Presented by The Huntington in association with Alliance Theatre and Front Porch Arts Collective Written by James Ijames Directed by Stevie Walker-Webb Choreography by PJ Johnnie Jr. Fight Direction and Intimacy Coaching by Jesse Hinson Dialect Coaching by Adi Cabral Voice Lessons by David Freeman Coleman
“Haam” Slang: Hard as a motherfucker. One can go haam for anything: Sports, homework, smoking, sex, drinking, driving, etc. From UrbanDictionary.com
“HAM” Slang: A Ham is a burger with no bread. A loser, a peasant, a bum with no motion and no desire or solution to make some money. Whatever you do stay away from Hams they are contagious and NEED a vaccine. From UrbanDictionary.com
BOSTON, Mass. — 2023 Pulitzer-prize winning play Fat Ham is at the BCA’s Calderwood Pavilion now thru October 29. Stevie Walker-Webb brings James Ijames’ hilarious opus to Boston thanks to the collaboration of Front Porch Arts Collective, the Huntington, and Alliance Theatre.
Many modern Shakespeare productions claim to be for a new audience. Some of these productions are merely Shakespeare set in an urban environment or slightly updated to correct historical sexism, racism, or homophobia. There’s nothing wrong with maintaining this tradition.
Fewer Shakespeare productions are truly for a modern audience: The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) summarizes the Bard’s works; Shit-Faced Shakespeare performs for improv-loving, alcohol-fueled audiences of frat-bros and frat-bro allies. Fat Ham truly goes where no modern production has gone before.
Fat Ham transcends a retelling of Hamlet. It doesn’t merely transpose the story of a young man bent on parricide/patricide because the ghost of his father visits him after his uncle marries his mother. It goes harder. Continue reading →
Spoiler Alert: New England Theatre Geek discusses a central theme of K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Knowing this information shouldn’t ruin the play’s other surprises, character arcs, or ending. Your reaction to this plot point, how the characters react to it, and the audience’s reaction may teach you about your own inherent biases.
Critique by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON, MA — The Huntington and The Porch must please update their summary for K-I-S-S-I-N-G. It no longer accurately describes the show. I thought there was going to be a lot more David Bowie and at least one quote from bell hooks. There are no pizza box art projects or fireworks displays. The co-production is/was highly anticipated. That part can stay.
K-I-S-S-I-N-G is a quasi-Cinderella story about the emotional and sexual awakening of Lala (Regan Sims), a young woman living on the edge of poverty who craves art, poetry, and the feel of warm, supportive arms around her. She lives with her emotionally stunted mother Dot (the ethereal Patrese D McClain who dominated the stage with her presence) and her little brother Max. Lala’s father Jack (James Milord) loves Lala like the sun loves the sparkle on the ocean’s waves, but he can only visit once a week. Continue reading →
Dec. 9, 2022 – Jan. 8, 2023 Modern Theater 525 Washington St. Boston, MA 02108
Critique by Kitty Drexel
BOSTON, Mass. — For centuries white people told the lie that the white experience is universal. Theatre is about universal stories, we white people said. If a story is truly universal, it can be played by any cast and be seen by anyone, and the intended message will still resonate.
These days, it’s less about convincing producers that Black people can tell a story; it’s about convincing white people that they’ll appreciate a show created for someone else first, white people last. My fellow white people, if you can love Lizzo, an artist who has said to ETonline she makes music for the Black experience, you can love a play like The Porch’s Chicken & Biscuits.
In St. Luke’s Church in New Haven, CT, sisters Baneatta Mabry (award-winning Boston actor Jacqui Parker) and Beverly Jenkins (Thomika Bridwell) are mourning the death of their father Bernard Jenkins. Reginald Mabry (Robert Cornelius) is leading the service for Bernard while being a supportive husband to Baneatta but the drama is flying too high for Reginald to catch up. Continue reading →
Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company Co-produced with The Nora at Central Square Theater and The Front Porch Arts Collective
Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. & Murray Horwitz
Musical Adaptions, Orchestrations, and Arrangements by Luther Henderson
Directed and Choreographed by Maurice Emmanuel Parent
Co-Choreographed by Ilyse Robbins
Co-Music Direction by Dan Rodriguez and David Freeman Coleman
STONEHAM, Mass. — Ain’t Misbehavin’ is a show that builds and builds until the energy and the intensity seem unsustainable. Then it builds some more. The musical opens with the titular song and spans the great career of Thomas Wright “Fats” Waller. There is little dialogue but a lot of impressive dancing.
