LIVE: “The Book of Liz” @ New Stage Performing Arts Center, Pittsfield [GailSez]
Situated in a low-ceiled room above the Beacon Cinema, the New Stage Performing Arts Center is exactly that – new. Under the leadership of Nicki Wilson, for the past two years NSPAC has been producing a steady stream of intriguing little plays that mainstream theatres can’t take the financial risk on. I am happy to report that on Friday, July 8, with Guys and Dolls, Going to St. Ives, and Tommy running mere blocks away, a decent crowd gathered to witness the opening night of The Book of Liz proving that there is a healthy market for theatre in Pittsfield.
I would imagine they were drawn to the play, as was I, because it was written by the brother and sister team of David (1956- ) and Amy (1961- ) Sedaris, both award winning humorists and performers, under the nom de plume of The Talent Family. The Book of Liz (2002) pokes fun at the extremes of organized religion and the title character is a member of a sect, presumably Christian, called the Squeamish. Like the Amish they eschew modern conveniences, wear a lot of black, and live in a tightly knit community.
Since I am a mild-mannered church secretary by day, the idea of a play written by two very funny people that poked fun at organized religion was very appealing.