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Allyn Burrows emerges from a chest in "Or" at Shakespeare & Company, 2016. Photo Ava G. Lindenmaier.

Allyn Burrows, Shakespeare and Company’s New Artistic Director, talks to Michael Miller about the 2017 season…and much else.(Comments Off on Allyn Burrows, Shakespeare and Company’s New Artistic Director, talks to Michael Miller about the 2017 season…and much else.)

June 23, 2017

Shakespeare and Company, a presence in Lenox since its foundation in 1978 by Tina Packer and Kristen Linklater, has undergone some seismic challenges in recent years, and there has at times been some concern about its future, but it continues to soldier on with its richly and solidly matured education programs and performances that seem to only to get better and better. Now, following a brilliant season (2016) and looking forward to what promises to be another equally exciting program this summer, all the upheavals seem basically of academic interest, and I’ll let you wait until someone publishes a history of this company, which wears its laurels so lightly that some, I believe, underestimate just how important it is, not only for the history of Shakespeare performance in this country, but anywhere.

Tracy Letts’ August: Osage County, directed by Omar Sangare, at Williams College

Every spring for some years now the brilliant Polish actor-director-playwright-poet Omar Sangare has created extraordinary productions at the ‘62 Center for the Performing Arts with his acting students at Williams College, and they keep on getting better. All of them have been highly unusual. There was a double-cast A Streetcar Named Desire: by that I mean that it was performed by two separate casts almost, but not quite simultaneously. Far from an weird distraction, the device emphasized the universality of the play…and gave the many interested student actors a chance to perform.






Elizabeth Aspenlieder and David Joseph in The Consul, The Tramp, and America's Sweetheart at the Oldcastle Theatre Company.

The Consul, the Tramp, and America’s Sweetheart, by John Morogiello, at the Oldcastle Theatre Company, Bennington

The Oldcastle Theatre Company is one of the most appealing in the Berkshires, which, culturally, extends from northwestern Connecticut to Dorset and Weston, Vermont. Downtown Bennington has a unique feeling to it—small-town in the best sense—and is home to a respectable array of bars and restaurants for audiences to enjoy anticipation or a cool-down before or after the show. Keith Kibler has been chronicling and enjoying—very much—Oldcastle’s productions for some years on our site, and I was happy finally to catch a show myself.






Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates of Penzance at the Barrington Stage Company. Photo Kevin Sprague.

​Gilbert and Sullivan’s Pirates of Penzance at Barrington Stage

John Rando and Joshua Bergasse are ingenious at moving ensembles around a stage—be they orphan pirates, lovelorn young ladies or frivolous policemen. Pirates leap onto rope nets strung down from the top of the theater; they crawl down the aisles at our feet, swords in hand. Young ladies sidestep closely together as they pine in song for young men to be their husbands. Uniformed policemen hop onto each other’s backs or fall down onto the stage dominos style all the while delighting the audience into non-stop grins.







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