Prospero (Juliet Bowler) welcomes you! Photo via Flat Earth Theatre.
Presented by Flat Earth Theatre New plays by Sari Boren, Hortense Gerardo, Gabriel Graetz, MJ Halberstadt, Michal Lin, Cliff Odle, Kelly Smith Directed by Jessica Ernst, David R. Gammons, Lee Mikeska Gardner, Shira Helena Gitlin, Johnny Nichols, Jr., Elizabeth Yvette Ramirez, LaToya T. Robinson “Prospero” by Amy Lehrmitt; directed by Lindsay Eagle; performed by Juliet Bowler.
Aesthetics Designs by Michael Clark Wonson Sound by Kyle Lampe Costumes by Zane Kealey Props & special effects by S Ayala Showrunner: Amy Lehrmitt Dramaturgy by Betsy Goldman
Full cast of actors: Sydney Roslin, Kira Helper, Kristen Heider, Michael Lin, Sharmarke Yusuf, Shanelle Villegas, Kalee Burrows, Olivia Dumaine, Naomi Ibasitas, Evan Turissini, Jo Michael Rezes, Blair Nodelman, Lorraine Kanyike, and Miles Wheeler II.
Accessibility Notes: This online event offers captioning. Instructions are available before, and during the live-stream.
Review by Kitty Drexel
Content Warnings: Blood, strong language, abuse of white privilege, mentions of cannibalism
ZOOM — Flat Earth Theatre’s 7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death is a massive undertaking of considerably wide and deep proportions that will impress even the most nihilistic of digital theatre naysayers. 7 Rooms will tantalize; it’ll tease; it’ll entreat you to shake your booty.
Running July 28 – August 15, audience members are invited to attend a party at Prospero’s (Juliet Bowler) extravagant mansion. There’s no need to rabble rouse with dirty plebes sick with the plague. Not when there’s a fancy ball to attend! Continue reading →
KERMIT DUNKELBERG, XIMENA CALDERÓN, WILL SWYERS: image from a rehearsal.
Presented by the Ko Theatre Festival a devised theatre production by Serious Play Theatre Ensemble written by Eric Henry Sanders original music by Jonny Rodgers directed by Sheryl Stoodley Cast: Kermit Dunkelberg, Ximena Salmerón, Will Swyers Video design and technical coordination/operation by Robin W. Doty Dramaturgy and visual inspiration by Rosalyn Driscoll Lighting design by Sabrina Hamilton
Here is a list of activism resources made available on the Ko Fest website.
July 30 – August 1, 2021 Streamed Online via Vimeo Ko Fest social media: @Kofest
In-person performances: July 22-25 33 Hawley Street Northampton, MA
In English & Spanish with supertitles.
Review by Kitty Drexel
Northampton, Mass. — July 30 – August 1, Moving Water is available to stream as part of the Ko Theatre Festival out of Northampton, MA. It is a devised theatre production with dance, multi-media projection, and original music by the Serious Play Theatre Ensemble.
Press materials said, “Moving Water îs centered on the global water crisis, and endeavors to bring audiences into a deeper understanding of our human relationship to water.” Here is a list of activism resources and reading list made available on the Ko Fest website. Continue reading →
chekhovOS /an experimental game/ Presented by Arlekin’s Zero Gravity (zero-G) Lab & The Cherry Orchard Festival Foundation Inspired by The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov Conceived & Directed by Igor Golyak Produced by Igor Golyak & Sara Stackhouse Starring Jessica Hecht, and Anna Baryshnikov, Anna Bortnik, Darya Denisova, Jeffrey Hayenga, Melanie Moore, Nael Nacer & Mark Nelson Mikhail Baryshnikov as playwright Anton Chekhov Program slides are HERE (scroll down)
May 16 – June 24, 2021 Streamed over Zoom Tickets are HERE Arlekin Players on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
“Wheel of Morality turn, turn, turn/Tell us the lesson that we should learn.” – Yakko Warner, The Animaniacs
ZOOM — Science fiction is now in black and white Chekhovian color streaming to an internet tool near you. chekhovOS /an experimental game/ only has a few more performances, so check it out before it disappears forever.
There is a brief segment in the Animaniacs cartoon franchise called “The Wheel of Morality” that pokes fun at both game shows and cartoon shows that teach morality while also employing slapstick violence for laughs. In the segment, Yakko Warner turns a large game show wheel while siblings Wakko and Dot watch. Reliably, the spinning wheel lands on a number causing a small computer to print out the episode’s morale. The morale is often silly and almost never applies to the episode. The siblings are then chased off of the lot by Ralph the Guard. We love The Animaniacs in our house for its irreverence.
