Archive for the ‘Theater’ Category

Madcap Time Again as the PantoLoons Take Ghent Playhouse Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014
The Pantoloons take a bow in last year’s panto “SleepFrog” at The Ghent Playhouse. (photo: Daniel Region)

The Pantoloons take a bow in last year’s panto “SleepFrog” at the Ghent Playhouse. (photo: Daniel Region)

Opening Friday (November 28) and running through Sunday, December 14, the Ghent Playhouse will present the PantoLoons’ fifteenth production. This year, the madcap troupe will present “Ali Baba and the Four Tea Thieves,” a new, heretofore untold, version of the Two Thousand and One Nights story of Ali Baba. The number of PantoLoons in the company necessitated this adaptation, thus Four Tea Thieves instead of Forty. Thus tea becomes the prize commodity instead of oil, leaving plenty of room for commentary on today’s mores.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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WAM Theatre’s “In Darfur” Places the Audience Right in the Middle of a War Zone [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, November 7th, 2014
A gripping story, based on actual events.

A gripping story, based on actual events

Review by Larry Murray

WAM Theatre presents “IN DARFUR” by Winter Miller; directed by Kristen van Ginhoven; coordinating producer – Jessica Provenz; scenic designer – JulianaVon Haubrich; costume designer – Govane Lohbauer; lighting designer – Natalie Robin; sound and projections design – Brad Berridge; fight director – Douglas Seldin.
Cast – Maryke – Tricia Alexandro; Jan/Ensemble – Christina Gordon; Male Ensemble – Marcus D. Harvey; Hamida – Shannon Harris; Male Ensemble/Fight Caprain – Warren Jackson; Carlos – Rich Lounello; Hawa – Sipiwe Moyo. 90 minutes, no intermission. October 30-November 16, 2014. At the Berry Family Studio at the Elayne P. Bernstein Center on the campus of Shakespeare and Company located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, MA. http://www.wamtheatre.com or call the box office at 413-637-3353.

That genocide exists in our modern civilization is almost unfathomable. Isn’t mankind better than this?

From the comfort of our homes we find it difficult to grasp how the human mind can justify the killing of thousands of others just because they are different. How can people’s capacity for compassion be so often overwhelmed by a hatred of the “other” – those of a different religion, nationality or just some poor folks who are taking up too much space on land you covet.

WAM Theatre, which is located in the bucolic Berkshires of Massachusetts, chose Winter Miller’s difficult play IN DARFUR for its fifth season offering, and which is currently being performed in the Berry Family Studio at the Elayne P. Bernstein Center at Shakespeare & Company through Sunday, November 16. Brilliantly staged by Kristen van Ginhoven, it is an immersive theatrical experience that begins long before you enter the playing space itself: the hallways themselves are lined with fencing, signage and the accumulated rubbish of a hastily organized refugee camp.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Elska Is a Storyteller, Pioneer & a New Island for All Ages @ MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Elska

She has been described as the Bjork of kids’ music. Her imagination runneth over.

Indie pop siren Elska, who has purportedly discovered a newly formed volcanic island off the coast of Iceland, makes “crazy awesome electronic funderworld faerie tunes for the whole family,” says our friend, Mikael Jorgensen of Wilco. Bring the kids to explore her wacky world in MASS MoCA’s Club B-10 at 2pm on Saturday (November 8).

With her signature blend of theater, storytelling and musical performance, Brooklyn-based Shelley Wollert becomes modern pioneer Elska, delighting children with her amazing tale of island discovery. Working closely with record producer and Iceland-phile Allen Farmelo, Wollert developed Elska’s world – a vibrant cast of characters that join her for fantastical adventures on the Island of Elska.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

LIVE: The Amsterdam Halloween Parade, 10/25/14

Friday, October 31st, 2014

The Amsterdam Halloween Parade

Review and photographs by Stanley Johnson

I took a walk with the living dead along Guy Park Avenue in Amsterdam on Saturday (October 25). Not only were there zombies everywhere, but all kinds of ghosts, vampires, werewolves and fairy princesses, too. It was the City of Amsterdam’s annual Halloween Parade, and the weather was too nice to be spooky.

