment – the band was on top of the world at the time, but one of the Gibb brothers spent the entire interview nervously scrolling the radio dial to hear if any station was playing his music. Continue reading

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Aug 11

“Eyes Shut. Door Open”: Exploring the Artist’s Tormented Psyche

Photo credit: Wax Wings Productions (we'll happily updated the credit if given the name of the photographer)

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

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

Thursday 8/13 @ 7:30pm, Friday 8/14 & Saturday 8/15 @ 7:30pm, 10pm
The Inner Sanctum Gallery, Roxbury
Wax Wings Productions on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Roxbury, MA) They say you should never judge a book by its cover, and I’m ashamed to admit I judged a play by its title. But it’s hard when the name is Eyes Shut. Door Open, which has a seemingly pretentious period in the middle, but no ending punctuation—an English major’s worst nightmare. But I had to let go of this trivialness to be swept up in playwright Cassie M. Seinuk’s world, which had its own set of nightmares prepared for me. Continue reading

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Jul 21

“Laughing Wild” Sure to Make You LOL

Photo credit: Hub Theatre Company of Boston

Photo credit: Hub Theatre Company of Boston

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Christopher Durang
Directed by Margaret Ann Brady

Friday, July 17 – Saturday, August 1, 2015
Club Cafe
Boston, MA
Hub Theatre Company on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) So you know when you’re in the tuna fish aisle at the grocery store and you end up punching somebody in the head and yelling at a baby to stop crying? Me neither. But this isolated event keeps the plot of Laughing Wild moving forward with enough humor that you start to think it’s actually quite relatable. Continue reading

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