Letter: Innovative plays at Fringe Festival

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To the editor of THE EAGLE:

Usually when I think of writing a letter to the editor it has to do with public policy or a gripe of some sort. This time, I wish to pause, celebrate and give thanks for the amazing treats bestowed upon us in Pittsfield with the Berkshire Fringe Theater Festival and the Word x Word Poetry/Spoken Word Festival. This letter focuses on the Fringe.

Everyone already knows about the established theater festivals in Williamstown, Pittsfield and Stockbridge. However, I’m glad for the Fringe, which spotlights up-and-coming artists and new plays.

Opening night featured "Riot," written and performed by the Wardrobe Ensemble of Bristol, England and "The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame," written and performed by Under the Table Productions of Brooklyn and Oakland. "Riot" is a theatrical tour de force, exploring the impact of commercialization on society through the telling of an actual event involving the opening of the largest Ikea store in North London. It tells several stories in a visually and sonically lush presentation that is compact and dynamic.

"The Hunchbacks of Notre Dame" is a hilarious spin on the Victor Hugo story that is more like a tale of three siblings who happen to be hunchbacks who are actors putting on the stage version of the Hugo novel. "Hunchbacks" explores the siblings’ own needs and agendas as the play within the play. The comedy is quite physical.

You can learn about these and all the other theatrical presentations at berkshirefringe.org.

Performances are at Shire City Sanctuary (formerly the Notre Dame church) on Melville Street in Pittsfield.

RAYMOND J. JACOUB

Pittsfield


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