This week, Jared reviews SpeakEasy Stage Company’s production of “Small Mouth Sounds” and takes us to two historic exhibitions presented by the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston and the Massachusetts Historical Society.

“Ansel Adams in Our Time,” on view at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston through Feb. 24.

Ansel Adams in Our Time
Monolith – The Face of Half Dome, Yosemite National Park, 1927; print date: 1950–6
Ansel Adams, courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston

A new exhibition at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston presents an exhilarating take on an iconic American landscape photographer. Featuring nearly 200 works, “Ansel Adams in Our Time” presents the artist’s most celebrated photographs alongside works by both his predecessors and contemporaries, including Catherine Opie and Abelardo Morel. The exhibition examines the 19th century imagery that inspired Adams and how contemporary artists respond to him today.

“I'm really struck by his importance as an environmental activist in his day,” says curator Karen Haas, “and really how so many of the issues that meant so much to him — the places he was working, the things he was photographing — are being looked at in an entirely new way today.” Don’t miss the exhibition Jared describes as “a revelation.”

“Small Mouth Sounds,” presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company through Feb. 2.

Small Mouth Sounds
The cast of SpeakEasy Stage Company's production of "Small Mouth Sounds"
Nile Scott Studios, courtesy of SpeakEasy Stage Company

Silence is golden and uproariously funny in a new play presented by SpeakEasy Stage Company. Written by Bess Wohl, “Small Mouth Sounds” centers around six strangers on vacation from their lives at a yoga retreat where the only rule is that they must abandon the comforts of technology and remain silent.

“It's a lesson in how to communicate in a language that you think that you know, in the absence of the one that you do,” says Celeste Oliva, who joins this star-studded cast of Boston A-list actors under the direction of M. Bevin O’Gara. “The playwright gave us these awesome character descriptions. And you get to fill in there what the other things mean to you.”

Jared describes Small Mouth Sounds as “hugely hilarious. A wry dissection of the jagged path to our better selves.”

“Fashioning the New England Family,” on view at the Massachusetts Historical Society through April 6.

Fashioning the New England Family
Judge Andrew Oliver's sleeved waistcoat
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society

If you think American fashion is a contemporary phenomenon, you are mistaken! A new exhibition at the Massachusetts Historical Society chronicles 17th through 19th century American fashion trends through the fashion plates and clothing accessories of elite Boston families. Visitors can marvel at the patterned petticoats, flowing silks and blinged-out buckles worn by founding figures including Abigail Adams.

“We see this and we're like, ‘What on earth were they thinking?’” Says co-curator Kimberly Alexander, “But these were formal clothes. What you were actually showing was your wealth.” Discover how these fashions were maintained and repurposed as they were handed down through generations.

What exhibitions or performances are you excited for this year? Tell Jared about it on Facebook or Twitter!