Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

August 5, 2013

Theatre by the Numbers & in Alphabetical Order

Shakespeare & Company, Lenox, MA
season through September 1, 2013
by Shera Cohen

Let’s look at some numbers at Shakespeare & Company. This venue is abuzz all year, with the bulk of their work produced in the summer months.
  • 4 theatres
  • 10 plays - 3 by Shakespeare and 7 by others (Moliere, Brecht, McNally, Stoppard, McDonagh)
  • 4 lecture/program series (tallies to 28)
  • 7 special performances/events
  • Countless free outdoor shows by Riotous Youth
In six days, I had the opportunity to see five plays, two talks, one rehearsal, and one outdoor mini-play. These are in addition to the one play which I’d already seen (“Richard II,” see review) and the two which I will attend in a few weeks. Apparently, I can’t get enough of Shakespeare & Company.

Now, let’s take a look, in alphabetical order, of the plays on my most recent theatre menu.

Heroes (through 9/1)
The play examines the lives of three WWI French veterans, now living in the same
retirement home. So, it’s another senior citizen piece with interchangeable people and either a warm ending or someone dies. Wrong. Director Kevin Coleman and his cast of superior Shakes & Co. “regulars” proves each man a hero in his own way.

Les Faux Pas (through 8/24)
Photo by Enrico Spada
Costumes reflecting a palette of primary colors make each member of this young cast literally shine. Picture love triangles, really bad sword fighting, cheesy props, slamming doors, shouting and crying, original music with ridiculous lyrics, and lots of laughs. Feature actress Jennie Jadow (the troupe’s funniest leading lady) and here’s a family-friendly play.

Love’s Labour’s Lost (through 9/1)
The king, along with three lords, pledge celibacy and ban women from the castle. Why? It’s a comedy; no one knows or cares. Arriving on the scene is the French queen and three ladies. The guys swoon, are rejected, all does not run smoothly in lust and love. The gals have the upper hand. I’m not sure if the Bard would have enjoyed the 1940’s setting though.

Master Class (through 8/18)
Annette Miller usually stars in a one-man (or essentially one-woman) play annually. In the past, she has shined at Golda Meir and Margaret Mitchell. Miller outdoes herself as Maria Callas in what is a study of and passion for art (specifically classical music) experienced by a renowned operatic soprano in an unkind world.

Photo by Kevin Sprauge
Mother Courage and Her Children (through 8/25)
Olympia Dukakis, at age 82, is a marvel. During a Preview performance, Dukakis – the star of the play and on stage for every scene but two – is a powerhouse actress who takes no prisoners. She commands the stage without scene stealing in this drama (albeit with lots of humor) about war, family, money, and survival.