Sleeping Weazel Provides an Intimate Winter Escape

 

Review by James Wilkinson

 

A Winter Gathering – Production Designer: Mirta Tocci. Lighting Designer: Colin McNamee. Sound Designer: Oliver Seagle. Presented by Sleeping Weazel at the BCA Black Box, 527 Tremont St. Boston, through February 24th.

 

When I walked into Sleeping Weazel’s production of A Winter Gathering, I had been awake for thirteen hours and had probably spent about a good third of that time staring at my phone. Not for any sort of emergency purpose, just the regular checking of email, Facebook, text messages and blogs that has slowly grown to be the new normal of daily activity. I went into the theater space with the sort of addled static brain feeling that comes from spending so much time with your eyeballs glued to the glowing screen of a handheld device.

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Trinity’s Modern Day ‘OTHELLO’ Brings Energy and Vitality to Classic

 

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

 

Trinity Repertory Company’s newest production of their 54th season is “Othello” by William Shakespeare. This show is about friendship and betrayal, love and jealousy. Once Othello’s most trusted confidante, Iago’s envy-fueled passions unleash a betrayal with catastrophic results for Othello and his beloved bride, Desdemona. Shakespeare’s profound tragedy is an enduring story of race, love, envy, gender inequality and repentance. This stripped-down retelling is the portrait of an unraveling mind amid a society engulfing and destroying its very best.

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Praxis Breathes New Life into a Timeless Gem with ‘for colored girls’

(Left to Right):Tonasia Jones, Kerline Desir, Dayenne C. Byron Walters, Ciera-Sadé Wade, Thomika Birdwell, Karimah Williams, Verna Hampton. Photo Credit: Roberto Mighty

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf’  – Written by Ntozake Shange; Directed by Dayenne CB Walters; Music Composition by Patrick Casky; Choreography by W. Lola Remy; Costume Design by Cassandra Cacoq; Lighting Design by Ashley Yung. Presented by Praxis Stage at Hibernian Hall, 184 Dudley St. in Roxbury through February 25th.

 

Given the current state of political affairs, there may not be a better time to revive for colored girls who have considered suicide/when the rainbow is enuf, now being presented by Praxis Stage with an extraordinary production at Hibernian Hall through next weekend. Praxis was formed on November 9th, 2016, “as a response to the disaster of Trump’s election” according to their mission statement, and there are few theatrical works that better portray the ability of African-American women to persevere and be a force than “for colored girls” – as we saw in December when they were the primary driver behind the defeat of Trump-backed Roy Moore in the special Senate election.

 

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OTP’s ‘An Education in Prudence’ Hits Timely Note

 

By Michele Markarian

 

An Education in Prudence – Written by Stefan Lanfer. Directed by Pascale Florestal. Presented by Open Theatre Project, St. John’s Church, 1 Roanoke Avenue, Jamaica Plain, MA, through February 24.

 

Although “An Education in Prudence” takes place in 1833, and the educational issues it deals with have been resolved, the undertones and attitudes around the issues resonate sharply with today’s divisive America. In witnessing the drama, one can’t help but be reminded of what ensues when closed minds refuse to unfold, not just with racism, but with sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, and fear of the other.

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Animated Pre-Teen Trans Experience ‘Torrey Pines’ at ArtsEmerson Has Universal Appeal

 

 

by Mike Hoban

 

‘Torrey Pines’ – Director: Clyde Petersen; Animators: Clyde Petersen & Chris Looney; Production Team: Aidan Baxter-Ferguson, Jack Carroll, Dena Zilber, Terrance Robinson, Merce Lemon, Zach Burba & Leah Gold. Original music recorded in collaboration with Kimya Dawson and Chris Walla. Presented by ArtsEmerson at the Emerson Paramount Center Jackie Liebergott Black Box through February 17.

 

Admittedly, Torrey Pines, the moving and often hilarious stop-motion animated feature film now making its Boston premiere at the Emerson Paramount Center Jackie Liebergott Black Box, is not your everyday coming of age story. In the director’s notes, Clyde Petersen says his film – which is also accompanied by his live band, Your Heart Breaks,  – “is for queer punks, trans youth and people who struggle with mental health issues in their lives”, but it’s also for anyone who enjoys imaginative animation, quirky (and painful) storytelling, and great live music.

 

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A Winning and Entertaining Beauty and the Beast at Wheelock

 

By Michele Markarian

 

Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Music by Alan Mencken, Lyrics by Howard Ashman and Tim Rice, Book by Linda Woolverton. Directed by Jane Staab. Choreography by Laurel Conrad;
Musical Direction by Steven Bergman.
Presented by Wheelock Family Theatre, 200 The Riverway, Boston, MA, through March 4.

