Posts

Showing posts from 2020

Review: Take the Fantastical "Journey Around My Bedroom" with Your Favorite Young Minds

Image
  Journey Around My Bedroom Written by Dianne Nora Directed by Jaclyn Biskup Presented by New Ohio Theatre for Young Minds December 26, 2020-January 10, 2021 live via Zoom and January 11-February 11, 2021 on demand Photo by New Ohio Theatre In 1790, French military and government official Xavier de Maistre penned the parodic travel narrative Voyage Autour de ma Chambre ( Voyage Around My Room ; published 1794) while under house arrest for dueling. A sequel, Expédition Nocturne Autour de ma Chambre ( Night Voyage Around My Room ), followed in 1825. While this might seem like an unlikely point of departure for a play aimed at children, many children's lives must feel like a form of house arrest right now, and Dianne Nora takes inspiration from de Maistre's works for Journey Around My Bedroom , a charming, whimsical puppet play about a girl, the power of her imagination, and her embracing of her own courage.   That girl is Xavi (Ashley Kristeen Vega), and when we first meet her,

Review: Bring "Homesick" into Your Home for the Holidays

Image
Homesick Movement and choreography by Danielle Agami Directed and edited by Samantha Shay Music by ZAAR Presented by Source Material via streaming December 20, 2020-January 10, 2021 Danielle Agami and Jordan Klitzke. Image courtesy Emily Owens PR A work themed around the feeling of homesickness certainly seems appropriate for a time when many people's annual holiday gatherings will not take place. The short dance film Homesick made its world premiere on December 20th, followed by a Q&A, moderated by artist and CalArts Professor of Dance Cinema Francesca Penzani, with star and choreographer Danielle Agam, director Samantha Shay, cinematographer Victoria Sendra, and composer Sara Flindt, who makes experimental music as ZAAR. Homesick presents a cinematic reimagining of Agami's solo work Framed , which focuses on a peripatetic artist and the end of a relationship. The fifteen-minute Homesick and the accompanying Q&A will be viewable to ticket purchasers through January

Review: "RIIIchard" Presents a Stylish, Non-Traditional Take on a Much Maligned King

Image
  RIIIchard Written by Norman Briski Filmmaking by Frank Fantini; stage lighting by Miguel Ángel Valderrama Presented by Teatro Latea via live streaming December 17-19, 2020 In the popular imagination, Richard III has become synonymous with villainy, a hunchbacked, scheming child murderer. The Richard of Argentine actor, director, and playwright Norman Briski, however, is not the monster of Sir Thomas More and later, and most influentially, William Shakespeare. Briski's stripped-down short play RIIIchard offers a Richard who diverges from these traditional portrayals and whose ambition is not merely self-directed. Richard (Bruno Giraldi), holding a drink, begins the play with some of the familiar lines about the winter and discontent but quickly departs from his Bardic forbear, holding forth in a liberal admixture of Spanish and English dialogue that continues throughout the performance. Eventually, the camera pulls out to frame Richard between two women (Josefina Lausirica and V

Review: "pen/man/ship" Delivers a Great Voyage for the Audience, If Not the Characters

Image
  pen/man/ship Written by Christina Anderson Directed by Lucie Tiberghien Presented by Molière in the Park and French Institute Alliance Française December 12, 2020 (live) and December 12-January 4, 2020 (recorded) via YouTube Jared McNeill. Photo courtesy DARR Publicity. If nothing else, Christina Anderson's play pen/man/ship certainly throws into relief that our continuing state of semi-confinement in homes with Netflix and streaming theater is pretty cushy compared to confinement aboard a sail-driven former whaling ship traversing the Atlantic. pen/man/ship continues Molière in the Park's virtual season and marks its compelling first foray into contemporary drama. Dedicated to free theater, Molière in the Park brings this trenchant, engaging production to audiences for the low price of pulling up YouTube (but you can donate here !). Beginning with some of animator Emily Rawson's silhouette-centered work, the production draws us inside a ship sailing from the United Sta