The virtual morality of Arlekin Player’s production of chekhovOS /an experimental game/ (not to be confused with their last event Cherry OS /an experiment/) is a lot like the Wheel of Morality: the rules are unclear, the narrators are unreliable and the story isn’t linear. You’ll have a great time as long as you have no attachment to the ending. Try to have fun because nothing is certain. Or is it?Continue reading →
Songs For A New World, A Performance to Benefit SpeakEasy Stage Presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company Music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown Directed by Paul Daigneault Music directed by Jose Delgado Cast includes Rashed Alnuaimi, Laura Marie Duncan, Jennifer Ellis, Dwayne P. Mitchell, Davron Monroe, Mikayla Myers, Rebekah Robles, Alexander Tan, and Victor Carrillo Tracey The program is HERE.
May 26 – June 8, 2021 Streaming to your Device Tickets SpeakEasy on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
STREAMING — SpeakEasy stage had two COVID compliance officers, and a testing coordinator. OccMed provided health services to the Song for A New World Team and Viracor Eurofins Clinical Diagnostics was their COVID testing provider. A disclaimer that COVID safety protocols were followed during rehearsals and recording of this fundraiser. Continue reading →
Presented by FourthWall Theatrical, in association withFake Friends andJeremy O. Harris Conceived & Written by Michael Breslin & Patrick Foley Directed by Rory Pelsue Dramaturgy by Cat Rodríguez and Ariel Sibert Sound Design by Kathy Ruvuna Lighting Design by Amith Chandrashaker Scenic Design by Stephanie Osin Cohen Featuring Michael Breslin, Patrick Foley, and Jakeem Dante Powell
“Who’s watching this?” “It’s just for me.” — Michael to Patrick, This American Wife
ONLINE — Catching my attention from the moment it began, This American Wife is a thrilling play that speaks to our cultural obsession of American reality TV. A house staple in escaping our current realities and trauma, theatre company Fake Friends invites audiences to witness and reckon with the art of reality TV. Continue reading →
STREAMING — It is really cool that Greg Germann is able to perform from Los Angeles with actors performing in London at the same time. Zoom theatre has changed the ecology of theatre drastically and it is super, heckin’ neato. Before the pandemic, actors had to be recorded in their respective locations in order for such a feat to be accomplished. Science fiction is now!
I’m not sure why Herding Cats was chosen as the production to show off this technology. It’s not a great script. It wants to be edgy but fails.
The stakes for the audience are depressingly low, low like six-feet-underground-low. Coxon doesn’t tell or show us why we should care about her characters. We don’t know who they are. I don’t know why I’m supposed to give these characters my attention. They aren’t clever or funny but they aren’t particularly unpleasant or dull either.
We only know these characters are English because of their accents. Justine carries groceries in the first scene so we know they eat. Maybe. We don’t actually see them eat… Or talk to anyone else, or live at all. We only hear about their lives. They aren’t universal characters either.
A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival Presented by Teatro Chelsea A Resident Artist at the Black Box Theatre through Apollinaire Theatre Company’s Resident Artists at the Chelsea Theatre Works Artistic Associate: Carla Mirabal Rodríguez Program Director: Armando Rivera
Featured Works: All performances start at 7 PM. Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers. April 9, Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao April 10, Malas Mañas by Alejandra Ramos Riera April 15, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera April 16, Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores April 17, Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo
April 9-17, 2021 Streamed via Zoom at 7 PM Chelsea, MA 02150 Teatro Chelsea on Facebook
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — Teatro Chelsea presents two weekends of play readings in A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival with English, Spanish and bilingual performances through April 17.
I was told by program director Armando Rivera that the reading of Before We Focus On Others by Diego Lanao on April 9 was still “in development.” Plays involved in this festival are performed for audience feedback. I watched with the understanding that this play and its characters were still in their nascent phases. There is always room for compassion in a critic’s response.
So color me surprised when the cast of Before We Focus On Others gave us a performance-ready show over Zoom on April 9. The cast* had great chemistry: they worked well off of each other, gave excellent facial cues; their dialogue was believable and sincere sounding; I could imagine these characters as real people off of the page.
