Posts Tagged ‘Berkshire On Stage’

“The Extra People” Breaks Down Walls @ EMPAC at RPI [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, September 9th, 2015
Who is the actor and who is the audience?

Who is the actor and who is the audience?

The “fourth wall” is the imaginary barrier that separates the actors from the audience in a traditional theater production. When it’s broken, the audience is shocked into an awareness of the role they play in supporting the spectacle at hand. In British artist Ant Hampton’s new production, developed in residence at EMPAC at RPI in Troy, the fourth wall is so thin as to be nearly imperceptible, with the line between performer and audience equally unclear. On Thursday evening (September 10), the world premiere will find audience members entering the dimly lit theater, equipped with earphones, a flashlight and a high-viz jacket to search for who might be considered “The Extra People.”

Starting with “Rotozaza’s Etiquette” (2007), Hampton has created nine “autoteatro” works, including his recent Bessie-award-winning collaboration with Tim Etchells for library reading rooms (“The Quiet Volume”). In autoteatro, automated processes are delivered to the audience, normally through pre-recorded audio, which allow the audience members to experience the piece from the inside. In the case of “The Extra People,” audience members will be issued iPods with earbuds that will deliver particular instructions to each person. In this way, every person in the room will experience shifting roles on the participant-spectator spectrum.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.


FEST: The Springfield Steampunk Festival Steamrolls into Vermont This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

Portrait of a beautiful steampunk woman over vintage background.

Springfield, Vermont is calling all Steampunk aficionados and those curious to participate in the first ever Springfield Steampunk Festival. Presented by the Steampunk Society of Vermont and the Hartness House Inn, the festival is slated for Friday-Sunday (September 11-13) with proceeds to benefit the Springfield Community Center.

For those not in the know, Steampunk has been described as an imaginative mix of artisanship, Victorian-era fantasy and reality, the science fiction of H.G. Wells and Jules Verne. Science fiction writer George Mann describes Steampunk as “a joyous fantasy of the past, allowing us to revel in a nostalgia for what never was. It is a literary playground for adventure, spectacle, drama, escapism and exploration. But most of all it is fun!”

“This is not your typical ‘vegetable’ festival so popular in Vermont, says Sabrina Smith, festival coordinator and founder of the Steampunk Society of Vermont. This festival embraces what Springfield is all about – a virile, vigorous bustling Yankee industrial mill town — a town seeking a new identity — with a rich history of industry and innovation. Springfield and the Precision Valley are “famous” for their gear shaper, tool, spindle and grinder factories. The turret telescope was invented here as well as the clothespin, jointed dolls, toy carts, and guitar and violin cases, among many other inventions. That’s why we are turning Springfield into the Steampunk Capital of Vermont,” she says.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Charles Busch Brings “That Boy/That Girl” to Club Helsinki [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, September 4th, 2015
Charles Busch on stage. (photo: Stephen Sorokoff)

Charles Busch on stage. (photo: Stephen Sorokoff)

After three sold-out engagements, Tony Award nominee Charles Busch – the author of the hit Broadway play, “The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife” and legendary drag star of such films as “Die, Mommie, Die!” and “Psycho Beach Party” – returns for his annual Labor Day weekend engagement at Club Helsinki in Hudson at 8pm on Sunday (September 6) as part of the Helsinki on Broadway cabaret series presented in association with Showstoppers New York.

Be sure to also read this article that Busch wrote for Berkshire on Stage on how he devised the perfect costume for his appearance.

His all new show “That Girl/That Boy” features Tom Judson on the piano and promises to be an evening of glamour, music, gossip, comedy and general mayhem…

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Joe Iconis & Family Return to Mr. Finn’s Cabaret [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015
Joe Iconis (photo: Monica Simoes)

Joe Iconis (photo: Monica Simoes)

The return of award-winning songwriter Joe Iconisreturns to Barrington Stage Company’s Mr. Finn’s Cabaret in Pittsfield with his latest iteration, Joe Iconis & Family: Outcast Superstars, for three performances at 8pm Friday-Sunday (September 4-6).

The intensely musical and energetic Joe Iconis first won the hearts of many Berkshire residents as the composer and lyricist of The Black Suits as well as his previous BSC cabarets, all of which have been sold out. Iconis and his many friends will present an evening of his sly, mischievous, toe-tapping – and always – brilliant songs. Come hear some rockin’ music from the writer of “Broadway Here I Come” (of TV’s “Smash”).

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Progressive Love on the Dance Floor: JD Samson @ MASS MoCA [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015
Singer and producer JD Samson is at Mass MoCA on September 5, 2015.

Singer and producer JD Samson is at MASS MoCA on Saturday (September 5).

A member of the legendary electro-feminist-punk project Le Tigre, the singer and producer JD Samson is an articulate champion of social causes and a party waiting to erupt. She’s here with a live band set and a DJ set for a summer-ending night of progressive love on the dance floor. Samson takes the stage at MASS MoCA’s Courtyard C on Saturday (September 5) at 8pm.

