THEATER REVIEW: A Pair of Edith Wharton Comedies @ Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

August 31st, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara
Corinna May as Alida Slade and David Joseph as The Waiter in Dennis Krausnick’s stage adaptation of Edith Wharton’s “Roman Fever.” (photo: Olivia Winslow)

Corinna May as Alida Slade and David Joseph as The Waiter in Dennis Krausnick’s stage adaptation of Edith Wharton’s “Roman Fever.” (photo: Olivia Winslow)

Review by Roseann Cane

Known primarily for her witty, insightful short stories and novels about America’s upper class, Edith Wharton (1862-1937) had a sharp-eyed insider’s view of those who lived lives of privilege. This daughter of privilege traveled widely throughout her life. She was also the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize (for The Age of Innocence in 1920), and a dedicated intellectual who counted Sinclair Lewis, Henry James, André Gide and Jean Cocteau among her closest friends.

Shakespeare & Company founding member Dennis Krausnick has adapted two of Wharton’s short stories, Roman Fever (first published in 1934) and The Fullness of Life (first published in 1892) into one-act plays, which are now appearing as A Perfect Pair of Wharton Comedies at the Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox.

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Stylishly and skillfully directed by Normi Noel, both plays feature the same cast of three fine actors – Corinna May, Diane Prusha and David Joseph. Patrick Brennan’s sets capture the time (and in one case, the timelessness) and place of both plays very nicely, transporting us to a fine hotel in 1930s Rome, and later, to a waiting area in the Hereafter. Stephen D. Ball’s lighting design is beautifully wrought, and Amy Altadonna has done a lovely job with sound design

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.