Compiled by Bill Marx
In the age of COVID-19, Arts Fuse critics have come up with a guide to film, dance, visual art, theater, and music — mostly available by streaming — for the coming weeks. More offerings will be added as they come in.
The 19th International Film Series goes virtual this year: eight of the world’s top films are available for streaming for one week, each screening followed by virtual discussions led by either the filmmaker or an expert on the film’s subject.
“Based largely on director Sarah Suco’s experience growing up in a community that espoused sharing and solidarity, this feature debut focuses on a 12 year-old girl, who becomes a social outcast at school when her parents join a controlling religious commune in southwestern France. The film portrays the damaging effects such cults can have on family members, effectively brainwashing them into giving up their true selves for what appears to be a greater spiritual calling.” Screening plus discussion on April 19 at 7:30 p.m.
Starts screening on April 20.
A gang of street boys enrolls in a school to dig for hidden treasure below its grounds in Majid (Children of Heaven) Majidi’s Iranian drama. The feature condemns child labor and Majidi is the right man for the job: he has made some of the most visually stunning and emotionally stirring films in world cinema about the plight of underprivileged, exploited, and abused young people. According to the Hollywood Reporter, Sun Children is one of his very best. Screening plus discussion on April 26 at 7:30 p.m.
WICKED QUEER FESTIVAL
Now through April 30
Featuring 17 short programs and 24 feature films, the 37th Annual Wicked Queer Festival will be available online through the month. Selections can be screened via Xerb.tv, The Brattlite: The Brattle Virtual Cinema, and the TheatreArtsEmerson Virtual Cinema. Complete Schedule of Features. Complete Schedule of Shorts
Take your pick of screens for this new film from Maria Sødahl (Limbo). It stars the inimitable Stellan Skarsgård, who gives a knockout performance alongside Andrea Bræin Hovig. The two portray an unmarried couple who have raised a blended family. When the wife receives a diagnosis that suggests she may have terminal cancer they take a hard look at their years together and the meaning of their relationship. This is a richly rewarding film that serves up challenging insights about the human condition: the complexities of love, mortality, and family. Highly recommended. It is Norway’s Official Submission to Academy Awards.
EARTH DAY AT THE GOETHE INSTITUT
April 19 through 25
In a small East German town shortly before the fall of the Wall, Ulla, a sensitive 10th-grader, meets computer-obsessed Winfried, son of the manager of a chemical plant. Ulla discovers that a trout farm and weekend home are being built illegally in a local conservation area. She passionately agitates to stop the construction project, but the situation becomes personally and politically complicated when she discovers Winfried’s father is responsible. As her school friends gradually give up on saving the reserve, Ulla is left to face some serious consequences. The film is free, but registration required.
THE HIDDEN LIFE OF TREES
Coolidge Virtual Theater
April 22 through 25
Based on his bestselling book, Peter Wohlleben shows us how trees exist and thrive, discussing the cycles of life, death, and regeneration he has observed in various woodlands. He presents his impressive ecological, biological, and academic expertise with matter-of-fact candor. Trees are amazing natural mechanisms whose power we are blissfully unaware of — increasingly at our peril. Tickets
KINO POLSKA: NEW POLISH CINEMA
April 30 through May 6
The Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) brings together the best new works from Poland in a series that highlights a new generation of boundary-pushing filmmakers. This year’s virtual lineup includes a surreal animated feature, a vision of dystopian blood feuds, a poignant drama about a Vietnamese-Polish family, and the New York premiere of Poland’s Oscar submission, Never Gonna Snow Again. Agnieszka Holland’s Mr. Jones will also be streamed (Arts Fuse review). Tickets and information
Under the Brattlite/Brattle is showing World Cinema, Cult Cinema, one-offs, documentaries and classics: Viewing is getting more complicated than ever but all purchases will go to the theater. Check the above links. Below are current recommendations.
Justino is an Indigenous widower in Brazil where he works long shifts as a security guard. From time to time he returns to his family in the Amazon. His daughter decides to study medicine and her decision disrupts what had been a very predictable life. In response, he comes down with a mysterious fever. Documentary filmmaker and visual artist Maya Da-Rin has come up with a film that challenges conventional expectations. She workshopped this production with nonprofessional actors and makes use of innovative storytelling techniques. She patiently and effortlessly weaves themes of family and so-called civilization into a blend of documentary style realism and mysticism. Indigenous actor Regis Myrupu is astounding and heartbreaking. Evoking the archetypal and the quotidian, the director’s feeling for her subject is in every compelling shot. This is a masterful tale of the significance of unheralded lives. Not to be missed.
Malni — Towards the Ocean, Towards the Shore
Streaming begins on April 9.
“A poetic, experimental debut feature circling the origin of the death myth from the Chinookan people in the Pacific Northwest, this film follows two people as they wander through their surrounding nature, the spirit world, and something much deeper inside. At its center are Sweetwater Sahme and Jordan Mercier, who take separate paths contemplating their afterlife, rebirth, and death. Probing questions about humanity’s place on earth and other worlds, Sky Hopinka’s film will have audiences thinking (and dreaming) about it long after.”
