Apr 09

The Knocking is Coming from Inside the Cabin: “Macbeth”

Presented by the Underlings Theatre Company
By William Shakespeare
Directed by Daniel Thomas Blackwell
Fight direction by Lauren Squier
Dramaturgy by Isabel Dollar

April 5 – 13, 2019
Mosesian Center for the Arts Blackbox Theater
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA
Underlings on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

(Watertown, MA) There is much to learn from the Underlings production of Macbeth currently open at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown. The cast and crew took some risks: some of them paid off, others did not. What is most important to glean from this production is that the Underlings boldly proceed towards their artistic goals for Macbeth. Risk taking theatre is by far more laudable than theatre that plays it safe no matter the outcome. Not everyone will agree with the risks that the Underlings took but, at the very least, the Underlings can boast that they performed their version.   Continue reading

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Mar 26

“Not Medea”: Scorned Woman Gets Her Say

Photo by Jake Scaltreto. Who is their right mind double-crosses a half goddess, dark sorceress capable of patricide on a whim? That idiot, Jason.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Written by Allison Gregory
Directed by Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez

March 15 – 30, 2019
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth Theatre on Facebook

Critique by Gillian Daniels

(Watertown, MA)  The myth of Medea is a story of betrayal and fury, where Jason of the Argonauts takes a sorceress wife for material gain and is deeply surprised when she takes her vengeance out on him and their children. Here, the myth of a child-killing witch fits roughly over a more contemporary story of an overworked nurse in pediatric oncology as she takes a night for herself to recount a bitter divorce with humor and then with searing rage. In mainstream culture, the Classical myth of Medea has become known as the story of a mother so cartoonishly evil, it’s difficult to feel the full impact of the horror her narrative contains without exploring each bloody layer. Luckily, the audience of Not Medea has been blessed with both the intimacy of a stripped-down theater experience and the raw passion of actress Juliet Bowler as the titular-woman-who-is-not-Medea-though-she-also-plays-Medea.

Not Medea appears to be a combination of genres, a one-woman show fused with a Classical play, complete with Chorus (Cassandra Meyer). There’s a late reveal that further opens the story into discomfort and parental Hell, but the melodrama keeps the bones of a Greek tragedy by centering a character’s terrible trauma and the wisdom she gains from it. Bowler as the Woman and director Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez make remarkable choices in humanizing a character who’s not a clear-cut heroine.

Bowler, as always, brings grit to her role, and, here, sympathy. She plays Medea and the Woman with the same tumult of anger, lust, and hurt, even if their actions aren’t quite identical. We get the sense of this stressed, tough as nails nurse seeing this play and hating how much she sees herself in it. Certainly, as an audience, we are asked to judge each character presented in the show, like Gene Dante as the heroic Jason with a selfish surfer dude’s dimwitted edge, but we are never made to regard them with the inhumanity and scorn that so many versions of Medea heap on these characters.

I like how brave the play is in addressing the fallibility of mothers. It’s something I’ve been delighted to see in few other shows where women who have children are not portrayed as goddesses or people always able to see the best in their kids, but fallible individuals with their own sources of pain. Yes, facing the imperfection of mothers can be a tough sit, but the way this show explores all the troubles and regrets of motherhood is deeply refreshing.

Even the Chorus seems to have some internal struggles regarding her relationship to the story. Meyer repeatedly nears the end of the stage with fear, unable to leave. She also, memorably, seems furious with the Woman for addressing the audience directly–obviously the Chorus’s job, and a delicious meta moment in the narrative.

Not everything works for me. Playwright Allison Gregory’s makes some distracting choices. The sections of the play that more strictly adhere to the source material often become repetitive, jarring with the contemporary ebb and flow of Not Medea’s other, less Classical scenes. I think there are story elements in the show that would have packed a firmer punch with some careful editing. Also, I found Gregory’s choice in names for the Woman’s offspring just a little too on-the-nose.

