Oct 09

Cream Soda to Crème de Menthe: “Queens Girl in the World”

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.

Co-produced by The Nora@Central Square Theater, The Front Porch Arts Collective, and The Hangar Theater
Written by Caleen Sinnette Jennings
Directed by Dawn M. Simmons
Performed by Jasmine M. Rush

September 30 – October 31, 2021
Streaming link
Central Square Theater
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
CST on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warning: abuse, grooming 

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

Aug 20

14 Greater-Boston Theatres Announce Proof of Vaccination and Mask Requirements

Article by Kitty Drexel

  • Proof of vaccination or a Negative COVID-19 test is required
  • Masks must be worn
  • New survey results show majority of arts goers support these measures
  • Bindle, a digital vaccine record app, is free. http://www.joinbindle.com/people

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. 

PARTICIPATING THEATRES:
Actors’ Shakespeare Project*
American Repertory Theater (ART)
Boston Playwrights’ Theatre*
Central Square Theater*
The Front Porch Arts Collective
The Gamm Theatre*
Gloucester Stage Company*
Greater Boston Stage Company*
The Huntington Theatre Company 
Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse*
Merrimack Repertory Theatre
Moonbox Productions
SpeakEasy Stage Company*
Wellesley Repertory Theatre*
 *Member of New England Area Theaters (NEAT), an association of midsize theatres

Aug 14

Burning Down the Establishment One BIPOC Critic at a Time: A Profile of Pascale Florestal

Florestal, image from www.pascaleflorestal.com

Profile by Kitty Drexel

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

Jun 15

Streamed Content to Prevent COVID-19 Brain Drain: BIPOC Lives Continue to Matter

Dear Readers,

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)

BIPOC Lives Matter
Trans Lives Matter
LGBTQIA+ Lives Matter
Immigrant Lives Matter

You are loved; you are necessary; your art matters to us.

Resist. Resist. Resist.
All my love,
Kitty
Queen of the New England Theatre Geeks

Let us know if we missed something! Email us at blognetheatregeek@gmail.com or find us on our social media pages.
Twitter: https://twitter.com/netheatregeek
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NewEnglandTheatreGeek/


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 Boston and Black 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 & Believers Amid 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.

To Sleep! from K Allen Holman on Vimeo.

Newton Theatre CompanyAll About Eve, written by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, Thursday, June 25th at 8 PM.  $10.00
Directed by Melissa Bernstein
Log on at 7:45 PM for piano entertainment by local musician Neil Miller
Register for the Performance

Public Displays of Motion: Stones to Rainbows Duet Dialogues — Monthly Cocktail Hour Chat tomorrow June 16 from 6:30-8pm. With Lady BOS Productions, KAIROS Dance Theater, and Public Displays of Motion. 
www.publicdisplaysofmotion.com
www.kairosdancetheater.org
www.ladybosproductions.com

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.

SpeakEasy Stage Company and the Front Porch Arts Collective They invite you to join SpeakEasy for a panel called “2020: Black and Male in America – A Conversation Continued,” on Tuesday, June 16 at 5:00pm. The panel will be available to watch live on SpeakEasy’s Facebook page
The panel will include:

  • Kadahj Bennett (Winner of the Elliot Norton Award for Best Actor for his Performance as Moses in Pass Over)
  • Thaddeus Miles (Director of Community Services, MassHousing)
  • Maurice Emmanuel Parent (Executive Director, The Front Porch Arts Collective)
  • Dr. Emmett G. Price III (Professor of Worship, Church & Culture, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary)

Moderated by Gary Bailey (Assistant Dean of Community Engagement and Social Justice, Simmons College).

Elsewhere, on the Internet:
Sideshow Theatre: Tilikum returns for one night only.
Friday, June 19, 7pm CDT
Streaming everywhere

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

Oct 22

Songs of Light and History: “Marie and Rosetta”

Lovely Hoffman, Pier Lamia Porter; photo by Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by Greater Boston Stage Company in Collaboration with The Front Porch Arts Collective
By George Brant
Directed by Pascale Florestal
Musical Direction by Erica Telisnor

With Lovely Hoffman, Pier Lamia Porter

Oct. 17 – Nov. 10, 2019
Greater Boston Stage Company 
395 Main Street
Stoneham, MA 02180
GBSC on Facebook

Review by: Shiyanbade Animashaun

(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

May 07

“black odyssey boston”: Greek Myth Meshes Beautifully with African Diaspora

Brandon G. Green & Johnny Lee Davenport. Photo: Nile Scott Studios.

Presented by by The Front Porch Arts Collective & Underground Railway Theater
Written by Marcus Gardley
Directed by Benny Sato Ambush
Choreographed by Melissa Alexis
Music Directed by Alyssa Jones

April 25 – May 19, 2019
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
black odyssey boston on Facebook

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) Brandon G. Green is Ulysses Malcolm Lincoln, a soldier who’s unmoored. Not just unmoored on the sea, but unmoored in time, place, and personhood. We follow him on a journey as episodic as The Odyssey with as much raw, mythic power. The classic epic has been broken down and rebuilt with a mosaic of African diaspora culture. black odyssey boston is truly an epic in that it is three hours of fantastical and strange adventures. It finds its way home, however, not when it tries to piece together every popular touchstone it can lay its hands on, but when it focuses on the human relationships of its characters. Continue reading