Before We Focus On Others is about marriage counseling from the perspective of a husband and wife involved in the counseling profession. Lanao’s research is credible. The dialogue between the husband, wife, and psychologist is realistic. Lanao takes great care to give equal weight to both the men and women in this script: it’s thoughtful, intersectionality feminist, and sympathetic to all sides.
This is a bilingual play but anyone with basic Spanish skills should understand the characters’ intentions when Spanish is spoken. The actors’ motives were clear. Lanao’s used Spanish sparingly but to embellish a scene’s drama. To complain about the Spanish in this play is to reveal one’s racism.
Only the active Zoom chat brimming with missives of love and joy from friends and family gave away the reading’s intentions for feedback. Actors don’t receive the same feedback over Zoom as they do from a live audience. An open chat alleviates the weight of performance insecurity.
It is super duper exciting that Boston finally gets its own festival of Latinx plays! I hope there is more, much more where this came from.
A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival continues this weekend: Performances in Spanish will not be subtitled for English-only speakers. April 15 @ 7 PM, Anormales by Fernando Vieira, and SAA (not that one) by Luis Roberto Herrera April 16 @ 7 PM, Binary Star by Guadalupe Flores April 17 @ 7 PM, Flood by Alicia Margarita Olivo Tickets are HERE.
About A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival from the Teatro Chelsea website: “In the American theatre space, the Latinx narrative reflected on stage can tend to revolve around narrow topics like the “border” or “disaster” play. While shedding light on the ongoing crisis on the Mexican-American border and the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico are narratives deserving of attention, these stories can overly narrow the breadth of Latinx experiences in the United States. Teatro Chelsea’s new Latinx play festival, A-Típico, aims to showcase and expand the focus on underrepresented Latinx stories.”
Geoff Kanick performs in ‘The Conjurors’ Club.’ Photo courtesy of A.R.T.
Presented by American Repertory Theatre Created by Vinny DePonto and Geoff Kanick Original Music by Alex Harris Voiceover work by Artist Isuri Wijesundara Opening Video by Gabe Jacobs Video Voiceover by Isabela Salgado Technical Consultancy by Joshua Samuels Web Design by Eleanor Philips Zoom Wizardry by Alycia Marucci and Sumner Ellsworth Scenic/Background Consultancy by Heather Morris Costume Consultancy by Alma Reyes Burgos Lighting Consultancy by Joseph Lorenzen Digital Systems Programming by Justin Paice & Michael Policare
ZOOM — The Conjurors’ Club starts long before the Zoom room opens with a brown 8.5 x 11 envelope with a stamp from Jean Eugene’s Fine Watches. This envelope arrives within another envelope from the American Repertory Theatre. Don’t open it! Its contents are a surprise.Continue reading →
The Race presented by the Wilbury Theatre Group By Mark Binder Directed by Brien Lang Original music by Nikita Zabinski Featuring Jim O’Brien, Rodney Eric López, and Jennifer Mischley January 15 -31, 2021 Performances via Zoom Tickets
Shrike Written by Erin Lerch Directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden Sunday, January 24 and Sunday, February 7 at 2PM Performances via Zoom Tickets
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM — Over the weekend, we took in two New England productions. The Wilbury Theatre Group presents an interactive mindbender: The Race runs now through January 31. Fresh Ink Theatre presents readings for feedback of Shrike. Its next performance is on Sunday, February 7 at 2PM.
Geek staff writer Gillian Daniels previously wrote about The Race HERE. Her response is accurate, thoughtful. There is not much more to add since Daniels’ review captures the experience so well. Folx that enjoyed Arlekin Players Theatre’s State vs. Natasha Baninawill enjoy The Race. Continue reading →
Presented by Sparkhaven Theatre & Homesick Play Project Written by by M Sloth Levine Original music composed by Alissa Voth Directed by Hannah Pryfogle Musicians: Rebecca Elowe, Bri Tagliaferro, Andrew Gaffney
Disclaimer: This review is a response to the experience of a Zoom performance of Nosferatu, The Vampyr.
ONLINE, Everywhere — Nosferatu, The Vampyr, a play with original music about a mysterious plague with mysterious origins, is the dramatic queering that society needs. It was meant to run at Chelsea Theatre Works March 19 – 28, until the coronavirus, our factual plague, prevented its run. While it would have been brilliant to review Nosferatu, The Vampyr in real life, the Zoom version proves that great theatre can be created specifically for internet viewing with time, ingenuity, and some creative tweaking. Not all streamed theatre content is worth viewing. Nosferatu is. Continue reading →