"Special" Portrait Session

Actor Jessica Hecht, shown in a 2019 portrait to promote her Netflix series “Special,” will appear at a fundraiser at Images Cinema next week. The theater will screen a sneak preview of the first episode of “Hudson Falls,” an upcoming comedy/drama/mystery series.

WILLIAMSTOWN — Images Cinema will veer from its usual programming to host a special event.

At 7:30 p.m. July 21, the theater will present a sneak preview of the first episode of “Hudson Falls,” a new comedy/drama/mystery series.

This fundraiser for the nonprofit Images Cinema, established in 1916, will begin with a cheese and wine reception. And after the sneak preview of “Hudson Falls,” members of the cast of acclaimed stage and screen actors and the creator/producer of the show will engage in an onstage conversation. They include Jessica Hecht, Richard Kind, William Sadler, Tara Westwood, Robert John Burke and creator/producer Elias Plagiaianos.

Tickets at $25 ($20 for Images Cinema members) can be purchased at imagescinema.org or at the box office at 50 Spring St.

Hecht, a multiple Emmy and Tony award nominee, has reason to feel at home in Williamstown.

“I’ve been fortunate to have 12 seasons at the the Williamstown Theatre Festival. I love the town and became friendly with community members,” said Hecht, who is a Williams College adjunct faculty member. “We bought a house in Williamstown eight years ago.”

I caught up with Hecht by phone when she was in rural Nova Scotia filming the fourth season of “The Sinner,” a television series. “Nova Scotia is magnificent. It seemed the mountains and the sea collided dramatically every few steps, and the small fishing villages remind me so much of the Berkshires,” she said.

“The Sinner” is set in Maine, but ”it was easier to film it here because of the pandemic,” she said.

Shooting “Hudson Falls” in July 2020 during the pandemic presented challenges for cast and crew.

“There were many starts and stops and some ‘Oh. no, it isn’t going to happen.’ “ she recalled.

“Hudson Falls” was the first pilot production shot during COVID-19.

“We had to be in a bubble,” she said. “We filmed in New Jersey and stayed in New York.”

Hecht was able to quarantine in her home in New York City.

“I found it difficult to rehearse wearing masks because you can’t hear clearly what your fellow actors are saying or see their facial expressions,” she said. “It was frightening to start shooting, but you have to get over it.”

I asked how she became involved in the production.

“My friend Tara Westwood, an actor and producer, brought it to me,” she said. “I loved the script and working with Richard Kind.”

In “Hudson Falls,” Hecht plays the part of the ex-wife of a detective, played by Kind, who also is a Tony Award nominee.

Hecht said she liked the character she played. “She was trying to rise above a very difficult relationship and trying to find the good and humanity in the other person.”

In her more than 25-year career, Hecht has worked in three mediums: television, film and theater.

“Theater is my joy,” she said when asked if she had a favorite. “Especially after COVID and not being able to be in a room where someone’s talking and listening. You realize how validating that simple human experience is.

“In television, the director and writer have the most influence in telling the story,” she said. “In theater, the actors are the storytellers. It is a great responsibility, but it’s so gratifying to know that the audience is with you from their reactions.

“We hone our skills and try to be as specific as possible,” she said. “It makes your responsibility to the craft of acting even more acute.”

Hecht has been a member of the audience at Images Cinema many a time.

“And I like to go to their movies on the lawn, too,” she said.

Now, she is looking forward to participating in the special event next week. All funds raised will go to supporting the Images mission of celebrating film as an art form, a source of entertainment and a means to build community.

Phyllis McGuire writes from her home in Williamstown. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.