Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

October 17, 2009

Visiting the Cape in Off-Season

By Alyce Skelton

Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre
Harbor Stage
"Sexual Perversity in Chicago"

Located along a stretch of the docks and beach that looks out over boaters and kayakers, the theatre is a double decker building. The letters WHAT - several feet high - sitting atop the theatre reminded me of the Hollywood Hills sign. Floodlit, the letters are hard to miss. This production of "Perversity"- one of David Mamet's earliest works - received a terrific reception. The audience had a shocked response. Some of the dialogue sounded a bit dated, yet the production was fast moving, funny and thought provoking. In an interview in the Village Voice, Mamet said the characters were losers. The characters might be losers, but in this production the cast members certainly were winners. The play is, obviously, about relationships, featuring a cast of four outstanding young actors. The minimalist set design was very effective in keeping with the pace of the story. The wide lapels and polyester leisure suits fit the times perfectly. Sliding doors that had a 90's disco dance club look allowed the cast to quickly switch from set to set.

Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre
Julie Harris Theatre
"The George Place"

The play explored the decision of an older couple who have decided to sell the family home and move into a retirement community. They have only 60 days to tell family members and sell the house. So goes the story line, as the seniors relate their information to the important people in their lives, as well as the reactions that follow. The struggles of these characters to communicate and understand each other were sometimes touching, sad, amusing and at the same time funny. The play took place on the porch of a wonderfully designed home. The lighting highlighted the innovative and realistic set design which left the audience seeing a warm and inviting home despite the problems that sometimes trouble all families.

Thornton W. Burgess Museum

The museum, a quaint Cape Cod structure, houses the author's room in which he wrote his beloved children's books and displays of Harrison Cady illustrations of Burgess' menagerie. Burgess, a naturalist and conservationist, had influenced conservation efforts in Massachusetts both during his lifetime and afterwards. In addition to Laughing Book, I was amazed to find that Sandwich, his birthplace, had four similar sites that were directly the result of his influence.Burgess began writing the stories which he told his son at bedtime. Ultimately, the author penned the tales to create Peter Rabbit, Jimmy Skunk, Sammy Jay, and Bobby Raccoon

Sandwich Glass Museum

This museum has a phenomenal history of glassmaking, and its staff daily demonstrates that techniques have changed since 1825 when Demming Jarvis incorporated the Boston and Sandwich Glass Company. The company led the world in the manufacture of glass during the early 19th century. The best part of the exhibit was watching molten glass drawn from the furnace, blown and pressed into unusual shapes. A glass blowing demonstration was scheduled every half hour. Another favorite was viewing the Levine Gallery of Early American Lighting, demonstrating the evolution of early light fixtures from 1825 through the onset of electricity. A recording accompanied the demonstration of the 50 lamps as they light in sequence. Viewing the magnificent collections of glassware, where over 6000 glass pieces of lead glass, opaque blue glass, beehive glassware, molded blown glass and pressed glass were exhibited, is well worth follow up visits to this museum.