THE CABINET OF CURIOSITIES features the following artists and companies:

Alley Cat Theater produces new work that is intelligent, compelling, and thoughtful, telling stories by pushing the boundaries of the theater. (http://www.alleycattheater.org/)   

Alley Cat will present a staged reading of the new play, Plank, by John Greiner-Ferris, directed by Megan Schy Gleeson.  Plank is a story about a woman who, happy and content, is adrift in the middle of the ocean on a plank of wood. Then she is “rescued.” Plank mixes traditional theater and nontraditional, experimental theatrical elements that include movement, magical realism, and poetic language to address some of the most compelling issues of our time: climate change, the TSA, refugees, individual rights and the importance of the individual in today’s society, social media, and nature vs. society.

 

Travis Amiel and Riley Fox Hillyer are currently theatre students at Emerson College, graduating next May. Nomi marks the Boston playwriting debut for Travis, and directing debut for Riley. Travis is a staff assistant at HowlRound and hosts Standing Room Only on WERS. Riley's credits include: Tom Sail in Gorefest XIV (Improv Boston), Lennie in O Beautiful and Sergei in Everything is PR (Emerson Stage).

Nomi is a deconstruction of the life, aesthetic, and cultural impact of Klaus Sperber, aka Klaus Nomi. Known for his almost inhuman voice and robotic-Kabuki style, Klaus Nomi was an iconic figure in the late 70s and early 80s of NYC's downtown performance art scene. A journey of song, movement, baking, fashion, and spaceships, Nomi is a tribute to the aliens and freaks we all wish we had the confidence to be.

 

Sleeping Weazel proudly presents composer Kirsten Volness’ electroacoustic piano recital of her piece, Nocturne (inspired by Madison Cawein’s poem of the same title) and composer Judah Adashi’s three-song cycle, Nina, a tribute to jazz great Nina Simone.

 

Kirsten Volness is a composer, pianist and educator. She has received commissions from the BMI Foundation, ASCAP/SEAMUS, the Kansas City Electronic Music and Arts Alliance, and World Future Council Foundation and ensembles such as Hotel Elefant, NOW Ensemble, REDSHIFT Ensemble, Colorado Quartet, Cambridge Philharmonic, and Ann Arbor Symphony Orchestra. She is 2017 Composer-in-Residence at the Music Mansion and curates a monthly chamber music series called First Fridays. She collaborates often: as co-director and pianist of new music ensemble/concert series Verdant Vibes (Providence), as pianist/multi-instrumentalist for Hotel Elefant (NYC), as co-music director of homeless advocacy group Tenderloin Opera Company, as composer/performer in Meridian Project, a multimedia performance/lecture series exploring astrophysics and cosmology, and as an affiliated artist of Sleeping Weazel. 

 

Sleeping Weazel is a critically-acclaimed, Boston-based multimedia theatre company whose socially progressive, experimental work crosses and confounds the boundaries of “mainstream” and “avant-garde” as well as boundaries between art forms. The company has presented a dozen productions of original works — at The Factory Theatre, Boston Center for the Arts, Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, and ArtsEmerson. Sleeping Weazel is currently a resident company at Boston Center for the Arts and a member of the Resident Lab at Charlestown Working Theatre.

 

Exiled Theatre is composed of artists enticed by the wide array of possibilities that live performance offers. As a company we look to offer a platform for unique artistic visions that come from within the Boston theater scene. Our producing seasons are built around new works from local playwrights and established works from the theatrical canon. By creating this linkage, we hope to connect the bridge between who we were and who we will become. Believe…or explode…

 

Exiled Theatre proudly presents a staged reading of company co-founder James Wilkinson’s work-in-progress, Nurse Play. A blind nurse sits in a dark room at the back of a boarding house in the middle of nowhere. She drums her fingers on the table in front of her. Her eyes were gouged out years earlier, but no matter. They were getting in the way anyhow. In the bed by her chair is the man she is charged with the care of, Joe. Joe is sick with a degenerative illness that keeps him bed bound, in the dark, slowly losing each of his limbs to his illness. The two have been alone together for quite a while. Then one day Joe disappears. And that’s when things start to get a bit strange…

