Oct 01

Where’er the Surge May Sweep: “Ada and the Engine”

Mishy Jacobson in Ada and the Engine. Photo: Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by Central Square Theater
Brit d’Arbeloff Women in Science Production
A Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production
Written by Lauren Gunderson
Directed by Debra Wise
Choreography by Judith Chaffee
Featuring Kortney Adams, Diego Arciniegas, Mishy Jacobsen, and John Hardin

The online playbill

September 22 to October 23, 2022
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA

Critique by Kitty Drexel

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — Lauren Gunderson’s Ada and the Engine at Central Square Theater is not either’s best work. Central Square Theater has produced better shows and produced better shows by Gunderson. Gunderson has written better plays.

Ada and the Engine is problematic, and the script has problems. It reorganizes the life of English mathematician Augusta “Ada” King, Countess of Lovelace to tell a unique story about the intersection of computational science and gender roles. It approximates Ada Lovelace’s life to continue the discussion about the uphill battle women face in STEM.  Continue reading

Sep 18

Your Religion Is A Lifestyle Choice: “Heroes of the Fourth Turning”

Elise Piliponis, Karen MacDonald, Jesse Hinson, Dayna Cousins, and Nathan Malin in Heroes of the Fourth Turning. Photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Will Arbery
Directed by Marianna Bassham
Featuring Karen MacDonald, Dayna Cousins, Jesse Hinson, Nathan Malin, and Elise Piliponis

September 9 ⁠–⁠ October 8, 2022
The Roberts Studio Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA

This show runs one hour and 55 minutes with no intermission.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“…Yeah, they’re not even inviting us to this conversation. It’s this insane thing that they’re all getting hung up on, this small minority of confused people, but all the people, all the people like suddenly so defensive about using the word ‘they’ but ‘they’ doesn’t make any damn grammatical sense.”
– Justin, Holy Fool, from Heroes of the Fourth Turning by Will Arbery

“Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?”
-Jack Nicholson as The Joker in Batman (1989)

BOSTON — Merriam-Webster primarily defines religion as “a personal set or institutionalized system of religious attitudes, beliefs, and practices.” The definition branches off into sub-definitions: service and worship of God or the supernatural, commitment to religious faith, and a system of beliefs “held to with ardor and faith.” Alas, Merriam-Webster doesn’t tell us which religion will get one into Heaven (or if there even is a Heaven.) 

The antagonizing white, conservative, protagonists of Will Arbery’s Heroes of the Fourth Turning attack each other in the name of God’s perfect love. They use their Catholic faith and rigid dogmas to interrogate the each other in the name of friendship. They are insecure people sloppily looking for answers to life’s biggest questions: Why are we here? What is our purpose? Who will love me? If God loves all of us, why do I feel so alone? These Samaritans might identify as Catholic but, over the course of an evening, we discover each person expresses love differently. Continue reading

Aug 13

Hip Hooray for Shakespeare: BLO’s “Romeo & Juliet”

L-R VANESSA BECERRA AND RICARDO GARCIA AS THE TITLE CHARACTERS IN BLO’S PRODUCTION OF ROMEO & JULIET.
Photo by Nile Scott.

Presented by Boston Lyric Opera
In partnership with Commonwealth Shakespeare Company
Music by Charles Gounod
Libretto by Jules Barbier & Michel Carré, after William Shakespeare
English text by Edmund Tracy 
Performance edition by David Angus, Steven Maler and John Conklin
Conducted by David Angus
Directed by Steven Maler
Dramaturgy by John Conklin
Choreography by Victoria L. Awkward
Fight direction by Nile Hawver
The Playbill 

For Accessibility Information and Questions, BLO Audience Services can be reached at 617.542.6772 or boxoffice@blo.org.

FREE  on the Boston Common
Thursday, August 11, 2022 at 8PM
Saturday, August 13, 2022 at 8PM
Performed on the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company stage
139 Tremont Street 
Boston, MA 02111

Total run time, including one intermission, is two hours.
Sung in English with English supertitles.

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON, Mass. — BLO’s Romeo & Juliet remixes the French opera by Gounod and Barbier & Carré with the original Shakespeare play of the same name. The BLO production is successful as an opera for the masses and as fan art of the original. Diehard opera fans may find fault in this original production, but the open-minded will find a lot to love.

Dwellers who live ‘neath the rocks can find the Rome & Juliet synopsis here: https://blo.org/romeo-juliet/. To sum up, Romeo and Juliet are two crazy kids who fall in love at a party. Then, because they snog instead of talking, they die. Love is hard.  