The red Art Deco set by Jon Savage, Aria Pegg, and Tori Oakes transports the audience to a speakeasy deep in the bowels of New York. The audience is flanked by large-scale landscape murals depicting Black jazz musicians and dancers a la Josephine Baker. The stage extends close to the first row to give the cast plenty of room to stomp, prowl, and wiggle. Café tables are placed on the edges of stage left and right. Continue reading →
Photo credit to Nile Scott; Image shows Jasmine M. Rush in Queens Girl in the World, sitting on a swing. Behind her, the set, which predominantly features a large, white house, is lit with a mixture of purple and orange lights. In the scene, Jasmine’s character is smiling happily.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — There is a practice in the UK that I absolutely love: you can purchase a copy of the show you’re there to see at the bar. Going to see a new play? Buy a copy of it with your Malbec. Attending the show alone? Peruse your new copy while sipping Chardonnay at intermission. (Or Diet Coke if you’re reviewing.)
In the case of last night’s Queens Girl in the World, I wanted to buy and immediately read the entire Queens Girl Trilogy: Queens Girl in the World, Queens Girl in Africa, Queens Girl: Black in the Green Mountains. Character Jacqueline Marie Butler, written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings, is so captivating I want to know more about her. Continue reading →
BOSTON — Fourteen theatre companies in the Greater Boston area will require proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test for all artists, staff members, and audiences as live, indoor performances resume for the 2021/2022 season, said a press release dated August 19. Masks are also required.
The list of participating theatres is below.
The press release said that these policies begin immediately and remain valid through October 31. Policies are per CDC guidelines and will be reevaluated as COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
“Proof of vaccination may include showing either a vaccination card, a photo of the card, or a digital vaccine record (through an app such as Bindle at www.joinbindle.com/people),” said the press release. Audience members without proof of vaccination will be required to show proof of a recent negative COVID test before entering.
Individual theatres will list specific protocols and guidelines on their websites. At this time, New England Theatre Geek has received protocol updates from the Huntington Theatre Company, SpeakEasy Stage Company, and Central Square Theater in addition to the joint press release from the fourteen theatres.
The New England Theatre Geek eagerly awaits updates from other New England performing institutions. “We are reluctant to attend or review indoor performances by organizations that do not enact similar protocols and safety measures,” said Queen Geek Kitty Drexel.
“Our primary mission is to support our theatre community. We cannot do that if organizations aren’t first taking the necessary steps to protect their staff, crew and casts. Audience members can’t make informed decisions if they aren’t assured the community’s health is a priority.”
The June 2021 results of the ArtsBoston Audience Outlook Monitor survey said that 73% of audiences plan to resume indoor performances by Sept 2021. Audience Outlook Monitor is a longitudinal survey to keep tabs on arts attendees thoughts, concerns and intentions as the pandemic and the state’s reopening guidelines evolve, said ArtsBoston.com.
The 14 theatre joint press release said that the most recent round of Audience Outlook Monitor survey data (collected August 9 – 13, 202) found that 80% of respondents indicated that proof of vaccination would make them more likely to attend indoor events. 50% said that proof of vaccination or negative COVID test is a prerequisite for their attendance. 98% of respondents reported being fully vaccinated or planning to do so.
Theatres in New York City, Washington, DC, and Chicago have established similar policies requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test and mask wearing.
It is good practice to stay home if experiencing COVID symptoms on the day of the performance. Common symptoms include fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, muscle or body aches, new loss of taste or smell.
BOSTON/ZOOM — Boston’s theatre journalism scene is a barren wasteland of white maleness. The desperate cries of BIPOC performing artists and designers for accurate representation are carried by winds off of the Atlantic ocean to diversity-parched cities and towns across New England: where are the critics of color?