Ultimately, the play succeeds in what it seems to set out to do: exploring the layers of a Classical myth with understanding and thought. Like the queen goddess Hera angry at her husband for his many dalliances or the punishment Aphrodite earns for not being loyal to a husband she was made to marry in the first place, popular Greco-Roman mythology has been filtered through a lens that dismisses female anger. Not Medea leans into that fury and, like many Greek tragedies, comes out the other side wiser for it.


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Jan 24

“Heartland,” where the ache lies.

L-R: Shawn K. Jain as Nazrullah and Ken Baltin as Harold; Photography by Christopher McKenzie.

A national new play network rolling world premier
Presented by New Repertory Theatre
Written by Gabriel Jason Dean
Directed by Bridget Kathleen O’Leary

January 12—February 9, 2019
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Watertown, MA) Powerfully written and gorgeously staged, New Rep’s production of Heartland is a true masterpiece. Gabriel Jason Dean deftly transforms his experiences of person tragedy into a poignant and profound meditation of the American body politic, particularly our interventionalist foreign policies in the Middle East. Continue reading

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Dec 07

An Inalienable Right for Some: “1776”

Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Photography

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Music and lyrics by Sherman Edwards
Book by Peter Stone
Co-directed by Austin Pendleton and Kelli Edwards
Music direction by Todd C. Gordon
Choreography by Kelli Edwards

Nov. 30 – Dec. 30, 2018
Mainstage Theater
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: systemic racism, sexism, bracingly tight pleather pants

(Watertown, MA) 1776 is a quirky, innuendo-laced musical about Boston’s part in the US’s bid for independence. New Rep gives us a fun production that is more timely than it is educational. This musical might be based on historical facts but this production brings new momentum to current events. Continue reading

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Oct 23

50 Shades of Complicity: “We Will Not Be Silent”

L to R – Conor Proft and Sarah Oakes Muirhead; Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures.

Presented by New Repertory Theatre
By David Meyers
Directed by Jim Petosa

October 13—November 4, 2018
The Dorothy and Charles Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA 02472
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Diana Lu

(Watertown, MA) We Will Not Be Silent revisits the true story of Sophie (Sarah Oakes Muirhead) and Hans (Conor Proft) Scholl, German student dissidents in Nazi Germany executed for attempting to mount a nonviolent resistance movement in 1942. Post-WWII, Germany vindicated the Scholl siblings and lionized their sacrifice as a symbol of great stoicism and bravery. Continue reading

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Oct 09

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Uranium: “Delicate Particle Logic”

Photos by Jake Scaltreto; Christine Power as Lise Meitner, Barbara Douglass as Edith Hahn. Blanket babies are the easiest babies.

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre Company
By Jennifer Blackmer
Directed by Betsy S. Goldman
Dramaturgy by Regine Vital  
Violence choreography by Cassie Chapados  
Dance choreography by Meghan Hornblower  
Language consultation by Allison Olivia Choat  
Artistic ASL direction by Elbert Joseph

September 28th – October 13th, 2018
ASL-Interpreted Performance: October 13th at 8pm
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
Flat Earth on Facebook

Trigger warning: One character is willingly committed to an asylum, misandry

Critique by Kitty Drexel

“Science and art both relentlessly pursue truth and meaning. In the past, scientific and medical procedures were performed in front of witnesses, audiences, if you will, who were able to verify the truth of what took place. For me, science and art were never at odds, and part of my overall goal as an artist is to get audiences to understand that. We still think of science and art as two separate cultures, but they’re more alike than most people realize.”

  • Flat Earth Theatre interview with Jennifer Blackmer

(Watertown, MA) Jennifer Blackmer crams a lot into two hours of theatre. Delicate Particle Logic (DPL) tells the story of how Otto Hahn stole nuclear fission from Lise Meitner. He committed war crimes for the Nazis in the name of “chemistry,” and claimed the Nobel Prize in 1944… Wait, I’m getting ahead of myself. DPL is about Otto Hahn’s work-wife, Meitner, his home-wife, Edith Junghans Hahn, and their imaginary friendship. Edith and Meitner’s performance of emotional and physical labor on behalf of a man holding more respect for his work than for his partners. Between the science and the toxic masculinity, there is art: glorious, painful, epiphanic art. Continue reading

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Sep 12

One Ironic Goose Step At A Time; or Two Geeks, One Show: “Straight White Men”

Photo by Andy Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures. The cast in a moment of superficial contemplation.

