Jun 05

“Les Liaisons Dangereuses”: When You Play the Game of Patriarchy, Everyone Loses

Jaime Carrillo (Volanges), Greg Maraio (Merteuil), Dan Whelton (Valmont) & Stewart Evan Smith (Danceny). Photo: Jorden Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Adapted by Christopher Hampton
Novel by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos

May 31st – July 1st, 2018
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Content Warning: (In the show’s own words.) Full nudity, sexual content, violence, and a damn good sword fight. Suggested age: 18 and over.

Review by Gillian Daniels

(Cambridge, MA) When dividing the population into a binary construct where one group is viewed as perpetually in danger of committing sexual indiscretions and possessing virtue that they may only give to certain people, and the other group is seen as committing indiscretions and betrayals because they can’t help themselves, yes, some awful dynamics are at play. In this production, the source material of Les Liaisons Dangereuses is not much altered, but the way it’s performed is. The players all appear to be male without makeup, dresses, or distinctive cosmetic traits, beyond the apparently random distribution of a few bits of jewelry, rosary beads, and gloves. To clarify, this is a faithful adaptation of a story where two manipulative, almost-lover aristocrats spend their time “ruining” innocence. The gender of the characters remains the same as it was in Pierre Choderlos de Laclos 1782 novel. The gender of the actors just doesn’t always conform to those of their characters. In having an all-male cast, gender is shown as the flimsy construct it is, and adherence to stringent, narrow roles reproduce only an eventual misery in everyone. But just because the proud Vicomte de Valmont (Dan Whelton) and perceptive Marquise de Merteuil (Greg Maraio) seem to see the pieces of the social contraption in which they move doesn’t mean they can escape the trap. Continue reading

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May 08

Fear Not the Creative Mind: “The Women Who Mapped the Stars”

Sarah Newhouse as Annie Jump Cannon, Christine Power as Antonia Maury, Becca A. Lewis as Williamina Fleming and Sarah Oakes Muirhead as Henrietta Swan Leavitt. (Courtesy A.R. Sinclair Photography)

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
By Joyce Van Dyke
Directed by Jessica Ernst

April 19 – May 20, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

“Now, there was a time/ when they used to say,
that behind ev’ry great man/ there had to be a great woman.
But oh, in these times of change/ you know that it’s no longer true.
So we’re comin’ out of the kitchen/ ’cause there’s something we forgot to say to you.
We say, Sisters are doin’ it for themselves”
-The Eurythmics with Aretha Franklin, “Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves”

(Cambridge, MA) It’s been a good few years for female scientists. Sally Ride came out posthumously in 2012. Hidden Figures rocked the box office in 2016/2017. Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Goble/Johnson and the other human computers are finally receiving their due accolades. Women are entering STEM fields at increasing rates. Local company, Flat Earth Theatre produced Lauren Gunderson’s Silent Sky in March 2017. The Nora Theatre Company is playing The Women Who Mapped the Stars right now. There are many more successes, but it won’t be enough until women and other minorities receive the equal success as men. Continue reading

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Jan 25

Subvert Everything; 1 Critique and 1 Op-Ed: “Proof”

Photo: Forden Photography. Design: Bird Graphics; Featuring Michael Tow & Lisa Nguyen.

Presented by the Nora Theatre Company
Written by David Auburn
Directed by Michelle M. Aguillon

Jan. 18 – Feb. 18, 2018
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
CST on Facebook

Introduction: Below are two pieces in response to The Nora Theatre’s production currently playing at Central Square Theater in Cambridge, MA. First is my critique of the production. The second is an opinionated response from fellow Geek Noelani Kamelamela. I asked Noelani to write a response to the production because representation is important. Three out of four cast members of Proof are Asian-American. This is significant because David Auburn didn’t factor race into his writing process. This means white was his default. No one gets extra credit for treating people of color like human beings. The Nora does get kudos for subverting the racial paradigm.

Review by Kitty Drexel

“In a good proof there is a very high degree of unexpectedness, combined with inevitability and economy. The argument takes so odd and surprising a form; the weapons used seems so childishly simple when compared with the far-reaching consequences; but there is no escape from the conclusions.”  – G.H. Hardy, A Mathematician’s Apology

(Cambridge, MA) The stigma around mental illness remains sharp. The Nora Theatre’s production of Proof doesn’t tackle this stigma so much as wait until the audience is pliable and then viciously assault it. It isn’t gentle but it is effective.   Continue reading

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Jan 24

Playing with Fate in “Intimate Exchanges”

Sarah Elizabeth Bedard and Jade Ziane. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Written by Alan Ayckbourn
Directed by Olivia D’Ambrosio

January 12-February 12, 2017
Central Square Theatre
450 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139
Central Square Theatre on Facebook

Review by Travis Manni

(Cambridge, MA) There truly is nothing like the unique experience of theatre. And in Alan Ayckbourn’s Intimate Exchanges, the audience is presented with a choose-your-own-adventure in which no performance is ever identical to the one before. Continue reading

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Dec 24

Monkeys On My Mind: JOURNEY TO THE WEST

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company & Underground Railway Theater
Adapted by Mary Zimmerman from the translation by Anthony C. Yu of “Hsi Yu Chi”
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner
Choreography by Judith Chaffee
Fight choreography by Andrew Moss
Composition, Percussion & Music Collaborations by Ryan Meyer

Nov. 25 – Dec. 31, 2016
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: gender fluid casting, non-Christian religions that existed before the birth of Christ

(Cambridge, MA) Journey to the West is excellent family theatre. It has joyful storytelling, runs a little long, but delivers an epic myth in child-sized bites. There are bouncing monkeys, kings and queens, educational morals, and integrated behavioral psychology lessons. It has a little something for every intelligent, open-minded liberal.   Continue reading

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Apr 20

Two Reviewers, One Play: ARCADIA

The Cast of ARCADIA. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography

The Cast of ARCADIA. Photo: A.R. Sinclair Photography

Presented by Central Square Theater & and the Nora Theatre Company
Written by Tom Stoppard
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner

Current-May 15, 2016
Central Square Theater
Central Square, Cambridge, MA
Central Square/Nora Theatre on Facebook

Noe and I attended this performance together. We were impacted differently so we both wrote reviews. One follows after the other below.  Continue reading

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Jul 15

Dances with Agnostics: SAVING KITTY

Alexander Cook and Jennifer Coolidge; photo credit: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Alexander Cook and Jennifer Coolidge; photo credit: A.R. Sinclair Photography.

Presented by The Nora Theatre Company
Written by Marisa Smith
Directed by Lee Mikeska

July 9 – August 2, 2015
Central Square Theater
Cambridge, MA
Central Square Theater on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel (who could use some saving of her own)

(Cambridge, MA) Marisa Smith has written a very good script. Saving Kitty is so good that, if logistically possible, She should get a second production on its feet ASAP. This is because the Nora Theatre Company’s current production stars Jennifer Coolidge. Coolidge’s well-deserved star power overwhelms Smith’s writing (and the stage). It is inappropriately likely that patrons will remember Ms. Coolidge did a show in Boston that one time. They are less likely to remember whose show it was, what it was about, or who the supporting actors were. That’s a damn shame.    Continue reading

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