This is a beautiful restoration of the radical 1972 antiwar film featuring, among others, Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland. (The title is short for Free (or Fuck) The Army.) Francine Parker’s documentary captures the two actors on a live tour of the Pacific Rim in 1971 along with other stars in a vaudeville style show. These counterculture skits, songs — which made serious political points — subverted the traditional army entertainment provided by the likes of Bob Hope and the USO. In order to undermine the tour, the Army went as far as to promote the shows via erroneous start times. In 2009, the LA Times wrote: “Denied permission to perform on U.S. bases, they set up shop in nearby coffeehouses and other venues.” Arts Fuse review
The Inheritance has been called “Godardian” because of its “speculative reenactments,” direct address to the camera, and didacticism regarding the struggle for Black identity. A charismatic cast drives an interlocking story that draws on the history of the West Philadelphia liberation group MOVE, the Black Arts Movement, and scripted scenes based on filmmaker Ephraim Asili’s experience living in a Black Marxist collective. Arts Fuse review
Fuse critic Peter Walsh thinks the documentary covers a lot of dark and tragic territory, but it remains entertaining throughout, no doubt more than anything else from its skill in capturing the fierce, tender, acidic, brilliant, and ultimately inextinguishable energy of its subject, artist David Wojnarowicz, a determinedly “outsider” artist who was among the most furiously outspoken victims of the AIDS epidemic. Chris McKim’s documentary is largely composed of materials from the late subject’s archives, woven into a collage whole that is equal parts biography, vintage agitprop, and objet d’art. Arts Fuse review
ShortsTV has proudly brought the Oscar Nominated Short Films to audiences across the globe for over a decade. They are available for streaming now. Place your bets!
FUSE REVIEWS — LOCAL THEATERS
Arts Fuse critic Nicole Veneto writes “What elevates Psycho Goreman beyond being merely another kitschy send-up to VHS-era nostalgia is the sheer level of craft on display: stop-motion claymation, full-body prosthetics and creature suits, giant animatronic puppets, buckets and buckets of stage blood…practically done head explosions or the presence of a giant animatronic brain with fully articulated tentacles.” (Fuse review)
From the director of Room 237, this is a lively (yet superficial) exploration of the theory that our reality is actually a computer simulation. The documentary’s jumping off point is a lecture delivered by the writer Philip K. Dick in France in the ’70s. Dick was a genuine artist, and also lived with mental illness; his pained “revelations” about his perceptions of the world around him are moving to hear. (Fuse review)
First time director Fernanda Valadez takes on the story of a mother who loses contact with her son after he leaves Guanajuato, crossing over the border into the US in search of work. Desperate to find out what happened to him — to know whether or not he’s even alive — she goes on a harrowing journey to discover his whereabouts. (Fuse review)
Violation, now streaming on Shudder.
This no-holds-barred film doesn’t use extreme violence to revel in a revenge fantasy, but to expose the genre’s militantly feminist appeal — “kill your rapist” — as a self-destructive endeavor that offers no catharsis whatsoever. (Fuse review)
— Tim Jackson
Socially distanced live performance is tough enough for a quartet, even more so for large ensembles. So credit is due to the Aardvark Jazz Orchestra for soldiering on with beautifully tailored streaming presentations. They continue their 48th season with “Eclectic Excursions” — “an archival video with selections from Aardvark’s April 2014 concert at MIT’s Kresge Auditorium.” The program of originals by Aardvark music director Mark Harvey will include selections from his “BostonJazzSkape” suite (“inspired by the ongoing quest for racial justice”); “Samba313” (for Boston poet and community activist Jack Powers); “Spaceways,” a tribute to the Sun Ra Arkestra; and “No Walls,” Harvey’s “multi-genre suite inspired by Duke Ellington’s credo to move ‘beyond category’ in music and life.” (It’s worth noting that the piece predated the reign of the 45th US president). Harvey’s writing mixes passages of detailed multivoice writing, driving grooves, and free improvisation, played by a distinguished veteran crew, with the always-riveting vocal turns by singers Grace Hughes and Jerry Edwards. The show is free, but registration is required. A “live Zoom reception” will follow the music.
Arlington Jazz Festival
April 23-25, 8 p.m.
The 10th annual Arlington Jazz Festival will stream three one-hour concerts over the course of three nights. First up is the Witness Matlou Trio (April 23) with South African pianist Matlou (of Berklee’s Global Jazz Institute and a fellow at Harvard’s Center for African Studies), bassist John Lockwood (also a South African native, but a decades-long veteran of the Boston scene), and drummer Lee Fish; then MIXCLA (April 24), an Afro-Cuban trio with pianist Zahili Gonzalez Zamora, bassist Gerson Lazo Quiroga, and percussionist Takafumi Nikaido; and finally the Dan Fox Group (April 25), playing straight-ahead jazz with Brazilian accents, with trombonist Fox, saxophonist Jacques Schwarz-Bart, bassist Gregory Ryan, pianist Alexei Tsiganov, and drummer Rafael Barata. It’s free, but donations are welcome.
Rhythm + Brass
Matt Crane, Stephen Haynes, Forbes Graham, Ben Stapp
April 24 at 2 p.m.
Riverfront Park, Assembly Row, Somerville, MA
Another promising free-improv-leaning event from the Creative Music Series: Matt Crane (drums & percussion), Stephen Haynes (cornet, alto horn), Forbes Graham (trumpet), and Ben Stapp (tuba) dig in at Sylvester Baxter Riverfront Park, on the Mystic River, near the Assembly Row retail mecca. Despite the free-improv billing, it’s hard not to anticipate some fearsome grooves from this crew. It’s free, but donation are welcome.
In celebration of International Jazz Day (established by UNESCO in 2011), GBH and JazzBoston are presenting “JazzNOW (No Borders),” a livestream from GBH’s Fraser Performance Studio, with the World Jazz Trio, three Boston-based artists with international roots: Argentinean drummer and composer Guillermo Nojechowicz, Swedish-born bassist and composer Bruno Råberg, and South African pianist and composer Witness Matlou. Nojechowicz and Råberg are distinguished veterans of the Boston scene as both teachers (Berklee) and performers. It should be exciting to hear them mixing and matching ideas with next-generation Matlou, a fellow at Harvard’s Center for African Studies. GBH radio host Eric Jackson will emcee and conduct a post-concert interview. It’s free, but preregistration is required.
