May 23

USDAC, the Arts & Mutual Aid: “Artists and Healers as Essential to Recovery from Crisis: A Reflection on Trying Times”

Images from the event. This discussion featured jackie sumell (The Prisoner’s Apothecary), Auntie Sewing Squad, Ana Rodney, and Taja Lindley.

A discussion presented by The U.S. Department of Arts and Culture (USDAC) with 18th Street Arts Center, in L.A.
Part of WE RISE 2022
Friday, May 20, 2022 6 pm-7:30 pm ET
ONLINE 
We Rise 2022 on Facebook
U.S. Department of Arts and Culture on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

“As we have seen time and time again, when the governments fail us, it’s the people who come together and help communities survive…”  —Raquel de Anda, panel facilitator

ZOOM — Presented by the U.S. Department of Arts and Culture, the discussion centered on the intersection of arts and mutual aid and what it means to create and be in community with one another. Emphasizing the ways that are anti-oppressive and that uplift and respect one another in community, the panel featured jackie sumell of The Solitary Gardens & Prisoner’s Apothecary, Kristina Wong and the Auntie Sewing Squad, Ana Rodney of MomCares, and interdisciplinary artist Taja Lindley. All whose work exemplified art, healing, and mutual aid efforts through the lenses of abolition, radical care, reproductive justice, transformative justice, and racial justice. Continue reading

Jan 25

Poverty is Expensive: Rattlestick’s “Addressless”

A screen grab from “Addressless.” The cast discusses their options.

Presented by Rattlestick Playwrights Theater
Community partnered with Urban Pathways, Community Access
Adapted from
STEREO AKT‘s and Lifeboat Unit’s Hungarian production of Addressless.
Created & directed by Martin Boross
Written by Jonathan Payne
Script consultants: Hope Beaver, Cassie Desalines, Shams DaBaron aka “Da Homeless Hero”
Video editing by Matthew Russell
Graphics & animation by Maiko Kikuchi
Streaming technician: Keenan Hurley
Featuring: Joey Auzenne, Hope Beaver, Shams DaBaron a.k.a. “Da Homeless Hero,” & Bianca Norwood

Thursday, January 13 – Sunday, February 13, 2022
Presented over Zoom
Tickets
Digital Program
Rattlestick on Facebook

Content warnings: Addressless discusses at length issues faced by the unhoused community such addiction and sobriety, bigotry, sex trafficking, shame, government benefits programs, and other forms of abuse. This show can be intense. It may not be appropriate for children under 12. 

Critique by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — Addressless is heart-breakingly honest digital theatre. If you’re looking for something to take you out of the monotony of COVID-living, creators Boross and Payne have a solution for you. Their two-hour, interactive, roleplaying theatre game is a reminder that life’s struggles don’t end just because there’s a pandemic at your door. 

This production begins like any other over Zoom: the host invites attendees in, we wait patiently for the show to start. Addressless is slightly different because it asks attendees to fill out a survey via a link in the chat. The survey asks participants personal questions about their identity, financial situation, and if they’ve ever been unhoused. Have you lived on the streets? For how long?  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

May 31

You Sow What You Are: “TRACES/REMAIN: Seed to Harvest: The Wooden Book”

Banner by ArtsEmerson

TRACES/REMAIN
Seed to Harvest: The Wooden Book
Presented by ArtsEmerson
Based on the Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler 
Featuring the artistry of Toshi Reagon, Letta Neely, Deen Rawlins-Harris, Jenny Hughes, Dyllan Nguyen, Leo Alarcon
Parable Path Boston is Toshi Reagon’s year long artist residency at Emerson College
ArtsEmerson is a sponsor of Boston While Black.

April 8 – June 26, 2021
TRACES/REMAIN incorporates in-Person & online events. Please see below for more details. 
Boston, MA
ArtsEmerson on Facebook

Remaining opportunities to see/submit to the Wooden Book:
Frugal Bookstore, Nubian Square
MAY 24–JUN 07
57 Warren Street, Roxbury, MA 02119
Drop Off Hours: MON–WED 10:00AM–3:00PM;
THU–FRI 10:00AM–5:00PM
SAT 10:00AM–3:00PM
https://frugalbookstore.net
Sower Session: MAY 25 @ 5:30-7:00PM (Zoom)
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 12 @ 4:00PM-6:00PM (Nubian Square Park)

Franklin Park Tennis Courts
JUN 06
Circuit Drive, Boston, MA 02130
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 06 @ 1:00PM-3:00PM (Across from Lemuel Shattuck Hospital)

BCYF/Shelburne Community Center
JUN 10–24
2730 Washington St, Roxbury, MA 02119
https://www.boston.gov/departments/boston-centers-youth-families/bcyf-shelburne
Sower Session: JUN 10 @ 6:00-7:30PM
Neighborhood Tabling Session: JUN 13 @ 1:00PM-3:00PM (Malcolm X Park, behind Shelburne)

Egleston Branch Library 
JUN 26
2044 Columbus Ave, Roxbury, MA 02119
Culminating Celebration: 1:00PM–3:00PM
https://www.bpl.org/locations/22/

Review by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON — Moments from Reagon’s 2017 concert of her opera, Parable of the Sower still haunt me. So when I heard about Parable Path Boston, I got excited. When I heard about TRACES/REMAIN, I did a little wiggle-dance in my seat. Butler’s Parable Series is excellent reading whether you enjoy science fiction or not. It’s exciting to see Reagon and Butler inspiring new audiences. 

