Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare & Company’

“Or,” Takes a Look at the First Female Playwright @ Shakespeare & Co [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 22nd, 2016
Tod Randolph (photo:  Kevin Spragu

Tod Randolph (photo: Kevin Sprague)

In Lenox, Shakespeare & Company presents Liz Duffy Adams’ playful comedy Or, based on the real life of Britain’s first female playwright Aphra Behn. Directed by Alice Reagan and featuring actress Tod Randolph, the in-the-round production begins previews on Saturday (July 23), officially opens on Friday, July 29 and runs through Sunday, September 4 in the Tina Packer Playhouse.

“The play is bittersweet,” says director Reagan. “We know that Aphra Behn would be forgotten and rediscovered many times in the more than 300 years since her death. And yet, the plot keeps moving, the world keeps spinning, and lovers will love. Or, is the story of one woman’s artistic beginnings and a larger story of a permissive, exciting moment in history when the culture shifted an inch or two, and a woman slipped in the door.”

Aphra Behn, known to history as the first credited female playwright, has one opportunity to have her play produced and fulfill her desperate desire to leave the spy trade behind her. The catch? She must finish and deliver her play by morning all while fighting off distracting romantic temptations, attempting to win a pardon, and trying to save the life of royalty. Her hectic antics unfold into a night of hilarity, passion and self discovery that tells a story that transcends time.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

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THEATER REVIEW: “The Emperor of the Moon” @ Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, July 18th, 2016
Lori Evans and Kaileela Hobby in The Emperor of the Moon (photo:  Ava G. Lindenmaier)

Lori Evans and Kaileela Hobby in “The Emperor of the Moon” (photo: Ava G. Lindenmaier)

Review by Macey Levin

One of the delights each summer at Shakespeare and Co. is the over-the-top farce staged at the Rose Footprint in Lenox. This tent-covered playing space is similar to 16th and 17th century theaters, and the shows echo back to the famed Commedia del’Arte style of acting.

This summer’s show is the world premiere adaptation of The Emperor of the Moon by Aphra Behn (who is the subject of Or, to be presented at the Bernstein Theatre starting on Saturday [July 23]). This production is a hoot-and-a-half with its larger-than-life characters, tongue-in-cheek line delivery, vigorous staging and very talented actors who are obviously enjoying themselves.

The plot is predictable since it has been used again and again by myriad authors over the centuries. The Doctor (Lori Evans), who believes there is a moon-civilization, will not allow his daughter Elaria (Caroline Calkins) and niece Bellemante (Zoe Laiz) to meet men because earthlings are inferior; he is preparing them to marry moon-men.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

“The Emperor of the Moon” Brings Farce to Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Friday, July 15th, 2016

bosemperormoon

Shakespeare & Company’s Rose Footprint Theatre presents a world premiere adaption of The Emperor of the Moon by Aphra Behn. Directed by company veteran Jenna Ware, the uproarious and musically jam-packed comedy opens today (Friday, July 15) and runs through Saturday, August 20.

When love strikes, chaos ensues and a coup of astronomic proportions results. Sisters, suitors, servants and a father obsessed with the moon set the stage for a stellar farce performed under the open-air tent. Ware’s fast-paced family-friendly adaptation of Aphra Behn’s Restoration comedy, based in commedia dell’arte, offers audiences of every age a hearty dose of mayhem, music and merriment.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

ShakesCo Offers “Twelfth Night” @ The Mount [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, July 14th, 2016
Last year at the Dell at the Mount, Luke Reed gave us a memorable Hamlet (photo: Elizabeth Aspenlieder)

Last year at the Dell at the Mount, Luke Reed gave us a memorable “Hamlet” (photo: Elizabeth Aspenlieder)

Shakespeare & Company continues to roll out its 39th season with Twelfth Night, opening tonight (Thursday, July 14). Directed by Jonathan Croy, Shakespeare’s rebellious comedy plays at the Dell-Outdoors at The Mount: Edith Wharton’s Home through Saturday, August 20.

Outdoors, fresh and fast-paced, this popular comedy catapults audiences into a world of illusion, debauchery and mayhem. Amidst the forest and foliage, audiences are transported to the mythical land of Illyria – alongside the recently shipwrecked and lovelorn Viola. This 90-minute frolic unravels a madcap mix-up of characters and offers a reunion of epic proportions.

“There’s something magical about seeing a play at The Mount,” says veteran director Jonathan Croy. “Many people bring picnics and sit on that beautiful hillside in the open air, watching fight call or chatting with the actors before the show. I’ve seen conversations begun during the nightly Talkback continue well after the show was done. There’s a different energy, a ‘communal’ spirit that reminds me of the old days, when we performed down by Edith’s mansion under the stars.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER REVIEW: “The Merchant of Venice” @ Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016
John Hadden, Jonathan Epstein and Jason Asprey

John Hadden, Jonathan Epstein and Jason Asprey

Review by Gail M. Burns

The Merchant of Venice is fairly early play in the Shakespearean canon, and it is not a particularly good one, being a mash-up of two or three folk tales well known to Elizabethan audiences, that don’t hang together particularly well. Add to that that attitudes towards Jews are very different in 21st century America than they were in 16th century Britain, and you have a real “problem play.” When Shakespeare & Company last staged this work in 1998, then as now with Tina Packer directing and Jonathan Epstein playing Shylock, there was a great public outcry against the play, with questions raised about whether it could, or even should, be staged in modern times.