Free Jazz, improv!
May 1 at 4 p.m.
Corridor Park, Jamaica Plain, MA
A gathering of adventurous musicians that, at its best, will provide free-improv of shimmering transparency and edge-of-your-seat group narrative. The players: Jorrit Dijkstra (saxophones, electronics), Eric Hofbauer (guitar), Eric Rosenthal (drums), and Greg Kelley (trumpet). This Creative Music Series event is free, but donations are welcome. It’s outdoors, but COVID-19 protocols are in effect: masks, social distancing
— Jon Garelick
2021 NEA Jazz Masters Tribute Concert
April 22, 8 p.m. ET
Livestreamed via SFjazz.org and arts.gov, and multiple other radio, jazz, and cultural institution websites.
Like last year’s, the 2021 concert saluting the latest class of NEA Jazz Masters will be happening online. The honorees: two drummers — Boston’s own Terri Lyne Carrington and Albert “Tootie” Heath; saxophonist/flutist Henry Threadgill; and longtime jazz DJ with Columbia University’s WKCR, Phil Schaap. A starry cast will handle the musical duties, including music director Miguel Zenón, two Marsalises (Wynton and Jason), Dianne Reeves, Obed Calvaire, Avishai Cohen, Joe Lovano, Lind May Han Oh, Danilo Pérez, Lizz Wright, and more. Video testimonials will feature Herbie Hancock, Charles Lloyd, and Wayne Shorter, among others.
Felipe Salles Interconnections Ensemble: The New Immigrant Experience
April 24, 8 p.m. ET (w/a panel discussion at 3 p.m., ticketed separately)
Presented by Blues to Green (Springfield, MA) and Next Stage Arts (Putney, VT); streamed via Third Row
Saxophonist Felipe Salles knows a bit about the immigrant experience, having moved from São Paulo, Brazil, in 1995 for graduate studies (New England Conservatory, Manhattan School of Music) and eventually settling with his family in the Pioneer Valley area, where he is now a professor of jazz and African American music studies at UMass Amherst. Inspired by the lives of the immigrants covered by DACA, who were brought here as children and subject to the cruel vagaries of political shifts regarding their legal status, Salles conceived of the multimedia New Immigrant Experience. The Guggenheim-supported work features Salles’s big-band Interconnections Ensemble and filmed interviews with a number of “Dreamers,” using “speech cadences and melodic motifs based on key words as its main source of musical material.” The subject, unfortunately, continues to be all too timely. An afternoon panel discussion will discuss the work in light of the current political situation. And then the evening performance brings this stunning work and its urgent message into our homes.
— Evelyn Rosenthal
Motion State Dance Film Series
April 21 at 7 p.m. (EDT)
Join Motion State Arts and the Zeiterion Performing Arts Center for an evening of dance films and dialogue, livestreamed to your home. This third season lineup features contemporary dance films from Israel, Canada, Estonia, Iceland, and the USA. Be sure to stick around after the screening; Motion State Arts’s Ali Kenner Brodsky, Andy Russ, and the artists discuss the films in a free Q&A.
Artichoke Dance Company
In-person performance: 1:30-3 p.m. (ET) at Albee Square, New York, NY
Livestreamed performance: 2-2:30 p.m (ET) on Instagram live @ArtichokeDance
In celebration of Car Free Earth Day 2021, Artichoke Dance Company will be exciting New York viewers with a series of pop-up performances, co-presented with the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership. Join the company between 1:30-3 p.m. ET at Albee Square (corner of Fulton and Bond streets), or tune in remotely from 2-2:30 p.m. ET for a live-streamed performance on the company’s Instagram.
April 24 at 8 p.m (EDT)
Kelley Donovan & Dancers presents its latest virtual Speakeasy performance — a lively online celebration of local artistic talent. This round includes poetry by Karen Klein and Timothy Gager; choreography by Kelley Donovan, Roza Dance Company, and Boston Community Dance Project; Tarot readings by Madam Donova; and an open mic. Join as a viewer or participate yourself!
Boston Dance Alliance Gala 2021
May 2 at 5:30 p.m. (ET)
This year’s Boston Dance Alliance Gala honors Rozann Kraus (dancer, teacher, and administrator) and scientist Dr. Larry Pratt (who has worked with dancers for years as a collaborator, educator, and philanthropist). Come celebrate Kraus and Pratt’s impressive contributions to the Greater Boston dance community through this virtual livestreamed social event, including performances by Jean Appolon of Jean Appolon Expressions and Jessie Jeanne Stinnett of Boston Dance Theater.
The Time Traveler’s Lens
Opening Monday, April 19
Viewable remotely or in person (see website)
Luminarium Dance Company launches a groundbreaking new production using 360-degree videography and interdisciplinary choreography to present an extended reality (XR) immersive performance that illuminates the history of the colonnade at Princeton Battlefield State Park (Princeton, NJ). This site-specific performance comprises five 360-degree dance films; they are viewable as augmented reality (AR) across the battlefield grounds on visitors’ personal mobile devices or as a virtual reality (VR) experience outside of the grounds. As the time traveler, you control the lens as you explore the layers of past identities presented by this historic site, which include ties to the American Revolution (1777), Thomas Ustick Walter, famed architect of the US Capitol (1835), the Delaware & Raritan Canal (1901), as well as other glimpses into the colonnade’s rich and storied past.
— Merli V Guerra
The Catastrophist by Lauren M. Gunderson. A Trinity Repertory presentation, co-produced by Marin Theatre Company and Round House Theatre. Streaming through Trinity Rep through May 31. Also streaming via Central Square Theatre through April 30.
