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

May 21

It’s Abuse: “Herding Cats”

Photo by Danny Kaan. “Juliette” & Saddo.

Presented by OHenry Productions and Stellar, in association with Soho Theatre
By Lucinda Coxon
Directed by Anthony Banks
Featuring: Jassa Ahluwalia, Greg Germann, Sophie Melville
HeardingCatsPlay.com

May 19–22, 2021
In-Person and Streaming Tickets available
Soho Theatre Company 
21 Dean Street, London W1D 3NE
Herding Cats on Facebook

Review by Kitty Drexel

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. 

Continue reading

Apr 15

“A-Típico: A New Latinx Play Festival”: Theatre is Therapeutic, Not Therapy

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.”

More from Teatro Chelsea.

Mar 17

A Review in Which the Magic Tricks Aren’t Described: “The Conjurors’ Club”

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

March 12 – April 11, 2021
A virtual event
Stream HERE
Follow @TheConjurorsClub on social media

Disclaimer: This review contains minor spoilers. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

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

Jan 26

Jan. 22 Weekend Roundup: “The Race” & “Shrike”

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 Banina will enjoy The Race. Continue reading

May 02

Plague Drama from the Comfort of Your Own Home: “Nosferatu, The Vampyr”

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

April 30, 2020
Streamed through HowlRound Theatre Commons 
The streamed version recorded for posterity (and to prove there were witnesses HERE)

Review by Kitty Drexel

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