Critiquing and reviewing circles have remained steadfastly white for the last few decades. Out of the current eleven members of the Boston Theater Critics Association, six are white men, five are white women.
The Front Porch Arts Collective launched the Young Critics Program in spring 2019 in partnership with WBUR the ARTery. It is the only independent training opportunity specifically geared towards young BIPOC journalists in New England. Boston-based director, dramaturg, educator, writer, and collaborator Pascale Florestal is the woman in charge. Continue reading →
The New England Theatre Geek believes that BIPOC Lives will continue to matter when it’s no longer popular to mass media or convenient to white people.
As the weeks go by, we will share resources as we are made aware of them to them. StageSource has a brilliant anti-racism list. Check it out HERE.
Resources for Anti-Racist Action May-June 2020 – “This list was sourced from countless activists and information sharers. We thank you. It was created to support action and organizing for white-identified folks within the artEquity alumni network, so some resources speak specifically to white folks. However, EVERYONE is welcomed to utilize and share anything that is useful to your actions and organizing.” (quoted from the document)
Front Porch Collective Black Composer Minature Challenge presented by Castle of our Skins Friday June 19 @ 12:00 PM | via Instagram Live Composer Shannon Shea will be presenting the world premiere of “Hannah Elias II” performed by Castle of our Skins Executive & Artistic Director and violaist Ashleigh Gordon on the COOS Facebook and Instagram at noon. Part of their weekly 30-second Black Composer Miniature Challenge, be sure to tune in on time…or you might miss it!
Juneteenth: A Community Celebration presented by BAMS Fest & Museum of Fine Arts, Boston Friday June 19 @ 4:00 – 7:00 PM | via Facebook Live & YouTube Join BAMS Fest for the MFA’s annual (virtual) Juneteenth celebration to honor the contributions of Black creatives, scholars, and artists to the City of Boston. We have curated two amazing artists, Debo Ray and DJ Where’s Nasty to to celebrate all things Black and joyful.
Fresh Ink Theatre — Presents a digital reading of MAIDEN VOYAGE. Written by Cayenne Douglass. Directed by Liz Fenstermaker Available online, June 8 – 14, 2020. REGISTER to view the performance In solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, we will be donating 50% of the proceeds from the reading through June 14th to two organizations:Violence in BostonandBlack and Pink. Thank you for joining us in supporting these organizations, and for championing new work by local writers during this time of social distancing!
Liars & Believers — Macbeth Trailer by Liars & BelieversAmid isolation, dislocation, and digital absorbtion… desire and ethic, madness and reason tear each other apart. This is Shakespeare’s classic tragedy – TODAY. Using social distance and the tools at hand, we’ve reimagined theatre in Pandemia! We’ve broken this 5-act tragedy into short weekly episodes.
Luminarium Dance — This week’s TEN4TEN performance takes viewers back to Luminarium’s 2014 feature production The Sleeprunner, which transformed the Multicultural Arts Center space into a dynamic dream world for a two-week sold-out run. Sensical to quirky, humorous to dark, come engage in a full night’s journey told through dance, with gorgeous costumes designed by Sueann Leung.
Puppet Showplace Theater — Puppet Showplace Theater is excited to announce a new grant and virtual summer residency program for Black puppeteers and artists working in the field of puppetry. Inquiries from interested applicants across the U.S. are welcome. The deadline to apply is June 27th. APPLY 5 selected artists will receive $1,000 grants to support the research and development of original puppetry projects during summer 2020. Puppet Showplace Theater will facilitate community-building among members of the grantee cohort and will create opportunities for artists to support and learn from each other while sharing works in progress. The residency will conclude with an invited virtual public sharing of the work or work-in-progress.
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.
(Stoneham, MA) Marie and Rosetta is a tremendous concert built around a conversation that shares what should be a much more well-known story about the roots of Rock-N-Roll. It takes place on the first rehearsal night for a dynamic musical duo, played and sung by Lovely Hoffman as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, and Pier Lamia Porter as Marie Knight. The comedic and moving single act conversation has scenic and costume design by Baron E.Pugh and Michelle Villada, which help transport the audience to this moment in time.Continue reading →