 

Flying Lessons is a collaboration between Boston-based performers Libby Schap and Caitlin Brzezinski, featuring Lisa Joyce.  Inspired by the artwork of Audrey Niffenegger, Flying Lessons is told through shadow puppetry using moving screens and found object puppetry to tell three stories exploring identity and female relationships. Each story was developed as part of the Puppet Showplace Theater’s Puppet Slam throughout the winter and spring of 2017.  

 

Led by theatre artist Julie Becker (juliebeckerartist.com), Fool’s Journey is a multidisciplinary group of performers who are interested in exploring new territories of performance. Each member of the group is exploring an approach that is new to them; whether it’s a dancer working with the voice, a singer approaching the act of singing in a completely different way, or an actor discovering new ways of physical expression. The group is united by a deep creative inquiry. Fool's Journey is comprised of Julie Becker, Shaoul Chason, Josephine Cooper, Cullan Powers, and Ofri Rieger.

Singing Bones is an experimental, devised, work-in-progress performance which focuses on direct physical engagement with a number of traditional songs which have personal and/or ancestral significance to the performers. Using the songs’ resonance as a basis for all of the action, what is beginning to emerge are small, ritualistic acts of personal reclamation: of one’s voice, one’s body, one’s emotional self, and one’s spiritual life, from the grips of fear and the internalized forces that aim to silence us. What is something essential that can be revealed through these songs, that we somehow cannot otherwise say?

The title Singing Bones comes from a very old story that has been told in over 500 different folk song versions, as well as in a Grimm tale. In many versions, a jealous woman drowns her sister and marries her husband. Her murder remains a mystery, until one day, someone finds the bones in the water and fashions a fiddle from them. When it is played, the voice of the sister sings out, revealing the truth; and in some cases, she comes back to life.

Featuring Julie Becker, Shaoul Rick Chason, Josephine Cooper, Cullan Powers, and Ofri Rieger.


 

American Family Happily Institute is a volunteer-driven collaborative, conceptual art project founded by artist Be Be, that promotes values of acceptance, equality, cooperation, and empathy in a time of cultural upheaval. AFHI redefines family as “whoever you darn well choose.” AFHI produces interactive art in many media including theatre, installation, sculpture, and video, with a goal of helping people with tools for emotional self-regulation, cooperation, and building a better world. AFHI is influenced by established concepts and new developments from psychology, science, and statistics. For more information: www.AFHI.us

If the game is rigged, then some people have asked, “How can we go on living, in such a difficult world?” The scientists at American Family Happily Institute (AFHI) have determined, that one great way is by accepting the Quest for Happily. But even people who have accepted the quest, can have trouble Doing All the Things. Therefore, the scientists have determined, that having a cheerleader can help people Do All the Things more smoothly.

But the problem is, some people can’t find a cheerleader. So AFHI has founded a team of cheerleaders to help them. Unfortunately, the cheerleaders can’t be everywhere all the time that everyone needs help. Recently, the scientists discovered an exciting way to capture the Pure Cheer Energy of the cheerleaders, and put it into a portable format to distribute to all the people and help them Do All the Things whenever they need it. Currently in beta, the new Pro-Happily Pom-Pom will be given to all audience members at the Cabinet of Curiosities, and tested by the audience during the presentation. In addition, the recipe for Anti-Procrastination Fluff will be shared, and will be taste-tested.

What is the American Family Happily Institute? Is it a cult? A left-wing think tank? A massive scientific technocracy? America’s largest future institution? And what of the object, the Pro-Happily Pom-Pom? Is it a breakthrough from the world of science? A fluffy bit of snake oil? A work of conceptual art? A guided mindfulness meditation? A functional tool for living from the statistically-validated science of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy? Only you can decide, and you can offer feedback to the accompanying scientist polling the audience upon conclusion of the presentation.

