Line-up Announced for Mr. Finn’s Cabaret [Berkshire on Stage]

April 13th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara

Barrington Stage Company has announced the 2017 season of performances at Mr. Finn’s Cabaret, located on the lower level of the Sydelle and Lee Blatt Performing Arts Center in Pittsfield.

Named for William Finn, the two-time Tony Award-winning composer/lyricist of Falsettos and The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Artistic Producer of BSC’s Musical Theatre Lab, Mr. Finn’s Cabaret celebrates its fifth season with an eclectic mix of performers from May through August.

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Today: Choreographer Mary Armentrout Offers Workshop @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

April 12th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

Today (Wednesday, April 12), San Francisco-based choreographer Mary Armentrout will conduct an open workshop at EMPAC at RPI in Troy. Titled From Feldenkrais to GoPro, the event will introduce participants to the Feldenkrais Method of Somatic Education in the context of contemporary media technologies such as the GoPro portable camera. The workshop runs from 5-8pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

The Feldenkrais Method is a system of gentle movement exercises meant to bring conscious attention to the bodily experience. In a traditional therapeutic context, the system is used to treat both physical and mental conditions by improving communication between the body and the brain’s motor cortex. Armentrout uses the Feldenkrais Method to understand everyday movements and environments as she integrates them into her artistic work as a choreographer.

Founding director of Mary Armentrout Dance Theater, Armentrout is currently in residence at EMPAC to develop a new site-specific performance in downtown Troy, along with media artist Ian Winters, composer Evelyn Ficarra and performer Chris Evans. Workshop participants will work with the full group of collaborators to not only learn Fledenkrais technique but to also begin integrating gestures and movement within contemporary media technology, especially the GoPro camera.

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REVIEW: “Emilie: La Marquise du Chatelet Defends Her Life Tonight” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

April 5th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara
Kim Stauffer and Suzanne Ankrum as the dead and the dying Emilie. Photo by Enrico Spada.

Kim Stauffer and Suzanne Ankrum as the dead and the dying Emilie. Photo by Enrico Spada.

Review by Macey Levin

Emilie: La Marquise Du Chalet Defends Her Life Tonight by Lauren Gunderson is receiving a high-energy remounting by WAM Theatre at Shakespeare & Co.’s Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox. It was previously performed in 2013 in a highly praised production. The original WAM cast has reunited to once again bring an electric piece of theater to a Berkshire stage.

Emilie du Chalet died at the age of 42 in Paris in 1748. She had built a career for herself that was unheard of for a woman as a physicist, a mathematician, a translator, an author and, though married, the famed Voltaire’s mistress. When Emilie greets us at the very opening of the play, she has just passed away. She proceeds to tell us of her life in order to define the kind of woman she was so that history and we will remember her.

Married to a military man who is often away fighting in France’s wars, she indulges her passion for physics to the detriment of her daughter. She also indulges her need for Voltaire, the famed scientist/philosopher. Her initial relationship with him is on a professional level as they work through various mathematical problems in preparation of a book. Due to his romantic escapades she offers him the use of a rural house and joins him there as his lover.

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Bread & Puppet Theater to Perform Throughout Greater Nippertown This Month [Berkshire on Stage]

April 5th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

Bread & Puppet Theater performs at BART Charter Public School in Adams at 7pm on Thursday (April 6). They will have spent the week working with BART to prepare a collaborative performance of Bread and Puppet’s Faust 3, a proletarian rumination on displacement, heaven, and satisfaction in the tradition of Medieval Faust puppet shows and Goethe’s epic verse drama.

Bread & Puppet Theater will present the play at a number of Greater Nippertown venues throughout the month, including Gateway City Arts in Holyoke (3pm on Sunday, April 9), Bard College at Simon’s Rock in Great Barrington (7:30pm on Thursday, April 13) and Time + Space Limited in Hudson (7:30pm on Friday, April 14).

Based in Glover, Vermont, the Bread and Puppet Theater has been an innovator and leading force behind the use of puppet arts and cantasoria (a form of street theater) to advocate for social and economic justice since its founding in 1963. Faust 3 is most the most recent play written and directed by Bread and Puppet’s founder and director, Peter Schumann.

The production can be understood as an extension of Goethe’s Faust, with the driving question of the play, “What constitutes a satisfying life?” While Goethe’s Faust is told from the point of view of a relatively privileged, educated doctor, Bread and Puppet’s Faust 3 is told from the point of view of the everyday man. It is told in three parts, each of which focuses on the following topics: the refugee crisis/refugee experience, the impact of economic disparity on the common person’s experience and the challenges of food access.

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Dinner Theater Fundraiser for ARC of Rensselaer County [Berkshire on Stage]

April 4th, 2017, 1:30 pm by Sara

Today (Tuesday, April 4) is the Arc of Rensselaer County Dinner Theater Fund RaiserPlay With Your Food. Three short plays – Geriatric Fulfillment Center, Be Careful What You Wish For and It Takes a New Village – by award-winning local playwright Joe Starzyk, sandwiched around a three course meal. The event takes place today (Tuesday, April 4) from 6-9 pm at Brown’s Brewing’s Revolution Hall in Troy. Tickets are going fast so call 518-274-3110 to reserve seating. An evening of food & fun to help a good cause.

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MopCo Offers “Laughternoon” Comedy for Seniors [Berkshire on Stage]

April 3rd, 2017, 10:00 am by Sara

Who says improv is just for the young’uns? Laughternoon – an afternoon of fun, interactive comedy and music at the Mopco Improv Theatre in Schenectady – is specifically designed for older audience members. This month’s show takes place at 2pm on Tuesday (April 4). Tickets are available online at or by phone at 518-577-MPCO (6726). Tickets are priced at $9 (includes complimentary tea or coffee and a cookie), and discounted tickets ($8) are available to groups of ten or more.

The Laughternoon show is part of an effort to involve a diverse range of people in improv activities. “At our first Laughternoon we had so much fun,” said director Michael Burns, “asking the audience what they wanted to see, singing improvised songs with them and having some willing volunteers help us out on stage. Plus, one gentleman said his cookie was ‘the best oatmeal raisin cookie I ever had!’ We had four generations creating together in one room – and it was a blast!”

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Obie Award-Winning Theater Artist Andrew Schneider Offers Free Work-in-Progress Preview [Berkshire on Stage]

March 29th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

On Thursday (March 30) at 8PM, interactive-electronics artist and writer Andrew Schneider will offer a preview of his new work-in-progress, FIELD, at EMPAC at RPI in Troy. Admission is free and open to the public. Due to limited capacity, however, we suggest audience members arrive early.

This performance will cap the third in a series of production residencies at EMPAC, during which Schneider has worked on the follow-up to YOUARENOWHERE, the winner of an Off-Broadway Theater Award (Obie) in 2015. The new show will receive its soft launch at EMPAC in fall 2017 before premiering in New York City.

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A Talk by Media Theorist Susan Kozel @ EMPAC [Berkshire on Stage]

March 28th, 2017, 1:00 pm by Sara

On Wednesday (March 29), EMPAC at RPI will host media theorist Susan Kozel to discuss her research on the convergence of philosophy, dance and media technologies. The talk, titled When Performance and Philosophy Become Design Materials: Dialogues Between Dance and Interaction Design, will start at 7pm. Admission is free and open to the public.

In the realm of human-computer interaction — a field that drives the development of immersive and virtual digital environments and performances — the physical and affective aspect of the human experience has often received secondary consideration within the design and development of new technologies. Integrating the practice of dance improvisation with an analysis of the human body in digital culture, Kozel offers a somatic counterpoint to this tech-driven approach to HCI.

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