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

Aug 14

Burning Down the Establishment One BIPOC Critic at a Time: A Profile of Pascale Florestal

Florestal, image from www.pascaleflorestal.com

Profile by Kitty Drexel

BOSTON/ZOOM — Boston’s theatre journalism scene is a barren wasteland of white maleness. The desperate cries of BIPOC performing artists and designers for accurate representation are carried by winds off of the Atlantic ocean to diversity-parched cities and towns across New England: where are the critics of color?

Critiquing and reviewing circles have remained steadfastly white for the last few decades. Out of the current eleven members of the Boston Theater Critics Association, six are white men, five are white women.

The Front Porch Arts Collective launched the Young Critics Program in spring 2019 in partnership with WBUR the ARTery. It is the only independent training opportunity specifically geared towards young BIPOC journalists in New England. Boston-based director, dramaturg, educator, writer, and collaborator Pascale Florestal is the woman in charge. Continue reading

Aug 11

The Work Begins with Empathy: “A Kids Play About Racism”

Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre with the Gottabees 
Lead Producers Bay Area Children’s Theatre, Alliance Theatre, and Seattle Children’s Theatre
Adapted & Directed by Kahlia Davis
Lyrics by Davied Morales
Music by Justin Ellington
Based on the book by Jelani Memory
More information at akidsplayabout.org

Streamed through August 7 on Broadway On Demand
Wheelock Family Theatre
Boston, MA 02215
Wheelock on Facebook
The Gottabees on Facebook

Critique by Kitty Drexel

BROADWAY ON DEMAND — The Wheelock Family Theatre and the Gottabees collaborated with 41 Theaters for Young Audiences across the United States to present the world premiere, online theatrical experience of A Kids Play About Racism.

The Zoom play based on the children’s book A Kids Book About Racism by Jelani Memory explains what racism is on a level that kids of all ages can understand and appreciate. A Kids Play About Racism is intended for ages 5+ but has a lot to offer adults too. It simplifies abstract concepts like white supremacy, microaggressions, Black culture, and emotional labor into digestible nuggets of truth. All viewers will be able to take away something valuable – even if it’s remembering that dismantling racism is strenuous; it’s okay to take a short rest before getting back to work.  Continue reading

Aug 10

“Chelsea People”: Getting to Know Your Community Through Theatre

Jessica Armijo Sabillon, right, with her family at O’Malley State Park in Chelsea. (L-R) Daughter Michelle, 13, her husband Reymer and daughter Adriana, 17. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Produced by Apollinaire Theatre Company
Part of Apollinaire in the Park 2020 (Online Edition): Chelsea People
Directed by: Danielle Fauteux Jacques
Music directed by David Reiffel
Composition by Allyssa Jones, David Reiffel, and David Rivera

August 8th 2020 at 8PM
The Chelsea Collaborative – Jessica L. Armijo
Apollinaire on Facebook
Chelsea Collab on Facebook

Critique by Afrikah Smith

ZOOM — How well do you know your community? Your neighbors? Friends? In our daily interactions, or lack thereof, we each hold a story within us worth telling, waiting for the right moment, or perhaps, the right people to tell.

In Apollinaire in the Park 2020: Chelsea People, the theatre challenged itself to create original plays and music based on interviews by community members nominated by the city’s leading community organizations: GreenRoots and the Chelsea Collaborative. The series ended with the story of Jessica Armijo. Continue reading

Jul 23

Faster than Eight Tiny Reindeer on Uppers : “Get Thee Behind Me, Santa”

Get Thee Behind Me, Santa: An Inexcusably Filthy Children’s Time-Travel Farce for Adults Only
Presented by Maximum Verbosity
Produced by FringePVD
Written and performed by phillip andrew bennett low

Performed on July 20, 2020 at 9PM
Website: Maximum Verbosity
Maximum Verbosity on Facebook 
Venmo
PayPal

Critique by Kitty Drexel

My sincere apologies to low re: review tardiness. The pandemic kills productivity like a mother.

ZOOM — Maximum Verbosity presents a holiday allegory to beat that tired one told every single Christmas. Get Thee Behind Me, Santa features cursing, sexuality, blasphemy and other microaggressions. 

Get Thee Behind Me, Santa is an exceedingly fast-paced holiday allegory with an occasional rhyme scheme that pulls no punches. Jesus of Nazareth, Saint Nick, two angels with a greater appreciation for the physical form and a cast of other characters are determined to live in a better timeline, a timeline without a Santa cult.

It makes fun of the Da Vinci Code but it’s more similar to the popular 2003 mystery novel than it isn’t. GTBM,S jumbles together art, religion, science fiction, film noir, and other seemingly incongruent references into one tale. Therein lies the intended humor. 

In humorous narratives of this ilk, the jumble of references is the point. Lists are par for the course. Except, GTBM,S is  told at such breakneck speed that we aren’t able to absorb all of phillip andrew bennett low’s puns and scenes. They aren’t funny if we can’t savor them. The image of elves with super soakers is funny but, with low’s telling, blink and you’ll miss it. The same goes with many of the other clever bits concerning the Bible, popular soft drinks, and the Mayan civilization. 

The funniest moments of GTBM,S are when low pauses after a character’s one-liner. Jesus said, “Howdy-do?” Low gave us time to react, so I did; I laughed.

Someone said (I couldn’t catch the character’s name), “I am amazed at how useless I find your vowels.” Low paused again; I laughed again. 

I was able to respond in real-time to low’s work. It felt amazing. Audiences of artists want to respond to an artist. Please let us. 

Theatre shouldn’t be a race to the finish… Unless it is.  If the point of GTBM,S was to impress the audience with how quickly and how much low can spit a monologue, low succeeds. But, we couldn’t tell that this was his goal. He needs to indicate this to us. 

Some of this can be excused by the medium of Zoom. A one-person show without an audience is torture for an artist. We create with the presumption that an audience will share the room when we perform. Without the audience, we fly by the seat of our pants. It’s anyone’s guess how things will turn out. We can only hope for the best.

Based on the GTBM,S trailer from the 2019 Minnesota Fringe, I’m going to make an educated guess that low’s speed is intentional. If low’s intent truly was to tell a convoluted story overflowing with references across modern and archaic world history while ripping Christianity a new one, he needs to slow down so the audience can receive the story.

Storytelling can be as alinear as the space time continuum but, if it’s for an audience, it also has to be available to that audience. Artists need to perform at the same speed that an audience listens. Anything else is masturbatory.   

Next performance of Get Thee Behind Me, Santa: Friday 7/24 at 9:00pm

FestivalPVD runs July 19 – August 1, 2020
Information about the 2020 festival HERE
FringePVD on Facebook

Jul 13

“Pride Marches On” is a Digital Showcase

Presented by Company One Theatre
Hosted by (and Featuring a Performance By) Neon Calypso
Poetry by Nico Pang
“Permission” Written by Kirsten Greenidge
Directed by Josh Glenn-Kayden
Performed by Tatiana Isabel Gil & Hayley Spivey
Technical Production by Mads Massey

Performance on Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WOyjh79VsEo
Facebook link: https://www.facebook.com/companyone/

Review by Chloé Cunha

YOUTUBE — Pride – and just about everything else – may have been canceled this year, but leave it to the queer community to rally anyway and keep the show going. “Pride Marches On” is a digital showcase of a few different art forms, featuring poetry from Nico Pang, a play by Kirsten Greenidge, and a drag performance from Neon Calypso, who doubles as host for the show. It’s a short, fun and politically engaging piece of media for anyone who needs a break from their Netflix binge (be honest, you’re probably getting into some obscure territory by now anyway). Continue reading