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

 

 

 

Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow

Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow plays until August 6 on the Nikos Stage at the     Williamstown Theatre Festival. This variation on Anton Chekov’s Three Sisters may elicit different responses from members of the audience, depending on how they feel about the original play.

Bob has a long history with the play. When we were first married many years ago, Bob stage managed Three Sisters at the off-Broadway Fourth Street Theatre in New York for seven months, one of the play’s  longest  runs. Since then we have seen many productions of the play including John Housman’s Acting Company’s production with Kevin Kline and David Ogden Stiers. We also enjoyed the Nikos Psacharopoulos’  Chekov productions at the Williamstown Theatre Fesrtival.

Seeing Halley Feiffer’s version was intriguing, like visiting old friends who have shed many of the inhibitions of the past. They are familiar, the same and different with a new vocabulary.

Click below to see what Bob and I have to say about it.

Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow Discussion

Then click on the Williamstown Theatre website to order tickets and see what else is being performed.

Williamstown Theatre Festival website

The Clean House

Priscilla Lopez and Jayne Atkinson

The Clean House by Sarah Ruhl is at the Williamstown Theatre until July 29. There is still time to get to see it if you call the box office at 413-458- 3253 or click on the link for their website below. During the summer, plays have short runs and one needs to either subscribe to a theatre’s season or keep alert for information as to what is happening. Bob and I did not see this play until its second week and did not realize that it would be closing shortly. However, we want to share information about it so that you might get to see it or at least to check out the offerings at Williamstown Theatre Festival.

Sarah Ruhl is a playwright whose work we had heard about, but had not seen. Based on this play we look forward to seeing other of her plays. The play features Matilde, a Brazilian cleaning woman who does not like to clean and who is looking for the perfect joke and her new boss Lane, a doctor,and Lane’s sister, Virginia who does like to clean. The play is both funny and touching, examining love, sibling rivalry and betrayal in ways that are simultaneously real and magical.

You can hear our brief discussion of the play, but clicking on the link below.

The Clean House Discussion

Williamstown Theatre Festival Website

Click on the photo below to hear Sarah Ruhl talk about becoming a playwright.

Where Storms Are Born

 

Where Storms Are Born plays  on the Nikos Stage at the Williamstown Theatre Festival until Sunday, July 23. This is the world premiere of a play about  a contemporary family coping with the death of their older son. Mother and younger son remain.

Four of the seven plays  The Williamstown Theatre Festival is presenting this summer are world premieres.  This provides an exciting opportunity for theatregoers  to discover new talent. Williamstown Theatre Festival has a variety of programs that support new playwrights such as their play readings and writing residencies. Where Storms Are Born emerges from the writing residency of  playwright Harrison David Rivers.

Until now Theatre Talk has been built around the interviews  Bob and I have with theatre people connected to a particular play we have seen  or will be seeing. However, we see many plays where interviews are not possible. Given the quality of plays such as Where Storms Are Born, we have decided to  share information about them on our blog. Bob and I will discuss the plays, not as critics, but as people who appreciate theatre. From now on our blogs will be a mix of discussions  with  actors, directors, producers and others connected with a particular theatre, and production and discussions Bob and I have about plays we have seen.

Click below for our discussion

Where Storms Are Born.

 

Then click to connect with Williamstown Theatre Festival website

 

Hiram Delgado – The Model American

             Hiram Delgado, actor.

Bob and I saw The Model American on July 4th. Considering the subject of the play – how an immigrant makes good in the United States, it was appropriate timing. The next day we were fortunate to interview Hiram Delgado who plays the leading role. He is engaging every moment as he changes over the course of the play. It is a performance, along with the others in the fine cast, that should not be missed. The Model American runs until July 9. Click on the link for the Williamstown Theatre Festival below for tickets.  Before, or after doing that, be sure to listen to Hiram talk about his experience as a non-Equity actor in the lead in a new play that was developed at the Williamstown Theatre Festival. The company is dedicated, not only to producing unique and absorbing plays, but to developing new work and new talent among actors and directors through their Professional Training Programs.

Interview with Hiram Delgado

Williamstown Theatre Festival

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Williamstown Theatre Festival 2017

Williamstown Theatre Festival has a well-deserved reputation as an outstanding summer theatre . When Bob and I interviewed Mandy Greenfield, the company’s Artistic Director, and Antonello Di Benedetto, the Director of Audience Engagement, we were impressed by their knowledge and enthusiasm. Mandy Greenfield not only talked about new plays, but offered insight into what makes excellent revivals  as well.  Williamstown, however, does more than produce exciting plays. Their internships and educational programs provide the performers and audiences of the future.  Although we had been looking forward to their season, talking with Mandy and Antonello made us  more eager for the season to begin. Listen to them by clicking below and then check their website to see all of the plays and the events that are lined up for the summer.

Interview with Mandy Greenfield and Antonello Di Benedetto

           Antonello Di Benedetto
                  Mandy Greenfield

 

Williamstown Theatre Festival website

 

 

Williamstown Theatre Non-Equity Acting Company

tn-500_stephensorokoff-2133Among the educational programs at The Williamstown Theatre Festival is its non-Equity acting program. Drawn from the top graduate programs in theatre,   the  young people in this group  are committed to becoming professional actors. The members of this company are cast in productions in the Free Theatre and Fellowship Project. In the community projects, community members as well as professional theatre artists and non-Equity actors create a play or a musical that is then presented free to the community. This year the play was Orpheus in the Berkshires.  The young actors are also in the casts of six one hour plays directed by the Directing Assistants. They also perform in the cabarets and the play reading series that Williamstown Theatre Festival offers.  This not only gives the young actors experience, but offers free theatrical experiences as audience or participants to members of the community. One of the non-Equity actors we interviewed, Ryan Haddad, was in Orpheus in the Berkshires and discusses his experience. Mia Antoinette, the other non-Equity actor we interviewed, was in The Fellowship Projects, Utopia, MN and The Model American. 

Click below to hear these young actors talk about their experiences this summer.

Interview with Ryan Haddad and Mia Antoinette

Utopia MN
                          Utopia MN
orpheus-in-the-berkshires_27775991353_o
                                            Orpheus in the Berkshires

Williamstown Theatre Festival

Williamstown Theatre Directing Interns Program

williamstown_theatre_festivalWilliamstown Theatre Festival not only presents a range of plays in its two theatres over the summer, but it also offers a variety of  educational programs. One of these programs is the Directing Internship Program. In this program the interns are usually recent graduates from undergraduate programs. Each intern assists a professional director with one of the festival’s professional productions. In addition, they work with the apprenticeship program to direct a play. These plays are short and take place in the company’s Directing Studio late at night.

Late in the season Bob and I had the pleasure of interviewing two of these directing interns, Mehr Kaur and Lily Riopelle. Listening to them we felt optimistic about the future of theatre. You can hear what they have to say by clicking on the link below.

Williamstown Directing Interns Mehr Kaur and Lily Riopelle

To keep informed of events at the Williamstown Theatre Festival, check their web page Williamstown Theatre Festival

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                                     Coffee Break directed by Mehr Kaur
Intervention directed by Lily Riopelle
                                      Intervention directed by Lily Riopelle