Shakespeare and Company’s Northeast Regional Tour

Each year since 1982, Shakespeare and Company sends out a tour to regional schools  of two ninety minute Shakespeare plays. Schools select one of the two plays. Besides the ninety minute performance of the play, there is a fifteen minute talkback with the cast and one of two workshops that are included.  Since there are a few  performances at the Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox, Massachusetts,  Bob and I have seen some performances of these plays. Like the company’s Fall Festival, seeing the plays with an audience of students is exciting. Their responses are infectious.

Early in the tour, Bob and I interviewed four of the players. They had already completed  a few performances of Othello and listening to them talk about what the tour was like offered insight about the tour and its impact on the students. The actors we spoke with were David Bertokli, Alison Howard, Kirsten Peaccock and Kai Tshikosi

Click below to hear the interview.

School Tour Interview

The schedule of the performances at the Tina Packer Playhouse are listed below. Click on the Shakespeare and Company website for tickets and more information.

Shakespeare and Company Website

At The Tina Packer Playhouse:

Friday, March 2nd: Othello

Monday, March 26th: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Monday, April 2nd: A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Thursday, April 12th: Othello

Wednesday, May 2nd: Othello

Friday, May 4th: A Midsummer Night’s Dream


All performances are at 10:00 am, run for 90 minutes, and are followed by an optional 15-minute talkback with the actors.

Tickets are $10/student.

Shakespeare and Company’s 2018 Season

After a successful first season  as Artistic Director of Shakespeare and Company, Allyn Burrows  announced the 2018 Season. Allyn spoke with us about the plays and the process of putting  a season together. He is  finalizing the casting, but  has excellent directors lined up and a variety of intriguing plays.  In addition to the plays by Shakespeare, the season includes contemporary plays that address  issues that reflect the season’s theme, Delight, Deceit and Desire.

While waiting for the new season to start, over the Valentine’s weekend Shakespeare and Company is offering a reading of Lovers’ Spat: Two directed by Allyn. It is a series of scenes performed by  members of the Company. There are only two performances, Saturday, February 17 at  7 pm,. and  Sunday, February 18 at 2 pm.

As with most theatres in our area, Shakespeare and Company has a variety of ways to make theatre affordable. Flex Passes are available until April 20. Berkshire residents receive a special discount.

Click below for our interview.

Shakespeare and Company’s 2018 Season Interview

Click below to see a video Allyn Burrows made of the season.

Shakespeare and Company Season Video

Click below for the website

Shakespeare and Company website

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

The last performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at The Mount in Lenox, MA is August 19. There is a magic seeing this play out of doors, whether  it is early in the morning or later in the day. The comedy includes a mix-up of young lovers, sprites and rude mechanicals. The play is concluding a run that started in the middle of July. The cast features a mix of Shakespeare & Company veterans and newcomers.  Bob and I were fortunate to interview Jonathan Croy, c0-director of the play, who brings insight that is the result of being involved as a director or actor with the play seventeen times.

After listening to the interview, by clicking on the link below

Interview with Jonathan Croy

Click on the the web site 

or call Shakespeare & Company’s box office at (413) 637-3353 to find the dates and times of the performances of this family friendly show. There are not many performances left and you don’t want to miss this delightful comedy.


          Tamara Hickey and Thomas Brazzle

William Shakespeare’s infrequently performed play Cymbeline is at Shakespeare & Company’s Tina Packer Playhouse in Lenox, MA until August 6. This is the first time the play has been performed on the    company’s main stage  as well as the first time Tina Packer, founding Artistic Director of the company, has directed it. Bob and I had never seen a  performance of the play so we were eager to watch the nine versatile actors tell this story.  We also anticipated hearing  Jonathan Epstein talk about the play. Having enjoyed Jonathan’s many performances during his thirty years with the company, we knew that he would provide useful insights into the play.

Click the link below to listen to him

Interview with Jonathan Epstein 

To order tickets, here is a link to

Shakespeare and Company’s  Website

                                         Nigel Gore and Jonathan Epstein


Shakespeare and Company’s 2017 Season

shakespeare-and-company-campusin-lenox-massachusetts-2005-2707Winter brightens considerably when theatres announce what they will be performing in their coming season. One anticipates the pleasures that await theatre goers. Recently we visited the campus of Shakespeare and Company to hear from their Artistic Director, Allyn Burrows, what is in store. In addition to  their Shakespearean and contemporary productions, there will also be  educational programs.  We also learned about the new outdoors performance space, Shakespeare’s Garden.

The company is also presenting a special treat on the weekend of February 18 at 7 pm  and 19 at 2 pm. Lovers’ Spat-Shakespeare’s Famous Couple Encounters offer readings of scenes from Much Ado About Nothing, Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer Night’s Dream among other Shakespeare plays where the characters  deal with the challenges all lovers face. The case includes Shakespeare and Company favorites Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Tamara Hickey, David Joseph, Jason Asprey and others.



Go to the Shakespeare and Company website for details.

Shakespeare and Company

For details about the rest of the season, click below

Allyn Burrows and 2017 Season

Two Gentlemen of Verona

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
John Hadden as Launce and Jason Asprey as Speed







           The Company in the song Who is Sylvia

The Merchant of Venice

2016315d224_27496339984_oThe Merchant of Venice is a challenging play for many reasons. As Tina Packer said on opening night at Shakespeare and Company, “It is a roller coaster.” The play which she directed     runs in repertory until August 21. Even before the Holocaust cast a harsher light on  the treatment of Shylock, the structure of the play raises questions as it shifts from comedy to drama to comedy What is not in question in this production  is the quality of Jonathan Epstein’s portrayal of Shylock. This is one of the most nuanced, humane and moving performances of the character that one is ever likely to see.

I have always had a problem with Portia, who although she extols the quality of mercy, shows none to Shylock. Bassanio and Lorenzo seemed to me fortune hunters who woo Portia and Jessica for gain as much as anything else. But then we interviewed the actors and my understanding of the characters changed dramatically. As a result I have become convinced that if you want to know about people in a play, ask the actors. For them to give the quality of performances they do, they have to live the people from the inside out. Although I always liked Nerissa, I understood her differently after this interview.

To listen to the interview, click on the link below.

Interview with Portia, Bassanio and Nerissa