The Legend of Georgia McBride

The Legend of Georgia McBride runs until August 19 at the Dorset Theatre Festival.  There are matinees on Wednesdays,  Saturdays and  Sundays. The play runs for ninety minutes without intermission and gives the audience a glimpse into a world that most people don’t know too much about. This is the world of the drag queen. There have been some plays and television shows that offer a glimpse into this world. However, this play provides a unique perspective.

Bob and I were eager to see the play since we  greatly admired The Whipping Man by Lopez which also had a production at the Dorset Theatre Festival a few seasons ago. We talked with Sam Levitt, one of the company’s dramaturgs about The Legend of Georgia McBride. You can hear that talk by clicking  on the link below.

The Legend of Georgia McBride Interview

However, that did not prepare us for the experience of seeing the play. We were struck by the set as we settled in our seats. When the play began, we were absorbed in the lives unfolding before us. Lopez is a playwright who enables an audience to experience the humanity of people they do not know, but get to know and understand  in new ways.

Curious to know more about the playwright, I went to his website. There are scenes from productions of his other plays that makes me hope that the Dorset Theatre Festival will bring more of his work to their stage.

After you order your tickets for The Legend of Georgia McBride,  by clicking on their website below, visit Matthew Lopez’s web page.

Dorset Theatre Festival Website

 

Matthew Lopez website

Matthew Lopez

Matthew Lopez 

Once Upon A Time in the Berkshires

Traditionally, The Williamstown Theatre Festival has offered a free performance to Williamstown residents and others in the area, welcoming anyone who comes to the free event. However, this is the second year when these productions have changed. The Community Engagement Initiative brings together members of the community to work alongside professional actors in the world premiere  of a  play. This play grows out of workshops in playwriting and acting that the Williamstown Theatre Festival conducts for community members in Western Massachusetts in the fall, winter and spring.

In this year’s production, three children ask their grandmother to tell them about a long time ago.  She weaves an exciting tale about magical creatures and warriors and young lovers. The play, written by Lucy Thurber,  is directed by Williamstown Theatre Associate Artistic Director Laura Savia

Lucy Thurber, playwright

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Laura Savia, Director

 

 

 

 

 

Earlier in the season, Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing Lucy and Laura about the play and the process of engaging community members. Their excitement   about it was mirrored by a friend of ours from the Berkshires who told us that she was in it and that we must be sure to see it. We wouldn’t miss it. The play runs from August 13 to August 19 on the Williamstown Theatre Festival Mainstage.

To reserve tickets go to http://wtfestival.org/main-events/once-upon-a-time-in-the-berkshires/ There are only four performances and the opening night is already filled.

Click below for our interview.

Interview with Lucy Thurber and Laura Savia

Rehearsal photos below were taken by Daniel Radar

 

 

 

At Home at the Zoo (Zoo Story)

 

At Home at the Zoo (Zoo Story) runs at The Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge until August 26. These two one-acts by Edward Albee show the playwright dealing with the same issues at two different points in his career. The Zoo Story is a one-act play written at the beginning of the famous playwright’s career. At Home at the Zoo was written later as Albee wanted to explore the character of Peter who is primarily silent in The Zoo Story, but who is  essential to the play.

The Unicorn Theatre is one of our favorite theatrical spaces.  It is small and intimate with every seat a good one. A part of  The Berkshire Theatre Group, The Unicorn is often the venue for challenging material which Zoo Story certainly was when it was first produced.

Bob has a history with The Zoo Story since he was involved in its first production at The Actors Studio where he was stage manager and also a member of the playwright’s group. For more details about that, listen to our discussion.

Discussion of Zoo Story

Then check out the Berkshire Theatre Group website for tickets and more information about their season.

Berkshire Theatre Group website

Taking Steps

Taking Steps by Alan Ayckbourn plays at the Boyd-Quinson Mainstage at Barrington Stage in Pittsfield until August 5. As Julie Boyd, Artistic Director of Barrington Stage, noted when she introduced the play, “Sometimes it is just good to laugh.”

In the play an assortment of characters find themselves in an old house the owner is eager to sell. This house has three floors. all of which are represented on a flat stage while the actors go up and down the stairs in front of us. Not those stairs suspended above the stage, but those the characters and the audience create together. As happens in Ayckbourn’s plays, life is not  smooth as misunderstandings are complicated by the knowledge that the house is supposedly haunted by a ghost from the days when the house had been a brothel.

Listen to our brief discussion of the play, by clicking below.

Discussion of Taking Steps

Then click on Barrington Stage’s website to order tickets for an afternoon or evening of laughter.

Barrington Stage Website

Then listen to the playwright by clicking on the photo below.

 

Joan Ackermann – Playwright

Starting  March 17 and going through March 19, Shakespeare and Company is presenting readings of plays by Joan Ackerman. Joan lives in the Berkshires. Thirty-five years ago she and Gillian Seidl co-founded  Mixed Company,  a theatre in Great Barrington.  Mixed Company  not only produces Joan’s plays, but also the work of contemporary British and American playwrights.   

 

Joan has written for magazines and   television. When her play Off the Map  was made into a movie, she wrote the script. We had the pleasure of talking with Joan and  look forward to a first reading of her new play, Out of the Blue  Sunday, March 19. For a complete schedule of the readings of Joan’s plays, go to Shakespeare and Company’s website by clicking below after listening to the interview with Joan.

Interview with Joan Ackermann

Shakespeare and Company website

 

Berkshire Playwrights Lab – Radius Playwrights Festival

Jim Frangione with early poster
Jim Frangione with early poster

There are many theatrical treasures in our area, some not as well known as others. We discovered one of these when we were told about the Berkshire Playwrights Lab. This is a group dedicated to the development of new plays. Bob and I had the pleasure of talking with Jim Frangione, one of the three  Co-Artistic Directors and Ann Garner, the Managing Director in their new home at St. James Place in Great Barrington. This the tenth year for the lab, but the first year for the Radius Festival which features plays written by local playwrights who live within a fifty mile radius of the Lab.

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St James Place

After the interview, we were treated to a tour of the newly renovated St James Place with different spaces for different types of cultural activities. We saw where the Radius Playwrights readings will take place as well as other spaces for different types of readings and   performances.

These ten-minute plays are given staged readings with local actors and directed by local directors. There will be talkbacks  after each play. There are three performances this coming weekend, Friday at 7 pm, Saturday at 3 pm and Saturday at 7 pm.

Listen to our interview with Jim and Ann below.

Berkshire Playwrights Lab Interview

Then buy your tickets for the Radius Playwrights Festival by clicking on

the company’s website

Berkshire Playwrights Lab website 

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Co-Artistic Directors, Joe Cacaci, Jim                                    Frangione, Matthew Penn