Having taken the plunge and mounted a new production, I can only imagine the dismay with which Packer and company watched racial tensions and violence erupt nationally during the course of their previews. Merchant… is the big Shakespearean production for 2016, the centerpiece of their season. Would the national mood turn audiences against their choice? Or would they be more open to exploring the prejudice that has always raged within society?

At least on the official opening night, the audience, comprised primarily of the press along with Shakespeare & Company board and company members and donors, was open to being schooled in the depth and persistence of anti-Semitism in particular and racial/ethnic/religious hatred in general. It was perfectly acceptable to be prejudiced in Shakespeare’s time, particularly on religious grounds, as Roman Catholics and Protestants of various ilks waged bloody warfare across most of Europe for the right to be considered the “true” religion of the people. Catholics considered Protestants, Jews and Muslims alike to be pagans and heretics. Their souls were going to burn in hell if not “saved” by conversion to Christianity.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Theater Review: “Ugly Lies the Bone” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Thursday, June 30th, 2016
Christianna Nelson in Ugly Lies the Bone

Christianna Nelson in “Ugly Lies the Bone”

Theater review by Macey Levin

For years countless men and women have returned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with horrendous physical injuries. In Lindsey Ferrentino’s play Ugly Lies the Bone, currently at Shakespeare & Co.’s Bernstein Theatre in Lenox, we meet Jess (Christianna Nelson), a young woman who has suffered severe physical damage as well as profound psychological pain.

Having returned to her childhood home in Florida she shares with her sister Kasie (Rory Hammond), she is undergoing a rehabilitation process that involves a virtual reality experiment in which she wears goggles and is urged by an unseen character (Ariel Bock) to create her personal version of Paradise. This, presumably, will move her away from her bleak daily existence into a world that will give her hope for the future.

As Jess creates her idyllic space, the voice continually urges her to “Move forward!” Her conflict is that she wants life to be what it had been, especially before her third deployment. Her mother (Ms. Bock) was well and vital, her lover Stevie (Hamish Allan-Headley) cheered her and her sister Kasie was happier. Now, mother is institutionalized with Alzheimer’s, Stevie is married and works as a gas station attendant and Kasie is in love with Kelvin (Dylan Chalfy), who is unemployed plumber.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

THEATER: Lindsey Ferrentino’s “Ugly Lies the Bone” Comes to Shakespeare & Company [Berkshire on Stage]

Tuesday, June 14th, 2016
Ugly Lies the Bone, written by Lindsey Ferrentino (above), is being directed by Daniela Varon.

“Ugly Lies the Bone,” written by Lindsey Ferrentino (above), is being directed by Daniela Varon.

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox continues to roll out its 39th performance season with the regional premiere of the Woodward and Newman Award-winning play, Ugly Lies the Bone, written by Lindsey Ferrentino and directed by Daniela Varon. This insightful, emotional and timely drama joins the Bernstein Theatre repertory on Thursday (June 16) and runs through Sunday, August 28.

Combat veteran Jess comes home to Florida after three tours in Afghanistan bearing deep physical and emotional scars. An innovative, experimental video game therapy offers an escape from her excruciating pain, but can virtual reality help Jess come to terms with the altered reality of her hometown, relationships and dreams?

“I fell in love with this play the first time I read it,” says director Daniela Varon. “The playwright’s thematic landscape encompasses so many timely subjects – such as the changing role of women in the military, how we see or don’t see our veterans, and how we care for our elderly. Among things that are especially difficult to comprehend if one hasn’t experienced them firsthand are combat on the battlefield, and constant, intractable physical pain. This play asks its audiences to imagine both. Jess, our protagonist, is referred to as a war hero, but her hero’s journey only begins at war. The longer journey is in coming home — to her community, her family, and her body.”

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Shakespeare & Company Announces Six Plays for 2016 [Berkshire on Stage]

Monday, January 25th, 2016
Nigel Gore and Ryan Winkles. Photo by Kevin Sprague

Nigel Gore and Ryan Winkles. Photo by Kevin Sprague

Shakespeare returns to Lenox and Shakespeare & Company for the renowned company’s 2016 summer season, in a season which also includes which includes the regional premieres of Or, by Liz Duffy Adams and Lauren Gunderson’s The Taming. Additional titles include Ugly Lies the Bone by Lindsey Ferrentino, a bracing drama fresh from an acclaimed Off-Broadway production, Sotto Voce by Pulitzer Prize-winner Nilo Cruz, and the return of Stephan Wolfert in Cry “Havoc!”

Shakespeare in the Round

From the works of Shakespeare, the company will do The Merchant of Venice, The Two Gentlemen of Verona and Twelfth Night.

The summer season will also introduce a new stage configuration in the Tina Packer Playhouse. Artistic Directors Ariel Bock and Jonathan Croy announced plans to present performances in-the-round, offering a greater intimacy between performers and audience.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage

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