I signed up for the May 25 Sower Session and put a visit to the Frugal Bookstore in Nubian Square, Boston in my calendar. I Googled the series to remind myself of the content of the novels. I thought I was ready.  Continue reading

May 19

This is the Future Progressive Theatremakers Want: A “Firebird” Ballet

Crappy screencap of a screen photos by Kitty Drexel

Presented by Abilities Dance Boston
Based on the Slavic firebird folktale
Choreography by Ellice Patterson with the ensemble
Music composed and directed by Andrew Choe
The Firebird program has full cast and crew information

May 14 & 15, 2021
Livestreamed from the Wimberly Theatre at the Calderwood Pavillion
Boston, MA
Abilities Dance on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON/YouTube — The pressure to create during quarantine reached monstrous enormity. For every normie Tom, Delia, and Harrison Ford who worked on a script because Lear was written during a pandemic, an artist with a resume of successes couldn’t polish their abilities because they were too busy surviving the next 24-hours. 

Survival for the disabled arts community means something very different than it does the abled community. Jobs for disabled artists didn’t merely dwindle. They vanished overnight. Some of those jobs may never reappear

Our priorities went from managing a job to managing continued existence in a world actively trying to kill them: doctors appointments and surgeries were canceled, elevators became vectors for disease, carers were transferred to essential service positions. We went from demanding plastic straws in restaurants to demanding our right to live at all. It felt like ableds weren’t going to permit us either thing.   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 16

Another Day, Another Destiny: “Winter Panto 2021: The Panto Games”

Tributes in the Arena. Photo credit imaginary beasts.

Presented by imaginary beasts 
Directed by Matthew Woods 
Written by Matthew Woods & Noah Simes 
Costumes: Cotton Talbot-Minkin 
Visual Design & Illustration: Lillian P.H. Kology 
Production Stage Management: Sophia Nora Giordano 
Video Editing & Design: Sophia Nora Giordano 
Technical Direction: Bob Mussett 
Puppet Design & Construction: Sophia Nora Giordano & Jamie Semel 
Cast: Michael Chodos, Laura Detweiler, Molly Kimmerling, Catherine Luciani, Tara Harbert,  Colin McIntire, Amy Meyer, Bob Mussett, Elizabeth Owens, Jill Rogati, Kiki Samko, Jamie  Semel, Noah Simes, Derek Smith, Jennifer Taschereau, and Matthew Woods with Sara Kenney  and Hannah Uher 

March 13, 14, 20 at 4:00 pm ET and March 19 at 7:30 pm ET on Zoom 
New show added! March 21 at 4 pm!
Tickets: imaginarybeasts.eventbrite.com 
All tickets are Pay What You Wish with a $0 minimum
imaginary beasts on Facebook 

Review by Kitty Drexel

ZOOM — The imaginary beasts yearly panto is a Massachusetts theatre institution. It doesn’t feel like wintertime without it! So thank goodness the beasties rallied and produced their February family-show in March.  Continue reading

Mar 01

Black Spatial Relics Second Annual Convening, Day 3: A Day of Dreaming and Envisioning

Presented by Black Spatial Relics
Facilitated by Arielle Julia Brown

February 23rd-27th 2021
ZOOM & HowlRound Livestream
Black Spatial Relics on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

ZOOM — Working towards a future for Black creative spaces that foster exploration, community, and liberation, Black Spatial Relics (BSR) hosts their second annual convening in celebration of their five-year anniversary. Running February 23rd to February 27th, the Black Spatial Relics Annual Convening is free and open to the public.

At its February 25th session, Black Spatial Relics presented three workshops hosted by 2020 BSR artists-in-residence Danielle Deadwyler and Ada Pinkston, and guest artist Angel Edwards.

In the first workshop, Deadwyler shared her documentary busitopen. Exploring Black womanhood and motherhood through the lives of four Black women, Deadwyler juxtaposed the repetition of sound, movement, and various historic images of working class Black women. Through each woman’s relationship to labor and love, Deadwyler focused on the practices of recollection, ritual, and their significance. Continue reading

Feb 24

Radical Wellness, Rooted In Movement: A Trans Boxing Series

Presented in partnership with Trans Boxing, Company One, and Theater Offensive
Led By Shan Moten

Friday, 19 February 2021 7PM EST
Sunday, 21 February 2021 2PM EST
Via ZOOM
Company One Theatre & The Theater Offensive on Facebook

Review by Afrikah Smith

ZOOM — Rooted in Movement is a two-part trans boxing series that creates a safe space for beginners and advanced folks to explore boxing while being in community with LGBTQIA+ members and other participants. Continue reading

Feb 24

Semaphore Flags of Tension: “Solitaire Suite”

Presented by Hub Theatre Company of Boston
Written by Trent England 
Directed by Daniel Bourque
Stage management by  Madeline Hartrich
and Kelsey Whipple
Sound Design by Kyle Lampe
​Digital Design by Justin Lahue

Feb 20 – Feb 27 2021
Youtube Presentation
Boston, MA 02116
Hub on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

YOUTUBE — Anxiety is a feminist issue. Women are told they are too emotional, too sensitive, and too fragile. Our responses to stimuli are so criticized that we disbelieve our own experiences. We distrust our own instincts – no matter how perceptive. 

Believing women is the basis for the #MeToo movement. Trust women, we say. The message should carry a caveat to emphasize that society must grant women the benefit of the doubt in all situations. Believe us when we’ve been assaulted and at other times, too. Believe us all the time.  

Hub Theatre premiered Solitaire Suite by Trent England on February 20. Marty Mason is Celeste, a conscientious mother on a car ride with her husband Pete (Cristhian Mancinas) and their son, Tiger (Michael Lin). Celeste tells the viewer about how her family came across an unidentified flying object on their way home from retrieving Tiger from a failed sleepover. The family follows the UFO and has an unexpected engagement with the unknown.    Continue reading