By Barbara Bausch artscope’s Barbara Bausch, who is also a dancer, will be a participant at this year’s FIGMENT Festival, which will be held this weekend in Boston, where she’s been living since April. Here she describes her expectations for her first FIGMENT Festival. Three weeks ago, I had never heard of the FIGMENT Festival. Then, while dancing on the street in front of Cambridge City Hall, I met a woman in a pink tutu who told me that, under the name Denise Awesome, she aerobicizes people all over the city. “Call me and we’ll do it together,” she said. One week ago, I finally got in touch with her. She immediately asked me if I would like to join her in an aerobic and dance performance at the FIGMENT Festival. I said yes, and started to read about what FIGMENT is. “Everything is meant to be played with,” writes Brad Cohen in Arts & Architecture. “If FIGMENT were a … [Read more...] about Free, Creative, Interactive. The FIGMENT Festival is coming to Boston.
By James Foritano BOSTON - “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” currently on stage at the BU Theatre, is a volatile brew of sex and danger, exploitation, oppression, death and the devil. But you wouldn’t know that from the dilatory conversation of the ‘boys in the band’ — four black musicians assembled in a Chicago recording studio to rehearse and wait for the arrival of Madame ‘Ma’ Rainey. It is the 1920s and New Orleans-inspired music is leaking slowly northward as the Great Migration rolls from every southern city and hamlet towards Chicago’s burgeoning ghettos and jazz dens. This music, though, is not the ‘hot licks’ that will erupt from the horns and drums of isolated rebels, but the tamed product, the ‘jug band’ music, with just enough sass, but not too much, to enliven but not threaten white audiences. August Wilson’s finely-drawn characters practice that restraint, that affectionate … [Read more...] about “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” by August Wilson at the BU Theatre
By James Foritano BOSTON - “Time Stands Still” for this observer, stood far too still. Or, perhaps the dramatic arc lifted off the ground in a place where I wasn’t, and I never caught up. The play opens with James Dodd, played by Barlow Adamson, and Sarah Goodwin, played by Laura Latreille, in the living room of their Williamsburg Loft in Brooklyn. Somehow the symbolism seems just right, since the inside is furnished Yuppie tasteful but the large loft window admits a cloudy light definitely of this unredeemed, pre-gentrified world. James and Sarah, though a successful, upwardly mobile couple, in tune with their domestic interiors, also emit a murky light, as though their souls have been climbing rougher slopes than many of their ambitious peers. And they have. Both are photojournalists back from war coverage in a violent Muslim world, licking their wounds, “enjoying” the R&R of … [Read more...] about “Time Stands Still” by Donald Margulies at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston
By James Foritano CAMBRIDGE - “Photograph 51,” Anna Ziegler’s play which has just had its current run at the Central Square Theater extended through March 18, is about degrees of separation and loneliness between scientists and the human beings who inhabit them more or less uneasily. The Daniel Gidron-directed setting is the post-war race for, as James Watson terms it, ‘the secret of life’ or the double-helix structure of DNA. The race has narrowed to a team of Americans led by Linus Pauling at Berkeley, and two teams of British scientists: Francis Crick and James Watson at Cambridge and Maurice Wilkins and Rosalind Franklin at King’s College, London. The first degree of separation is between winners and losers. Although science may be all about knowledge pieced together by generations of seekers, he (or she) who crosses the finish line first wins prizes, status, grants and all the … [Read more...] about Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51 at the Central Square Theater
By James Foritano BOSTON - “Monster” by Neal Bell, directed by Jim Petosa, is a full-bodied re-presentation of the enduring fable, first penned by Mary Shelly in 1818, of power run amok: Frankenstein. Lately, science has become so team and grant oriented that not many of us dream of brewing unique, not to say world-conquering, creations in our basement laboratories. Or maybe we do? Certainly, celebrity status is still highly coveted in our 21st century psyches, and “monsters” do run amok in the pages of celebrity magazines and TV — Mary Shelly’s dream re-clothed as “American Idol.” In any case, where better to view power running amok, or even just youthful energy, than the intimate venue of Studio #210 hosted by Boston University’s’s Boston Center for American Performance. Located at 264 Huntington Avenue, cheek-by-jowl with its much grander sister, The Huntington, Studio #210 … [Read more...] about Neal Bell’s “Monster” at the Lane-Comely Theater Studio #210
By James Foritano BOSTON - Pulitzer Prize winning author Tracy Letts knows his denizens of Chicago’s uptown. It’s the present, seedy but blossoming with ambiguous promise as a Starbuck opens just across the way from the down-at-the-heels, possibly on-the-way-out donut shop inherited and just barely animated by Arthur Przybyszewsky, played by Will Lebow. Arthur’s parents knew just who and just where they were when they immigrated to Chicago’s uptown from a devastated Poland as World War II came to a close. They were strivers in a land of opportunity where just riding the bus to your own business was a high. As a kid, Arthur was enfolded in this atmosphere of success and striving. Then came the 1950s and ‘60s. Arthur’s parents missed the ride, but Arthur was there in 1966 when Martin Luther King was pelted with firecrackers in Chicago’s Marquette Park. He was there when the Vietnam War … [Read more...] about Tracy Letts’ Superior Donuts at the Lyric Stage Company of Boston