Theater/Arts (157)

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PlayTime at PEM

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This February, the Peabody Essex Museum (PEM) debuts the first major thematic exhibition celebrating the role of play in contemporary art and culture. Nearly 40 works by 17 leading and emerging artists reveal how behaviors essential to the creative process — risk-taking, exploration, questioning and curiosity — are all encouraged by the act of play. Through large scale installations, video, sculpture, photographs and tactile experiences, PlayTime explores how play catalyzes creative expression, enchants the ordinary and helps us understand ourselves in new ways. PlayTime will be on view at PEM from February 10 through May 6, 2018.


“Play is no longer on the margins,” says Trevor Smith, exhibition curator and PEM’s Curator of the Present Tense. “Since the early 1990s we’ve seen play increasingly manifest itself across divergent streams of contemporary art and engage a wide range of social, technological, economic and psychological concerns.” Exploring a broad emotional range and engaging a diverse array of creative perspectives, PlayTime is presented as part of PEM’s Present Tense Initiative which seeks to be reflexive and responsive to the pressing issues of our contemporary reality. “Play is a catalyst for creativity, where we make up the rules and learn how to negotiate and resolve conflict,” continues Smith. “Play helps us possess a power for change. It’s fundamentally about human empowerment.”


Artists at PLAY, Visitors at PLAY

PlayTime features three tactile interactive works, including an immersive balloon room installation by Turner Prize winner Martin Creed and participatory One Minute Sculptures by internationally renowned artist Erwin Wurm which invite visitors to become part of the exhibition by striking and holding unexpected poses with everyday objects. Leading contemporary artists from around the globe are exhibited alongside several younger, emerging artists who make their New England debut with this exhibition. PlayTime artists include: Cory Arcangel, Mark Bradford, Nick Cave, Martin Creed, Lara Favaretto, Cao Fei, Brian Jungen, Teppei Kaneuji, Paul McCarthy, Rivane Neuenschwander, Pedro Reyes, Robin Rhode, Roman Signer, Gwen Smith, Angela Washko, Agustina Woodgate, and Erwin Wurm.

Some of the featured artists embrace playful behaviors in order to re-enchant the ordinary and to encourage fresh dialogue through play. Artist Lara Favaretto’s sculpture Simple Couples, installed in PEM’s historic East India Marine Hall, features seven pairs of spinning car wash brushes of different sizes and colors, which move in a mesmerizing choreography of color and light. Elsewhere, Pedro Reyes’ Disarm Mechanized ll transforms 6,700 guns confiscated by the Mexican government into an array of working musical instruments that push these objects beyond their originally intended purpose.


The world of video gaming, which currently generates more revenue each year than the music or movie industries, offers rich material and subject matter for artists to tackle in provocative ways. Angela Washko’s work, Performing in Public: Ephemeral Actions in World of Warcraft, delves into World of Warcraft — the online role-playing game with more than 10 million users — to conduct absurdist performances and engage other players in discussions of gender, sexism and harassment. Her work inside World of Warcraft began in 2012, a couple of years before #gamergate made us all aware of the vicious harassment and threats to which women and gender non-conforming gamers are commonly subjected. By documenting her interactions on the platform Washko doesn’t critique the game itself, but rather gets inside the game to facilitate a dialog about the rules by which we are all agreeing to play.


Play involves a level of vulnerability and letting go of preconceived notions or boundaries, allowing an openness to new possibilities, enjoyments, failures and risks. In addition to being fundamental to our development, thanks to our digital devices, the barriers between work and play have eroded, influencing where and when and how we play. “Play is no longer just a reward for hard work,” says Smith. “It is absolutely central to how we learn how to be human.”


Smith hopes that an exhibition dedicated to play can upend traditional museum visitor behavior. “My hope is that PlayTime demonstrates that museums can be playful, lively, noisy, joyous spaces. We’re providing people with opportunities to engage with the power of creativity and to understand how it might work in their own life.”



PlayTime will be on view at the Peabody Essex Museum February 10 through May 6, 2018

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Wangechi Mutu: A Promise to Communicate

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Artist Wangechi Mutu is known for her self-proclaimed “maximalist aesthetic,” hybrid compositions, and wall-based works that add texture and dimension to architectural spaces. Feminism, Afrofuturism, displacement, and marginal spaces figure in her category-defying collage and sculpture work. In a new commission for the ICA, Mutu has used the rough, gray rescue blankets of humanitarian aid efforts and emergencies to create a less rational interpretation of the world map. Titled A Promise to Communicate, the work creates a space for visitors to explore ideas of public space, communication, and free speech, addressing the idea of a world that despite its increasing potential for collectivity struggles to communicate in a comprehensive way.


