Apr 15

“A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival”: Theatre is Therapeutic, Not Therapy

A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival
Presented by Teatro Chelsea
A Resident Artist at the Black Box Theatre through Apollinaire Theatre Company’s Resident Artists at the Chelsea Theatre Works
Artistic Associate: Carla Mirabal Rodríguez
Program Director: Armando Rivera

Featured Works:
All performances start at 7 PM
Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers.
April 9, Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao
April 10, Malas Mañas by Alejandra Ramos Riera
April 15, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera
April 16,  Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores
April 17,  Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo

April 9-17, 2021
Streamed via Zoom at 7 PM
Chelsea, MA 02150
Teatro Chelsea on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Teatro Chelsea presents two weekends of play readings in A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival with English, Spanish and bilingual performances through April 17. 

I was told by program director Armando Rivera that the reading of Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao on April 9 was still “in development.” Plays involved in this festival are performed for audience feedback. I watched with the understanding that this play and its characters were still in their nascent phases. There is always room for compassion in a critic’s response. 

So color me surprised when the cast of Before We Focus On Others gave us a performance-ready show over Zoom on April 9. The cast* had great chemistry: they worked well off of each other, gave excellent facial cues; their dialogue was believable and sincere sounding; I could imagine these characters as real people off of the page. 

Before We Focus On Others is about marriage counseling from the perspective of a husband and wife involved in the counseling profession. Lanao’s research is credible. The dialogue between the husband, wife, and psychologist is realistic. Lanao takes great care to give equal weight to both the men and women in this script: it’s thoughtful, intersectionality feminist, and sympathetic to all sides.

This is a bilingual play but anyone with basic Spanish skills should understand the characters’ intentions when Spanish is spoken. The actors’ motives were clear. Lanao’s used Spanish sparingly but to embellish a scene’s drama. To complain about the Spanish in this play is to reveal one’s racism. 

Only the active Zoom chat brimming with missives of love and joy from friends and family gave away the reading’s intentions for feedback. Actors don’t receive the same feedback over Zoom as they do from a live audience.  An open chat alleviates the weight of performance insecurity. 

It is super duper exciting that Boston finally gets its own festival of Latinx plays! I hope there is more, much more where this came from. 

A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival continues this weekend:
Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers.
April 15 @ 7 PM, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera
April 16 @ 7 PM,  Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores
April 17 @ 7 PM,  Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo
Tickets are HERE

About A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival from the Teatro Chelsea website:
“In the American theatre space, the Latinx narrative reflected on stage can tend to revolve around narrow topics like the “border” or “disaster” play. While shedding light on the ongoing crisis on the Mexican-American border and the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico are narratives deserving of attention, these stories can overly narrow the breadth of Latinx experiences in the United States. Teatro Chelsea’s new Latinx play festival, A-Típico, aims to showcase and expand the focus on underrepresented Latinx stories.”

More from Teatro Chelsea.

Mar 20

A Spanish/English Duel: “Romeo & Julieta”

The first kiss. Gorgeous artwork by Eric Davila.

ROMEO Y JULIETA
Presented by The Public Theater
By William Shakespeare
Adapted by Saheem Ali & Ricardo Pérez González
Based on the Spanish Translation by Alfredo Michel Modenessi
Directed by Saheem Ali
Bilingual podcast to be presented in partnership with WNYC Studios
Featuring Carlo Albán (Benvolio), Karina Arroyave (Apothecary), Erick Betancourt (Abram), Michael Braugher(Balthasar), Carlos Carrasco (Lord Montague), Juan Castano (Romeo), Ivonne Coll (Nurse), John J. Concado(Peter), Hiram Delgado (Tybalt), Guillermo Diaz (Gregory), Sarah Nina Hayon (Lady Montague), Kevin Herrera(Ensemble), Modesto Lacen (Prince Escalus/Capulet’s Cousin), Florencia Lozano (Capulet), Irene Sofia Lucio(Mercutio), Keren Lugo (Sister Joan), Benjamin Luis McCracken (Paris’s Page), Julio Monge (Friar Lawrence), Javier Muñoz (Paris), Lupita Nyong’o (Julieta), and David Zayas (Sampson).

Available to stream 
The Public Theater
425 Lafayette Street
(at Astor Place)
New York, NY 10003
Public Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Disclaimer: Romeo Y Julieta is an audio recording. It does not include video.

PODCAST ETHER — There’s always one theatre company or other doing Shakespeare. Take your pick: community, fringe, professional – someone, somewhere is producing a four-hundred-year-old play for an audience absolutely arm-wavingly, script humpingly horny for The Bard. I don’t get it. 

I don’t hate Shakespeare but I don’t get the hype either. His plays are performed so often – as intended and in experimental styles. No matter how a theatre dresses them up, they’re still the same stories. I think it gets old. Others strongly disagree. 