I walked with Abigail (dressed as an eskimo maid) and her elementary school group from Barkley Microsociety in Division 2 of the parade. Others groups in the division included McNulty Academy, Techler Arts in Education, St. Mary’s Institute, Marie Curie Institute, Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts and the Amsterdam High School Cheerleaders.

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WAM Theatre’s “In Darfur” Promises to Deliver a Powerful, Immersive Experience [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 29th, 2014

By Larry Murray

Ever since WAM Theatre emerged five years ago it has never played by rules of traditional theatre. Certainly its productions are top quality, but the company has a mission to make a powerful impact on the lives of women, both locally and globally.

That becomes more visible than ever before with its fifth annual fall production, where artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven has selected a play that typifies the company’s mission while transporting its audiences to places it has likely never been before.

The New England premiere of In Darfur, by Winter Miller, will place its audience in the middle of a refugee camp, with all the turmoil and heartbreak that suggests, balanced with moments of humor and deep caring. Tickets are now available through Shakespeare & Company, where the play will run from October 30–November 16 in the Berry Family Studio. Opening night, Saturday, November 1, is already sold out. Press performance is Sunday, November 2 at 2:30pm.

As a play, In Darfur is the compelling, provocative tale of three lives that intersect in the most challenging of circumstances: a camp for internally displaced persons. The story follows the mission to protect lives by an aid worker (Rich Lounello), the quest for safety of a Darfuri woman (Sipiwe Moyo) along with her struggle to maintain her dignity, and the dogged pursuit of a journalist (Tricia Alexandro) to deliver a front-page story that will focus the world’s attention on a humanitarian crisis.Timely, moving, and laced with unexpected humor, In Darfur is a journey of courage and humanity in the face of peril.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Two Genders, Two Planets, One Insightful Evening with Peter Story [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Peter Story explains the inexplicable.

Peter Story explains the inexplicable.

It’s time to enter the ultimate mystery of the universe, the one that makes the mysterious rational: the relationships between men and women. It’s the multiverse that exceededith all human understanding. Until now.

Coming to the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield for one night only on Thursday (Ocotber 30), Men Are From Mars – Women Are From Venus LIVE! is a one-man fusion of theatre and stand-up starring Peter Story and based on The New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray. Moving swiftly through a series of vignettes, the show covers everything from dating and marriage to the bedroom.

After beginning in Paris in 2007, Men are From Mars–Women are From Venus LIVE! has been seen by more than one million people around Europe. It debuted in the United States in February, 2013 in Raleigh, North Carolina and will be playing to audiences around the United States and Canada throughout the year. This hysterical show will have couples elbowing each other all evening as they see themselves on stage. Sexy and fast paced, this show is definitely for adults, but will leave audiences laughing and giggling like little kids.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“Stonewall” DIldine and the Mess at Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, October 20th, 2014
Stonewall Dildine’s answer to all questions: “”We don’t discuss personnel matters.”

Stonewall Dildine’s answer to all questions: “We don’t discuss personnel matters.”

By Larry Murray

For more than a week, the board and management of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox have evaded every question about the sudden departure of artistic director Tony Simotes. It has also refused to give any indication of whether this signals a major reorganization of the theatre company, and just who is going to be next on the chopping block. The order to be silent has reverberated throughout the company and many of the founders and long-term members fear that if they open their mouth, they will lose their jobs. It seems that heads are going to roll soon, and that worries me as a veteran theater watcher who has a great love for this venerable company of actors.

Secrecy and stonewalling are a familiar form of corporate politics. Whether white collar workers or actors, using these sorts of wily tactics always backfires, and has already began to erode the company’s years of reputation and audience building.

