Sep 05

Witchcraft, Politics and Womanhood: “The Weird”

Photo credit: Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by Off the Grid Theatre Company
Written by Kirsten Greenidge, Obehi Janice, Lila Rose Kaplan, and John Kuntz
Directed by Steven Bogart

September 1-16, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont St. Boston, MA
Off the Grid on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA)The Weird is the latest devised piece from Off the Grid Theatre Company. Artistic Director Alexis Scheer, invited 4 different Boston based writers to compose pieces that tackle the intersection between belief in witchcraft and politics. An ambitious and intriguing premise, which unfortunately The Weird does not fulfill. The Weird`s cast includes many talented actors, who do a good job of adding authenticity to the often fragmented writing. However the chaotic and incoherent writing, means the show ultimately fails to tackle any one theme in depth and leaves the audience feeling unsatisfied and underwhelmed. Continue reading

Jun 10

Blood on the Snow: A journey back in time to Boston’s bloody beginnings

The Cast of Blood on the Snow. Photo by Justin Saglio.

Presented by The Bostonian Society
Written by Patrick Gabridge
Directed by Courtney O’Connor

June 1 – August 20, 2017
The Old State House
Boston, MA
Bostonians on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) It is March 6, 1770, bloodshed, discontent and rebellion bubbles in the air. Four Bostonians lie dead on the streets outside the Council Chamber and British soldiers are held responsible. The people of Boston are sick of British rule, the soldiers and their taxes – they want them out. Inside Governor Hutchinson is faced with an impossible choice: defy his King, or defend his country? This site specific play takes the audience back in time to a forgotten night that helped shaped the course of, not only the city’s history, but the world’s. Blood on the Snow sold out at its world premiere last Spring and returns to The Old State House in Boston this summer. O’Connor’s naturalistic direction is spot on, allowing the audience to be unnoticed voyeurs alongside the table where history was made. Continue reading

May 04

“Desire”: Revealing the Depths of Our Secrets

Sam Terry, Eric McGowan, Margaret McFadden and Alexander Rankine in “The Resemblance Between a Violin Case and a Coffin” by Beth Henley. Photo by Richard Hall/Silverline Images.

Presented by Zeitgeist Stage Company
Adapted from the short stories of Tennessee Williams
Written by Elizabeth Egloff, Marcus Gardely, Rebecca Gilman, David Grimm, John Guare and Beth Henley.
Directed by David Miller

April 28 – May 20, 2017
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
Zeitgeist on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MADesire is a haunting collection of six short stories adapted into one act plays, performed by the talented Zeitgeist Stage Company at the Boston Center for the Arts. This ensemble performance casts a spell over the audience, as we watch a symphony of tortured souls battling with their secret desires. A couple of the plays’ attempt to modernize Williams’ fiction falls short, but overall the cast perform these conflicted characters with real empathy and vigour. Desire provides a fascinating insight into the creative process of a literary master and is well worth a watch. Continue reading

Apr 13

“Everyman”: What’s God like? You’re God like

Image discovered on Apollinaire’s Facebook page.

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
By Carol Ann Duffy
Directed by Dale J. Young

April 7 – May 6, 2017
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St.
Chelsea, MA 02150
Apollinaire on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Chelsea, MA) Originally a 15th century Morality Play, British Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy’s rewriting of Everyman holds the mirror up to our 21st century consumer-driven society…and the view isn’t pretty. Everyman was an ambitious undertaking for the Apollinaire Theatre Company and at points the script demands a larger stage and company than the Chelsea Theatre Works provides. Continue reading

Apr 10

The Who & The What: Lifting the curtain on the gender-politics at the heart of a Pakistani-American family drama


Presented by Huntington Theatre Company
By Ayad Akhtar
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

March 31 – May 7 2017
South End Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
527 Tremont Street
Boston, MA
Huntington on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) The Who & The What is a heartfelt and moving portrayal of the inter-generational and cultural conflicts nestling within the heart of a Pakistani American family. The Who & The What is more than just a Muslim variation of the domestic tragicomedy, which has historically dominated depictions of the immigrant family on stage and screen. Pulitzer Prize winning author Ayad Akhtar asks some pervading questions about Islam, religious doctrine and gender politics that resonate with audiences of all different races and creeds. The play is a delight to watch, but Akhtar’s light hearted writing leaves the audiences asking some serious questions about the nature of family and faith. Continue reading

Mar 27

“Sinners (The English Teacher)”: You can’t cross the same river twice

Photo by CHARLES MCATEER

Presented by: Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residency/The Mirror Theater, Ltd. in collaboration with New Repertory Theatre and Boston Center for American Performance
By Joshua Sobol
Directed by Brian Cox

March 23 – April 2, 2017
Theatre Lab@855
855 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA)“Sinners” tells the story of the condemned English professor Layla (Nicole Ansari), as she awaits execution by stoning for having had an affair with her student, Nur (Ben Getz). The unnamed theocracy in which the story takes place has clear parallels to modern day Saudi Arabia. However, Layla’s characterization relies heavily on the Old Testament view of femininity, women are the dangerous corruptors of man’s innocence; Layla is a modern day Eve, Jezebel or Delilah. Cox’s artful direction places this tragic love story within a broader feminist framework, as we see a passionate woman literally crushed by the forces of patriarchy. Continue reading

Mar 07

Boston’s Unfortunate History of Complicity: “The Boston Abolitionists”

Presented by The Poets’ Theatre, and the Boston Athenaeum
Written by David Gullette
Directed by Bob Scanlan

Sunday, March 5, 2017 @ 1:00 P.M.
The Boston Athenaeum
10½ Beacon Street, Boston, MA 02108

Review by Polly Goss

(Boston, MA) The Boston Athenaeum was the perfect setting for a performance that delved into the city’s complex past. Surrounded by portraits of Boston’s founding fathers, The Poets’ Theatre gave voice to some of Boston lesser-known revolutionaries in this unusual piece.

Challenging the stock image of the 19th century abolitionist as ‘a white man in a black suit’, the actors gave voice to some of the nation’s bravest and most controversial pioneers: escaped slave David Walker, the formidable Maria Stewart and white Southern activist Angelina Grimké among others. The story of Anthony Burns, the escaped slave, who was sent by a Massachusetts judge to return to Virginia and slavery, added a darker tone to the piece. Highlighting the North’s complicity with Southern slavery, Burns’ story reminded the audience that Boston’s history, like the whole country’s, is stained by slavery. Continue reading

Feb 22

Tell Your Own Story: “Informed Consent”

With Dale J. Young, Demetrius Fuller, Alexa Lambert, Becca A. Lewis, Danielle Jacques, Deniz Khateri, Camilo Atehortua, Paola M. Ferrer Collazo and Chrissy Tina. Photo credit: Apollinaire Theatre Co.

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Written by Deborah Zoe Laufer
Directed by Dale J. Young

Feb. 17- Mar. 12, 2017
Chelsea Theatre Works
189 Winnisimmet St., Chelsea, MA, 02150
Apollinaire on Facebook

90 minutes, no intermission.

Review by Polly Goss

(Chelsea, MA) Having originally opened to critical acclaim at The Duke on 42nd Street in August 2015, Laufer’s hard hitting play is the most recent production from Chelsea’s Appolinaire Theatre Company. Resident company of Chelsea Theatre Works, Appolinaire endeavours to “offer audiences direct, intimate encounters with works of modern and contemporary theatre.” Informed Consent does exactly that. Deborah Zoe Laufer is an accomplished writer, marrying the universal with the personal, in this heart-wrenching story of one woman’s struggle to beat fate and save her daughter…“whatever the cost”. Continue reading