Mar 03

Grow to Live: “The Children”

Paula Plum, Karen McDonald, Tyrees Allen. Photo by Maggie Hall Photography.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Lucy Kirkwood
Directed by Bryn Boice
Fight & intimacy consulting from Jessica Scout Malone

Feb. 28 – March 28, 2020
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“You have a choice, don’t you, exactly, at our age which is that you slow down, melt into your slippers, start ordering front fastening bras out of Sunday supplements, or you make a committed choice to keep moving you know because you have to think: This is not the end of our lives but a new and exciting chapter.” – Hazel, The Children by Lucy Kirkwood

Boston, MA — Science fiction is about how humans interact with each other and the world amidst scientific and/or technological changes. Without getting into the nitty-gritty details of what is and isn’t science fiction, The Children is science fiction theatre. It has a lot to offer to everyone: science fiction enthusiasts will see themselves represented on the stage; science fiction cynics will see scientists as people. Everyone will see a great play by Lucy Kirkwood. Continue reading

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Feb 03

“Pass Over”: Repetition and Resonance

The cast at a friendly picnic. The cops were called. Photo by Nile Scott Studio.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Written by Antoinette Nwandu
Directed by Monica White Ndounou
With Kadahj Bennett, Hubens “Bobby” Cius, Lewis D. Wheeler

January 3 – Feb. 2, 2020
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
SpeakEasy on Facebook
The Front Porch on Facebook

Review by Shiyanbade Animashaun

Boston, MA — When directed to their seats, audience members were asked to stay clear of the stage. Set in-the-round, the four seating sections surrounded a square with an off-center lamp post and brick. Soon the direction became clear as Kadahj Bennett (Moses) and Hubens “Bobby” Cius (Kitch) took to the stage in the pre-show moments, with interactions that foreshadowed the events of the play. Continue reading

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Jan 17

Calling the Police Over a Picnic:”Pass Over”

Photo by Nile Scott Studios; Lewis D. Wheeler, Kadahj Bennett, Hubens “Bobby” Cius

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co. with The Front Porch Arts Collective
By Antoinette Nwandu
Directed by Monica White Ndounou
Fight choreography by Brandon G. Green
Movement coaching by Mila Thigpen
Dramaturgy by Pascale Florestal

January 3 – Feb. 2, 2020
Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts
SpeakEasy on Facebook
The Front Porch on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: white guilt, language, fuck the police

(Boston, MA) The sheer volume of what one must understand as true regardless of personal belief in order to not merely understand but thoroughly digest Antoinette Nwandu’s Pass Over at SpeakEasy Stage is overwhelming. The role that white people play in perpetuating racism’s systemic horrorshow machinations against Black people (and all people of color) is astounding.

Here is a list of links containing basic concepts that could be helpful. 

  • It is not the responsibility of Black people to explain racism or to convince white people that it exists. 
  • Being nice isn’t the same as not being racist. Racist people are nice all of the time. Nice people are racist all the time.
  • Black friends won’t make a white person less racist. Dismantling internalized racism requires a lifetime of work.  
  • It should go without saying that Black people want equality. They don’t want to reverse their treatment at the hands of white people back onto white people. 
  • Racism is about power. Reverse racism doesn’t exist. 
  • White people have to stop taking personally Black resistance to oppression.  
  • All of this information is a Google search away. 

Continue reading

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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

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Jan 08

Awkwardness is Part of the Process: “Small Mouth Sounds”

All photos by Nile Scott Studios. The cast. Digesting.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Bess Wohl
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara

Jan. 4 – Feb. 2, 2019
Boston Center for the Arts
The Calderwood Pavilion Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

This critique has been updated from its previous posting. The update includes corrections and clarifications. (1/31/19 KD)

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: penis, simulated pot smoking, heavy moaning

It’s January and chances are that you (or your acquaintances) are experiencing an influx of athletic practitioners in your studio of choice. For example, at my own neighborhood ashtanga yoga studio, January 1 meant that the floor became overwhelmed with novices and their wholesome, divot-free mats. Small Mouth Sounds(SMS) captures that awkward group consciousness of baby-yogis talking first “did I make a huge mistake?” steps towards enlightenment. An enlightened mind is not obtained overnight. The journey is schadenfreude for the audience. Continue reading

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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

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Mar 06

Laughing Together to Confront Suicide Stigma: “Every Brilliant Thing”

Krstansky with audience members. Those happy faces tell you all you need to know. Maggie Hall Photography

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
By Duncan MacMillan
With Jonny Donahoe
Directed by Marianna Bassham
Featuring Adrianne Krstansky

March 21 – 31, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) Every Brilliant Thing is a story about a woman’s appreciation for living as told through a long list of joys. Audience participation is nearly mandatory. Adrianne Krstansky is so welcoming that volunteering is fun. The Calderwood Pavilion is a safer space for an hour.   Continue reading

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Jan 23

A Pleasant Romcom: “Shakespeare in Love”

Shakespeare at Viola’s feet. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
Based on the screenplay by Mac Norman & Tom Stoppard
Adapted for the stage by Lee Hall
Directed by Scott Edmiston
Original music/music direction/sound design by David Reiffel
Choreography/period movement by Judith Chaffee
Fight direction by Ted Hewlett

Jan. 12 – Feb. 10, 2018
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) SpeakEasy’s production of Shakespeare in Love is okay. People who loved the movie will get a lot out of attending. Anyone expecting a revelatory experience from their theatre will be disappointed. Aside from the lighting design by Karen Perlow (which made Jennifer Ellis look like a gilded angel floating down from Heaven, and the set look like a theatre in a night forest) and the compositions by David Reiffel, this production is good but unremarkable.    Continue reading

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Sep 18

Revising History for Most, Not Others: “Men On Boats”

The cast of Men On Boats. Photo by Nile Hawver/Nile Scott Shots

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Co.
By Jaclyn Backhaus
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Assistant directed by Sloth Levine

Sept. 8 – Oct. 7, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion at the BCA
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) SpeakEasy took some risks in putting up Men On Boats. Boston audiences are composed of plenty of folks that consider themselves liberal until it’s inconvenient. For example, Bernie Bros were all about feminism and other equalities until Hillary became a real threat. Then the silk gloves of human decency came off. Boxing gloves went on. MOB is the kind of show that will test its audience. The characters portrayed are real but the actors onstage do not strictly identify as men. There’s plenty of unlady-like and un-white-like behavior up there. It’s bound to ruffle some “erasing our history” feathers. Continue reading

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May 16

Blessed Be the Patron Saint of Iowa Housewives: “The Bridges of Madison County”

Glenn Perry Photography; Jennifer Ellis & Christiaan Smith.

Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company
Book by Marsha Norman
Music, lyrics and orchestrations by Jason Robert Brown
Based on the novel by Robert James Waller
Directed by M. Bevin O’Gara
Music directed by Matthew Stern
Choreography by Misha Shields

May 6 – June 3, 2017
Calderwood Pavilion
Boston Center for the Arts
Boston, MA
SpeakEasy on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Boston, MA) The Bridges of Madison County is a musical about sacrifice and neglect. Ladies and gents, if you’re feeling underappreciated, please bring tissues. You’ll need them. Continue reading

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