Oddly, Shakespeare & Company chose to release the news of Simotes departure with hints of more changes to come in an after-hours news release (original story) late on a Friday night. They probably expected that few would print the news, or – most importantly – that few would notice that the popular Simotes was being unceremoniously ushered out months before his contract ends despite promises to the contrary. There were few details, just the usual meaningless niceties that accompany such corporate beheadings. My own attempts to glean more information were rebuffed even when such attempts were done using personal email rather than official ShakesCo email address which were undoubtedly being monitored for leaks.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “An Enemy of the People” at Barrington Stage, a Collision of Fire and Ice Onstage [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014
An Enemy of the People with Joey LaBrasca, Dee Nelson, Steve Hendrickson, Katya Stepanov and Noah Bailey (photo:Kevin Sprague)

“An Enemy of the People” with Joey LaBrasca, Dee Nelson, Steve Hendrickson, Katya Stepanov and Noah Bailey (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: Tragically, An Enemy of the People, a tale of the battle between the truth and those who would manipulate or stifle it for their own gain, is as relevant today as when Henrik Ibsen penned En folkefiende in 1882 in response to the public attacks on his play Ghosts, and in 1950 when Arthur Miller adapted it as a response to the actions of the House Un-American Activities Committee headed by Senator Joseph McCarthy. It is all too easy to draw parallels to the key concerns of today.

Larry Murray: I agree, Gail, and rarely do we see theater productions that so perfectly capture the temper of our times from a distance of 65 or 130 years. I think a large part of the reason that An Enemy of the People works so well is the excellence of every aspect of the Barrington Stage Company production in Pittsfield. Director Julianne Boyd has been doing these issue plays for many years now, and has yet to have one that has misfired. Her sense of historical importance combines with some pretty innovative direction to bring a big, long, grey play like this into sharp focus. The fourteen actors – drawn as much from this region as from New York – are uniformly superb.

Gail: The plot is painfully simple. In a town struggling to revive its economy after the Second World War, much money and many hopes have been pinned on the healing spa waters of Kirsten Springs and a new resort has been developed to capture the tourist market. The local doctor, Thomas Stockmann (Steve Hendrickson), concerned over a rash of illness among the Springs early patrons, has had the water analyzed and discovered that it is, in fact, contaminated by the run-off from the tannery upstream – a business that has been in his wife’s family for generations and is currently owned by his ecentric father-in-law, Morten Kiil (Glenn Barrett). Dr. Stockmann’s brother, Peter (Patrick Husted), is the Mayor, and they both sit on the board of directors of the resort. Dr. Stockmann has a happy family life with his wife Catherine (Dee Nelson), 20-something daughter Petra (Katya Stepanov), and two school-age sons Morten (Noah Bailey) and Ejlif (Joey Labrasca). They are well liked in the community and in the first scene the family is entertaining Aslaksen (Jack Wetherall), the publisher of the local paper, its young editor Hovstad (Scott Drummond) and his assistant, Billing (Christopher Hirsh), along with an elderly neighbor, Captain Horster (Don Paul Shannon), at dinner when the water analysis report arrives from the lab.

At first everyone hails Dr. Stockmann as a hero for catching this important information on time. But as the economic impact of this discovery becomes clear – the Mayor goes about making that impact starkly real to all concerned – the worm turns and by the opening of the second act Dr. Stockmann is not even allowed to speak at a public meeting he has called, held in the Captain’s home because no one in town will rent him a hall. Stockmann is officially declared An Enemy of the People, and the play concludes with he and his family sheltering behind their living room couch, as a mob roars outside their home and hurls rocks through their windows, determined to stick together and fight for the truth.

Larry: The tension that built during the opening of the second act where the point of the play all melds together, builds the excitement of the citizens into a frenzy, and you can feel it build all around you as the ensemble brings the action of the mob into the midst of the audience. It is a passionately breathtaking example of full-tilt theatrical magic at work. And it has to be the most memorable 15 minutes of theater I have seen this year. It’s an all-out assault on the truth by the classic powers-that-be which is at the heart of this great human story.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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