Review: "Inside the Wild Heart" More Than Meets the Promise of Its Title

Image
Inside the Wild Heart Conceived by Andressa Furletti and Debora Balardini, based on the works of Claire Lispector Directed by Linda Wise Presented by Group .BR via gather.town November 27-December 20, 2020 Photo by Erika Morillo As we have settled into pandemic life, we have gotten used to theater, with a very limited number of exceptions, being something that takes place on YouTube or Zoom. And while some productions have made very inventive use of the features of these platforms, the current offering from Group .BR, New York's sole Brazilian theater company, takes virtual theater very literally somewhere new. Inside the Wild Heart , a celebration of the work of lauded Brazilian fiction writer Clarice Lispector (1920-1977), through gather.town, a browser-based service which allows for the creation of custom virtual spaces. Inside the Wild Heart , the title of which alludes to Lispector's debut, stream-of-consciousness novel, Near to the Wild Heart ( Perto do coração selvagem

Review: Roger Q. Mason Shines Brightly in The Fire This Time Alumni Spotlight

Image
The Fire This Time Alumni Spotlight: Roger Q. Mason Presented by The Fire This Time Festival in collaboration with FRIGID New York via Facebook and YouTube Live November 24, 2020 live, and recording streaming on YouTube This Thanksgiving week, when we are supposed to be thinking about what we are grateful for, and ideally also about the dark undersides of our national mythology, seems like a particularly fitting time for the first annual The Fire This Time Festival Alumni Spotlight. The Fire This Time (TFTT), founded in 2009, amplifies Black voices by showcasing the work of writers of the African diaspora through short plays, staged readings, and more. As well as a richly deserved celebration of Roger Q. Mason and his artistry, this inaugural Alumni Spotlight also acted as a fundraiser for TFTT: donations can be made via TFTT's website . In addition to a sampling of Mason's corpus, the Spotlight featured reflections from a selection of other theater artists. TFTT Artistic Di

Review: "A Day" Will Stick with You Much Longer

Image
  A Day Written by Gabrielle Chapdelaine Translated by Josephine George Directed by Sameul Buggeln and Wendy Dann Presented by The Cherry Artists' Collective via YouTube Live November 13-21, 2020 Sylvie Yntema, Karl Gregory, Jahmar Ortiz, Erica Steinhagen. Courtesy Emily Owens PR Each twenty-four-hour period simultaneously brings a fresh start and another installment of a seemingly endless repetition, one aspect of our lived experience among many poignantly captured by Montreal-based playwright Gabrielle Chapdelaine's A Day . Presented by The Cherry Artists' Collective in a translation by Josephine George, A Day follows two men and two women from one midnight to the next, demonstrating along the way that mundane does not mean unimportant. The actors playing these central characters livestream their performances from partitioned spaces on the stage of Ithaca's State Theater, and the live portion is seamlessly blended with pre-recorded elements, including interactions w

Review: "Keely and Du" Presents a Different, Scarier Kind of Quarantine

Image
  Keely and Du Written by Jane Martin Directed by Brandon Walker and Erin Cronican Presented by The Seeing Place Theater October 31-November 1, 2020 via Zoom and November 3-7, 2020 via YouTube Audrey Heffernan Meyer (Du) and Erin Cronican (Keely). Credit: The Seeing Place Beginning on the last day of Domestic Violence Awareness Month and extending through an election week that may have significant ramifications for women's health and reproductive rights (as well as the continued existence of the nation as a democracy) and that arrives hard on the heels of the installation of a Supreme Court justice hostile to these rights comes The Seeing Place Theater (TSP)'s reading of Keely and Du , a work that is deeply rooted in issues of women's bodily autonomy. This reading of (the pseudonymous) Jane Martin's Pulitzer Prize-nominated 1994 play about a pregnant woman kidnapped by a radical Christian anti-choice group continues TSP's its excellent "Body Politic" seas

Review: "The Pumpkin Pie Show: Quarantine Tales" Is Coming from Inside the House!