Ingrid Oslund will be presenting a staged reading of her new play, Sadie Mae, 1969, based on the notorious Manson Murders from the perspective of famed murderess, Susan Atkins, renamed Sadie Mae Glutz by her cult leader. This movement based play explores the intersections between sex and violence, the power of mind control and the human need to connect and belong, by any means necessary. By incorporating the soundscape of The Beatles White Album and employing a non-linear structure, this piece is intended to give the audience a look into the disturbing world of the infamous cult, while humanizing those who lived within it. Ingrid Oslund is a playwright, director, choreographer and teaching artist who strives to create innovative theatre in the Boston area.

 

Anthem Theatre will present I, Snowflake, a devised play that speaks to our current moment. The work combines movement, music, commedia, the 60s-style protest play, and the responses of real Americans after the 2016 election. Directed by Bryn Boice, I, Snowflake features an ensemble of eight women and one sad clown. 

 

Daniel Morris directs an intimate staging of the Pulitzer and Tony Award-winning I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright. Based on a true story, and inspired by interviews conducted by the playwright over several years, I Am My Own Wife tells the fascinating tale of Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a real-life German transvestite who managed to survive both the Nazi onslaught and the repressive East German Communist regime. Actor Gabriel Graetz takes on more than 30 characters in this theatrical journey, staged up close and personal in CWT’s upstairs second stage.

 

imaginary beasts is an incubator for adventurous theatre making.  We provide our members a unique chance to explore and develop theatre in an ongoing studio environment.  Devoted to pushing the boundaries of how theatre is made and who can make it, we bring together traditional and non-traditional performance artists to produce work for an eclectic public.  imaginary beasts is a Performing Arts Resident at the Boston Center for the Arts. 

 

For The Cabinet of Curiosities, the IB ensemble unveils the first volume of an innovative work-in-progress—Pages from the Books of Repulsive Women—an ongoing exploration of the works of key women from the modernist period and forward. Controversial, conflicted, and sometimes corrosive in their commentary about the conventional roles women were expected to play in modern society, these authors became important trail blazers in their own lifetimes, but whose work remains veiled in obscurity today.  

 

The Repulsive Women project is a direct response to the political implications of Trump’s calling Hillary Clinton a “nasty woman”, but it is also an opportunity to restore the voices of these innovators to their justified place in our current cultural discourse.  Volume One will feature a collection of wonderfully offbeat works by Djuna Barnes, Gertrude Stein and the Baroness, Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven.

 

Heart & Dagger Productions unveils a bold new staging of Adam Rapp's haunting and poetic Nocturne, the story of a young man identified only as "the Son."  Rapp takes you on a grief-laden journey, reliving the accident that changed the course of the Son's life and his attempts to come to terms with what he has done.  Heart &

Dagger Productions' Nocturne will experiment with choral reading and ensemble-driven movement to showcase the Son's physical and mental transformation.  Lizette M. Morris (Elliot Norton Award-winning DOG

SEES GOD) will be the lead director.

 

Laura Detwiler presents Eggs, a short play by Laura Neill. Have you ever been stress-scrolling through Facebook in the wee hours of the night, searching for an answer to your empty bank account, when an ad pops up that makes you ask, 'how did they know!?'  Same. Armed with puppetry, props and ovaries full of viable eggs, struggling actress, Demi, puts on a play to grapple with the question, "to sell, or not to sell?"

 

The Massachusetts Theater Experiment presents a workshop performance of their modern, sexy adaptation of William Wycherley’s The Country Wife. The smash hit of 1675 London was created in a period of artistic tolerance after two decades of Puritan rule, but was later considered too immoral to perform. Their imaginative, energetic, and spirited ensemble is led by Bob Stachel and Dana Block. Join them as they give the Wife a trim and shapely makeover and add a few curves of their own.