 

Belle (the appealing Justine “Icy” Moral) is the daughter of an eccentric inventor, Maurice (Robert Saoud). Both father and daughter are considered weird in their provincial town, he for his odd creations and she for her love of books. The one thing Belle gets kudos for is her great beauty, so much so that the handsomest man in town, Gaston (Mark Linehan) is hell-bent on marrying her (Gaston is so handsome that I considered pulling Belle aside and saying, “Look, kid, you can always get divorced”). Belle, a deep girl, recognizes that although Gaston is gorgeous, he is not a nice man underneath, and refuses his proposal.

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Commonwealth Shakespeare’s ‘Death and the Maiden’ a Taut Psychological Thriller

 

by Mike Hoban

 

Written by Ariel Dorfman, Directed by Steven Maler; Clint Ramos, Scenic and Costume Designer; Jeff Adelberg, Lighting Designer; Arshan Gailus, Sound Designer. Presented by the Commonwealth Shakespeare Company in residence at Babson College, Sorenson Center for the Arts, 231 Forest Street, Wellesley, MA through February 11

 

It may be early in the theater season, but it’s unlikely that you’re going to see anything this year that will match the sheer intensity of Commonwealth Shakespeare Company’s outstanding production of Death and the Maiden. Director Steven Maler has assembled a top-notch creative team for this political and psychological thriller, which has an all-too-short run (concluding this weekend) at the Sorenson Center Black Box on the Babson campus, the (relatively) new home of CSC.

 

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Fresh Ink Theatre Invites You to Meet the Echo Family

 

Review by James Wilkinson

 

Nomad Americana – Written by Kira Rockwell. Director: Damon Krometis. Assistant Director: Sloth Levine. Dramaturg: Sara Brookner. Scenic Design: Baron E. Pugh. Lighting Design: Jess Krometis. Costume Design: Chelsea Kerl. Prop Design: Elizabeth Cahill. Dialect Consultant: Elizabeth Milanovich. Fight Choreographer: Margaret Clark; Special Education Consultant: Erin Ronder Neves. Presented by Fresh Ink Theatre at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre 949 Commonwealth Ave, Boston through February 18, 2018.

 

All hail the family unit, that rich treasure box of theatrical possibilities playwrights have been mining material from since the days of Medea and Oedipus Rex. We’re a few thousand years removed from those theatrical mainstays, but playwrights up through Eugene O’Neil, Sam Shepard and Paula Vogel have continually found new ways to break apart and examine familial bonds and their effects. To what extent are we our parents? How do we become our own individuals without shattering our ties to our family? Is that even possible? These are some of the questions playwright Kira Rockwell is contending with in her new play Nomad Americana, now being presented by Fresh Ink Theatre at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre. The play is a loving look at a family as one woman begins to wonder what’s next for her.

 

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Huntington’s BAD DATES Delivers Laughs…And More

 

Bad Dates – Written by Theresa Rebeck; Directed by Jessica Stone; Scenic Design by Alexander Dodge; Costume Design by Sarah Laux; Lighting Design by David J. Weiner; Sound Design by Drew Levy. Presented by the Huntington Theatre Company, Huntington Avenue Theatre, 264 Huntington Ave., Boston through March 3rd.

 

Bad Dates, Theresa Rebeck’s one-woman play now making its return to the Huntington after a smash run in 2004, is billed as a comedy, but it’s actuality it’s much more than that. At the outset it appears to be just another amusing discourse on dating – which is always a rich vein to mine for laughs – but as the plot unfolds it becomes sneakily poignant. And in the hands of the gifted comic actress Haneefah Wood and director Jessica Stone, the piece is transformed into a masterful piece of storytelling.

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ART’s “Hear Word!” Triumphant and Powerful

 

By Michele Markarian

 

Hear Word!  Naija Woman Talk True –Written by Ifeoma Fafunwa, Tunde Aladese, Mojisola Abijola, Wole Oguntokun, Princess Olufemi-Kayode, Ijeoma Ogwuegbu. Directed by Ifeoma Fufunwa. Presented by American Repertory Theater, 64 Brattle Street, Cambridge through February 11.

 

After seeing “Hear Word”, I spent the day texting friends, urging them to get tickets to this powerful, life-affirming show.  Here’s my text to you –

 

“Hear Word” is a collection of vignettes written from interviews with Nigerian women and performed by a talented cast of ten women. Grounded in truth and accompanied by three talented drummers (Blessing Idireri, a.k.a. Kacomari, Emeka Anokwuru a.k.a. Make Beat, and Ebisidor Asiyai) the stories are funny and tragic, sometimes both at the same time. Living in a society where men hold all the cards, the women have to constantly fight to protect their bodies, their dignity and their right to be who they are. If that weren’t enough, relationships with their own sex, including mothers and mothers-in-laws, tend to be judgmental and without compassion.   Which is why the piece is so powerful – it is compassionate, and compassion, when in short supply, doesn’t come easy.

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