Shakespeare & Company launching new season with Kenneth Lonergan's 'The Waverly Gallery'

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LENOX — Shakespeare & Company opens its 2019 season Memorial Day weekend with Pulitzer Prize finalist "The Waverly Gallery" by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by founding artistic director Tina Packer.

Public previews begin May 23 in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, where the play is scheduled to run through July 14. Press opening is 3 p.m., May 26.

Once a vibrant lawyer, Greenwich Village activist and family matriarch Gladys Green has run a charming boutique art gallery on Waverly Place for decades. Now she stands to lose its tenancy, as her world shrinks through loss of memory and hearing. Meanwhile, her family struggles to cope with her fading faculties.

"'The Waverly Gallery' is a very insightful, very funny, and very painful play," Packer said in a news release. "It deals with something we are all going to have to face, whether we like it or not: getting old and losing our minds." The story is drawn from Lonergan's own life and experience, in which, Packer said, "everyone in his family rallied round his grandmother, as she moved from being a woman active in the world ... to someone who could no longer follow the conversation. Like Gladys, her desire to remain active (was) as necessary as breathing, and her denial of reality deeply affected the lives of everyone around her.

"The play is about time and how we meet the challenges that face us: the themes are common to all of us."

The cast features Shakespeare & Company veterans Elizabeth Aspenlieder, David Bertoldi, David Gow, Annette Miller, and Michael F. Toomey.

Ticket information is available online at shakespeare.org; by phone at 413-637-3353; or in person at the Shakespeare & Company box office onsite at 70 Kemble St.

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