Boston Lyric Opera reduces the five-act opera to a merciful two. Score editors David Angus, Steven Maler, and John Conklin added two speaking actors (Ed Hoopman and Cheryl D. Singleton who were fantastic.) to the usual vocalists and supernumeraries to Gounod’s opera who read expositional text from Shakespeare’s play. The result is an opera/play hybrid that works: we still hear famous music from the opera that showcases the vocalists’ talents; the play hits all the important plot points (and deaths) and avoids a extra-lengthy visit to the Common. Continue reading

Feb 28

Play Nerd Games; Win Nerd Prizes: “Young Nerds of Color”

Nerds! James Ricardo Milord, Daniel Rios, Jr., Alison Yueming Qu, Kortney Adams, and Lindsey McWhorter, and Karina Beleno Carney in “Young Nerds of Color”. Photo: Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by Underground Railway Theater
The Brit d’Arbeloff Catalyst Collaborative@MIT Production
Arranged by Melinda Lopez
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Original music by Nona Hendryx
Dramaturgy by Des Bennett
Featuring: Kortney Adams(she/her), Karina Beleno Carney (she/her), Lindsey McWhorter (she/her), James Ricardo Milord (he/him), Daniel Rios, Jr. (he/him), Alison Yueming Qu (she/they)

All tickets come with Digital Insurance
Feb. 17 – March 20, 2022
Streaming: March 7 – April 3, 2022
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Please note: People of Color (POC) is a term used in Young Nerds of Color to describe people of Asian, Black, Native, Hispanic and Latino descent. It is not being used because white people are uncomfortable saying “Black.” They might also be that. 

Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission.

Critique by Kitty Drexel
A Note from Noelani Kamelamela is below.

Cambridge, Mass. — My wonderful partner is scientist of color (a note from them below). An adult nerd of color, if you will. They work at MIT. Seeing MIT through their eyes, knowing their experiences made watching Young Nerds of Color easier to believe and harder to endure. Young Nerds of Color is fun! It’s also chock full of difficult truths.  Continue reading

Oct 04

Trust Your Gut: “The Sound Inside”

Jennifer Rohn and Nathan Malin in SpeakEasy Stage’s production of The Sound Inside. Photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Adam Rapp
Directed by Bryn Boice
Cast: Nathan Malin, Jennifer Rohn

Sept. 24 – Oct. 16, 2021
527 Tremont St
Boston, MA 02116
SpeakEasy on Facebook
SpeakEasy’s COVID-19 protocols

CONTENT WARNING: Discussions of self-harm.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“It will always be impossible to know, for the good reason that all writing is itself this special voice, consisting of several indiscernible voices, and that literature is precisely the invention of this voice, to which we cannot assign a specific origin: literature is that neuter, that composite, that oblique into which every subject escapes, the trap where all identity is lost, beginning with the very identity of the body that writes.” 

– From The Death of the Author by Roland Barthes

BOSTON, Mass. — In watching SpeakEasy’s production of The Sound Inside, I was reminded of Roland Barthes’ infamous essay, The Death of the Author. The Death of the Author is an essay that argues for stripping an author’s intentions and personal biography from a reader’s interpretation of their writing. A reader should separate the author from their art. 

Barthes says writing is intended to be read by others. Regardless of the author’s intentions, the reader will formulate their own understanding of the work. The reader’s interpretation is no less valid than the author’s.  Continue reading

Feb 06

A Moving Adaptation: “Little Women”

Photo by Nile Scott Studios; The March women in “Little Women.”

Presented by Wheelock Family Theater at Boston University:/ 
Music by Jason Howland
Lyrics by Mindi Dickstein
Book by Allan Knee
Based on the Book, “Little Women,” by Louisa May Alcott
Directed by Nick Vargas
Music Directed by Jon Goldberg
Choreography by Laurel Conrad

Performance dates: Jan 31 – Feb 23, 2020

Wheelock Family Theater at Boston University, 
180 Riverway
Boston, MA
Wheelock on Facebook 

Review by Chloé Cunha

Boston, MA — Like anybody who grew up with an overactive imagination and an abundance of energy, I have fond memories of exploring fantastical worlds as a kid. My mum used to transform her bed into a space ship, her bedroom, an alien planet. A whir and a hum and we were off, her narration painting the room around us into a whole new galaxy. Continue reading

Sep 25

Rhythms of Humanity: “Choir Boy”

The cast in “Choir Boy.” Photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Tarell Alvin McCraney
Directed by Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Musical Direction by David Freeman Coleman
Choreography by Yewande Odetoyinbo and Ruka White

Sept. 13 – Oct. 12, 2019
Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

(Boston, MA) Choir Boy opens on a sole figure, David (Dwayne P. Mitchell), a student at the elite Charles R. Drew Prep School. He looks into the audience with intent as he begins to step dance. It is deliberate, slow and unaccompanied. The routine then increases in intensity and volume as more students appear. They flank the audience, on their way to the stage, with percussive dancing and chanting. Among the students, I noticed Bobby Marrow (Malik Mitchell) right away. He often seemed moments away from breaking into a joyous smile, mirroring my own.  Continue reading

Sep 21

Kindness Can’t Kill Systemic Disease: “Between Riverside and Crazy”

Oswaldo and Pops at breakfast. Photo by Nile Scott Studios

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Stephen Adly Guirgis
Directed by Tiffany Nichole Greene
Fight choreography by Greg Maraio
Dialect coaching by Kelly Sabini

Sept. 14 – Oct. 13, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“I may look how i look. That don’t mean I am how I look.”  – Lulu

(Boston, MA) Fuck the police. Fuck them for killing Black people at unprecedented rates. Fuck them for killing gay/queer/trans people because they can. Fuck them for raping women while in uniform. Fuck them for #bluelivesmatter. Fuck the police and their scare tactics, faulty de-escalation training, and their playing to the sympathies of ignorant white people. No one should die of a routine anything because a trigger happy cop couldn’t keep their shit together. Fuck them for making small changes and expecting big credit. Fuck the police and the lame white horse they rode in on. Fuck the goddamn police. Continue reading