Aug 01

The Kugel is Your Destiny: YOU’RE KILLING ME ALREADY!

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Presented by Theatre@First’s FirstWorks
by Andrea Aptecker
directed by Dave Policar

Thursday, July 28th, at 8pm
Unity Somerville
6 William Street
Somerville, MA 02144
T@F on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

(Somerville, MAFirstWorks is Theatre@First’s initiative to support local playwrights as they write new plays. The intent of this program is to provide constructive feedback by experienced directors and actors to playwrights on a play submitted for this purpose. After a workshopping period, a staged reading is performed for the Theatre@First community at large. The most recent subject of the FirstWorks program is Andrea Aptecker’s You’re Killing Me Already! (YKMA!). Continue reading

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Mar 03

There Ain’t Nothin’ Like A Dame: THE MOUSETRAP

mousetrap_logo

Presented by Theatre@First
Written by Dame Agatha Christie
Directed by Michael Haddad

Feb. 27 – March 7, 2015
Unity Church
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
T@F on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

In the interest of full disclosure and transparency, I have worked with Theatre@First as an actor and as a crew volunteer. It is my firm belief that only a narcissistic ass would allow something like that to color their review.

(Somerville, MA) If you can’t keep a secret, chances are that you’d make a terrible murderer but a great victim. Seymour R. Goff’s famous advert for Seagram Distillers Corporation cautioned that “loose lips might sink ships.” It was in use by 1942 by the US Office of War Information. Across the pond, British allies were told to “keep mum” lest their thoughtless chatter accidentally leak information to Nazi sympathisers. The wartime influenced Mousetrap (1952), was rewritten as a radio play called Three Blind Mice (1947) after originally being written as a short story, argues quite strongly for keeping personal, potentially damning information quiet. It makes a very strong case for background checks. As for the guests staying at Monkswell Manor, they likely would have survived unscathed had they checked references and kept their noses clean. Continue reading

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Aug 25

Banish John Falstaff: Henry the 4th

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Presented by Theater@First
A New Adaption of William Shakespeare’s Histories
Directed by Shelley MacAskill

August 21st – 30th
Unity Somerville
6 William Street, Somerville
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville) Shakespeare’s histories can be problematic to bring to the stage. In these plays, the usual issues of Shakespearean verse and thick language are compounded with cinematic scope, characters sometimes too big to be readily believable, and all kinds of crazy epic battle scenes. Compounding two histories into one doubles the trouble. Henry the 4th is a conflation of the two parts of Henry IV relying mostly upon part 1 with some of the more salient and dramatic moments of part 2 tacked onto the play’s end. Continue reading

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Aug 04

Theatre@First Presents Shakespeare’s “Henry the IV”

henry_4th_logo

Presented by Theatre@First
by William Shakespeare
directed by Shelley MacAskill

After seizing the throne, King Henry IV rebuilds his kingdom and despairs over his heir’s dissipated life in the London slums. Prince Hal spends his time carousing with the bawdy Joan Falstaff and her gang of thieves and misfits, but he is far more than the scoundrel he seems. When the king’s former allies rebel against him, Hal plans to redeem himself in his father’s eyes. Facing the rebel leader, Hotspur – England’s greatest and noblest warrior – Hal has a chance to prove his worth, but will redemption bring more pain than Hal could imagine?

Theatre@First’s Henry the 4th combines two of Shakespeare’s greatest history plays in one thrilling night of theatre!

Director: Shelley MacAskill has been involved in thirteen productions with Theatre@First, including directing Harriet IV – a gender-swapped one-act version of Henry IV – for Festival@First 7: Shaken Up Shakespeare. She has also produced two plays (The Lady’s Not for Burning and Bent), been Technical Director for another (Equus), and been stage manager, rehearsal assistant, and light board operator for more than she can readily recall. This is her first time directing a full-length play.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
​​8pm evening shows:
Thursday, August 21
Friday, August 22
Saturday, August 23
Wednesday, August 27
Thursday, August 28
Friday, August 29

4pm matinee show:
Saturday August 30

PERFORMANCE SPACE
Unity Somerville
6 William St, Somerville
unitysomerville.org

TICKETS: $15 for adults
$12 for students/seniors.
Group discounts available.
theatreatfirst.org
brownpapertickets.com
goldstar.com

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Apr 06

Don’t Hate the Player: “Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead”

The pretty, pretty cast.