“Virologist Nathan Wolfe, named one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World for his work tracking viral pandemics, has hunted viruses from the jungles of Cameroon to the basement of the CDC. Hear his story — presented as cinematic digital theatre — as he tracks the threats that come from without and within.” Arts Fuse review
Dream Boston Plays, a new series of short audio plays produced by the Huntington Theatre Company: By the Rude Bridge by Melinda Lopez; Overture by Kate Snodgrass; McKim by Brenda Withers; and The 54th in ’22 by Kirsten Greenidge. Seven additional titles have been added to this series of short audio plays, entitled Dream Boston. Four plays were posted in July; the next seven are now being released. They are available on the Huntington’s website, as well as on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, and Stitcher.
“Conceived and commissioned by the Huntington artistic department, the company asked Huntington Playwriting Fellow alumni Kirsten Greenidge, Kate Snodgrass, and Brenda Withers, and Huntington Artist-in-Residence Melinda Lopez, to imagine their favorite locations, landmarks, and friends in a future Boston, when people can once again meet and thrive in the city — a vision of a future Boston that is somewhere between dream and reality. Arts Fuse review of Episodes 1 through 5.
“This next set of 7 plays includes works by local artists John Oluwole ADEkoje, Miranda ADEkoje, J. Sebastián Alberdi, Rosanna Yamagiwa Alfaro, Elle Borders, Patrick Gabridge, and John Kuntz. Each play is set at a specific local landmark with 1-3 characters, and is about 6 minutes in length. The local landmarks that serve as settings for this round of audio plays include Franklin Park, Harvard’s Memorial Church, the Harvard Art Museums, the Old State House, the Fenway nightclub Machine, Harrison Avenue, and Malcolm X Boulevard.”
“In an innovative collaboration devised to meet the challenges posed by the global health pandemic, the 2020 season will be the first-ever complete theatre season released by Audible, the leading creator and provider of premium audio storytelling. The WTF Season on Audible is being produced in an audio-only format safe to elevate, entertain, and transform audiences from the comfort of their homes.” Here is what is currently up and ready for earplay.
A Streetcar Named Desire: “Following his 2019 production of A Raisin in the Sun, Tony Award nominee Robert O’Hara returns to WTF to direct this Tennessee Williams masterpiece. With Emmy, Grammy, and six-time Tony Award winner Audra McDonald as Blanche DuBois alongside Carla Gugino as Stella. Haunted by her past, Blanche seeks refuge with Stella and Stanley (Ariel Shafir) in New Orleans, where she wrestles with the nature of her sister’s husband, her sister’s denial, and her own unraveling mind.”
Photograph 51: “In 1951, chemist Rosalind Franklin (Anna Chlumsky) works relentlessly in her King’s College London lab, closing in on a major discovery that could unlock the mysteries of the DNA molecule. Undermined by her colleague Maurice Wilkins (Omar Metwally), she struggles to compete with rival team Watson and Crick (David Corenswet and Aasif Mandvi) as pressure intensifies to produce results. The script is by Anna Ziegler; Susan Stroman directs.”
Animals by Stacy Osei-Kuffour. Directed by Obie Award winner Whitney White: “Lydia (Aja Naomi King) and Henry (Jason Butler Harner)’s dinner guests (Madeline Brewer and William Jackson Harper) are about to arrive when Henry’s spontaneous marriage proposal threatens to burn the evening to a crisp. Wine bottles and years of unspoken tensions are uncorked, and, before the evening is through, Lydia must confront her long-held fears and feelings if she’s going to commit to a future with Henry. World premiere of a comedy that marches into the muddy intersection of romantic entanglement, identity, pride, and survival.”
Chonburi International Hotel & Butterfly Club by Shakina Nayfack. Directed by Laura Savia. The world premiere of a play that centers on a vibrant, international group of transgender women who band together at a hotel in Thailand to confront the challenges and joys of gender confirmation surgery. Despite the group’s warm welcome, Kina (Nayfack) prepares for her life-altering operation all alone. But a caring nurse (Ivory Aquino), a wise couple (Kate Bornstein and Annie Golden), and a karaoke-loving bellhop (Telly Leung) may be exactly who she needs to ignite her truest sense of self.”
Paradise Blue by Dominique Morisseau. Directed by Ruben Santiago-Hudson. “It’s 1949 in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood, and there’s no better place to hear or play jazz than Paradise Club. Blue (Blair Underwood), club owner and trumpeter, can wail like no other, but as forces outside the club conspire to irreparably change life inside and outside Paradise’s walls, he must decide whether to stay or sell. Beholden to his girlfriend (Kristolyn Lloyd) and fellow bandmates (André Holland and Keith Randolph Smith), Blue faces an uncertain future as he reckons with his troubled past. When Silver (Simone Missick), a smooth and mysterious newcomer from Louisiana, steps onto the scene, everyone in Paradise must choose how to survive.”
Wish You Were Here by Sanaz Toossi. Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch.”Nazanin (Marjan Neshat) and her friends are on the brink of adulthood. As they prepare for a wedding, outside their living room the Iranian Revolution simmers and threatens to alter the course of their lives. Set over the course of 14 years, this timely play (receiving its world premiere) shines a light on the daring potential of friendship amid the relentless aftershocks of political upheaval.”
Row, Book by Daniel Goldstein. Music and lyrics by Dawn Landes. Directed by Tyne Rafaeli. Inspired by the nonfiction work A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure. “Tori (Grace McLean) aims to be the first woman to row solo across the Atlantic. As a child, she raised her younger brother Lamar (John McGinty), defending him against discrimination and neighborhood bullies. Now, with nothing but her body and a hand-built boat, she squares off with her own tormentor: the ocean. The world premiere of a musical that interrogates and reveals the resilience, fear, and ambition inside one individual undeterred by the odds.
Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare. Directed by Robert Falls. Staged by the Goodman Theatre, streaming from April 26 through May 9.