An eloquent activist, feminist, writer and performer, Samson was raised in a Cleveland suburb by two artists. Coming out at the age of 15, Samson overcame hardships to become a strong activist for feminist and LGBT rights. She pursued her passion in film by attending Sarah Lawrence College, where she landed a job managing projections for the electronic, feminist group Le Tigre – an all-female band with roots in dance, punk and pop music. Shortly thereafter, in 2000, Samson became a contributing member of the band. As a part of Le Tigre, Samson channeled her personal life to produce electrifying, upbeat music with strong sociopolitical and LGBT ties. When the band took a break in 2006, Samson formed a new project, MEN, with Le Tigre’s Johanna Fateman.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER Review: “Evita” @ the Theater Barn [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 31st, 2015
Eva Peron

Eva Peron

Theatre review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: I’ve waited a long time for Evita to be performed in this area…

Larry Murray: It’s one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most interesting concept musicals because its jewel of a lead, Eva Perón (Joanna Russell) left such an impressive legacy that even an Englishman was inspired to make her life into a musical. People don’t think of the safety net she created in the middle of a brutal military dictatorship, but as Evita brings out, her story was propelled by her upbringing as a desposeído. She cared for the poor even as the government enriched itself to the point of bankruptcy.

Gail: Eva Perón (1919-1952) was an amazing woman, and like most amazing women her story is told and retold through various patriarchal lenses – political, religious, sexual and here artistic. Since she was only 33 when she died of cancer, there was not time for Evita to tell her own story.

And while this 1976 Andrew Lloyd Webber rock opera is iconic and well known, this is the first time I have been offered an opportunity to see it since I bought a $10 seat in the nose-bleed section of the original Broadway production in 1979. (Yes, you could see a Broadway musical for $10 back then.) It’s a show everyone knows, and nobody does. For the tiny Theater Barn in New Lebanon to tackle it takes chutzpah!

Larry: I was impressed by both leads, Joanna Russell has a tremendous voice which she kept under control, building songs like “Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina” from pianissimo beginnings to exuberant displays of vocal prowess. Her acting style was forthright, and not overwrought, whereas someone trained as an actor rather than a singer might have been tempted to burn up the scenery a bit, don’t you think? In a gorgeous glittering white dress, arms raised high on the balcony, she was every bit the Evita we have come to know from legend.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER Review: Tina Packer Stars in “Mother of the Maid” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, August 28th, 2015
Anne Troup as Joan Arc and Tina Packer as Isabelle Arc.

Anne Troup as Joan Arc and Tina Packer as Isabelle Arc

Theater review by Gail M. Burns

Ever heard of Isabelle Romée (1377–1458)? She was married to a man named Jacques d’Arc and they had a daughter named Jeanne, known in English as Joan. Joan d’Arc. Joan of Arc. The Maid of Orleans. Saint Joan.

I had always been presented with Joan of Arc (1412-1431) as a peasant girl, but in fact her family was what we today would consider solidly middle class. They owned and farmed several acres. Isabelle spun wool, while Jacques also held a minor position in the village government as a tax collector. Yes, they were illiterate; the majority of people were back then. After Joan went to court, the family was ennobled in 1429 by King Charles VII, the former dauphin who Joan had brought to the throne. After Joan’s death, Isabelle moved to Orleans, where she received a pension from that city.

Turns out the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. While Isabelle’s life was far less spectacular than her daughter’s, she was an intelligent and tenacious woman who devoted the second half of her life to clearing Joan’s name. This required her to learn to read and write so that she could petition a series of Popes and argue her case before church courts, and to travel internationally. Over the course of four years from 1452-1456, the posthumous retrial of Joan’s case involved clergy from all across Europe and concluded with her being cleared of all charges and labeled a martyr instead of a heretic. Incidentally, the crime for which Joan was burned alive was cross-dressing, and she wasn’t canonized until 1920.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Roomful of Teeth Return to MASS MoCA on Friday [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 27th, 2015
Roomful of Teeth (photo: Nicholas Whitman)

Roomful of Teeth (photo: Nicholas Whitman)

Exploring new vocal territory and sharing music from their new 2015 album Render, the Grammy Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth comes home to MASS MoCA in North Adams to celebrate the work of composer-in-residence Ted Hearne, harnessing all sorts of colors, gestures and timbres as the group explores all possibilities of the human voice. Roomful of Teeth’s annual two-week residency culminates in a concert at 8pm on Friday (August 28).

Both as an expansion and a tribute to the group’s self-titled predecessor (called “sensually stunning” by The New York Times), Render is the next leg of Roomful of Teeth’s journey to mine the expressive possibilities of the magnificent vocal palette offered by each of the ensemble’s eight powerful singers. Group alto and Pulitzer Prize-winner Caroline Shaw relates the title of the album to the “idea of seeing…distinct particles slowly come together [to] create an image” (NPR). The recording emerges as one likeness, but remains unforgettably composed by distinct and enormously talented contributors, including founder and artistic director Brad Wells, as well as William Brittelle, Wally Gunn, Missy Mazzoli, Caleb Burhans and ensemble tenor Eric Dudley.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Cartoonist John CaldwellCaffe LenaHolly & EvanAdvertise on Nippertown!Leave Regular Radio BehindAlbany PoetsBerkshire On StageKeep Albany BoringHudson SoundsThe LindaArtist Charles HaymesThe Sanctuary For Independent Media