Teenagers rocket through Shakespeare plays

Thursday November 15, 2012

Shakespeare & Company

If you hear the sound of cheering resounding in Lenox this weekend, follow the joyful noise and you'll likely find yourself at the Tina Packer Playhouse on the sprawling Shake speare & Company campus. There, the annual Fall Festival of Shake speare is raising the roof with some of the Bard's best comedies, heroic history plays and dynamic dramas -- performed by 500 talented young thespians from high schools across the Berkshires and from Chatham, N.Y., to North Andover.

Starting tonight and continuing through Sunday, a total of 10 separate productions will take to the stage in rapid fire succession, offering a dizzying display of words and wit, sword fighting and swagger, and impassioned oration. Now in its 24th season, the event has a following among young actors and audiences, who flock to experience the boundless enthusiasm, imaginative staging and high energy execution of these tales.

The 90-minute abridged plays are a perfect introduction to the Bard for younger audiences, with popular titles including "Twelfth Night," "As You Like It" and everyone's favorite fairy tale, "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

Tickets for each performance are $12 for adults and $6 for students, with all-festival passes available for $60 for adults and $30 for students. Information and full schedule: www.
shakespeare.org, (413) 637-3353.

Williams College Museum of Art

When the sun goes down this evening, the galleries of Williams College's prestigious art museum WCMA will fill with people eager to enjoy a trip to the stars. Under the guidance of new museum director Christina Olsen, the monthly "WCMA at Night" series is designed to bring renewed energy and art appreciation to Williamstown.

From 5 to 9 p.m. on the third Thursday of most months, live presentations by performing artists, dancers and musicians will interpret artworks and artmaking in new and exciting ways.

Tonight's theme, "Under the Stars," is inspired by the current WCMA exhibit "Cosmologies" and includes a planetarium show at the neighboring Hopkins Observatory, a dance installation in the galleries by visiting artist-in-residence Nia Love, and astrology-inspired art games, "star-studded" face-painting and sparkling treats.

The evening wraps up with a glam-infused Ziggy Stardust-themed dance party in the rotunda, with cosmic lighting effects and high-octane sounds. The entire event is free and open to all ages. Information: wcma.
williams.edu, (413) 597-2429.

Images Cinema

It's a rare occasion when families can go to the movies knowing that the films they see will be imaginative and entertaining -- well made and age appropriate -- free from gratuitous violence or crass behavior and devoid of commercial tie-ins and questionable characters.

Fortunately, Images Cinema's International Family Film Series offers regular quality, family-friendly programs at the Williamstown single screen movie house, home to the best in independent films.

On Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and again at 1 p.m., "Kids Flix Mix" will show animated short films from around the world, including Europe, Japan and North America. Selected from the acclaimed New York International Children's Film Festival, the films have either English language dialogue or music, making the hour-long program appropriate for young audiences aged 4 to 8 years old.

Italian paper-cutout cars speed around a track to homemade sound effects, while colorful stop-motion animation from Portugal illustrates a moonlit boat ride for a cardboard boy and his ladybug friend. Adorable Japanese puppets travel to England to film a ukulele music video, a little girl from Canada feels safe after a challenging day, and Rabbit's Swedish sleepover doesn't go quite as planned.

U.K. selections include "Ernesto," about a boy anxious to lose his baby teeth, and "Gulp" from Oscar-winning Aardman Animations about a fisherman who gets swallowed by a whale.

From the U.S. comes a jaunty pop tune by The Girls, a mysterious tale about a fox and a train ticket, and instructions on how to do a happy dance. The centerpiece of the program is "The Gruffalo's Child," a half-hour U.K. film adapted from Brit ish author Julia Donaldson's beloved picture book series.

Tickets cost $5 per person, and wholesome concessions include or ganic popcorn and locally baked goods. Information: www.imagescine ma.org, (413) 458-5612.


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