For a second year, Hubbard Hall in Cambridge, New York is presenting a festival of new plays by a wide range of writers from around the country. There will be three different programs with seven plays in each of the two weekend evenings and three plays on the matinees both weekends, January 22 to the 31. Tickets are ten dollars for adults and five dollars for students. Those with a $25 theatre pass have access to all the plays, as do those who have a Hubbard Hall season pass.
David Snider, the Executive Artistic Director of Hubbard Hall talked with Bob and me about the program. Among the exciting and varied plays are four plays from the 365 Women a Year Project. This project focuses on plays about women written by women about notable women from the past and the present. Recent Bennington College graduate Natalie Osborne and current Bennington College junior and director, Sarah Jack, are responsible for these plays. They joined David on our program to talk about this project and their own work in theatre and college.
Christmas has always been an important part of radio from the times when Lionel Barrymore read A Christmas Carol for Orson Welles at the Campbell Playhouse to when radio favorites like Blondie and Fibber McGee and Molly told their own Christmas stories. Christmas carols poured forth from early radios to car radios to today’s iphones. In keeping with this honored tradition, WBTN is in its third year of presenting a live radio broadcast at the Oldcastle Theatre in Bennington. The first year Robert Ebert, who had a program on the station, organized the program. Since then Oldcastle Theatre, under the guidance of Eric Peterson, has produced the show.
Seeing a radio show happen before your eyes instead of imagining it is a great deal of fun. Many talents from the Bennington community will be contributing to the program. As people with a radio show, who never know who is listening, Bob and I find the idea of the audience and the performers in the same space exciting. The show starts at 7:30 pm at Oldcastle Theatre and on WBTN on Saturday, December 19. If you can’t see it at the theatre, you can listen to the program at home or in your car or on your computer. Besides, this is a fund raiser for two important cultural organizations in our town, WBTN and Oldcastle Theatre. If there are no tickets available for the live broadcast, you can always contribute directly to either of those worthy organizations by sending a check.
Listen to Eric tell what will be on the program and then be there on Saturday or tune into WBTN 1370 or stream it on your computer.
Last night, Bob and I had the pleasure of seeing Tartuffe directed by John Hadden at the Hubbard Hall Theatre in Cambridge, NY. The play was written in 1664 . King Louis XIV liked the play, but shortly after its first performance he censored it at the behest of the archbishop of Paris with the following statement.
“…although it was found to be extremely diverting, the king recognized so much conformity between those that a true devotion leads on the path to heaven and those that a vain ostentation of some good works does not prevent from committing some bad ones, that his extreme delicacy to religious matters can not suffer this resemblance of vice to virtue, which could be mistaken for each other; although one does not doubt the good intentions of the author, even so he forbids it in public, and deprived himself of this pleasure, in order not to allow it to be abused by others, less capable of making a just discernment of it.”
Moliere was a true man of the theatre writing other famous comedies such as The Misanthrope, The School for Wives, The Miser, The Imaginary Invalid and The Bourgeois Gentleman. While playing the hypochondriac Argan in The Imaginary Invalid, Moliere, who suffered from tuberculosis, had a coughing fit and a hemorrhage. However, the show must go on. He finished performing the play and died a few hours later.
Fortunately, last night it was only very cold. The events of the evening, however, warmed us considerably. It was opening night and, as usual, members of the Board provided a delicious dinner of beef bourguignon and all the trimmings, including a wonderfully hot onion soup. Each opening night, at a reasonable cost, the Board offers a dinner, including wine, that is related to the play. One meets new people as well as other theatre goers one might have met before at these lovely dinners.
After enjoying the delicious dinner and pleasant conversation, we entered the theatre and were met by a wonderful set which had many levels. Part of the fun at Hubbard Hall is that one never knows what the configuration of the theatre is going to be. The play equaled and surpassed the set. After all, Moliere was one of the great writers of comedy. The cast played their characters to perfection.The comedy was physical and verbal. Doug Ryan, whose performances we have enjoyed for many years, was at the top of his form as Tartuffe. From the smallest to the largest roles, they all fit into their parts as easily as they did into the eye-catching costumes that reflected each of their characters. Seeing familiar actors completely inhabit new personas is one of the joys of Hubbard Hall. To note which performances were outstanding would require listing the entire cast. The play runs weekends through March 15. It shouldn’t be missed.
Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing John Hadden on our program. Here is the interview.
John Hadden If the program doesn’t show up in your e-mail, click on url to take you to the blog site to hear the program. Also for the first few seconds of the first segment, John’s mike was not on, but that was quickly fixed.
One of the themes of our program is that theatre can be affordable. We try to help people be aware of all the opportunities to see theatre at reasonable prices or at no cost. We interview people connected with professional theatre, but also those working at colleges and high schools. Just as we are fortunate in this area to have many outstanding professional theatres, we also have a variety of educational institutions providing theatre for the community as well as their students.
One of these resources is Williams College Center 62. Several years ago we interviewed Randal Fippinger, the Producing Director of Center 62. Besides getting a wonderful tour of the facility, we talked to him about that year’s program and its accessibility to the community, not only in Williamstown but in the surrounding area. Since then we have gone to productions at Center 62. Not only is the price remarkable at $3.00 a ticket, but the productions are intriguing and address another of our themes, which is that we are fortunate to have theatre year round in our area.
There are student productions, as well as faculty productions and visiting productions. These performances are not only open to community members, but school groups are encouraged to attend as well. It is well worth getting on their mailing list to receive information about the productions. Besides the theatre performances, there are also dance performances that use the theatre spaces.
Besides our interview with Randal, I have included Center 62’s web site and a video of a discussion of the center by some of the theatre faculty and a student which was presented to alumni of the college in 2012.