Jan 10

A Lot to Unpack: Guerilla Opera’s “Rumpelstiltskin”

Presented by Guerilla Opera 
Based on the tale by the Brothers Grimm
Composed by Marti Epstein
Libretto by Marti Epstein and Greg Smucker
Shadow puppetry animation and direction by Deniz Khateri
Conducted by Jeffrey Means
Featuring the Guerilla Opera Ensemble

Premiere date/Reviewed on January 7, 2022
Via Parma Live Stage

Upcoming: 
Rumpelstiltskin Studio Album & Release Party
January 14 at 7:30
An Online Event
Album is available on Navona Records

Review by Kitty Drexel

ONLINE — On January 7, Guerilla Opera held an online viewing party to premiere their short opera Rumpelstiltskin on Parma Live Stage. Rumpelstiltskin will be presented again at the album’s release party on January 14, 7:30 PM. The album will be available on Navona Records. 

Composer Marti Epstein and Guerilla Opera retell the Brothers Grimm Rumpelstiltskin story with some updates for their opera. Rumpelstiltskin (Aliana de la Guardia), a human man with magical abilities, is now portrayed as a sympathetic character according to Epstein’s “Note from the Composer” available on the Navona Records website. The opera explains Rumpelstiltskin’s desire for a child and elaborates on his single-minded obsession with obtaining one: unconditional love.  Continue reading

Dec 15

No Room at the Inn: “Witness”

WITNESS: A new virtual documentary theater piece

A screen capture of the online platform.

Presented by Arlekin Players’ (Zero-G) Virtual Theater Lab
Conceived and directed by Igor Golyak
Written by Nana Grinstein with Blair Cadden & Igor Golyak
Scenography & Costume Design by Anna Fedorova
Virtual Design by Daniel Cormino
Sound Design by Viktor Semenov
Produced by Sara Stackhouse
Dramaturgy by Blair Cadden 
Featuring the Arlekin Acting Company

December 10, 2021 – January 23, 2023
Over the Arlekin (zero-G) virtual Theater Lab platform
and Zoom
Arlekin Players on Facebook
Playbill

Review by Kitty Drexel

“It doesn’t feel virtual; it feels real.” 

– Talkback moderator Inessa Rifkin, a founder of the Russian Jewish Community Foundation and a founder of the Russian School of Mathematics, after the December 13 performance of Witness.  

ONLINE/Zoom  — It’s almost Yule! Here’s a Christmas story: In May 1939, the MS St. Louis carried 937 passengers from Nazi-occupied Germany to Havana, Cuba. The Cuban government refused the ship. Its passengers remained onboard; the ship didn’t dock. Cuba had cancelled the immigration papers of the onboard immigrants without notifying them. 

The United States refused the ship too. The US had space to put the passengers but our politicians let money and immigration law stop them from welcoming the passengers. We made a 1976 secular movie about it called “Voyage of the Damned” with Faye Dunaway. How American of us. 

The Jewish passengers were finally allowed some succor when the ship returned to Europe that June.  254 of the passengers died in the Holocaust: 84 in Belgium; 84 in Holland, and 86 in France. There was no room at the inn or the stable with Mary and Joseph. 

Witness by Arlenkin Players is about the fluffy talent show that the passengers held to boost morale. Local New Englanders who are also immigrants play passengers on the boat. It’s about the stark tragedy that our country, a nation that says it welcomes immigrants at its front door on the East Coast, decided that Jewish immigrants fleeing for their very lives should go elsewhere. Popup text boxes invite us to learn about who the passengers were and if they survived the ship. It’s about the multigenerational fight against anti-Semitism in the US. The Arlekin Acting Company portrays Jewish characters from across the decades. Continue reading

Dec 09

Feed Your Head: “White Rabbit Red Rabbit”


White Rabbit Red Rabbit
Presented by ArtsEmerson
Written by Nassim Soleimanpour/Iran
Performance viewed on Dec. 7, 7:30 PM
Dec. 7 – 12, 2021
Virtual Performance via Zoom
Program playbill
ArtsEmerson on Facebook 

ArtsEmerson Age Recommendation: 14+. We understand that certain types of content could trigger past traumatic experiences for some viewers. Please be aware that this production contains scenes discussing suicide.

