PS21 in Chatham Announces Bold, Diverse 2014 Schedule of Events [Berkshire on Stage]

April 16th, 2014, 10:00 am by Sara

PS 21 Summer Schedule

By Larry Murray

There is a lot to recommend in Columbia County, but perhaps the most beautiful outdoor venue there is PS21. The Performance Spaces for the 21st Century has announced its diverse 2014 summer array of dance, music, theater and film events, making some bold choices in the process. This is PS21’s ninth season and highlights include classical and jazz music performances, live theatre, a fashion show, Just For Fun (an afternoon program for kids), plenty of foot-tapping film and the first ever Chatham Dance Festival.

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Chatham’s PS21 Has Theater, Music, Dance, Film and a Focus on Comedy in 2013 [Berkshire on Stage]

April 23rd, 2013, 11:00 am by Sara
PS21′s popular tent spreads its arms around the performers.

PS21′s popular tent spreads its arms around the performers.

Chatham, NY: Comedy is the theme of PS21‘s eighth season at the Tent presented June through August. The schedule is jam-packed with a broad variety of dance, music, theater and film events that offer something for everyone: from the classical music lover to rockabilly disciple, movie buff to improv enthusiast, ballet aficionado to hip hop fan.

The Season highlights

1. “String Theory” Three consecutive Saturdays in June feature groups who are among the best in the world at their specific musical genre, and whose featured performer plays a string instrument.

2. Walking the dog Production of “Long Ago and Far Away and other short plays” by David Ives. Eleven performances over three weeks. Special preview and talk back nights.

3. Four critically acclaimed dance companies will perform, and dance classes will be offered for varying skill levels.

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Burns and Turner Review Chekhov’s “The Cherry Orchard” by Walking the dog at PS 21 [Berkshire on Stage]

July 10th, 2012, 1:30 pm by Sara
The Cherry Orchard @  PS21, Chatham

by Gail Burns and Abby Turner

Gail Burns: I always start my reviews of Chekhov with the disclaimer that you are either a Chekhov person or not a Chekhov person – it is a genetic trait like blue eyes or freckles – and there is nothing I can write and nothing any director/cast/crew can do to change that. I am a Chekhov person. What many people find inscrutible and dull I find fascinating and clever and often side-splittingly funny.

That being said, The Cherry Orchard, his last play, which was written over a period of years and finally performed in 1904, is not his funniest even though Chekhov himself called it a “farce.” Neither the original director, the legendary Constantin Stanislavski, nor David Anderson here in this Walking the dog production, played it for laughs. This production is also based on a translation by Carol Rocamora that is new to me.

Abby Turner: Obviously we need one of your snappy summaries of the play. You are so good at it, and you know the play much better than I do.

Gail: Liubóv Andréyevna Ranyévskaya (Lora Lee Ecobelli) and her brother Leonid Andréyich Gáyev (Glenn Barrett) arrive back at their ancestral home in May, when the cherry orchard is in bloom, with their family and servants. Mme. Ranyévskaya has an adopted daughter, Varya (Lily Balsen), who runs the estate along with Firs the butler (David Wade Smith), Semyón Yepikhódov (Gabriel Rodriguez) the clerk/bookkeeper, and Dunyasha (Natalie Li-Ting Wong) the maid. Ánya (Josephine Elwood), Mme. Ranyévskaya’s biological daughter, who is all of seventeen, arrives with mother and her uncle, along with Anya’s governess Charlotta (Nancy Rothman) and a manservant Yásha (Joseph Freeman). Neighbors Yermolái Alexéyich Lopákhin (John Romualdi) and Boris Semyónov-Pishchik (Philip X. Levine) are permanent fixtures in the family’s life, as is a “perpetual student” Pétya Trofimov (Paul Boothroyd) who is in love with Ánya. Kevin Kilb plays both the stationmaster and a down-trodden passerby who comes begging during a family outing in Act II, and Simon Frishkoff plays two other small roles.

The Cherry Orchard is all about change, and the inability of the this family to accept or manage it. Their country estate, including the house and a sizable cherry orchard as well as other lands, is being auctioned off to pay the mortgage. Although different options for keeping the house, if not the land, in the family are proposed, the family remain immobilized by a lack of courage and imagination, and ultimately the estate is purchased by Lopákhin, a noveau riche merchant whose ancestors were literally owned by the family as serfs. Although it is rumored throughout that he will marry to Varya, he never proposes, and so the house and land passes from the family’s grasp forever.

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PS21 (Chatham NY) and Walking the dog Theater Present “The Cherry Orchard” July 5-22 [Berkshire on Stage]

July 3rd, 2012, 3:00 pm by Sara
Walking the dog Theatre presents Checkov’s The Cherry Orchard from July 5-22 at PS21 in Chatham, NY.

Walking the dog Theatre presents Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard from July 5-22 at PS21 in Chatham, NY.

[CHATHAM, NY] – PS21 and Walking the dog Theater (WTD) present Anton Chekhov’s triumphant final play, “The Cherry Orchard,” Thursdays through Sundays, July 5-22. This classic, often farcical Russian comedy/drama will be directed by David Anderson, with original musical score by Jonathan Talbot. All twelve performances begin at 8:00pm under The Tent at PS21, 2980 Route 66 in the Town of Chatham, New York.

Filled with eccentric characters, romance and mystery, “The Cherry Orchard” is both inspirational and insightful. “Chekhov reveals his characters in all their flaws and strengths. He allows us to see all of our human possibilities as unique and universal, beautiful and laughable,” explained Director David Anderson. “In every moment there is a perspective in which we can see it as profound and a perspective in which we can see it as absurd. And always, he places it all in the context of a greater whole, within a larger story that our little story is a part of.”

While Chekhov intended this play as a comedy, others insist it’s a tragedy. Since its initial production in 1904, directors have contended with its dual nature. “The characters are tragic and sometimes pathetic and yet, at the same time, they are funny and surprising,” said Anderson. “Each character is on their own journey and trajectory, and each is on the threshold of some major change in their lives.”

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