Image
  The Pumpkin Pie Show: Quarantine Tales Written by Clay McLeod Chapman Performed by Clay McLeod Chapman and Hanna Cheek Presented via YouTube Live October 31, 2020 Clay McLeod Chapman. Photo credit: Antonia Stoyanovich Halloween has, sadly, come to an end (although this coming week might be the really frightening one). If end it must, then at least this season of scares came to a creepy, funny, and enjoyably unsavory close with a new installment of Clay McLeod Chapman's macabre storytelling series The Pumpkin Pie Show . The show boasts a history stretching back to 1996, and with its latest (re)incarnation, The Pumpkin Pie Show: Quarantine Tales , playwright, novelist, and comics writer Chapman joined fellow performer Hanna Cheek to bring a quartet of finely crafted and expertly told tales into audiences' homes via the dark magic of YouTube Live . The four stories, totaling about an hour, are each narrated in first-person, often with a sense of confessional intimacy that inten

Review: "A Five Mile Radius" Details a Social-Media Blast Zone

Image
  A Five Mile Radius Written by Tasha Partee Directed by Jim Furlong and Devin Klos Presented by Hudson Guild Theatre Company via YouTube October 23-25, 2020 [UPDATE 10/27/20: additional performances have been added from Friday October 30th at 7:30PM through Sunday November 1st, ending at 5PM] Top left: Stacey Wright (Edie), below left: Michelle Quintero (Caitlin), below right: Tasha Partee (Roberta). Photo credit: Devin Klos Hudson Guild, focused on the Chelsea area, provides services in the arts, education, mental health, community building and more to more than 14,000 people of varied sociocultural and socioeconomic backgrounds per year. Its dramatic arm, Hudson Guild Theatre Company (HGTC), founded in 1994, involves community members, particularly the economically disadvantaged, as spectators and participants in live theater, as well as serving "more than 4,000 low income residents of diverse cultural backgrounds and their youth in neighborhood schools." HGTC's lates

News: Live Performances of "DEBATE: Baldwin vs Buckley" via YouTube and Cable Oct. 22, 23, and 24 [UPDATE: now avail. through 11/15]

Image
  Image courtesy Spin Cycle PR the american vicarious in collaboration with BRIC will broadcast  DEBATE: Baldwin vs Buckley , a live staging of the historic clash between James Baldwin and William F. Buckley Jr.,   October 22, 23, and 24. This live staging will be streamed and broadcast via YouTube and cable. UPDATE 10/17/20:  If you missed the live streamed performances, one night’s broadcast is now available to watch anytime for free via YouTube through November 15. View it here .   “Is the American Dream at the expense of the American Negro?” This was the topic on February 18, 1965 when an overflow crowd packed the Cambridge Union in Cambridge, England, to bear witness to a historic televised debate between James Baldwin, the leading literary voice of the civil rights movement, and William F. Buckley Jr., a fierce critic of the movement and America’s most influential conservative intellectual. The stage was set for an epic confrontation that pitted Baldwin’s call for a moral revolu

Review: "Far Away" Hits Close to Home

Image
  Far Away Written by Caryl Churchill Directed by Cheryl Faraone Presented by PTP/NYC via YouTube October 15-18, 2020 Nesba Crenshaw (Harper), Ro Boddie (Todd), and Caitlin Duffy (Joan)  PTP/NYC (Potomac Theatre Project), in association with Middlebury College, has been presenting its thirty-fourth season virtually, and Caryl Churchill's 2000 play Far Away concludes this season. These performances, presented via PTP/NYC's YouTube channel , have been free, but not only are any donations welcomed by PTP/NYC but 10% of all donations benefit the National Black Theatre, the oldest continuously-operated Black theater in New York City. Assured and entertaining, PTP/NYC's production of Churchill's absurdist indictment of human violence, oppression, and tribalism feels powerfully relevant to our present moment. The play opens with a close-up of an eye, then eyes, suggesting the themes of witnessing, secrecy, and perspective to follow. Far Away , which comes in at under an hou

News: "Risk!" Storytelling Podcast Next Episode Oct 9 and Halloween Special Oct 23