An encore performance of a well received 2013 production: “His city caught in a moral free-fall, the Duke of Vienna hands over power to Lord Angelo, who enforces long-dormant codes of chastity with zealous fervor. When a pious young nun pleads for the life of her condemned brother, Angelo’s response reveals a web of desire, deception and hypocrisy that infects every corner of society. Robert Falls’s daring production takes us into the heart of Shakespeare’s dark comedy, in which virtue and vice collide — and lust and the law are inextricably entwined.”
Play On! Othello By William Shakespeare. Translated by Mfoniso Udofia, Directed by Christopher V. Edwards. An Actors’ Shakespeare Project’s production of a version of the Bard’s tragedy commissioned by the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Streaming through May 9. Free.
“Othello, a Venetian soldier, has risen to new heights as the general of the Venetian army and recent husband to Desdemona, the daughter of a powerful statesperson. When Othello chooses to promote Cassio instead of Iago as his chief lieutenant, Iago is furious and begins to weave a complex web of revenge. Iago leads Othello to believe that Desdemona is unfaithful, triggering his jealousy (“the green-eyed monster”) and causing him to question his worthiness. Iago’s manipulation and Othello’s jealousy have terrible consequences for all. What role does race play in this story? Who do we trust and why? How are we vulnerable to those we trust the most?”
The Conjurors’ Club, a live interactive multi-magician virtual experience created by Vinny DePonto and Geoff Kanick. Streamed by the American Repertory Theater, Cambridge, MA, through May 16.
“For the first time in 100 years, the secretive magic society The Conjurors’ Club pulls back the curtain for an interactive experience that redefines the face of modern magic. Take a front-row seat and immerse yourself in the arcane and mysterious with three different magicians. Physical distance can’t keep the amazing mind-reading, reality-bending illusions, and extraordinary transformations from reaching through the screen and directly into your home.”
Leonora, la maga y la maestra, staged by Double Edge Theatre. A PEAK HD/ALL ARTS broadcast and online premiere event. Recorded at Montclair State University in October 2020. Free — the performance will remain on the All Arts website for the next 3 years.
Along with the Double Edge performance, there is a livestreamed conversation available for viewing between DE Artistic Director Stacy Klein and renowned Surrealist scholar Dr. Susan L. Aberth. The chat includes visual references to Carrington’s artwork as well as the troupe’s staging of Leonora, la maga y la maestra. Aberth’s books Leonora Carrington: Surrealism, Alchemy and Art (Lund Humphries)” and the recently published The Tarot of Leonora Carrington (Fulgur Press) have been profound influences on Double Edge’s work inspired by the world of Leonora Carrington.
This Is Who I Am by Amir Nizar Zuabi. Directed by Evren Odcikin. Presented by PlayCo and Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, in Association with American Repertory Theater, Guthrie Theater, and Oregon Shakespeare Festival. A virtual event, streaming through April 25. This event is ticketed through Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company.
Return engagement a script that “explores the unpredictable nature of grief and the delicacy of family connection across geographical and generational divides.” The production will be broadcast live for each performance. “Two actors perform a balancing act of care and resentment, closeness and vast separation, as they cook in real time over video chat. Separated by continents, an estranged father and son reunite over Zoom. From their respective kitchens in Ramallah and New York City, they recreate a cherished family recipe and struggle to bridge the gap between them, one ingredient at a time.” The cast includes Ramsey Faragallah (Dad) and Yousof Sultani (Son). Arts Fuse review
Unveiled, written, performed, and recorded by Rohina Malik. Originally co-presented with Greater Boston Stage Company. Presented and streamed by New Rep through April 18.
“Racism. Hate crimes. Love. Islam. Culture. Language. Life. Five Muslim women in a post-9/11 world serve tea and uncover what lies beneath the veil in this one-woman show.” Arts Fuse review of the 2018 stage production: “Malik’s concern over America’s persistent anti-Muslim streak is well-founded, but the continued popularity of Unveiled might also have something to do with her skill and compassion as a storyteller.”
Hype Man: A Break Beat Play by Idris Goodwin. (Original stage production directed by Shawn LaCount.) Film directed by John Oluwole ADEkoje and Shawn LaCount. Director of Photography, John Oluwole ADEkoje. Cinematography by John Oluwole ADEkoje and The Loop Lab. This is a digital reimagining of the Company One production, presented by the American Repertory Theatre, streaming via Virtual Oberon through May 6.
A film version of the play by poet and playwright Idris Goodwin about “a rapper, a beat-maker, and a hype man on the verge of making it big when the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager shakes the interracial hip-hop trio to the core and forces them to navigate issues of friendship, race, and protest.” Arts Fuse review of the 2018 stage production.
Krapp’s Last Tape by Samuel Beckett. Directed by Josh Short. Staged by the Wilbury Theatre Group. Presented live in the Main Hall of the Waterfire Arts Center, through April 25.
Pandemic got you down? Well, as Beckett says, “Nothing is funnier than unhappiness.” Tom Roberts plays “the titular Krapp, an embittered and dyspeptic man who marks the occasion of his 69th birthday by revisiting his 39-year-old self. Veering from outrage to contemplation, Krapp exhibits the ticks and tocks of a beaten man whose spirit unravels as the tapes unspool in ‘all that old misery’ of lost time.”
PLEASE NOTE: In accordance with Dept. of Health guidelines masks and face-coverings will be required by guests at all times. Ticket sales for the production are extremely limited and advance registration for all performances is required – no walk-up tickets will be available at the door. All audience members will required to complete and submit a Health & Safety Screener before attending.
Boston Theater Marathon XXIII: Special Zoom Edition, streaming will begin on April 1 and will continue each day (with the exception of Sundays) through May 28. Readings will start at 12 noon ET, and each play will be followed by a question and answer session with the audience.
