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July 2016 - page 2

Will Call #45 — Rebirth of a Legend, Rebirth of a Landmark with Orpheus in the Berkshires

Orpheus in the Berkshires.
The god of Nature, Pan (Seth Foster, center), with his entourage (left to right) Michelle Nicole Brady Davis, Dwaynne Walker-Dixon, Brandon Weber, Michael Judson Berry, Grace Fojtik, , Hannah Leigh, Ann Dang, Billy Luce Jr, Ginna Doyle (in back), Cody Henderson, Jeff Wittekiend (photo by Daniel Rader)
Ellen Haun, as the muse, Calliope, in Orpheus in the Berkshires. (photo by Daniel Rader)
Ellen Haun, as the muse, Calliope, in “Orpheus in the Berkshires.” (photo by Daniel Rader)

Like Summer itself, “Orpheus in the Berkshires” enters the scene with a flourish. A wildflower bouquet of textures and colors, the piece immediately charms, providing just the right touch at this season’s picnic of theatre offerings.

In its creation, the production of “Orpheus,” from the Williamstown Theatre Festival, redefines the phrase, “community theatre.” Reframing the concept as an artistic mission to embrace an entire community as both inspiration and raw material, playwright Lucy Thurber and director Laura Savia create a fantastical world that is as familiar in its faces, strengths, and  problems as the whole of the Berkshires itself.

We did something a little unusual for this episode—we went on location. That’s right, we loaded up our mobile studio (all laptop and microphone of it) and headed over to the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College. It was so worth it. We got to speak to Obie Award-winning playwright Lucy Thurber and Williamstown Theatre Festival Associate Director Laura Savia about the World Premier of “Orpheus in the Berkshires,” being staged at the Greylock Mill (formerly known as the Cariddi Mill) on State Road in North Adams.

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Also like Summer, the run of this show is desperately, heartbreakingly fleeting. See it now and see the next step in the evolution of community theatre.\\\

Community Engaged Theatre
Williamstown Theatre Festival
“Orpheus in the Berkshires”
Greylock WORKS
508 State Road, North Adams, MA
7/14–16, 7:30 p.m. & 7/17 5:00 p.m.

From Williamstown Theatre Festival

This summer, WTF brings together professional theatre artists with Berkshire residents to create and perform new work. Born of the belief that theatre is central to understanding, building and maintaining community, this initiative invites the people of Western Massachusetts to be a part of the Festival’s creative process — not just as audience members, but on stage! Obie Award-winning playwright Lucy Thurber puts a new spin on the Orpheus myth, set in Western Massachusetts. When Orpheus, a teenage girl, realizes that something is amiss in her neighborhood, she embarks on a treacherous journey to save her hometown. Helmed by Festival Associate Director Laura Savia, and developed in collaboration with community partners, this World Premiere features a cast of 75 Berkshire residents performing alongside Festival actors.

About Williamstown Theatre Festival

Under artistic director Mandy Greenfield, Williamstown Theatre Festival, recipient of the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theatre, creates renowned productions of both world premiere plays as well as revivals of some of the great works of the Western theatrical canon.  Since 1955, Williamstown Theatre Festival has brought together gifted emerging theater artists with our country’s finest theater professionals to produce a vibrant summer season in the Berkshires, while simultaneously running one of the country’s top training and professional development programs.  In 2015, the Festival launched a New Play Commissioning Program as well as a community-immersive theatre initiative, which unites professional theater artists with Berkshire residents to create new work.  Playwrights under commission include Fernanda Coppel, Melissa James Gibson (co-commission with Second Stage), Halley Feiffer, Matthew Lopez, Jiehae Park, Benjamin Scheuer and Lucy Thurber.  Additionally, each summer the Festival produces an array of unique cultural events including family-friendly theater, Late-Night Cabarets, music concerts and comedy.  The artists and productions shaped at the Festival each summer fill theaters in New York, around the country and abroad.  Recent critically acclaimed productions launched by Williamstown Theatre Festival include: Sam Shepard’s FOOL FOR LOVE directed by Daniel Aukin, starring Nina Arianda and Sam Rockwell; Bernard Pomerance’s THE ELEPHANT MAN directed by Scott Ellis, starring Bradley Cooper; John Kander, Frank Ebb and Terrence McNally’s THE VISIT, directed by John Doyle, starring Chita Rivera, among many others.  For more information, please visit www.wtfestival.org.

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Three Berkshire Nonprofit Organizations Honored at Boston Ceremony

Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre, Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO and Founding Director of Multicultural BRIDGE, and Nicole Eigbrett, Community Outreach Director at Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity were among the nominees feted at the State House in Boston at the Nonprofit Excellence Awards on June 27 (submitted photo).
Kristen van Ginhoven, Artistic Director of WAM Theatre, Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO and Founding Director of Multicultural BRIDGE, and Nicole Eigbrett, Community Outreach Director at Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity were among the nominees feted at the State House in Boston at the Nonprofit Excellence Awards on June 27 (submitted photo).

BOSTON — Three nonprofit organizations from the Berkshires were among the 30 nonprofits honored at the State House for Nonprofit Awareness Day, June 27, presented by the Massachusetts Nonprofit Network (MNN) and Citizens Bank. The highlight of the annual celebration, the Nonprofit Excellence Awards, were presented to seven nonprofit organizations and employees that exemplify the most innovative, creative and effective work being done throughout the Commonwealth. Nicole Eigbrett, Community Outreach Director at Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity, was one of five finalists in the Excellence by a Young Nonprofit Professional award. Multicultural Bridge and WAM Theatre were two of the four finalists in the Excellence by a Small Nonprofit award. 200 nominations were received in the seven award categories, a new record, according to MNN.

