Posts Tagged ‘Lenox’

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.

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“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.

A Man and a Devil Battle It Out at the Church on the Hill on Sunday [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Glen Williamson (photo: Robb Creese)

Glen Williamson (photo: Robb Creese)

Goethe’s “Faust” is one of the bedrocks of classic literature. Its story of a deal with the devil – signed in your own blood – still resonates today. Written two centuries ago, it is a rich vein of philosophical thought. And it’s about to be become relevent to us once again in a modern retelling in Lenox where people like their theater rich and deep.

Taking place on Sunday (October 5) at 2pm, a man and a devil will battle it out at the Church on the Hill in Lenox, as professional New York actor Glen Williamson performs his award-winning one-man play Beat the Devil! Faust, the Whole Story. The piece won the award for Best Adaptation at the United Solo Theatre Festival Off-Broadway in 2011. The Church on the Hill presents the Anthropos Theater production of Goethe’s theatrical masterpiece about about love, sex, murder, myth, magic, war, waves and a devil out of his depths. The Hadley Lyre Ensemble will play live music from Colin Tanser, J.S. Bach, and a piece composed especially for this event by Channa A. Seidenberg.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: “Private Eyes” @ ShakesCo Is a Befuddling Tangle of Lovers and Cheaters. Or Is It… [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, September 30th, 2014
The Company of Private Eye (photo: Enrico Spada)

The Company of Private Eye (photo: Enrico Spada)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: I had to be reminded that I had seen and reviewed a production of this play fifteen years ago, also at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox. Although I liked it at the time, it was not a memorable experience.

Larry Murray: Private Eyes is an odd concoction for sure, with some of the wittiest comedy and clever aphorisms of the current fall season. Written by Steven Dietz, the revival of Private Eyes features a fresh look and much younger cast from when the Company staged it in 1999 in the Stables Theatre at The Mount. There is one rather unmissable change, however, since the therapist Frank played then by Robert D. Lohbauer has had a sex change and is now played by Lori Evans Pugh. In your prophetic earlier review (link) you advised audiences to be prepared to go through the looking glass.

Gail: For all its twists and turns, Matthew (Luke Reed) is the central character and whatever happens happens to him, whether in fantasy or reality. Another solid bit of reality here is that Matthew and Lisa (Caroline Calkins) are married, or were married during much of the action of the play. Lisa may, or may not, be having or have had an affair with Adrian (Marcus Kearns), an insufferable British director who has cast the couple in an unnamed romantic comedy. Adrian’s wife (Elizabeth ‘Lily’ Cardaropoli) may be stalking her erstwhile husband in various disguises, or the whole thing may be a series of semi-fantastic stories Matthew spins for his psychiatrist, Frank (Pugh.)

Larry: Jonathan Croy is at work here as the director, which means that when there is fun, it’s rib-splittingly funny and where there is tragedy, it fully shocks and dismays. Everything is topsy turvy in this Diet-zy concoction. In the program notes, the director says that Private Eyes is a delicate Swiss watch of a play, moving gracefully through time and memory.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Love! Passion! Deception! Get All Twisted Together in “Private Eyes” at S&Co [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, September 15th, 2014
The cast of “Private Eyes” at Shakespeare & Company. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

The cast of “Private Eyes” at Shakespeare & Company (photo: Kevin Sprague)

It may be true that Caroline Calkins and Marcus Kearns played opposite each other in the appealing roles of Romeo and Juliet earlier this season at The Mount, but this hilarious thriller directed by Jonathon Croy is nothing like that. In fact, Private Eyes, written by Steven Dietz, has been described as a romantic comedy in which what’s real inevitably turns out to be an illusion. It’s a play within a play, within a play, within a play within a psychiatrist’s office — a Chinese box full of tricks and surprises.

Who can doubt that Croy is the perfect kind of director for this sort of mind-bending take on romance?

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Tanglewood’s Labor Day Weekend offers Tony Bennett, Josh Groban and Boston Pops, plus Train [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops return for the last time this season for an evening with Josh Groban.

Keith Lockhart and the Boston Pops return for the last time this season for an evening with Josh Groban.