For a second year, the BTM will be presented on Zoom for eight weeks. A year into the coronavirus pandemic, the arts are struggling for survival and the assistance provided by the BTM’s beneficiary — the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund — is needed more than ever. The event will feature 50 10-minute plays written by New England playwrights and presented by New England theatre companies.
Audiences will be encouraged to donate to participating theater companies and/or to the Theatre Community Benevolent Fund (TCBF), which provides financial relief to Boston-area theater artists in need. Last year’s Boston Theater Marathon XXII: Special Zoom Edition helped raise more than $56,000 for the charity.
Until the Flood by Dael Orlandersmith. Directed by Timothy Douglas. Staging by the Merrimack Repertory Theatre, streaming from April 21 through May 5.
“Ferguson, Missouri, 2014. The shooting death of teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer sparked weeks of protests and riots. Pulitzer Prize finalist Dael Orlandersmith interviewed a wide cross section of residents to create eight composite characters for her one-person play.” The script “eschews politics and the specifics of the shooting to explore the hopes, dreams, and struggles of these regular folks as they deal with fear and trauma. And grapple with the possibility of some kind of hope.” Maiesha McQueen stars.
Mud Season Mystery: The Lodger by Brenda Withers. Directed by Jess Chayes. A Northern Stage production that will be performed live on Zoom through May 2. Check theater site for times.
“A lodger arrives at a ramshackle London boarding house as news of a murderer sweeps through town. He fits the description — but is he guilty? And can we trust our instincts? Grab your friends and join Ronnie, an obsessive mystery fan and your host, as Ronnie leads you on a journey through this tantalizing tale and your own expectations.” This adaptation “uses suspenseful storytelling to engage the audience in a live, interactive, communal experience guaranteed to entertain and provoke.”
The Brit d’Arbeloff Women & Science Theater Festival is a month-long Festival of virtual performances, panels, and special events that will explore the intersection of art and science. The Theater Festival is the brainchild of Catalyst Collaborative@MIT at Central Square Theater, the nation’s oldest ongoing partnership between a professional theater company and a world-class research institution. The Festival was created to amplify voices underrepresented in science (women, BIPOC/Black, Indigenous, people of color), promote mentoring opportunities, encourage engagement in science for audiences and artists, and to form a national network of theaters engaged in science. The festival runs through April 27.
Check the website for the times for the various streamed events and discussions. A sampling: Young Nerds of Color (working title) is a play in development by local dramatist Melinda Lopez; there will be discussions of “How to Encourage a Science Nerd” and “Starting a Movement: Creating a National Network of Theaters Engaged With Science.” “In the Play Lab: Original Ten-Minute Plays” is a collection of short dramas (“seven plays with strong female characters engaging with real science’) commissioned especially for the Women & Science Theater Festival.
There will be a full production of Splash Hatch on the E Going Down by Kia Corthron, streaming from April 19 through 25. Lyndsay Allyn Cox directs a play about the hazards of living in the contemporary city: “Thyme is fifteen, a straight A student, and three months pregnant. Her husband Erry is eighteen, works in construction. They plan for their future in the bedroom of her parents’ Harlem apartment, where they live. Thyme’s journey spans urban politics and environmental racism as she plans for a water birth — a Splash Hatch — and watches as Erry’s health begins to deteriorate from occupational lead inhalation”
TJ Loves Sally 4 Ever by James Ijames. Directed by Pascale Florestal. Staged by SpeakEasy Stage, streaming April 30 through May 13.
The script is “a wildly irreverent and whip-smart satire that dissects a sordid slice of American history — the story of President Thomas Jefferson and slave Sally Hemings — with the goal of reimagining the future. When Sally, a young Black college student, is faced with unwanted advances from TJ, her college’s white Dean of Students, she sets out, amidst a swirl of marching bands, beauty pageants, and bubbly tour guides, to dismantle the legacies that bind us all. Note: the SpeakEasy production was filmed live on the Wimberly Stage in the Calderwood Pavilion in observance of all AEA protocols but without an audience.
— Bill Marx
Walking Plays, an audio play series, Lyric Stage Company of Boston
According to Lyric Stage’s artistic director Courtney O’Connor, this new audio series was created as a way to bring “a form of live theatre” to a public that hasn’t been able to experience it since theaters closed because of the Covid pandemic.
“The Walking Plays provide a way for audiences to explore both the hidden gems and iconic landmarks of Boston and the joy of theatre beyond the Lyric Stage doors. This series will commission six 10- to 15-minute plays exploring private moments we experience in public. Listeners will be able to use maps provided by the Lyric Stage to walk along with the plays or to listen to them from their own homes. Together, the plays will form a loop beginning in Copley Square, winding through the city, and ending at a special location in the Back Bay. The plays will be available for free on the Lyric Stage’s website.
“The Walking Plays will include ‘Easter eggs’ throughout the walk, which will add another level of enjoyment for listeners. Executive director Matt Chapuran said, ‘It’s a great chance for people who are unfamiliar with the city of Boston to learn more about what makes it so special. Or a chance to fall in love with the city all over again.’
“The series premiered with the release of On Paying Attention by David Valdes, a Cuban-American playwright interested in stories of personal identity, especially global majority and LGBTQ experiences. He teaches playwriting at Boston Conservatory at Berklee, as well as English at Tufts University.
Next to premiere is Monster in the Sky by Ginger Lazarus. “Lazarus is an award-winning playwright and screenwriter whose works have been featured in her native Boston area, around the country, and across the pond in London. She holds a master’s degree in playwriting from Boston University and currently teaches at the University of Massachusetts Boston.”
“The remaining four plays will be released in two batches later in the winter and spring.”