Presented by New Rep Theatre
Written by Young Jean Lee
Directed by Elaine Vaan Hogue

Sept. 7 – 30, 2018
Mosesian Center for the Arts
Mainstage Theater
321 Arsenal St
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Representation matters. Straight White Men is written by an Asian playwright. Noelani Kamelamela was asked to write a review in addition to the critique written by Kitty Drexel. Both are posted below.

Review by Noelani Kamelamela

(Watertown, MA) The synopsis of Straight White Men seems like it would be a Men’s Rights Activist’s nearest and dearest dream brought to life.  I imagine a white man in a polo shirt and khakis sitting down by the light of a tiki torch to read what would be a thoroughly delightful description: after all, the main action only involves four white men.  Yup. Four white men. No women. No people of color. This hypothetical straight white man would see the name Young Jean Lee and maybe remember sweet ole Robert E. Lee. Perhaps it hearkens him back to time before, when America was great.  “What a fine night of theatre!” this man in a barcalounger would remark aloud as he reached for his credit card and purchased a ticket to New Rep Theatre’s production which runs at the Mosesian Center for the Arts in Watertown through September 30th. Continue reading

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Jun 11

#Gamergate, Too: “The Nether”

Photo by Jake Scaltreto

Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
By Jennifer Haley
Directed by Sarah Gazdowicz

June 8 – 23, 2018
The Mosesian Center for the Arts
321 Arsenal Street, Watertown, MA, 02472
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

Trigger warnings: pedophilia, sexual abuse, implied physical violence, predatory grooming

(Watertown, MA) Flat Earth’s production is expectedly excellent but it isn’t enjoyable. Well actually, The Nether is about ethics in gaming journalism. It’s a political metaphor for gamer identity protection. Just kidding: It’s about abusive communities on the internet and the people who dwell in them. Identity protection and “ethics” are smoke screens for heinous behavior in the name of free speech and implausible deniability. #yesallwomen Continue reading

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Mar 26

ANTIGONE: Death at the Parthenon


Presented by Flat Earth Theatre
Original Tragedy by Sophocles
Adapted by Lewis Galantiere from the play by Jean Anouilh
Directed by Lindsay Eagle

ONE WEEK LEFT: March 26th @ 7:30pm; March 29th @ 8pm; March 30th @ 8pm; March 31st @ 8pm
The Black Box at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal St., Watertown, Massachusetts 02472
From the MBTA — take the Red Line to Central Square in Cambridge; then take the 70 or the 70A bus.
Flat Earth on Facebook

Review by Bishop C. Knight

(Watertown, MA) I could provide an enthusiastic review for every aspect of this play.  I will start with a nod to costuming. Continue reading

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Mar 26

“The Bakelite Masterpiece”: The voice that asks not “should I,’ but ‘can I?’

Benjamin Evett (left) and Laura Latreille (right). Photo by Andrew Brilliant/Brilliant Pictures.

Produced by New Rep Theatre
Written by Kate Cayley
Directed by Jim Petosa

March 17 – April 8, 2018
Mosesian Arts Center
Watertown, MA
New Rep on Facebook

Review by Polly Goss

(Watertown, MA) Set in 1946 among the rumble of post-war Holland, The Bakelite Masterpiece immerses you in the days leading up to the trial of forger Han Van Meergeren. Awaiting trial for charges of conspiracy with the Nazis, Van Meergeren protests his innocence to the formidable Resistance Officer Geert Piller. Based on true events, this captivating moral drama gives voice to a nation struggling to rebuild itself as it emerges from the clutches of fascism. Continue reading

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