Remembering the fallow years, looking at the turn around
by Shera Cohen
Not so long ago, after the Shakespeare & Company theatre troupe left their performance venues at The Mount in Lenox, the home of author Edith Wharton, along with the grounds, looked empty, and to be honest, rather dingy and an unlikely site for what has become a destination point in the Berkshires -- a magnet for museum-goers and audiences of all backgrounds, interests, and ages. I never would have guessed such a 180-degree turn-around.
My favorite program is the “Monday Lecture Series”. Again, I recall attending when 30 or so others came to The Stables Theatre to hear author book discussions, readings, and book signings. The series grew. Due to its immense popularity, many talks are now sold out even before the Mount’s brochure is printed. Topics often have a historic slant; last week’s author introduced her book about women spies during the Civil War. Speaker Karen Abbott offered one of the most dynamic and intelligent talks that I have heard to date.
A close second favorite is “Wharton on Wednesdays,” outdoors on the veranda. With great emphasis on language, particularly that of the early 1900’s, professional actors offer readings of Wharton short stories as guests sip wine (or whatever). This is one of the Berkshires’ most elegant “events,” yet attire is strictly casual.
Fridays and Saturdays, beginning at 5pm, musicians use this same terrace for “Music After Hours.” In fact, each day of the week offers some form of cultural activity. Gone are the days of the empty Mount.
|by Kevin Sprague|
While at the Mount, we enjoyed viewing (sometimes trying to understand) giant art pieces placed throughout the grounds’ 50 acres under the title “SculptureNow”. For those who have seen this exhibit in the past, this year brings a new pool of sculpture and artists -- 28 in all, made from fabric, metals, wood, fiberglass, and/or other materials. Each is whimsical, dramatic, odd, curious, and/or colorful.
Of course, tours are a must-see, which include those of the house and backstairs (check the Ghost Tours) and the exquisite four-sided garden.
Although I have visited the Mount for 20 years, even I was unaware of its storytelling series that takes place with a storytelling workshop in October.
|by Gallery Administrator|
I end with another very important 180-degree turn -- Shakespeare & Company once again mounts theatre at The Mount. For the entire summer, “Hamlet” (often considered Shakespeare’s best play) takes the outdoor stage in a “Bare Bard” (meaning cut version) production, with actors performing in multiple roles, and always extremely accessible to any audience member.
There’s more to choose from: poetry readings, food adventures, film, and Friday Conversations En Francais. If only, I could remember anything learned in my three years of high school French, I might join in. Alas, I will stick with English language, albeit Elizabethan.
For information on The Mount check www.edithwharton.org.