Wangechi Mutu: A Promise to Communicate is on view at the Institute of Contemporary Art through Dec 31, 2018



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Proof at Central Square Theatre

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An enigmatic woman, her brilliant father, and an unanticipated suitor. After the discovery of a groundbreaking proof, Catherine is confronted with the question of how much of her mathematician father’s brilliance did she inherit – and is that the only thing he passed on to her? Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, David Auburn’s Proof is a moving exploration of the nature of genius, women in mathematics, and father-daughter relationships.


Proof will be at the Central Square Theatre January 18 – February 18, 2018

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SpeakEasy Presents Shakespeare in Love

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Based on the Academy Award-winning film, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE tells the story of young Will Shakespeare, who is suffering a severe case of writer’s block as the deadline fast approaches to deliver his new play, Romeo and Ethel, The Pirate’s Daughter. Enter Viola, a headstrong noblewoman and admirer of Will’s, who disguises herself as a boy so she can skirt the law and appear (as a girl) in his play. But when the playwright and his muse fall in love, the plot undergoes some surprising rewrites. Mistaken identities, courtly intrigue, and backstage bickering are all part of the fun in this raucous romantic comedy of errors that reminds us that all the world’s a stage and love is unrehearsed.


SHAKESPEAERE IN LOVE will run through February 10, 2018, in the Virginia Wimberly Theatre in the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts, 527 Tremont Street in Boston’s South End. Ticket prices start at $25, with discounts for students, seniors, and persons age 25 and under. For tickets or more information, call the box office at 617.933.8600 or visit .                 

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Uncover What Lies Beneath the Veil

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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 the critically acclaimed one-woman show, Unveiled.


“I write plays because it's my way of inviting an audience into the homes of those who are often marginalized,” says playwright and performer Rohina Malik. “The simple act of telling a story can remind us of our shared humanity. That's the power of theater. Art, in its many forms, has the power to solve world problems. That’s why I believe we should do everything we can to nurture and protect the arts.”


“At this moment, the voices of people like Rohina Malik and the women of Unveiled need to be heard more than ever. And they need to be heard from directly,” says Greater Boston Stage Company’s Artistic Director Weylin Symes. “There is so much discussion today about the Muslim experience both here in the US and around the world, but it is all too rare that we get to hear about this experience first-hand. These thoughtful, sincere, and human stories let us see these women as people – real people. New Rep felt like a natural fit as a co-presenter for this piece as they so clearly share our desire to share important stories like this with their audience. Anything that makes these stories more available to Boston area audiences is a good thing.”


“In our current cultural and political climate, a play like Rohina Malik’s Unveiled could not be more relevant,” says New Rep Artistic Director Jim Petosa. “What she shares with us is truly unique, allowing us to explore the lives of five Muslim women living in a post-9/11 world. When we began to think about a season in which we examine the resilience of the human spirit, Unveiled was a natural fit. Through humor, wit, and pathos, Rohina has crafted a resounding and moving work that we are pleased to be co-presenting with our partners at Greater Boston Stage Company. It is our hope that audiences will come away from this production uplifted and with a deeper understanding of these women's journeys through today's often tumultuous society.”



New Repertory Theatre and Greater Boston Stage Company present Unveiled, performed through January 28, 2018 in the BlackBox Theater at the Mosesian Center for the Arts, 321 Arsenal Street, Watertown and February 7-16, 2018 at Greater Boston Stage Company, 395 Main Street, Stoneham. Tickets for New Rep performances may be purchased by calling the New Rep Box Office at 617-923-8487 or visiting Tickets for Greater Boston Stage Company performances may be purchased by calling the Greater Boston Stage Company Box Office at Box Office at 781-279-2200 or


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Sh!t-faced Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet

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Think these star-crossed lovers are going somewhere? (Well, other than the drunk tank..?) NO! It's the Capulets and Montagues like you've never seen before. Sword fights, doubling, and happy daggers galore.

Sh!t-faced Shakespeare, the hilarious combination of an entirely serious Shakespeare play with one entirely sh!t-faced cast member, and the Magnificent Bastards are performing ROMEO AND JULIET just for you. Enjoy Shakespeare responsibly Sunday nights at Laugh Boston for drunkenly good time!

