Posts Tagged ‘Shakespeare & Company’

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

Friday, February 17th, 2017
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]

Thursday, February 16th, 2017
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]

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

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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This Week: “It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, December 14th, 2016
Jennie M. Jadow, Ryan Winkles and Sarah Taylor in It’s A Wonderful Life (photo:  Enrico Spada)

Jennie M. Jadow, Ryan Winkles and Sarah Taylor in “It’s a Wonderful Life” (photo: Enrico Spada)

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox brings back the popular show It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, a beloved holiday classic adapted from the original 1946 film. Directed by Jenna Ware and featuring Company actors Jonathan Croy, Jennie M. Jadow, David Joseph, Sarah Jeanette Taylor and Ryan Winkles, the production runs from Wednesday-Sunday (December 15-18) in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre.

Adapted by Joe Landry from the original screenplay by Frances Goodrich, Albert Hackett, Frank Capra and Joe Swerling, the play is set in a radio studio on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1946, when five radio personalities are live, on-air, retelling the story of George Bailey, who goes on an “other-worldly” journey with “angel, second class” Clarence at his side to show him what the world would’ve been like if he had never been born. The play is presented with live sound effects and rapid character changes from all the actors who also perform radio jingles, and popular holiday and Christmas songs reminiscent of the time.

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Finn Wittrock to Star in Shakespeare & Co.’s “Hamlet” Reading [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016
Finn Wittrock

Finn Wittrock

Shakespeare & Company in Lenox will present a staged reading of William Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet, at 7pm on Saturday, October 8. Featuring Finn Wittrock – of American Horror Story and The Big Short – and other special guests, the reading will be presented in the Tina Packer Playhouse, and will be directed by Kevin G. Coleman, Shakespeare & Company’s Director of Education and a 2016 Tony Award nominee.

A star of stage, film and television, Finn Wittrock grew up with the Company. As a child he appeared in many of the Company’s outdoor Shakespeare productions at The Mount, as well as with Jonathan Epstein in Richard III at the Duffin Theatre in 1999.

Most recently, Wittrock was seen in the Oscar nominated film The Big Short, in which he starred opposite Brad Pitt, Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale and Steve Carell. Wittrock has been a part of the critically-acclaimed series American Horror Story for the last two seasons and he was nominated for an Emmy for his season four portrayal of Dandy Mott. This fall, Finn will be seen with Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in the film La La Land for Lionsgate. Upcoming theatrical productions include Othello with Daniel Craig and David Oyelowo directed by Sam Gold and The Glass Menagerie with Sally Field.

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THEATER REVIEW: “Or,” @ Shakespeare & Co. [Berkshire on Stage]

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016
Tod Randolph and Allyn Burrows in ‘Or,’ at Shakespeare & Company, 2016. Photo by Ava G. Lindenmaier.

Tod Randolph and Allyn Burrows in ‘Or,’ at Shakespeare & Company. Photo by Ava G. Lindenmaier

Review by Macey Levin

Aphra Behn is considered to be the first professional woman playwright, having been paid for her first play The Forc’d Marriage in 1670. Her plays, novels and poems were criticized for having too many references to sex and gender equality. There is a great deal of conjecture about her life including the possibility that she was never married to a merchant named John Behn. Having had an earlier career as a spy with a dubious reputation makes her a dramatic subject for a fictionalized, hilarious play by Liz Duffy Adams titled simply Or, at Shakespeare & Co.’s Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox.

After a prologue and an opening scene that places her in debtor’s prison, the bulk of the play occurs in Behn’s apartments during the course of one night. Several people call on her while she is attempting to write her first play. Through talk about sex, arguments, talk about sex, conversations, talk about sex, displays of wit and a lot of back story, we learn of her adventurous life, but more, we learn of her courage and determination in an age when a woman was not allowed to have a place in the world other than in her home.

Her visitors include King Charles II who has been recently restored to the throne of England and for whom she spied on the Dutch during the second Anglo-Dutch War, the actress Nell Gwynne, a fellow spy William Scot who may also have been working for the Dutch, and the eccentric widow Lady Davenant who produced Behn’s first play. There are several threads of relationships and stories that bind these people together. The recounting of the plot though relatively simple could tend to be convoluted since the interaction of the characters is quite involved. In this production the story is easy to follow because the acting is so wonderful.

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“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.

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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.

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