Wrapping up a star-studded summer of great music, the Tanglewood Music Festival pulls out all the stops for the final weekend of music with some of the finest artists performing today. Here’s what’s on the calendar:

Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! opens the Labor Day weekend festivities at Tanglewood on Thursday, August 28 with a live presentation of the witty and fast-paced radio quiz program. This 8 p.m. performance, featuring hosts Peter Sagal and Judge and Scorekeeper Bill Kurtis, will be recorded for broadcast to its weekly audience of 3.2 million weekly listeners on more than 600 NPR stations nationwide. Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! is presented Tanglewood at on August 28 in conjunction with NPR and NEPR. Tickets for Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me! Range from $24 to $120 and can be purchased at www.tanglewood.org, by calling 888-266-1200 or at the Tanglewood Box Office.

Grammy award-winning rock group Train helps close out the 2014 Tanglewood season this summer with their concert on Friday, August 29, at 7 p.m. in the Koussevitzky Music Shed. Train made its Tanglewood debut with a concert on August 8, 2011 and performed again at Tanglewood in August 2012. The multi-platinum band made its mark on music history with the Grammy Award-winning song “Drops of Jupiter (Tell Me)” and chart-topping singles like “Meet Virginia” and “Calling All Angels.”

Josh Groban, What Was the First Album You Ever Bought?

Thursday, August 28th, 2014
Josh Groban

Josh Groban

“The first album that I bought was the Pearl Jam Ten album.

“But before that, the first album that was given to me was the Paul Simon Graceland album, from my dad. That was a hugely influential album for me, even though it was very different for me. It was the music that made me very aware that there were no boundaries, and that there was such a big world out there with lots of different musics. Paul Simon made it OK to cross-pollinate sounds. His melodies and lyrics combined with the heartbeat of that African music was something that just brought me to a whole other level.”

Josh Groban – singer, actor and the host of yet another network TV singing competition – steps into the spotlight at Tanglewood’s Koussevitzky Music Shed with the Boston Pops Esplanade Orchestra at 7pm on Saturday (August 30) in support of his latest album, All That Echoes.

REVIEW: “Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, August 25th, 2014
(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

(from left): Angel Moore, Mat Leonard and Ellizabeth Aspenlieder. (photo: Kevin Sprague)

Theater review by Gail M. Burns and Larry Murray

Gail M. Burns: I am deeply saddened, in the most appropriately Russian manner, to realize that Christopher Durang writes Chekhovian drama almost better than Anton Chekhov. Allow me a moment of deep reflection on the meaning of this revelation and its impact on my understanding of the cosmos and my pointless existence as an infinitesimal speck of useless matter within its vastness.

(Pause…)

Larry Murray: Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike – currently on view at Shakespeare & Company in Lenox through September 14 – could have easily been a parody of Chekhov’s classic plays but instead it is a valentine, a love letter of a play by Durang. The result is a comedy with deep life lessons, as its characters relearn what it means to be a family.

Gail: While you don’t have to know Chekhov’s plays to thoroughly enjoy this one, the more you know about dramatic literature, the more fun you’ll have. And while Chekhov is definitely an acquired taste, this will tickle the fancies of Chekhov lovers and haters in equal measure because Durang understands both what is wonderful and what is thoroughly annoying about the works of the Master.

Here Durang uses character names from Chekhov’s plays – Vanya and Sonia from Uncle Vanya, Masha from Three Sisters and The Seagull, Nina from The Seagull – and throws in endless allusions to his works throughout. Here Vanya (Jim Frangione), Sonia (Tod Randolph) and Masha (Elizabeth Aspenlieder) are siblings – after a fashion, Sonia is adopted – whose professorial parents named them after Chekhov’s characters. Masha, a five-times-divorced B-list film actress, owns the family home in Buck’s County, Pennsylvania, (just down the road from the home Dorothy Parker owned in the mid-20th century), where Vanya and Sonia, both unmarried, continue to live after caring for their parents through the ends of their lives. Nina (Olivia Saccomanno) just happens to be the name of a young woman visiting next door, and Spike (Mat Leonard) is Masha’s studly young lover. Like Madame Arkadina in The Seagull, Masha is an actress sliding precipitously over the hill, who is simultaneously jealous of and inspired by Nina’s luminous youthful beauty and incipient passion for acting.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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