THEATER REVIEW: “Love, Loss, and What I Wore” @ The Whit [Berkshire on Stage]

June 21st, 2017, 3:00 pm by Sara

Review by Gail M. Burns

Do you wear clothes? Then you will love Love, Loss, and What I Wore currently at the Whitney Center for the Arts in a sleek and smart production by the Town Players of Pittsfield. You will adore this show if you identify as a woman, but you will like it just as well if you identify as a man and clothing is important to you. I saw this production on Father’s Day, and it brought back happy memories of my father, a straight, cisgender man who just LOVED clothing.

Clothes not only cover our bodies, they change our souls. And if you are a person who cares about clothing, you can remember exactly what you wore on both significant and insignificant occasions in your life. Wedding and prom outfits are always memorable, but other ensembles stick in the memory just because. The day I fell in love with the theater I was wearing a bright yellow mini-dress (really just a long vest) over a purple blouse and matching purple tights with yellow platform shoes with six-inch heels (making me 6’4”. Can you tell it was 1972?

I adored Ilene Beckerman’s little illustrated book of the same title when it was published in 1995 and still have my copy, but this was my first encounter with the stage version, adapted by Nora and Delia Ephron. I am sure it will have a long and happy life because it has an all-female cast, virtually no set, and can be performed as reader’s theater or, as here, as a fully staged production with memorized lines. Ideal for community theater and for professional theaters who can bring in a rotating cast of “stars” with little rehearsal necessary.

Director Melanie Rivers has assembled a fine cast. Laura Gardner plays Gingy, the only through character, who speaks most of Beckerman’s prose accompanied by poster-sized renditions of the author’s enchanting drawings, which are meticulously circulated along a clothes rack by prop manager Sam Therrien. Gingy’s wardrobe, and her memories of her mother and grandmother’s clothes, lead her through several boyfriends, husbands, children and grandchildren. Gardner is warm and amusing, bringing a light touch to her trip down memory lane.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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Pittsfield Town Players Undertake a Musical Maritime Melodrama [Berkshire on Stage]

April 27th, 2015, 1:00 pm by Sara
Town Players of Pittsfield with Bob Shepherd, Bev VanAlstyne Krol, Mae Rogers and Marty Plankey at Whitney Center for the Arts.

Town Players of Pittsfield with Bob Shepherd, Bev VanAlstyne Krol, Mae Rogers and Marty Plankey at Whitney Center for the Arts.

The Town Players of Pittsfield are planning a new musical revue to usher in the month of May.

Whatever Floats Your Boat (A Musical Maritime Melodrama), will be directed by Beverly Krol with musical accompaniment by Bob Shepherd.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

Another Chance to Join Amber Chand for “The Heroine’s Journey” on December 20 [Berkshire on Stage]

December 17th, 2013, 1:00 pm by Sara
Amber Chand

Amber Chand

By Larry Murray

Earlier this year, on January first, creative entrepreneur, peace activist and Great Barrington resident Amber Chand made a new year’s resolution to do something that would terrify her. Within a few hours of making this inner declaration, she got a call from a friend inviting her to speak about her life and work.

“I found myself emphatically saying: ‘No, I don’t want to give another speech or another workshop, what I really want is to do a one-woman show,’” Chand recalls replying. “Why? Perhaps it was the sheer disruptive exhilaration of doing something that would stretch me beyond the edges of my comfort zone. Perhaps it was the primal need to test myself, to see how far I could go in moving beyond my self imposed ‘limitations’ in this laboratory called life.”

Terrified or not, that show, The Heroine’s Journey: Tales of Love, Despair, Faith and Forgiveness had its premier in July at the Sandisfield Arts Center, and is being presented this holiday season at the Whitney Center for the Arts in Pittsfield, with lighting and sound design by Rob Dumais. The first performance on December 13, a fund-raiser for WAM Theatre, played to an enthusiastic sold-out house who gave Chand a standing ovation. The December 14 snowstorm has postponed the second performance to Friday, December 20 at 7pm.

Click to read the rest at Berkshire on Stage.

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