ArtsEmerson Accessibility: White Rabbit Red Rabbit will feature live captions throughout the performance.

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — White Rabbit Red Rabbit is not a production to be enjoyed. It is to be endured. It behooves everyone with the means to watch to endure White Rabbit Red Rabbit. Continue reading

Nov 19

And still those voices are calling from far away: “Zoo Motel”

Presented by ArtsEmerson
A play by Thaddeus Phillips
Cocreated and directed by Tatiana Mallarino
Designed by Steven Dufala
Magic by Steve Cuiffo
Night Clerk: Newton Buchanan

November 16—21, 2021
The final performances! A virtual event via Zoom
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

AE Production Program featuring leadership team bios, a synopsis of the performance, and the full list of staff, artist and creative team credits for the production.

Originally presented via Miami Light Project Sept. 28 – Oct. 25, 2020. It is the longest running theatre play on the world wide web.

Review by Kitty Drexel

Virtual Boston, Mass — New England Theatre Geek reviewed Zoo Motel on October 14, 2020. The Quarantine was a dark time that produced some dark writing. Our ridiculously written review can be read here.

We were interested in seeing Zoo Motel again to see if it had updated since its 2020 run. Its creators have taken this show to audiences all over the world: Stockholm, Madrid, Perth, London, and now Boston. We can say that Zoo Motel still inspires wonder and awe. Continue reading

Oct 25

New House, New Problems: “Someone Else’s House”

Official screen shot of Mezzocchi. No photos or recordings of the performance are allowed.

Presented by TheatreWorks Hartford and Virtual Design Collective 
Written & performed by Jared Mezzocchi 
Directed by Margot Bordelon 
Playbill

TheatreWorks on Facebook  
October 21-31, 2021
TICKETS
A Live Virtual Performance: Performed over Zoom, watch live from your home or at the TheatreWorks theater

HAUNTED VIEWING from home* – Showtimes
Tuesday through Sunday at 8 pm
Saturdays at 8 pm and 12 Midnight

HAUNTED VIEWING in the theater – Showtimes 
Oct. 22, 23, & 24 and Oct. 29, 30 & 31 at 8 pm
IN-THEATER STREAMING watch parties @ 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, CT 06103

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM/Hartford, CT — The new house/new problems horror movie trope follows a naive (usually white) family moving into their dream home. Strange, spooky things happen and the idiot family stays until the bodies are piled up.  Blood can hemorrhage from the walls and this family thinks it’s a tax write-off. 

A dank meme; Hooray, we’re going to die!

Speaking of obtuse families, Jared Mezzocchi’s lovely family moved into a 200-year-old house in Enfield, New Hampshire in 1977. TheaterWorks Hartford’s production of Someone Else’s House tracks the Mezzocchis move into a gorgeous mansion in Enfield. Mom and Dad had new jobs teaching at the elementary school. The kids had a pastoral town to grow up in. It should have been perfect. Continue reading

Aug 02

One Percenters Gone Wild: “7 Rooms: The Masque of the Red Death”

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.

July 28 – August 15, 2021
Steamed on Zoom 
Tickets are Pay-What-You-Can
Flat Earth on social media: @FE_theatre

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

Aug 01

Mní Wičóni.Water Is Life: “Moving Water”

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

Jun 10

Fate from a Fish Called Olga: “chekhovOS /an experimental game/”

chekhovOS /an experimental game/: Pretty in pink

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

Jun 04

Donate Now so Theatre Can Exist Later: “Songs for A New World”

The soloists from “Songs for A New World.”

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

May 25

A haunting, meta experience: “This American Wife”

Presented by FourthWall Theatrical, in association with Fake Friends and Jeremy 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

May 20- June 6, 2021
Streamed over the internets via Stellar tickets
Fake Friends on Facebook

Critique by Afrikah Smith

“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