— Evelyn Rosenthal
A Jonathan Woody World Premiere
Presented by Handel & Haydn Society
April 18 & 20
H&H presents a welcome change-of-pace — the world premiere of Woody’s Suite for String Orchestra (after the works of Charles Ignatius Sancho) — alongside more typical fare (concerti by Handel, Geminiani, and Wassenaer). Aisslinn Nosky directs.
Presented by Celebrity Series
April 21-24, 7:30 p.m. (5 p.m. on Sunday)
The Celebrity Series’ annual festival of path-, ground-, and genre-bending (and -breaking) music returns for four nights online. Artists and ensembles include Sybarite5, Meklit, Sid Sriram, and Spektral Quartet.
Mendelssohn, Weber, and Schumann
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
From April 22, 12 p.m.
Rarities by Felix Mendelssohn (the String Symphony no. 10) and Carl Maria von Weber (Clarinet Concertino) preface a performance of Robert Schumann’s magnificent (and daunting) Concertstück for four horns. Members of the BSO’s horn section are the soloists in the latter; principal clarinet William Hudgins is featured in the Weber.
Nelsons conducts Strauss
Presented by Boston Symphony Orchestra
From April 29, 12 p.m.
The BSO wraps up this singular Symphony Hall season with music by Richard Strauss. Andris Nelsons leads the op. 7 Wind Serenade plus the “Four Symphonic Interludes” from Intermezzo.
Tetzlaff Quartet plays Beethoven
Presented by Celebrity Series
April 30, 7:30 p.m.
The Tetzlaff’s play two of Beethoven’s late quartets: the B-flat major, op. 130 (with the Große Fuge finale) and the A-minor, op. 132.
— Jonathan Blumhofer
Roots and World Music
Bang on a Can Marathon – Live Online, a four-hour concert streaming on April 18 from 1 to 5 p.m. ET.
“15 brand new works by 15 pioneering composers. Tune in to hear 4 hours of nonconformist, noncommercial, mind-blowing music. Andy Akiho! Carman Moore! Joan LaBarbara! Matana Roberts! Kelly Moran! Rudresh Mahanthappa! and many many more.”
“This concert is FREE! But please do consider purchasing a ticket. That helps Bang on a Can pay more players, commission more composers, and make more music.”
The pandemic is still here. An entire ecosystem of composers and performers needs our attention, our love, and our financial support! All Marathon performers and composers are participating live and being paid by Bang on a Can.
Tom Pixton: A Short History of the Accordion, presented by Revels as part of its Musical Connections Series, on Facebook on April 25 at 5 p.m. ET.
“Pixton, an International, Balkan, and Scottish folk dance musician, has been active in a variety of traditional music scenes for more than 30 years. He has been a regular Revels performer since 1997 as an accordionist, arranger, singer, band leader, and friend. In this presentation, the performer will give an overview of the accordion’s origins and history, playing on four types of accordions from his own collection. The music presented will range from Cajun, Canadian, Armenian, and Bulgarian, to Chinese, Laotion, Mexican, and Azeri.” A companion podcast, produced in collaboration with the Mass Cultural Council and hosted by the MCC’s Folk Arts & Heritage Program Manager, Maggie Holtzberg, will follow the Facebook presentation.
— Bill Marx
Small scale outdoor music has returned, with a handful of promoters and organizers putting on a flurry of shows. Soundcheck Studios in Pembroke has the likes of Club d’Elf, the Naya Rockers, and Dub Apocalypse — in-person tickets are sold out. The venue’s Facebook page has additional shows as well as livestream information.
For many years the Western Front in Cambridge was ground zero for the Boston reggae scene. Owner Marvin Gilmore — in his late nineties — is now a partner in the Western Front cannabis dispensary in Chelsea, which celebrates on April 20 with a 4 p.m. event that features Zugga Dan’s reggae ganja anthems along with the Naya Rockers and DJ Jacques.
That Chelsea event is co-sponsored by the Reggae Takeova, which returns to its Dorchester backyard on April 25 for a salsa encore by Manolo Miena y La Pura Vida Banda.
Blues fans will want to follow the Facebook group for the Rhythm Rooms Afternoons series, which is slated to kick off in June with a full roster of national and local favorites on Sundays in Plymouth.
As for online offerings, klezmer violinist Abigale Reisman of Ezekiel’s Wheel will be performing in a duo with pianist and Klezmer Conservatory Band founder Hankus Netsky for Rockport Music on April 29. And on April 26, Passim will be streaming the music of violinist, composer, and activist Shaw Pong Liu. Irish singer/songwriter Christy Moore, who hasn’t been seen on these shores in years, will be streaming from Dublin on May 1.
— Noah Schaffer
Pandemic lockdowns, substitute technology, the inevitable passage of time and seasons, and the need to keep on keeping on with audiences and patrons has spawned some interesting new ideas in museum cooperation and programming. The Harvard Art Museums remain closed to the public — they have not been able to allow outside visitors to see their spring exhibition “Painting Edo: Japanese Art from the Feinberg Collection.” But the Arnold Arboretum, Harvard’s famous outdoor “museum of trees,” remains open to everyone, every day from sunrise to sunset, free of charge. Thus pandemic conditions inspired Planting Edo: A Field Guide, part of a larger collaboration between the cousin institutions.
The guide matches up plants growing in the Arboretum to plants in the arts works in “Painting Edo.” You can download the guide and use it in person at the Arboretum or use it virtually to visit the exhibition in Cambridge. Access is free at harvardmuseums.org.
The collaborators also invite you to search for examples in your own neighborhood with the help of “plant IDs” and “accession numbers.” You are also given the opportunity to upload your photos on social media (e.g., #PlantingEdo on Twitter).
