Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray
Gail M. Burns: For the third straight year Barrington Stage is spearheading Pittsfield’s mid-winter 10X10 Upstreet Arts Festival with their annual collection of ten new ten-minute plays. The whole Festival got off to a bit of a slow start this year as we all coped with (yet more) snow, but on the day of the press opening the sun shone, and we got to enjoy this delightful potpourri of little bijou plays.
Larry Murray: I love this new play festival, coming as it does in the middle of a particularly cold and snowy winter in the Berkshires. I like how it gives six actors and three directors a chance to come together in much the same way a repertory company does. It’s when everyone gets to wear several hats, don colorful costumes and inhabit several totally different roles over the course of one evening.
Gail: Of the six actors, two – Berkshire residents Matt Neely and Peggy Pharr Wilson – have been involved in all three 10X10′s, and Robert Zuckerman is back for a second time, so they really do have the makings of a company. Emily Kunkel and Dina Thomas have both appeared in BSC Main Stage productions – All My Sons and See How They Run respectively. Only young John Zdrojeski is making his BSC debut.
Larry: Ten playwrights took part, and I was delighted to note that several had a much younger viewpoint than usual, and that there were as many women writers as men represented. That may be why I found some of the humor unusually fresh. The Possethsion by Ron Burch got things off with a bang, providing some great twists and turns straight out of the starting gate, giving us a comic book version of Rosemary’s Baby.