May 06

One World, Many Stories: “The Earthroom”

Photo by Paul Fox.

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
Written by Marge Buckley
Directed by Rebecca Bradshaw
Fight choreography by Omar Robinson
Dramaturgy by Sarah Schnebly

May 3-18, 2019
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Fresh Ink on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: I auditioned for this production, and was not cast. It is my opinion that only a jackass would allow rejection, a natural process of auditioning, to taint their review.

(Boston, MA) Playwright Marge Buckley has a unique aptitude to balance quirky comedy with human truths. Her science fiction play The Earth Room merges family dynamics with interplanetary conquest with urban planning. It all bounces off the larger issue of mental health avoidance. Human beings may colonize Mars; they may even invent the holodeck, but they will still be inherently guided by human nature.   Continue reading

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Feb 27

Geeks Read Books: “Three Sisters” & “Marjorie Prime”

Unbiased reviews for plays are written in exchange for hard copies. Theatre Communications Group has kindly forwarded Three Sisters by Chekhov and adapted by Tracy Letts, and Marjorie Prime by Jordan Harrison to The New England Theatre Geek.

Reviews by Kitty Drexel

Three Sisters
By Anton Chekhov, adapted by Tracy Letts
Theatre Communications Group
New York, NY
December 2016
$14.95

(NYC) Tracy Letts’ adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters is the dramatic literature equivalent of the “Google Translate Sings: ‘One Day More’ from Les Miserables” parody. It’s not accurate, but it’s not entirely incorrect either. The majority of the content is Chekhov’s original. Letts expresses it in new and festive ways. Continue reading

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Jun 01

Caravan Palace is Here for All Your Science Fictional Swing Dance Needs

Presented by WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts
CARAVAN PALACE
Sunday, May 22, 8:00 pm
House of Blues Boston
15 Lansdowne St., Boston
World Music/CRASHarts on Facebook
Caravan Palace on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Boston, MA) Caravan Palace came out strong the other night when it started its engagement at House of Blues with, “Comics.” The song, simultaneously upbeat and chilling, is a rhythmic single off of their latest album, <|°_°|> [Robot Face]. The energy brought the room up to a high that stayed there through the entirety of the show and two encores. Continue reading

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Apr 08

“Dog Act” Has Bite

Presented by Theatre on Fire
By Liz Duffy Adams
Directed by Diego Arciniegas

April 1 – 23, 2016
Charlestown Working Theater
ToF on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown, MA) Stories about the end of the world are often concerned with the survival of the individual against structures that have filled the void since the fabled downfall of society. This includes reality television death match enthusiasts (Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games), patriarchal cults with private harems (Mad Max: Fury Road), fight dome fans lead by Tina Turner (Mad Max: Beyond Thunderdome), and foul-mouthed, fur-wearing, belligerent tribes of wanderers. Dog Act looks not just at the individual, but the survival of art in a new North American wasteland. Continue reading

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Jan 12

Robots and Prostitutes Are People Too: CITIZENS OF THE EMPIRE

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto, no fancy underpants needed here.

Presented by Boston Public Works
Written by Kevin Mullins
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

January 8-23, 2016
The Stanford Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
BPW on Facebook

My apologies to the cast and crew, the death of cultural icon and glam rock god David Bowie has hit me harder than anticipated. This review was delayed by my selfish human emotions.
-Kitty Drexel, Reviewer

“To err is human, but to really foul things up you need a computer.”
Paul R. Ehrlich

“To err is human. To blame someone else is politics.”
Hubert H. Humphrey

(Boston, MA) One of the reasons artists write about the future and/or the past is to show how human behavior remains the same regardless of the passage of time. Human hearts and heads tangle up in the same figurative knots no matter what century it is. Science and the evolution of reason only confuse matters. People will be people until they aren’t anymore. Continue reading

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Sep 10

“Radium Girls” Radiates Pain and Triumph

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by D. W. Gregory
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

September 4th – 19th, 2015
Charlestown Working Theater
Charlestown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Charlestown, MA) There is a poem by Julianna Baggott, “Marie Curie Gives Advice to her Daughter Irene Before her Wedding.” This is how it ends:
“My hope, daughter, is that
what you love doesn’t come to kill you,
eye by eye, ear by ear, bone by radiant bone.”