Presented by Theatre@First
By Tom Stoppard
Directed by Elizabeth Hunter

April 4th – 12th
Davis Square Theatre
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Danielle Rosvally

(Somerville) So, weird thing about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, it makes Beckett slightly more palatable and Shakespeare slightly less.

Stoppard’s play riffing on Beckett’s infamous Waiting for Godot is, on the surface, a glance at what’s going on behind the wings during the course of the greatest play ever written in the English language. If we begin to look at life as Stoppard’s head tragedian does (that is a world in which every exit is an entrance somewhere else), we begin to see how this Hamlet fan-fic took shape. Take Gogo and Didi, slap them into some verse poetry, give them tabards and a letter to the English King and wha-bam; there’s Stoppard’s piece. Continue reading

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Mar 05

Theatre@First: ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD AGAIN!

ROSENCRANTZ & GUILDENSTERN ARE DEAD AGAIN!
Theatre@First celebrates 10th Anniversary with a return to Stoppard’s masterwork

Theatre@First kicks off their second decade of providing local audiences with superlative live theatre at affordable prices with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead at the Davis Square Theatre, April 4-12.

In 2004, a small group decided to put on a show in a church basement in Davis Square.  That show was Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and that group has become Theatre@First, Somerville’s own community theatre.  Now founding Artistic Director Elizabeth Hunter returns to the beginning with a new production of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead.

Tom Stoppard’s Tony Award-winning script focuses on two minor characters from Shakespeare’s Hamlet, imagining their confusion at being caught up in the tragic plot. Full of some of the greatest wordplay in English drama, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead examines the meaning of death and the questions of life from an absurdist perspective that leaves audiences laughing at their own folly and gasping at the truths revealed.

For tickets and more information about Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead and Theatre@First, visit www.theatreatfirst.org.

PERFORMANCE SCHEDULE
7pm evening shows:                                            4pm matinee shows:
Friday April 4                                                      Saturday April 5
Sunday April 6                                                    Saturday April 12
Wednesday April 9
Thursday April 10
Friday April 11

PERFORMANCE SPACE
Davis Square Theatre
255 Elm St, Somerville
Wheelchair accessible space

TICKETS: $20 for adults
$15 for students/seniors.
brownpapertickets.com & goldstar.com
Group discounts available.

 

 

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Jan 28

Older Than Most College Students and Still Relevant: TOP GIRLS

Top Girls

Presented by Theatre@First
by Caryl Churchill
Directed by Liz Adams

January 23 – February 1, 2014
Davis Square Theatre
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First on Facebook

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Somerville)

Theatre@First offers an earnest take on Caryl Churchill’s meditation on womanhood in the 1980s.  The production is best in the lighter moments, when the realities of the character’s lives seem far less crushing.

Top Girls itself is not traditional, but is and was a groundbreaking piece which provides incisive snapshots of women beyond as well as within classical archetypes. A show which only represents female voices is not necessarily feminist by default, but feminism as it relates to the time as well as the past pops up regularly.  Central themes such as success and sacrifice are embodied by Marlene, played effectively as a witty and ruthless vamp by Kathy-Ann Hart, who has achieved autonomy by choosing the advancement of her career over other areas of her life. Continue reading

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Sep 20

THEATRE@FIRST PRESENTS “THE BULLY PLAYS” TO BENEFIT TEEN EMPOWERMENT

THEATRE@FIRST PRESENTS THE BULLY PLAYS
Honoring National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month in Somerville
Portion of the proceeds to benefit the local anti-bullying work of Teen Empowerment
Directed by Jeanné Callinan

October 23-24 @ 7pm
The Somerville Theatre
Davis Square, Somerville, MA
Order tickets now via Vendini: http://goo.gl/ajZvO0
Theatre@First on Facebook