What is it about this dead poetry dude who hasn’t had a new idea in centuries that appeals so strongly to my fellow theatre practitioners? I don’t have to understand Shakespeare-mania to critique Shakespeare’s plays but understanding the obsession helps me interact with that population. Understanding a creator’s intentions is part of a critic’s gig.   Continue reading

Feb 11

“Mala” by Melinda Lopez Now available on Audible.com

“’Mala’ means ‘bad.’ Not that you have done something bad, but that you are, in your core, bad.” – Melinda Lopez, from Mala


Mala
By Melinda Lopez
Narrated by Melinda Lopez
Length: 1 hr and 17 mins
Regular price: $6.95

Review by Kitty Drexel

Melinda Lopez’s one-woman show, Mala is now available on Audible. The New England Theatre Geek previously critiqued Mala on January 26, 2018 and November 5, 2016. The New England Theatre Geek was given a download of Mala in exchange for this review. 

Audible is an app by Amazon that can be downloaded to phone or other internet accessible device. Mala can be purchased through the Audible app or through Amazon. Audible plays the narrated book or script while other apps are in use or on its own. Mala has naturally occurring pauses between scenes that will allow the listener to enjoy at their own pace.

Lopez narrates Mala with her usual candor and charisma. This recording gives her storytelling the NPR treatment: her consonants are crisp, her timbre lilting. It’s as if Lopez is speaking directly into your ear. This recording sounds like a private performance. It hits the heart like a live production. If you loved the stage play and also enjoy listening to recorded books and plays, Mala will be treat for your ears and heart. 

Please note: The passages of Mala originally in Spanish are retained and not translated into English. Monolingual listeners should fire up an online translator for the full experience.

Audible members will be able to enjoy listening to Mala for free during the month of February as part of the company’s Originals Member Benefit. Previous theatrical productions that have released on Audible for millions of listeners globally include Girls & Boys(Carey Mulligan), Harry Clarke (Billy Crudup), Feeding the Dragon (Sharon Washington), and After Anatevka (Alexandra Silber), all of which have been Audible bestsellers.

About the Author and Performer
Melinda Lopez is the playwright-in-residence at the Huntington Theatre Continue reading

Nov 19

“WET: A DACAmented Journey.” A Lucid Dreamer Speaks.


Presented by ArtsEmerson
Produced by Cara Mía Theatre & Ignite/Arts Dallas
Written and Performed by Alex Alpharaoh
Directed by Brisa Areli Muñoz

November 8-25, 2018
Emerson Paramount Center
Boston, MA    02111
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Boston, MA) Alex Alpharaoh’s one-man show is a captivating fusion of poetry and play. Alpharaoh transforms from character to character, suspense to comic relief with shape-shifter ease, never missing a stanza as he leads the audience through his onstage persona, Anner’s, ceaseless real-life struggles as an undocumented person in the US. Even traveling to see his dying grandfather for the first and last time is a life-threatening ordeal. It’s not life-or-death, but life as you know it-or-an undiscovered country certainly feels like comparable stakes. Continue reading

Oct 01

The Unfinished Work of a More Perfect Union: NATIVE GARDENS

Gabriel Marin (Pablo De Valle), Vivia Font (Tania Del Valle), Joel Colodner (Frank Butley)
Photo by Meghan Moore

Presented by Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Directed by Giovanna Sardelli
By Karen Zacarías

September 12 – October 7, 2018
50 East Merrimack Street
Lowell, MA
MRT on Facebook

Review by Craig Idlebrook

(Lowell, MA) Writers must walk a fine line with audiences when it comes to parables. For a parable to be effective, the story must signal its intentions early and clearly. If done well, it gives the story license with the audience to present an incomplete worldview to prove a point. The devil, however, is in the details – as in what details to give the audience and what details to leave out – to create a world that gets enough buy-in from the audience to think about the issue. Continue reading

May 10

“La Llorona”: Myth, Music, and Motherhood

Photo by Paul Fox

Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre
By Cecelia Raker
Directed by Stephanie LeBolt
Music Composition by Geraldine Barney

May 5-20, 2017
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre
949 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215
Fresh Ink Theatre on Facebook and Twitter

Review by Travis Manni

(Boston, MA) Mythologies can become difficult to trace and define as stories change from generation to generation. In a Fresh Ink Theatre premier production, playwright Cecelia Raker attempts to give life to the myth of a mourning mother in the multi-genre, multicultural play La Llorona. Continue reading

Jul 26

Caucasian Chalk Circle: King Solomon’s Revenge?

Photo Credit: Apollinaire Theatre Co Facebook Page

Presented by Apollinaire Theatre Company
by Bertolt Brecht
Directed by Danielle Fauteux Jacques

Mary O’ Malley Park
Chelsea, MA
July 10th – July 27th, 2013
Apollinaire Theatre Co Facebook Page

Review by Craig Idlebrook and Kate Longberg-Lew

(Chelsea) Having grown up Catholic, I can spy a morality play when I see it.  We used to do some painfully bad skits in church class on the subject of good and evil…think a “very special” episode of Family Ties, without the acting.  It felt good, almost ritualistically cleansing, to present a moral world to an audience.  Continue reading