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NAMA Prom Presents: I Love the 90’s

nama-prom_2016

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. —The NAMA Prom Committee, a group of passionate North Adams residents, have announced the return of the annual NAMA Prom at the Elks Lodge on 100 Eagle Street. The 21+ semi-formal event will be held on July 30, with doors at 8:00 p.m. and running until 1:30 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door for $10, cash or card, or through Eventbrite for $5 while Early Bird supplies last.

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Williams College Summer Theatre Lab Announces Summer Season

WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Williams College Summer Theatre Lab returns this year for its 12th season in residence in the CenterStage of the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance. The Lab provides current Williams students with the opportunity to create, perform, and produce work alongside visiting artists and alumni professionals. The 2016 season will also feature collaborations with the Williamstown Theatre Festival, The Assembly, and Ars Nova; and a workshop production of Believeland, a new play by Caroline V. McGraw (Page 73 Tow Foundation Playwright-in-Residence).

The season will regularly feature free presentations that are open to the public. On July 10 at 7 PM, the Lab will present Boats And, a reading of a new musical by Andrew Farmer and Nate Weida, with collaborators Andrew Neisler and company. On July 24 at 7 PM, the lab company will perform original works written under the guidance of McGraw. The Lab culminates in Open Lab Weekend, August 11-13. The weekend will feature performances of Believeland, alongside an array of other work developed during the summer. All performances will be in the CenterStage of the ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance (1000 Main Street, Williamstown, MA). Admission is FREE.

The Lab is lead by Artistic Director Caitlin Sullivan (Williams Class of 2007) and Associate Producer Clare Strasser. Sullivan participated in The Lab as a student and came back as Associate Artistic Director in 2012. This is her second season as Artistic Director. “The work of the Williams College Summer Theatre Lab is unparalleled. Our 2016 season is full of the type of collaborations that make The Lab a one of a kind experience for students, artists and audiences. We’re thrilled to be welcoming back veteran Lab artists and alums while continuing to build new relationships with collaborators like Caroline V. McGraw.”

Cited as “arguably one of the best-kept cultural secrets in the Berkshire County summer repertoire” (Berkshire Eagle), the Lab provides a unique connection between academia and professional theater. Since its inception in 2005, it has fostered an environment of artistic risk taking and creative experimentation, an opportunity for student and professionals alike to work in an environment free from critical and commercial pressures.

The 2016 Williams College Summer Theatre Lab Company is comprised of Isabel Benjamin, Terah Ehigiator, YJ Huang, Mia Hull, Emma Mandel, Phoebe Mattana, Alden Taylor, Harriet Weldon, Young Wuk (Woogie) Jung.

For more information and ticket reservations please visit our Facebook page at http://facebook.com/wcstl, and follow us on on instagram: wcstlab. The Lab can be contacted at WCSTLAB@gmail.com.

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Arts: Story Slam At The Clark Art Institute

Williamstown, Mass.—The Clark Art Institute, in conjunction with Pastor Mark Longhurst of the First Congregational Church of Williamstown, presents a “ story slam ” on Friday, July 22 at 7 pm. The event, free and open to the public, will be held on the Moltz Terrace of the Lunder Center at Stone Hill on the Clark’s campus. The event celebrates the Clark’s exhibition Sensing Place: Reflecting on Stone Hill, open through October 10, 2016. Keep Reading

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Problem Solvers…ish #11: Witzelsucht—What Makes PSI So Darn Punny.

right side of brain From Manuel de L'Anatomiste Morel and Duval 1883

The word is Witzelsucht. It’s not a grubbin’ German pasta. And it’s not funny. Well, actually it is kind of funny. When it happens to someone else. But maybe not someone you have to live with. Unless you like an endless supply of puns—good, bad, and nonsensical. But then again, you’re here again, right? So maybe you’re just a little teched, too…

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The Top Left Corner #30 — Special Report: Shattered Shield, Part 1

"Diorama of Lunch Counter Sit-Down Protests," at the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tenn.; photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D. CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
“Diorama of Lunch Counter Sit-Down Protests,” at the National Civil Rights Museum, Memphis, Tenn.; photo by Adam Jones, Ph.D. CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

 

This episode, as you may have guessed already, is a little out of the ordinary. It is the first installment of a series on the escalating violence between police and minority communities, particularly African Americans in recent days. Our guest is Dennis Powell, president of the Berkshire County Unit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

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Problem Solvers…ish #10 — Come Out and Be Your Gay Self! After College, Maybe…

THAT’S RIGHT, mumsy and dadsy! I’ve waited too long to come out. This is ME! The REAL ME! And if you’ve got a problem with that, well you can just cram your homophobia where the sun don’t shine! So THERE! Oh…and can I borrow the car tonight? And maybe twenty bucks? Please?

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NSFW: Seth & Lex ponder the possible comeuppance triggered by come-outance…

Hoo-boy! Just a few words, right? How hard can it be? But your hands are clammy and your breath is shallow and you feel this fucked up out-of-body sensation that would be cool at any other time. And you’re sitting across from your folks and now is the PERFECT time to drop the G-bomb: “Mom? Dad? I’m gay.” Keep Reading

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