The Griffin Museum of Photography in Winchester hosts a one-day workshop, “Marketing for Emerging Artists with Donna Garcia,” from its online Zoom Room, April 24 at 11 a.m. The instructor says “we will do a deep dive into what you can do to break through the noise and how to set goals for long-term success.” Registration, through the museum’s website (griffin museum.org), is $135 for members, $165 for others.
The Griffin also offers a virtual event, streaming live from its Zoom Room on April 25 at 4 p.m. The “artists’ reception” will host 11 artists celebrating the museum’s current exhibition “Digits: A Parallel Universe,” which the museum says is “intended as a conjectured and separate plane of reality that co-exists with the photographer’s own here and now.” Register though the museum’s website (griffinmuseum.org) and a web link will be sent to you via email. The exhibition itself is open for the public to view in real time.
On April 20, from 7 to 8 p.m., The Metropolitan Museum hosts a “Digital Premiere” of the 20th-century French composer Olivier Messaien’s “Quartet for the End of Time.” New York Philharmonic principal players Carter Brey and Anthony McGill will be joined by pianist Inon Bernatan and former Philharmonic Music Director Alan Gilbert. The quartet, inspired by the New Testament’s “Book of Revelation,” is considered one of the major works of the last century. The composer wrote it while he was interned in a German prisoner of war camp: it was first performed by and for his fellow prisoners in 1941. The concert can be access via Facebook or YouTube, no login required.
— Peter Walsh
Virtual Event: Marlon Peterson, Bird Uncaged — Porter Square Books
April 19 at 7 p.m.
“In Bird Uncaged, Peterson recounts his coming of age story, challenging the typical “redemption” narrative and our assumptions about who deserves justice. With vulnerability and insights, he exposes the hollowness of the American Dream: the daily violence and trauma of poverty, policing, and enforced masculinity; and the brutality of incarceration. And he reveals the many cages– physical and metaphorical– created and maintained by American society.”
Virtual Event: Patrick Radden Keefe with Pamela Colloff, Empire of Pain — Porter Square Books
April 21 at 7 p.m.
“The Sackler name adorns the walls of many storied institutions — Harvard, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Oxford, the Louvre. They are one of the richest families in the world, known for their lavish donations to the arts and the sciences. The source of the family fortune was vague, however, until it emerged that the Sacklers were responsible for making and marketing a blockbuster painkiller that was the catalyst for the opioid crisis. The brothers began collecting art, and wives, and grand residences in exotic locales. Their children and grandchildren grew up in luxury.”
Virtual Event: Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano – Events – Harvard Book Store
Fire in Paradise: An American Tragedy
April 19 at 5 p.m.
“Fire in Paradise is a dramatic and moving narrative of the disaster based on hundreds of in-depth interviews with residents, firefighters and police, and scientific experts. Alastair Gee and Dani Anguiano are California-based journalists who have reported on Paradise since the day the fire began. Together they reveal the heroics of the first responders, the miraculous escapes of those who got out of Paradise, and the horrors experienced by those who were trapped.”
Virtual Event: Annalee Newitz – Events – Harvard Book Store
Four Lost Cities: A Secret History of the Urban Age
April 21 at 7 p.m.
$5 suggested donation
“In Four Lost Cities, acclaimed science journalist Annalee Newitz takes readers on an entertaining and mind-bending adventure into the deep history of urban life. Investigating across the centuries and around the world, Newitz explores the rise and fall of four ancient cities, each the center of a sophisticated civilization: the Neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in Central Turkey, the Roman vacation town of Pompeii on Italy’s southern coast, the medieval megacity of Angkor in Cambodia, and the indigenous metropolis Cahokia, which stood beside the Mississippi River where East St. Louis is today.”
Virtual: Polly Barton, “Where The Wild Ladies Are” (An Independent Bookstore Day Special!) | Porter Square Books
Where The Wild Ladies Are
April 24 at 12 p.m.
“In this delightfully uncanny collection of feminist retellings of traditional Japanese folktales, humans live side by side with spirits who provide a variety of useful services, from truth-telling to babysitting, from protecting castles to fighting crime.”
Virtual: American Inspiration Series: Quiara Alegría Hudes, “My Broken Language” | Porter Square Books
My Broken Language
April 29 at 6 p.m.
“In this remarkable memoir, Hudes tells her lyrical story of coming of age against the backdrop of an ailing Philadelphia barrio, with her sprawling Puerto Rican family as a collective muse. She was awed by her aunts and uncles and cousins, but haunted by the secrets of the family and the unspoken, untold stories of the barrio — the sea of language around her, written and spoken, English and Spanish. Hudes has since found her language. In this powerful, heralded work “her sentences will take your breath away. How lucky we are to have her telling our stories,” observes Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Virtual Event: Louis Menand – Events – Harvard Book Store
The Free World: Art and Thought in the Cold War
April 29 at 7 p.m.
$5 suggested donation
“The Cold War was not just a contest of power. It was also about ideas, in the broadest sense — economic and political, artistic and personal. In The Free World, the acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning scholar and critic Louis Menand tells the story of American culture in the pivotal years from the end of World War II to Vietnam and shows how changing economic, technological, and social forces put their mark on creations of the mind.”
Julianna Margulies: “Sunshine Girl: An Unexpected Life” | Brookline Booksmith
May 4 at 7:30 p.m.
$38, with copy of the memoir
“As an apple-cheeked bubbly child, Julianna was given the nickname “Sunshine Girl.” Shuttled back and forth between her divorced parents, often on different continents, she quickly learned how to be of value to her eccentric mother and absent father. Raised in unconventional ways in Paris, England, New York, and New Hampshire, Julianna found that her role among the surrounding turmoil and uncertainty was to comfort those around her, seeking organization among the disorder, making her way in the world as a young adult and eventually an award-winning actress.”
— Matt Hanson