Image
  The next RISK! Live Online Show will take place on Friday, October 9 at 10:00pm ET / 7:00pm PT  Kevin Allison ( The State ) and a fantastic crew of storytellers will come together for RISK! 's latest live online show. This show will be broadcast via a webinar format on Zoom, and will feature incredible true stories from Jamie J. Brunson, Alex Edelman, Jessieca McNabb and M.J. Kang. The price: $15, and only 100 tickets are available. Ticket link: https://zoom.us/webinar/ register/3315984743950/WN_ NJDspE02Qr6PmaDe9RSWPA Coming up later in the month, the Halloween RISK ! livestream happens on Friday, October 23 at 10pm ET / 7pm PT. This will be the show's annual Halloween show, and a special celebrity guest will be guest-hosting on this night, to be announced shortly! Listen to RISK! on your favorite podcast player . Visit RISK!’s website . Follow RISK! on Facebook . Follow RISK! on Twitter . Follow RISK! on Instagram .

News: Outdoor, Socially-Distanced Pop-Up Solo Performances Coming This October

Image
  Photo courtesy Spin Cycle PR A handful of intrepid solo performers are presenting live, outdoor pop-up performances of their acclaimed solo shows this fall. These intimate storytelling events are presented using the LiveTours app and performed for an audience of 14 or less. Ticket buyers must have a smartphone and headphones or earbuds. By downloading the app in advance, patrons will be able to clearly hear the performer while being able to maintain a safe social distance. The exact meetup location (as well as instructions and safety protocols) will be emailed to ticket buyers in advance of the performance. It is suggested that patrons bring their own pillow/blanket/portable chair for seating and wear comfortable shoes. Face masks must be worn at all times -- no eating or drinking during the course of the event. In case of rain, refunds will be issued. Tickets are $20 each, available at SpinCycleNYC.com . Currently scheduled performances include: BETTE DAVIS AIN’T FOR SISSIES Written

Review: "Zero Cost House (for Zoom)" Offers Thoreau-ly Entertaining Deconstruction

Image
Zero Cost House (for Zoom) Written by Toshiki Okada Translated by Aya Ogawa Adapted and directed by Dan Rothenberg Presented by Pig Iron Theatre Company via Zoom September 18-25, 2020 Dito van Reigersberg, Alex Torra, and puppets by Maiko Matsushima. Photo by Mary McCool. The extra-diegetic echo that Pig Iron Theatre Company's first digital presentation, Zero Cost House (for Zoom) , includes a natural disaster interrupting development of a play represents precisely the kind of layered resonances that suffuse the play itself. Written by Japanese playwright Toshiki Okada and elegantly staged by Pig Iron, Zero Cost House , reimagined for virtual presentation after a live debut in 2012, playfully and thoughtfully troubles the boundaries of identity as well as the lines between artist and character, autobiography and fiction, and self-presentation and performance. Divided into three chapters, with a short intermission, Zero Cost House ostensibly tells the story of Okada's attempt

News: "Ghost Hunt: The Hall-Mills Double Homicide," an Asynchronous Multi-City Theatrical Adventure, Has Begun

Image
Image courtesy Kampfire PR Thinkery and Verse (Karen Alvarado and J.M. Meyer, co-artistic directors) and Butch Mermaid (Ania Upstill, artistic director) have annoucned their collaboration in the world premiere experiential production of Ghost Hunt: The Hall-Mills Double Homicide , based on their more traditional Hall-Mills stage-play, Thou Shalt Not , which was set to premiere this spring in New York City. Part podcast, part gaming (think Pokemon Go ), part theatrical production, this unique experience is entirely Covid-19 safe (set in a NJ community which has lost over 1400 people to the illness) and uses a free gaming app called ‘GeoCaching,’ in which audiences will track, hunt, and discover hidden caches at locations tied to Hall-Mills murders. Ghost Hunt  is a geo-cached audio adventure that invites participants to experience the story of a tragic double homicide at the sites where the murders occurred and justice was lost. “This is an innovative, experimental, and experiential aud