Posts Tagged ‘Bennington’

Oldcastle Theatre Has an Enticing Slate of Summer Theatre Planned [Berkshire ]

Monday, April 14th, 2014
Bennington has much to offer at night including some fine restaurants and great theatre.

Bennington has much to offer at night including some fine restaurants and great theatre.

The Oldcastle Theatre Company has chosen four plays and a musical as their offerings for 2014, and all five choices intrigue. The musical is My Fair Lady, the Lerner and Lowe classic, retelling the story of an uneducated flower girl and her autocratic linguistics professor. The professor is sure he can turn her into a perfect lady who will fool even the most discerning member of the aristocracy.

We’ll let you read the recaps of the other plays below, all superb choices. It will be interesting to see who Oldcastle casts as Big Daddy in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, which is a tale whose twists and turns of life in the steamy south that never fails to draw the audience in.

For those of us in the Northern Berkshires, Bennington, VT is just next door, and both the Dorset Theatre Festival and Weston Playhouse are just a bit further. There’s great theatre tucked inside our nearby rolling mountains.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


Valentine’s Day Loses Its Innocence as the Gypsy Layne Cabaret Takes the Stage [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Gypsy Layne Cabaret

Story by Larry Murray

Valentine’s Day has suffered many indignities over the years, most recently when the Vatican Council demoted St. Valentine as an official holy day. Then the supermarkets removed all the fragrance from roses. And chocolates are now allowed to be made with hydrogenated fats. And nobody sends real valentines in the mail anymore. It isn’t that Valentine’s Day has been secularized, it’s that it has become an exercise in empty traditions.

While most Christian traditions started out as pagan celebrations, Valentines Day has gone from a remembrance of a Christian saint to one which takes place at the time of February’s Lupercalia (a Roman fertility festival). In ancient times women would place their names in a bowl from which the bachelors would select the person they would spend their next year with. Without having to get married or getting slapped with blood-soaked strips of dead goatskin.

That is one part of the old pagan tradition we’re happy to skip.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Bennington’s Oldcastle Theatre to Host Classical Concert Series with L’Ensemble [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, November 21st, 2013

Oldcastle Theatre

When the Oldcastle Theatre organizers were planning their new downtown home in Bennington, they thought of more than just their own needs for theater when the renovated the old Knights of Columbus Hall. With flexible seating and a sound-enhancing rectangular shoebox shape, the new facility can host music of all kinds, but its superb acoustics are sure to be treasured by classical music lovers. After the new facility opened this past spring, eight theater productions have been staged, and now the spotlight turns to music.

L’Ensemble – billed for nearly 40 years as “not your ordinary chamber ensemble” – will be in residence at the new Oldcastle Theatre at 331 Main Street in Bennington for three concerts beginning on Saturday (November 23).

L’Ensemble’s musical mission has always been to s-t-r-e-t-c-h the definition of chamber music. L’Ensemble performs all facets of chamber music from Bach’s unaccompanied sonatas to fully staged productions. Under the direction of founder and artistic director, Ida Faiella, L’Ensemble’s repertoire includes the classics and much, much more, from jazz-influenced works to cabaret arrangements of the standards by such composers as Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, George Gershwin and Leonard Bernstein.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

The Remarkable Life of Grandma (Anna Mary) Moses Takes to the Oldcastle Stage in November [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Grandma Moses

As practical as she was indomitable, Grandma Moses went from obscurity to fame almost overnight.

Grandma Moses: An American Primitive is a play about a legendary resident of our region, and promises a fascinating evening of theatre for those of us who remember her unlikely and miraculous rocket to fame in the arts world. It brought encouragement to thousands of amateur painters and millions of Octogenarians that life in a rocking chair was not the only choice for old age.

Stephen Pouliot’s Grandma Moses: An American Primitive brings the Oldcastle Theatre company’s inaugural season in its new downtown theatre in Bennington, Vermont to a conclusion. It opens November 1 and runs to November 17, 2013. Bennington is just a few minutes north of Williamstown and an easy drive from the Berkshires.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Reviewing a New Sherlock Holmes Tale – “Knight’s Gambit” @ Oldcastle Theatre Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, October 11th, 2013

Sherlock Holmes - Knight’s Gambit

Theater Review and Dialogue by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: Early in the development of Paul Falzone’s Sherlock Holmes – Knight’s Gambit we heard that Nigel Gore was going to play Holmes, and we were both pretty excited in seeing this brilliant actor – often Tina Packer’s onstage partner at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox – in a very different role. But as Oldcastle’s director Eric Peterson explained before the performance began, Gore had to bow out and open auditions were held for his part in New York City on Friday, September 13, a mere two weeks before the original opening night. Rehearsals were delayed, and the opening was pushed up a week as Nick Plakias took the title role at the last minute.

Gail M. Burns: I understand that Gore’s mother fell ill, requiring him to head home to Great Britain. Of course, we wish her a speedy recovery and look forward to welcoming him back to New England soon, but a real-life crisis like that creates problems of a very different nature for a theatre company. Significant income from fall productions come from school groups, and postponing or canceling those bookings can be devastating for finances and community relations.

