Two Gentlemen of Verona

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Ryan Winkles as Valentine and Thomas Brazzle as Proteus

Two Gentlemen of Verona has been a play about which I have always had mixed feelings. However, the production at Shakespeare and Company which is running until September 4 is enchanting on every level. The acting, the movement,  the music, the comedy, every element blended together to make the play work as it doesn’t always. I was eager to talk to the actors about how they had created this magic. I have learned this season that to understand why Shakespeare’s characters behave as they do, one should ask the actors.

This interview with the director, Jonathan Croy and actors Tom Brazzel and Ryan Winkles was informative. However, since we were focused on the actions of the two gentlemen, we did not discuss some of the other characters who  were also captivating. The young women who are the objects of the gentlemen’s affections could also be discussed at length, as could the comic genius of John Hadden and Jason Asprey. In Shakespeare’s comedies, much humor comes from the secondary characters such as servants, relatives and in this case a band of pirate men (and women, as Bella Merlin kept reminding the audience.) One interview does not do justice to this production. However, you will gain much insight by clicking on the interview below and going to see the play by September 4.

Two Gentlemen of Verona Interview

Cloteal Horne as Sylvia
Cloteal Horne as Sylvia
Kate Abbruzzese as Julia
Kate Abbruzzese as Julia

 

 

 

 

 

 

The pirates -Bella Merlin
Bella Merlin as one of the pirates
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John Hadden as Launce and Jason Asprey as Speed

 

 

 

 

 

 

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           The Company in the song Who is Sylvia

Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park

 

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Although he died 400 years ago, William Shakespeare’s plays still thrill audiences. In the summer,companies performing Shakespeare out of doors and free of charge allow many families to share the pleasures of his work under the setting sun. The relatively new Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park Company will be performing The Tempest from July 21 to August 7, Thursday through Sunday at 8 pm on the Pittsfield First Street Commons.  On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings The Whitney Center for the Arts performs live music at 7:15PSP-Tempest-11x17

Bob and I interviewed Enrico Spada, the founder and director of the company and some of the actors. After the interview we had an opportunity to watch a rehearsal which was very exciting. One of the pleasure of seeing  different productions of Shakespeare’s plays is gaining new insights into the characters and their actions as different actors and directors bring fresh insights to the play.

Pittsfield Shakespeare in the Park Interview

Rehearsal Photos

Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri

 

 

 

 

 

Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri
Photo by Haley Barbieri

 

 

 

 

 

http:///www.pittsfieldshakespeare.org

Ugly Lies The Bone

ugly-list2” Beauty is but skin deep, ugly lies the bone; Beauty dies and fades away, but ugly holds its own,”  Albert Einstein.   This quote is the source of the title of this remarkable play, performing in repertory at Shakespeare and Company until August 28. For the exact dates and times go to the company’s website, www.shakespeare.org

Bob and I were fortunate to talk with the director and two of the actors after we had seen the play. We were enlightened and moved by the experience of the young female veteran who is the focus of the play. Too often the long war in which our country has been engaged seems distant. This play shows the consequences for veterans and their families. The play is a blend of reality and hope that completely engages the audience in the moment as well as leaves them thinking for long afterwards.

Interview Ugly Lies the Bone

 

 

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American Son

Julie Boyd, Tamara Tunie, Michael Hayden
                                        Julianne Boyd, Tamara Tunie, Michael Hayden

American Son opens at Barrington Stage on June 17 and runs through July 9.  Bob and I were fortunate to be able to record a press conference about the play with the director Julianne Boyd, and actors Tamara Tunie and Michael Hayden. After the press conference we had an opportunity to talk briefly with Tamara Tunie and Michael Hayden.

As you can tell as you listen to the director and actors talk about it, this is a play that raises many issues, while also providing insights into the characters dealing with a specific situation.  We are looking forward to seeing the play.

American Son Press Conference

Interview with Tamara Tunie and Michael Hayden

 

 Michael Hayden
Michael Hayden
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Tamara Tunie

Waxworks

945197ea-1633-4e8e-a869-f9726222a6dcBob and I have talked at length about how much we enjoy WAM Theatre’s Fresh Takes series of play readings. One of our favorite plays in the series was Waxworks. Imagine our delight when we discovered that Williams College ’62 was producing the play and that Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Artistic Director, was directing it.  The performances are May 5, 6 and 7 at the Adams Memorial Theatre in Williamstown. Tickets are $3.00.

We were fortunate enough to interview Kristen in her office at Williams College where she is also teaching this semester. The play by Trina Davies tells the tale of Madame Tussaud  and  her work during the French Revolution.

Madame Tussaud
Madame Tussaud
Death mask of Robsepierre
Death mask of Robespierre

A skilled artist in creating wax impressions of people, a skill she learned from her uncle, Madame Tussaud was commanded to make death masks of the victims of the guillotine such as Robespierre.

Click on Waxworks and you will hear our interview with Kristen van Ginhoven.

Waxworks

Center’62

A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Bennington College

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Lysander and Hermia

A Midsummer Night’s Dream is one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays and is performed widely. There are many different ways of approaching the play as is true with all Shakespeare’s plays. Besides theatre productions, Midsummer has been reimagined in ballet, opera, film and television.  The characters have appeared in paintings, children’s books, manga and graphic novels, as well as in literary and dramatic parodies such as Lords and Ladies and Shakespeare in Hollywood. 

