Shakespeare & Co. Takes “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” Outdoors [Berkshire on Stage]

July 11th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

“The course of true love never did run smooth.” – Act 1, Scene 1

Shakespeare & Company presents William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Jonathan Croy and Douglas Seldin, and performed outside at The Dell at The Mount in Lenox. This magical favorite, presented by Shakespeare & Company’s Northeast Regional Education Tour and Riotous Youth Faculty, runs from today (July 11) through Saturday, August 19.

“I honestly believe that this is the most perfectly constructed comedy ever written,” said Croy. “Shakespeare gives us several perfectly balanced stories filled with characters that are filled with passion, both whimsical in their extremity and absolutely recognizable. The language is delicious, and the range of comedic style is astonishing. From Oberon’s high wit to Bottom’s well-intentioned malapropisms; the mistaken identities in the effects of the love potion and in Bottom’s transformation; the way that the charming pathos and silliness of the Mechanicals opens into the broad genius of Pyramus and & Thisbe, Midsummer is an absolute buffet of comedy and promises to be an unforgettable adventure for the whole family.”

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THEATER REVIEW: “4000 Miles” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

June 1st, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara
Annette Miller in 4000 Miles.

Gregory Boover and Annette Miller in 4000 Miles.

Review by Macey Levin

Leo has cycled across the United States from Washington State, with several side jaunts, finally to arrive at his Grandma Vera’s apartment in Manhattan. Amy Herzog’s gentle play 4000 Miles, a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2013, currently at Shakespeare & Co.’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox, examines the relationship of these two people who have family bonds but are light-years away from each other due to their generational disparities. These differences in attitudes and life experiences are key to the thematic statements of this terrific production.

The eighty-something-year-old Vera (Annette Miller) has lived her life in New York City where she and her late husband Joe were political lefties; Leo (Gregory Boover) is a philosophical lefty who is also a vegan, an environmentalist… and all those things one would expect of a twenty-something-year-old who doesn’t know who he is or what he wants to do with his life. The two parry, hug, laugh and argue about small things and then confide in each other about big things. Most importantly, they help each other. Vera sets Leo on a path to maturity; Leo gives Vera a newly-found respect for herself.

The characters roll through a series of mini-crises and a couple of blow-ups, some dealing with Leo’s love/hate relationship with his mother, whom he calls Jane; a problem that has arisen between him and his adopted Chinese sister; Vera’s missing checkbook and more. None of the various situations causes grave conflict, but the two gain insight into each other and themselves.

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Shakespeare & Co. Presents “4,000 Miles” [Berkshire on Stage]

May 25th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara
Annette Miller in <em>4000 Miles</em>.

Gregory Boover and Annette Miller in 4000 Miles

Shakespeare & Company opens its 40th anniversary season with 4,000 Miles written by Amy Herzog, and directed by Nicole Ricciardi. This Pulitzer Prize finalist and winner of the 2012 Obie Award for Best New Play explores growing up, growing old and the moments in between. The acclaimed comic drama opens at the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre today (Thursday, May 25) and runs through Sunday, July 16.

After suffering a major loss while he was on a cross-country bike trip, 21-year-old Leo seeks solace from his feisty 91-year-old grandmother, Vera, in her West Village apartment. Over the course of a single month, these unlikely roommates infuriate, bewilder and ultimately reach each other.

4,000 Miles looks at how two outsiders find their way in today’s world. The Associated Press said, “In 4,000 Miles, a warm-hearted new play by Amy Herzog, both love and irritability are woven into an illumination of the healing process after the loss of a loved one. The sensitive play [is] filled with small, revelatory and often humorous moments between a grandmother and her grandson.”

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Shakespeare & Co. Celebrates The Bard’s Birthday [Berkshire on Stage]

April 20th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara
Graphic design by Kevin Sprague.

Graphic design by Kevin Sprague

Each year Shakespeare festivals around the globe celebrate the birthday of our greatest playwright with special events. And at 7pm on Saturday (April 22), Shakespeare & Company in Lenox joins in the movement, hosting the Northeast Regional Tour’s production of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream in the Tina Packer Playhouse. A reception with the cast will follow the performance.