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The World in a Drop

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The minuscule ecosystem within a single drop of water is home to an astonishing diversity of organisms busily living out their lives and interconnected by myriad complex relationships. The photographic exhibit World in a Dropis an aesthetic journey into this microbial world, as revealed through cutting-edge imaging technologies. With expertly executed photography, videography, and poetic narration, Scott Chimileski and Roberto Kolter capture the intrinsic beauty of a mysterious world that is seldom recognized.

World in a Drop is at the Harvard Museum of Natural History.

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Mala Comes Back by Popular Demand

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Set during the epic winter of 2015, Mala is inspired by text messages frantically typed on an iPhone b Huntington Playwright-in-Residence Melinda Lopez, while she cared for her increasingly frail and consistently fierce mother. These short missives ultimately create a moving and generous portrait of the way taking care of family tests, deepens, and changes our bonds to the ones we love. Lopez, a regular on Boston stages, also performs the play.

Mala won the 2016 Elliot Norton Award for Best New Script, and it was named one of the best plays of 2016 by The Boston Globe, WBUR’s ARTery, and DigBoston. This return engagement of Mala, back by popular demand, is funny, brutally honest, and ultimately cathartic. Mala puts a sharp focus on what it means to put our loved ones first, right to the very end, and what happens when we strive to be good but don’t always succeed.

“I am thrilled to bring Mala back to Boston,” says Melinda Lopez. “The Huntington has provided me the time and space to continue to create new work as their playwright-in-residence, and I am grateful to them for remounting the original production, as this play is extremely close to my heart.”


The Huntington Theatre Company is pleased to present the ArtsEmerson production of Mala January 6 through January 28, 2018 at the South End / Calderwood Pavilion.




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The ICE- NYE Ice Sculptures

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Head over to Faneuil Hall Marketplace on December 31 for an afternoon Dance Party with Karson from MIX 104.1 FM from 2-4 pm. It’s fun for the whole family but that’s not all! Two ice sculptures will also be on display, including the Blink! ice bench, along with the 85 ft. holiday tree featuring the Blink Light & Sound show which runs every half hour from 4:30 – 10 pm through January 1st .

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Heimo Zobernig: chess painting

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The MIT List Visual Arts Center presents Heimo Zobernig: chess painting. Since the 1980s, Vienna-based artist Heimo Zobernig (b 1958, Mauthen, Austria) has worked across several disciplines: sculpture, painting, installation, architectural intervention, performance, video, and print design. Zobernig’s practice is grounded in an awareness of his position as an artist and producer in the broader context of culture. His work is framed by the impact Modernism has had on the trajectory of art history and a questioning of the institutional mechanisms that support the exhibition of artwork.

The exhibition will span the List Center’s two main galleries. Using the museum and its architecture as a stage; Zobernig allows a viewer to confront the constructed, at times theatrical, experience of visiting an art exhibition. In the Hayden Gallery, Zobernig will extend a body of work developed for a solo exhibition at Malmö Kunsthall in 2016 that features repurposed mobile performance stages and black-and-white checkered faux fur blankets. Visitors are welcome to sit on the stages—the thick cozy blankets an alluring invitation—and take in the light and architecture of the space. In the Reference Gallery, Zobernig will create a new room-scale installation that will include a series of eight large-scale canvases, hung in a configuration referencing the title of the exhibition and the graphic on the blankets in the neighboring gallery. He bends, warps, and abstracts the grid, a recurring formal and conceptual device in his practice, continuing to work simultaneously with and against the grain of Modernism. Zobernig gives life to the cold logic of the grid, implying play, narrative, and all of the associations that come with the game of chess—in an immersive installation and the soft bunching of a blanket.

In both spaces, the artist will also present an architectural intervention—a gesture he has used throughout his career—and “lay down” two walls (one in each gallery). By physically reorienting the architecture that is such a foundational mode of display for an art museum, Zobernig turns a wall into a stage. In the Hayden Gallery, he sets this stage among the mobile performance platforms that have been turned into gallery seating. Playfully acknowledging and amplifying methods of display and design, balancing form and function, Zobernig questions the hierarchies and mechanisms at work in the presentation and understanding of an artwork. In doing so, he blurs the line between what constitutes a painting versus a sculpture, a wall versus a stage, and a seat versus an artwork. The grid, an emblem of Modernism, reasserts itself in the bare right angles of the white cube.


 Heimo Zobernig: chess painting will be at the MIT List Visual Arts Center through Dec. 31

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