The friend with whom I went to see “Radium Girls” mentioned it to me after the show was over. It’s easy to see why. This is a play about not just losing one’s life to radium, but losing everything. Grace Fryer (the magnificent Erin Eva Butcher) loses both her fear and trust while Arthur Roeder (Bridgette Hayes) loses faith in the United States Radium factory and in himself. What you love–what you trust to take care of you, what you trust to be there for you–might indeed ultimately kill you. Continue reading

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Jan 14

WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts presents The Bad Plus, January 24 @ 8PM

Photo by Jay Fram

Photo by Jay Fram

WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts presents

The Bad Plus

Performing the Boston premiere of Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction
With specials guests Tim Berne, Ron Miles, and Sam Newsome

Saturday, January 24, 8pm,
Berklee Performance Center
WORLD MUSIC/CRASHarts on Facebook
The Bad Plus on Facebook

Boston, MA — World Music/CRASHarts presents the Bad Plus performing the Boston premiere of Ornette Coleman’s Science Fiction on Saturday, January 24, 8pm at the Berklee Performance Center, 136 Massachusetts Ave., Boston. Tickets are $28-$42. For tickets and information call World Music/CRASHarts at (617) 876-4275 or buy online at www.WorldMusic.org.

Widely heralded for its innovative reworkings of rock, indie, electronica, and modernist classical music, the Bad Plus now turns to Ornette Coleman’s landmark 1972 album Science Fiction to honor the great master of free jazz. Bassist Reid Anderson, pianist Ethan Iverson, and drummer David King pay tribute to Coleman by boldly interpreting Science Fiction song for song, with help from an esteemed horn section of fine improvisers including Tim Berne, alto saxophone; Ron Miles, trumpet; and Sam Newsome, soprano saxophone.

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Nov 18

The Strange Sensation You Feel is Part of the Process: BAT BOY

bat boyPresented by The Office for the Arts at Harvard
Book by Kythe Farley & Brian Flemming
Music & Lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe
Directed by Ally Kiley
Music directed by Cynthia Meng

Nov. 14-22, 2014
The Farkatorium
10 Holyoke St
Cambridge, MA
Bat Boy on Facebook
Harvard Office for the Arts on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: sexy animal orgy, partial male nudity, incest

(Cambridge, MA) The Office for the Arts at Harvard has had the rare privilege to host the creators of Bat Boy for a workshop on their monster musical. They have made some significant edits: shortening the run time from 3 hours to 2, cutting of songs, cutting of incidental plot lines and some script editing. The current production presented in the Farkatorium Center for the Arts is still the same Pygmalion meets Edward Scissorhands meets Christ child storyline as the original except a lot simpler. The edits have smoothed over the wrinkles of the original show and kept the endearingly off-putting essence of the off-Broadway science fiction jewel. Continue reading

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Jun 17

The Future is the Present and It’s Dystopian: READER

Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Photo found on the Flat Earth Facebook page.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Ariel Dorfman
Directed by Jake Scaltreto

June 13 – 21, 2014
Arsenal Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Trigger Warning: Some light cursing, conservative politics, implied torture

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown) If dystopian science fiction is any indication, our future is bleak. In the future, rich people are very rich and the poor are very poor. The politicians are corrupted,  we have no global resources, and the ecosystem has gone to pot. The good news is that there is always an hero to save us… eventually. The future sounds a lot like the present.

Not unlike Terry Gilliam’s 1985 film Brazil, Dorfman’s Reader is a story within a story set in a future where all potentially unpleasant emotional elements of life have been stripped away. Violence and sexiness are routinely scrubbed from all media sources. The government occupies all spaces. There is no true freedom of expression. Daniel (the handsome Robin Gabrielli) is a suave yet dirty government censor who discovers that the most recent novel to cross his desk parallels his own life. In this novel, Daniel is Don Alfonso an unscrupulous censor working on film scripts. He is rightly paranoid and begins a short-lived journey towards redemption. Continue reading

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Mar 17

“What Once We Felt” Feels Undercooked

Photo credit: Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Ann Marie Healy
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

March 14 – 22, 2014
The Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm Street
Somerville, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Somerville) What Once We Felt is science fiction that distills contemporary anxieties into a thinly veiled future.  The bedrock of Ann Marie Healy’s dystopia, which premieres in Boston for the first time, is literary digitization, a bleak economy with a suppressed lower class, deplorable health care conditions, iPhone obsessions, and some unlikely but remarkable advances in artificial insemination. The play will make an excellent artifact of our age group.  Though the mask this society wears to disguise its relation to our own is transparent, so is the world-building and the logic behind a woman-only, caste-system culture.  The mechanics are questionable, but the anti-utopian horror that Flat Earth Theatre creates is sublimely creepy. Continue reading

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