For its eighth year, Barrington Stage is presenting its 10×10 New Play Festival. Ten plays ten minutes long are presented by six actors. It is amazing how much can be told in ten minutes. The six equity actors are Michael Fell, Sarah Goeke, DeShawn Mitchell, Keri Safran , Peggy Pharr Wilson and Robert Zukerman,, transforming into a range of different characters confronting different situations. With a minimum of props they present full stories that delight the audience. If you have never seen such a display of talent, you should and if you have, you are sure to want to see more.
Click below to hear Bob and I discuss this year’s offerings.
There is nothing that brightens our winter days more than the announcement of the new seasons of theatre to come. Shakespeare and Company has announced the plays it will be presenting in the coming months. Bob and I talk about the season and about the various ticket options available. Bob and I have been enjoying Shakespeare and Company productions for many years. There is a combination of the work of William Shakespeare and contemporary plays. Each time we see a new production of a familiar Shakespeare play we are delighted with the fresh insight and enjoyment it offers. The plays by modern playwrights are also a pleasure. The quality of the performances are outstanding in all of the productions. Click below to listen to what we have to say.
Bob and I saw a delightful comedy at Capital Rep in Albany which we recommend. This is a world premiere which is always exciting. However, I suspect this play will be produced by other theatres because of its appeal. Capital Rep is a theatre where we have enjoyed engaging productions before. We discuss the play below. However, in our discussion, we did not mention the significance of the red maple which is a stimulus for much of the action that takes place in the stylish Albany apartment. Two couples. who are old friends. discover a great deal surprising about themselves and each other. Listen to our discussion and then order tickets. The show plays until February 17 with evening performances Tuesday through Saturday and matinees, Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday.
Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York is presenting A Walk in the Woods by Lee Blessing this weekend and next. We saw it on the opening Friday and were most impressed. The play is based on actual nuclear proliferation talks that took place in Geneva Switzerland between Soviet Yuli Kvitsinsky and American Paul Nitz who left formal discussions for a walk in the woods. No one knows what was said during that walk. However, the talks in this play are engaging enough for the play to have been widely produced including in Moscow. Since it is only playing for the rest of this weekend and next weekend, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, we urge people to act fast. Bob and I discuss the production below. When you click on the Hubbard Hall link, you can order tickets, and also, when you go to Current Season, you can find some of the interviews that the actors and directors have given to others.
The Royal Shakespeare Company presented a musical, Miss Littlewood, about the director Joan Littlewood, at the Swan Theatre in the summer of 2018. This inspired our son , Paul, when he visited on Thanksgiving, to interview Bob about the time we spent with her in London and when she visited us in Vermont. Bob had not only spent time with her when we were in London where he was researching British theatre for his doctoral dissertation, but he had gone back when she was working on The Projector, supposedly an eighteenth century play that mirrored a contemporary building disaster that had happened in the East End of London. Bob also talked about introducing Joan to Tina Packer, whose work at Shakespeare & Co., was influenced by Joan’s, when Joan visited us in Vermont.
The Bennington Community Theatre will be performing The Curious Savage at Oldcastle Theatre on December 7 and 8. Bob and I had the opportunity to talk to some of the eleven actors and director Christine Decker before a rehearsal. We set up in the lobby of the theatre and spoke to Chris and the performers as they were available. Besides enjoying what they shared about their experiences rehearsing the play, we learned more about the play which had been produced on Broadway in 1950. Lillian Gish played the role of Mrs. Savage who is trying to keep her money from her greedy step-children. It sounds like a fine plot for a comedy, particularly since there are so many charmingly eccentric characters. .
This year marks the 30th year of Shakespeare and Company’s Fall Festival. Education artists from Shakespeare and Company work with ten high schools in Massachusetts and New York to mount 90 minute productions of Shakespeare’s plays. First the productions are presented at the participating schools. Then all the schools present at The Tina Packer Playhouse at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. This event usually takes place the weekend before Thanksgiving. This year the dates are November 15 to 18. Due to the predicted snow storm, one of Thursday’s performances is rescheduled for Sunday.
As an audience member, you not only enjoy the productions, but also the audience of high school students cheering on each other’s work. This is not a competition, but a sharing of Shakespeare’s work. In his book, Shakespeare: A Way to Learn, Bob wrote that this audience was as close as one could get to an original Shakespearean audience as it responds to the plays with a fresh enthusiasm.
The Festival is primarily the work of Kevin Coleman, Shakespeare and Company’s Education Director. We have interviewed Kevin about the Festival numerous times on our radio program and on our blog.
Click below for our first interview with Kevin. He also talks about programs other than the Fall Festival