Each week, GBH Executive Arts Editor Jared Bowen joins Boston Public Radio to talk all things arts. This week, a local museum made headlines for closing following news of a planned protest, a Boston murder mystery comes to the screen, and romance takes the stage in local theater productions.
Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum closes on heist anniversary
On March 18, the 33rd anniversary of the still-unsolved infamous art heist, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum was closed to the public. The museum cited concerns about climate activists from Extinction Rebellion, who were planning to stage a die-in at the Gardner and hang works in the frames left empty after the 1990 theft. The organizers of the protest are the same ones who have organized similar protests at museums around the world, aiming to bring attention to the fact that, as Bowen explains, “we’re in such dire straits with the climate and global warming that we’re facing not having a planet, and therefore no art.”
Bowen explained that the Gardner Museum is already LEED certified, meaning that “they’ve done what they’re supposed to do to be as aware of environmental impact as possible,” including keeping the museum’s garden courtyard garden 100% organic.
The protest-related closure meant the Gardner also took a financial hit. However, employees at the museum’s cafe, who would otherwise have relied on those Saturday visitor tips, were paid for the day’s worth of work.
Now streaming on Hulu
Watertown writer and director Matt Ruskin is behind this film, the second about a series of murders that gripped the city in the early 1960s. "Boston Strangler" focuses on two female reporters, Loretta McLaughlan and Jean Cole, who worked to break the story of the Strangler during a time when women in newsrooms faced nearly insurmountable sexism. Ruskin chose this focus in order to avoid glorifying the violence of the crimes, as opposed to the approach of the 1968 film of the same name.
Bowen described Ruskin's movie as “beautifully shot ... putting the architecture of the city in this really interesting, great light.” But Bowen said the film never seems to follow a single, cohesive storyline. “We move into different territory about trying to untie what actually happened in that period, so because it’s many different films, while interesting, I just wish it had settled on one direction.”
Now playing at The Huntington Theatre through April 2
This play by Northampton poet laureate Lenelle Moïse had its world premiere in Boston last week and follows the local story of 15-year-old Lala as she navigates both her own relationships and that of her parents. Lala first finds love in a local teen, then later his twin brother. Described as “a series of duets,” the production is “fun and unfailingly funny, and it roots around in all of that messiness of early romance” before leaving audiences soaring as they leave.
"Rudolf Nureyev's Don Quixote"
Now playing at Citizens Bank Opera House through March 26
It’s been 10 years since Boston Ballet last performed acclaimed dancer and choreographer Rudolf Nureyev’s adaptation of Miguel de Cervantes’ “Don Quixote.” The production helped establish the company as among the nation’s premiere ballet performance groups. As Bowen explained, it was only after the first production of "Don Quixote" that international audiences started paying attention to Boston Ballet.
This version of the story, however, focuses less on the titular character and more on a young couple he encounters in the first act, with interspersed dream sequences featuring a large ensemble of company dancers. The choreography and stage design make for what Bowen calls “this really lush, gorgeous production.” The sets are reminiscent of the works of famed painters Velásquez and Goya, with bright colors and vibrance that bring the story to life.
"Wild Goose Dreams"
Now playing at the Stanford Calderwood Pavilion at the Boston Center for the Arts through April 8
This play tells a modern internet romance of Nanhee, a North Korean defector who leaves her family for South Korea, and Minsung, a “goose father” who sent his wife and children to the United States for an education. The two, both experiencing immense loss and loneliness, form a relationship that is colored by their virtual avatars, emojis and chat rooms.
Bowen says the central element of the internet makes this production a highly visual show that can “encapsulate what it’s like to be in this online dating world and to be so removed but come together in cyberspace.”