Thoughts About 2017 Season: J. Peter Bergman

As we look forward to the 2018 season, we reflect on last season.  Considering the season from Peter Bergman’s perspective always provides us with  insights into the plays and into theatre generally.  Peter probably sees as much theatre as it is possible to see.  He ranges from Massachusetts to Vermont, Connecticut and New York. He also gets to New York City once in a while to see what they have to offer. Large and small, professional and community theatres, new and classic plays are all part of his theatre experience. We benefit from his knowledge and understanding of theatre; what makes it successful and what falls short. When we  only knew Peter from his reviews, we found ourselves traveling to new and distant theatre companies based on his thoughtful, intriguing  analyse   s. Since we have been interviewing him in person, we  still do it.

Click below to listen to his summary of last season

Interview with Peter Bergman on 2017 Theatre.

Then click below to follow his reviews on Berkshire Bright Focus.

Berkshire Bright Focus

A Man of Many Talents

download-8Bob and I first encountered J. Peter Bergman when we read his reviews in various papers. We thought that he brought a great deal of insight into his reports on the productions. His knowledge and appreciation of theatre in all its aspects was evident to us. When we started broadcasting Theatre Talk in 2011, we thought it would be interesting to get a reviewer’s perspective on theatre so we invited him as a guest. We are so glad we did because he brings such richness to his understanding of theatre.


We now regularly invite him once or twice each year to give his perspective on our area theatre at the beginning and the ending of each season. However, we as we have gotten to know Peter, we realize he has many more talents. Just this past week, we enjoyed his staged reading of  Melville…On the Light Side at Herman Melville’s former home, Arrowhead. As Peter says, he co-wrote it with Melville, by imagining a group of Melville scholars reading various passages as they discuss his life and work.  Peter directed the five actors who performed in the historic red barn. Peter is a director of Arrowhead. He created the Edna St. Vincent Millay museum at Steepletop. He is a writer of short fiction, plays and a novel as well as a teacher.  We decided it was time to talk about these aspects of his work as well.

Click below to listen

Interview with J. Peter Bergman

J. Peter Bergman

On our radio program we  don’t review shows. We see our program as celebrating theatre and those who create it. This is not to say we like every show we see, but our opinions are not our focus. However, we do read reviews. One of our favorite reviewers is J. Peter Bergman. His reviews have gotten us to see plays at Ghent and other theatres about which we knew nothing. We usually find ourselves in agreement with Peter, but not always. Even when we don’t agree, however, we find value in his analysis of the productions.

Peter started reviewing plays professionally at the age of fourteen. That means he got paid for his reviews, even if at that time it was only eight dollars a review. He has also worked in theatre and the arts all his life as well as being a playwright and a novelist himself. He brings a wealth of knowledge and understanding of theatre and its history to his reviews. He supplies a context for the plays and the performances. He is interested in conveying what makes the performance work or not, rather than in scoring clever points as some critics like to do.  You can get Peter’s reviews online at Berkshire Bright Focus and we recommend that you do so.

We were thrilled when we first asked him to be on our program and he now returns regularly to sum up his views of how the season worked and to provide insight into the condition of theatre generally.

Here are two programs with Peter.

The first is before the 2014 season reflecting on the year past and the second is some of his response to the 2014 season just past.

January 13, 2014. 

November 24, 2014

2014-11-24 – Peter Bergman – Part 1

2014-11-24 – Peter Bergman – Part 2