Larry: Plakias and the cast, which included Richard Howe, Scott McGowan and Bill Tatum, first appeared on stage as if nothing untoward had happened, but it wasn’t too deep into the first act when Plakias liberated his script from under the chessboard and began to refer to it in quick glances, as if to be sure of his next cue. It was clear he knew the script – or at least 95% of it – but was not yet on solid ground.

That got me thinking about how amazing actors and theatre companies are when faced with the adversities of life. We don’t think of actors as people who get indigestion or the blues, have family members who get sick, or worse, and while there are understudies for major shows on Broadway they are not at all common in regional or community theatres.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Bennington’s Oldcastle Theatre Aces Ken Ludwig’s Farce, “The Fox on the Fairway” [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 15th, 2013
A rare moment of calm as Sophia L.. Garder (Pamrla) and Peter Langstaff (Bingham) discuss strategy. Photo Credit: Erich Augenstein

A rare moment of calm as Sophia L.. Garder (Pamrla) and Peter Langstaff (Bingham) discuss strategy. Photo Credit: Erich Augenstein

Theater Review and Discussion by Gail M.Burns and Larry Murray

Larry Murray: You introduced me to Oldcastle this past winter when they moved into their new theatre in downtown Bennington, Vermont. And it is a treasure in our own backyard. I was impressed with the high quality of their work then, and history seems to be repeating itself with their superb rendition of Ken Ludwig’s The Fox on the Fairway.

Gail M. Burns: What a fresh and funny farce! I loved how each act opened with the individual characters reciting quotations from famous folk on the subject of golf. Of course, golf is just the back-drop for this play which is really all about love and relationships. If, like me, you have never set foot on a golf course, you will not be missing anything.

Larry: This farce is supposedly second only to Ken Ludwig’s Lend Me a Tenor, but with Christine Decker at the director’s table, she fully captured the extravagant madness that this hilarious – and sometime downright silly – theatrical form demands. Farce for me is like a total vacation from worry and reality, and a flight into satire, buffoonery and physical humor of the most rarified kind. Ludwig dabbles in farce to my great enjoyment, but do you think it’s where he does his best writing?

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: Venture Capitalists Get Rich on “Other People’s Money” at Oldcastle Theatre Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, June 27th, 2013
Jenny Strassburg and Paul Romero, in Other People’s Money, at Oldcastle Theatre Company June 21-30. (photo: Eric Augenstein)

Jenny Strassburg and Paul Romero, in Other People’s Money, at Oldcastle Theatre Company June 21-30. (photo: Eric Augenstein)

Review by Larry Murray

Ever since the Oldcastle Theatre Company in Bennington, Vermont opened its new theatre downtown they’ve been on a roll. Their latest offering is Jerry Sterner’s OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY is one hell of a play, especially if you are wise to how money is made these days, and it is not by working hard, let me tell you. If tales of greed, lust and power pique your interest, here is a brilliant production of an older gem in Southern Vermont that is simply two hours of pure entertainment that might evoke a few gasps as you realize that what you are seeing is all basically true.

Just over the Massachusetts border from the Berkshires, Bennington, Vermont shares the region’s incredible affinity for well done plays by professional casts on subjects that are not the normal summer straw hat fare. With OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY, they chose a complex play that hits close to home dealing in depth with one of the greedy practices that caused America to lose so many manufacturing jobs. It is possible that seeing this play will give you an inoculation against such tactics being successful in the future because all business is ultimately personal when jobs are involved.

In 1989, the play OTHER PEOPLE’S MONEY: The Ultimate Seduction, opened at the Minetta Lane Theatre in New York, and the production ran for two years. It was voted the best off Broadway play by the Outer Critics Circle. Mitt Romney would likely praise the play, since it gives voice to the logic behind corporate takeovers, often euphemistically called “reorganizations”.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Review: “A Strange Disappearance of Bees” Has Critics Buzzing With Excitement [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2013
(l to r) Jenny Strassburg and Melissa Hurst in “A Strange Disappearance of Bees” at Oldcastle Theaetre Company.

(l to r) Jenny Strassburg and Melissa Hurst in “A Strange Disappearance of Bees” at Oldcastle Theaetre Company.

Review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: Without question, “A Strange Disappearance of Bees” has to be one of the best original plays I’ve seen in a long time. By “original” I mean conceived wholly from the mind of the playwright – we see lots of adaptations, translations and historical or biographical plays, but this one is a new creation.

Larry Murray: It’s been years since a new play came out of the blue and knocked my over like a stroke of theatrical lightning.

Gail: For starters, it is clearly plotted and truly moving and engaging. These are good but imperfect people – just like you and me – and through the course of the play we come to care about them and understand why they make the choices they do.

Larry: Elena Hartwell, whom we had the pleasure of meeting – almost by accident – in the lobby before the performance began is the sort of person you just naturally fall into a conversation with. And her play is peopled with uncomplicated characters who you just can’t help liking.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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