WAM Theatre presents Pipeline by Dominique Morisseau at the Elayne Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, Massachusetts through November 9. This is a remarkable play that is one of the most widely produced plays of our time because of its subject, the skill of the playwright, and the completely engaging characters that tell the story of a young black man’s struggle to find his way in our society. We see the world through a variety of perspectives as the boy’s mother tries to find ways to help him. Within the structure of the ninety minute play, you l find yourself caring for each person you encounter.
Winston Churchill’s mother, Jennie Jerome, like many daughters of wealthy Americans at the time married a British nobleman. The women gained a title and the nobleman some additional funds. The play Lady Randy, written by Anne Undeland, who also plays Jennie Jerome, is an absorbing look at this remarkable woman. Besides reflecting a particular moment in history, the play is an outstanding theatrical experience with all aspects of the production coming together to keep the audience enthralled.
As you may gather, Bob and I enjoyed the play. Listen to our discussion of it and then get tickets quickly since it has a short run at the Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare and Company. It runs Thursdays to Sundays until May 5. For tickets call 413-637-3353
WAM Theatre presents Ann At the Tina Packer Playhouse October 19 to 28 in Lenox, MA. The play, a co-production with the Dorset Theatre Festival, ran in Vermont earlier in the season. Bob and I interviewed Kristen van Ginhoven when the play was running at the Dorset Theatre. As always it was a pleasure talking with Kristen about a play and about the work of WAM Theatre. WAM’s motto is Where Arts and Activism Meet.
Ann, a one woman play about former governor of Texas Ann Richardson starring Jayne Atkinson, exemplifies the type of work that WAM does. Among their range of activities such as play readings and a girls ensemble, the company offers thought provoking and entertaining plays about women.
Listen to our interview with Kristen by clicking below
WAM Theatre is starting its ninth year. Inspired by the book Half The Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, WAM Theatre has not only devoted itself to telling women’s stories through play readings, productions and educational programs, it also has donated a percentage of its profits from productions to women’s groups throughout the world. In 2017, The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association awarded artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven and WAM Theatre The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support Through Theatre.
Bob and I interviewed Kristen in WAM’s office in Lenox to learn about what this season offers in the way of play readings and productions. One of the unique aspects of WAM is that it does not have its own theatre space, but works collaboratively with other theatre companies in the region, sometimes renting space, other times co-producing plays. Besides heading WAM, Kristen also directs for other theatre companies. Listen to what she shares about the coming season by clicking below.
The Last Wife runs until November 5 at the Elayne Bernstein Theatre at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox, MA. This is a production of WAM Theatre. The play runs Friday through Sunday. Tickets are purchased through the Shakespeare and Company box office.
The play is about Henry VIII’s last wife, Katherine Parr, and her influence on a future king and two queens of England, specifically Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. This is history as it should be experienced. Not only is the language contemporary, but the issues that the play raises about the political power of women are relevant today. Not just history, the play is a delightful theatrical experience.
WAM Theatre is remounting Emilie, a play it first presented in 2013, with the same cast. It will be performed at Shakespeare and Company March 30 to April 9 at 7:30 pm. Although Emilie du Chatelet was also known as Voltaire’s mistress, she was a brilliant physicist and mathematician whose commentary on Isaac Newton’s book Principia was groundbreaking as she added the concept of the law of conservation of energy. When Bob and I saw the play in its original production, we were fascinated by it. This was another outstanding woman of whom we knew nothing. The production and the performances were magical. We are looking forward to seeing it again. We were fortunate to interview the two leads, Kim Stauffer and Oliver Wadsworth, about this new production. Listen to what they have to say about what it means to recreate a play they have performed previously, then be sure see the play yourselves. It is a unique theatrical experience.
Most of the theatres in our area offer young people opportunities to explore issues important to them and experience the joys of creativity. WAM Theatre, “where arts and activism meet,” has a program for adolescent girls, 13 to 18 years old. where they can address their concerns while learning dramatic skills and devising their own theatrical productions. This is a collaborative process that uses improvisation, games, movement, brainstorming, writing and more to create original material for performance.
To learn more about this unique program, Bob and I talked with Alicia Maher, Education Co-ordinator and Barby Cardillo, Education Outreach and Teaching Artist. Girls come from many different schools in the area. Auditions are December 10 and the performance will be February 17, 7:30 pm at The Tina Packer Theatre at Shakespeare and Company. The theme for last year’s production was Miss Labeled. This year’s theme will be decided by the girls themselves as they talk and work together.
Click the link below to listen to Barby and Alicia.
Bob and I always enjoy talking with Kristen van Ginhoven, a dedicated theatre professional. As the co-founder in 2010 of WAM theatre, “where art and activism meet,” Kristen has made a unique contribution to theatre in the Berkshires. Besides providing employment for theatre professionals, WAM contributes 25% of the box office earnings of its mainstage productions to non-profit organizations that benefit women. Devoted to theatre that focuses on women, WAM has worked with other theatres in the area to present their productions. They also have educational programs. Kristen is an actress, a producer, a director and a teacher. She does a wonderful job in all her roles, while helping women through WAM in many different ways; telling their stories, giving them work and donating to organizations that benefit women.
This time we met with Kristen in the office of WAM on Church Street in Lenox, MA. after the successful run of The Bakelite Masterpiece whose actors we had interviewed, which she directed.. Among other things, we heard some of the plans for the next season. Click below to listen to our interview with her.
Theatre is a collaborative art with many moving parts. Keeping all those parts together is the job of the stage manager. As we interview people in theatre we get a sense of how varied their lives are. Just as each actor’s experience is unique, so are the experiences of stage managers. Like actors and directors, they may return to certain theatres on a regular basis, but they are constantly interacting with new challenges, new combinations of people. Change seems to be the constant. Over the years, Bob and I have seen Hope Rose after performances or working serenely as we interview people. Seeing theatre from her perspective seemed the next natural step. As we were leaving the interview, I mentioned that some photos and links would be helpful. Arriving home, there on my computer were the captioned photos and links. Clearly, life would be simpler for all of us if it was stage managed.
Stage Management Fight Club Summer 2015 at S&Co – In picture are myself, Tracy Hoida, Kathleen Soltan, Laura Gomez, and Jessica Kemp. Kathleen, Laura, and Jessica returned this summer and worked on the Playhouse shows. Jessica was the one underneath the trap for Or, helping to making sure Allyn wouldn’t bump his head!
The Berkshire Theatre Group and WAM Theatre have co-produced The Bakelite Masterpiece which is playing at the Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge until October 23. This is a deeply moving play engaging the audience’s attention completely for its seventy-five minutes running time. We interviewed the two remarkable actors who bring the characters and the situation to life, David Adkins and Corrina May. After we had seen the play. we could talk with them about how they created the reality on stage that immediately captured our emotions and left us thinking long afterwards.
Please click on the link below to hear the interview.