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