“The Bard’s birthday celebration is an event for the whole family,” said Director Jonathan Croy. “With an exhilarating 90-minute performance, followed by a reception with the artists, and, of course, a slice of birthday cake, it is a great way to add a little magic and mischief to your evening.”

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of the Bard’s most performed plays. The plot involves four lovers lost in the woods and a group of rude mechanicals who have set out to put on a play. Very quickly, they all become entangled in a dream world. The Fairy Kingdom is at odds, spells are cast and the devilish sprite Puck weaves his mischief amongst the mortals, but is all fair in love and war?

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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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“Lovers’ Spat” @ Shakespeare & Co. This Weekend [Berkshire on Stage]

February 17th, 2017, 2:00 pm by Sara
A Lovers’ Spat can take many forms.

A Lovers’ Spat can take many forms.

Shakespeare & Company is pleased to announce Lovers’ Spat: Shakespeare’s Famous Couple’s Encounters on Saturday (February 18) at 7pm and Sunday (February 19) at 2pm. Company actors and guest performers explore the complexities of love in staged readings featuring Shakespeare’s most notorious couples’ loving, fighting, scheming and wooing. Lover’s Spat is directed by Artistic Director Allyn Burrows and performed in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre in Lenox.

“The best part of quarreling is making up,” said Allyn Burrows. “On this Valentine’s weekend we do the quarreling, and you do the making up, or making out, or making your sweetheart laugh.”

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Shakespeare & Company Announces Its 40th Anniversary Season [Berkshire on Stage]

February 16th, 2017, 2:15 pm by Sara
Illustrations by Kevin Sprague

Illustrations by Kevin Sprague

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox has announced its line-up for the 2017 summer season, which includes three Shakespeare plays: Cymbeline, The Tempest and A Midsummer Night’s Dream; plus two Edith Wharton comedies, Roman Fever and the newly adapted The Fullness of Life. Additional titles include the Obie Award winning 4,000 Miles by Amy Herzog; New York Drama Critics Circle and the Outer Critics Circle Recipient, Intimate Apparel by Lynn Nottage; and Tony Award Winner, God of Carnage by Yasmina Reza.

“Marking this 40th Season at Shakespeare & Company represents a thrilling opportunity for us to celebrate our company’s legacy, to take stock of where we are, and to look forward to an exciting future,” said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. “Our robust 2017 programming highlighting the Bard is expanded to include special musical guests and contemporary women writers. We heartily invite people to make our grounds a destination to picnic, and enjoy a true Berkshire theatrical experience, including our new outdoor theatre in the Shakespeare’s Garden.”

The new Garden Theatre, located directly across from the Tina Packer Playhouse, is an intimate outdoor performance space with comfortable seating. This summer the space will be home to The Tempest, performed in-the-round at dusk. The Company will also present a 90-minute production of A Midsummer’s Night Dream outdoors in the Dell at The Mount, Edith Wharton’s Home. The popular Fourth of July Community Event, featuring the reading of the Declaration of Independence, will also return this summer.

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Shakespeare & Co.’s Winter Studio Festival of Plays [Berkshire on Stage]

January 10th, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

Shakespeare & Company presents its Winter Studio Festival of Plays on Saturday & Sunday (January 14 & 15). This weekend of staged readings will showcase a diverse array of playwrights and feature both emerging and established actors. All performances will take place in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre on the Shakespeare & Company campus in Lenox.

“We are thrilled to be able to produce readings of both new plays and enduring classics,” said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. “Sharing the powerful language of these influential writers in the off-season is important to keep the home fires burning. The Studio Festival gives actors and audiences an opportunity to connect and engage more intimately while exploring these provocative scripts.”

The Winter Studio Festival titles include St. Petersburg: 1913 by local playwright (and former UAlbany theater professor) Robert Sugarman; Susan Smith Blackburn Award Winner and Pulitzer Prize finalist, The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl; OBIE Award winning dark comedy, Curse of the Starving Class by Sam Shepard; Beyond the Veil by Berkshire native Emily Devoti; and Anton Chekhov’s classic The Cherry Orchard. Each reading will be followed by a post-show discussion.

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