Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

February 21, 2023

Review: Barrington Stage, "10x10"

Barrington Stage, Pittsfield, MA
February 19-March 5, 2023
by Jarice Hanson & Shera Cohen

Credit should be given to both Barrington Stage Company and the City of Pittsfield for this year's presentation of "10X10". Now in its 12th year, "10X10" offers audiences a reminder that BSC's full season is not far away. Appreciating these mini-plays is a pleasant dose of the talents of a theatre troupe regularly seen in July/August. "10X10" is a little bit of summer in February.

An overall observation which we didn't think about in the past 11 years is the range of skills of each actor. My guess is that the three men and three women present at least four diverse characters over the course of 90-minutes. Some roles are comic, some dramatic, others portray children or seniors far beyond their years. The range of actors (a few of whom are BSC "regulars") is admirable especially when the fast-paced vignettes offer about 30-second intervals from one play to the next.

The plays themselves are chosen competitively from a variety of submissions; each written by a different playwright. However, the directors of five plays each are BSC's new artistic director Alan Paul, the balance by noted playwright Matthew Penn.

Two of my favorite plays are: "Right Field of Dreams" written by Stephen Kaplan and "Gimme Shelter" by Robert Weibezahl.

Particularly impressive are the three male actors; young Skyler Gallun has great energy and is consistently present in every play he was in; Matt Neely, the middle-aged actor, excels at vocal work in each vignette; and Robert Zukerman, the older man, differentiates his characters best out of all of the players (women and men).  

While I do think some of the plays have fairly weak or no endings, all have a strong beginning. Maybe a few small rewrites are needed. 

It's always fair to give a shout out to the full cast in an opening number that welcomes people with a wink and a nod to musical theatre, this time with clever new lyrics.