The Bennington College Drama Department is offering a production of Midsummer at the Lester Martin Theatre on May 6,  7, and 8 at 8 pm. Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing the play’s director, Jean Randich, Music Director Christopher Giannitti and Technical Director Michael Rancourt. After talking with them, we are excited to see this production.

We met on the set of the play which was quite impressive.  Here is a model of it.Midsummer

 

Bennington College Midsummer Night’s Dream

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

00001Every year the Dorset Players presents a holiday play. This year they are offering The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. We had the pleasure of talking with the director Kevin O’Toole and three cast members, Patrick Zilkha (Bob Bradley) and his son, George (Ollie Herdman),  and  Livia Barclay (Beth Bradley). Besides learning about the play, we also found out more about community theatre and what it offers those who take part, no matter their age or the part they play in the productions.

The performances at the Dorset Playhouse are Fridays, December 4 and 11 at 7:30 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, December 5 and 12 and December 6 and 13 at 2 pm. The show lasts about an hour. Based on the delightful interview we had with the director and actors, it should not be missed. It sounds like a wonderful way to start the holiday season.

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Best Christmas Pageant Part 1

Best Christmas Pageant Part 2

Best Christmas Pageant Part 3

Best Christmas Pageant Part 4

 

 

 

Interview with Julianne Boyd 2015

Julianne Boyd
Julianne Boyd

Barrington Stage celebrated its tenth year in Pittsfield this summer. The company was co-founded in 1995 by Artistic Director Julianne Boyd as a not-for-profit professional theatre with a three-fold mission: presenting high-quality productions, developing new musicals and plays and finding ways to bring new audiences, particularly young people, into theatre. After another successful season at the company’s two theatres, Julianne Boyd talked  with us about the past  season, plans for next year,  and their educational programs for young people. She also talked about their final production of the season, Veils  which runs through October 18.

Season passes for 2016 are already on sale and they are a great way to see theatre at a reasonable price.

Interview with Julianne Boyd  Part 1

Interview with Julianne Boyd Part 2

Interview with Julianne Boyd Part 3

Interview with Julianne Boyd Part 4


https://www.youtube.com/embed/uCRxvU-t-0s“>

Donnetta Lavinia Grays and Hend Ayoub in Veils
Donnetta Lavinia Grays
and Hend Ayoub in Veils
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Donnetta Lavinia Grays and Hend Ayoub in Veils

An Illiad

Michael Toomey as the Poet in An Illiad
Michael Toomey as the Poet in An Illiad

An Illiad is a  play by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare based on Homer’s epic poem about the Trojan War. It will be performed by Michael Toomey with music by Gregory Boover at Shakespeare and Company weekends from October 3 to November 1 in the Elayne Bernstein Theatre. The side seats have been brought in on the acting space to bring the audience closer to the action. Although Michael is the only actor on stage, he will bring  many characters to life. With Henry V and Cry Havoc and this production, Shakespeare and Company is giving audiences an opportunity to think about war, its causes and consequences.

Bob and I interviewed Michael and Jonathan Epstein, the director, before Jonathan was leaving to teach in Florida. Having seen this play done previously, we are eager to see it again with a different actor. This is a play that should be seen more than once.

Interview with Michael Toomey and Jonathan Epstein Part 1

Interview with Michael Toomey and Jonathan Epstein Part 2

Michael Toomey
Michael Toomey
Greg Boover
Greg Boover
Michael Toomey, Greg Boover and Jonathan Epstein in rehearsal
Michael Toomey, Greg Boover and Jonathan Epstein in rehearsal
Jonathan Epstein and Michael Toomey
Jonathan Epstein and Michael Toomey

Mother of the Maid

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Tina Packer as the mother of the maid. Photo by Enrico Spada

Bob and I often interview people early in the process of a production’s development. This was true of Mother of the Maid  when we interviewed the playwright, Jane Anderson, the director, Matt Penn and the actors playing the mother and the maid, Tina Packer and Anne Troup.  They were in the beginning stages of creating this world premiere production. Although we learned much about the play as we talked with them, nothing prepared us for the emotional impact of seeing the play,which presents  a unique approach to the story of Joan of Arc,  Tina Packer gives one of the most outstanding performances we have seen. Move over Mother Courage; this is an incredible mother. The rest of the cast is excellent as well. There is a wonderful juxtaposition of past and present as the absorbing story unfolds. Be sure you take plenty of Kleenex, but don’t miss this production which is at the Elayne Bernstein Theater at Shakespeare and Company until September 6.

Mother of the Maid Interview Part 1

Mother of the Maid Interview Part 2

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Tina Packer as the Mother and Anne Troup as the Maid Photo Enrico Spada
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Bridget Saracino as Saint Catherine and Tina Packer as Isabelle Arc
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Nigel Gore as Jacques Arc, Jason Asprey as Father Gilbert and Tina Packer as Isabelle Arc. Photo Enrico Spalda
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Elizabeth Aspenlieder as Lady of the Court and Tina Packer as Isabelle Arc Photo by Enrico Spada