(Somerville) For first time director Jeannè Callinan, the hardest thing about her son being bullied was “the terrible feeling of being alone.” After members of her community rallied around her teenaged son and supported the family through their crisis, Callinan was compelled to let others know that they are not alone. On October 23rd and 24th at 7pm, Theatre@First presents The Bully Plays at the Somerville Theatre. Directed by Callinan as part of National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month, The Bully Plays will donate a portion of its proceeds to benefit the local anti-bullying work of Teen Empowerment (www.teenempowerment.org). Callinan is not the only production member turning negative experiences into positive engagement. Jason Hair-Wynn, an ensemble member who experienced bullying as a teenager, credits his family, specifically his mother and various local LGBT groups such as BAGLY for helping him in the face of harsh, anti-gay bullying that escalated into physical violence. A survivor of a hate crime in high school, he moved on to run workshops on making schools safer for all students. The ten one-acts chosen from the anthology The Bully Plays focus on kids within the American school system to force us to confront bullying as it happens: to our faces, behind our backs, across our social media, through our phones, and into our heads. Methods to combat aggression are brought to light on stage,often from a younger perspective than one would typically find in local community theatre.

The Bully Plays

Since 2003, Theatre@First has drawn on community talents and resources to offer thought-provoking entertainment, and to address issues of local concern through the universal language of theatre. This multi-faceted production encourages people to talk about difficult situations and come up with their own
strategies, perhaps by connecting to resources or simply by speaking with sympathetic listeners. Youth
activists from Teen Empowerment and a therapist will be available to talk after performances. Students,
teachers and parents are especially encouraged to attend. Group discounts are available for parties of six
or more by emailing groups AT theatreatfirst.org.

The Plays:
Alex by José Casas
Blu by Gloria Bond Clunie
The Bully Pulpit by Dwayne Hartford
Bully There Be by Lisa Dillman
Bystander Blues by Trish Lindberg
Conundrum by Brett Neveu
Downhill by Eric Coble
Final Testimony of Henry Sampson by Y York
Nobody Nose by Barry Kornhauser
“Send” by Linda Daugherty

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Jul 11

Theatre@First Presents “Picasso at the Lapin Agile”

Bare Bones 11: Picasso at the Lupin Agile

Presented by Theatre@First

ONE NIGHT ONLY!
Thursday, July 25th at 8pm
Picasso at the Lapin Agile will be presented at Unity Somerville, 6 William Street, Somerville, MA 02144
Suggested Donation $5 – General Admission – No reservations required

About the Play:
Written by Steve Martin and directed by Santiago Rivas

What if the greatest scientific mind of the 20th century met the greatest artist at a bar in Paris before they became famous? Picasso at the Lapin Agile is a comic drama about a meeting of the minds as this hypothetical question is answered. In a Parisian bar in 1904, Albert Einstein is introduced to Pablo Picasso. They, along with the local patrons, discuss the creativity process in their respective roles in science and art. With brushstrokes and equations, a bond between the icons is forged as they approached the new century.

Cast

Michael DeFillippi playing Freddy
Jason Merrill playing Gaston/Sagot/Charles Dabernow Schmendiman/Visitor
Kitty Drexel playing Germaine
Daniel Gonzalez playing Albert Einstein
Andrea Aptecker playing Suzanne/Countess/Admirer
Carlos Nogueras playing Pablo Picasso

Bare Bones: Staged Readings at Theatre@First offers directors, casts and audiences the chance to explore a wide variety of plays in a spare, intense setting.

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Jun 25

Sometimes A Snuggle is Just A Snuggle: “The Baltimore Waltz”

The Baltimore Waltz

presented by Theatre@First
by Paula Vogel
directed by Kamela Dolinova

June 20 – 29, 2013
Unity Somerville
6 William Street
Somerville, MA
Theatre@First Facebook Page

Review by Kitty Drexel

Warning: This production contains graphic but hilarious simulations of sexual acts, and bastardizations of European clichés.

(Somerville) As a playwright, Paula Vogel has the unique opportunity to dedicate herself to exploring and understanding her brother Carl’s end of life circumstances. Carl tragically died of AIDS. Rather than use the written word to metaphorically weep bitterly and openly, Vogel instead channeled her uncommon sense of humor and tender affections for Carl into The Baltimore Waltz, an ode to love, loss and healing.

In the context of the play, Anna has contracted Acquired Toilet Disease (ATD). In “real life,” outside the context of Anna’s fictional imagination, Carl has contracted AIDS. By narrating a character living with a pretend disease created for comic relief, playwright Paula Vogel examines the urgency of life through the lens of incurable disease.While her characters “dance” through a trippy, Noir-influenced trip to Europe, life as we know it continues with its disastrous choreography. Continue reading

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