Shakespeare & Company Winter Studio Festival set for this weekend

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LENOX — Shakespeare & Company's annual Winter Studio Festival of Plays — five play readings over two days —is set for this weekend in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre, 70 Kemble St.

The festival begins at 1 p.m. Saturday with the first of three readings and continues Sunday afternoon with two more.

"Our play reading weekend gives us an opportunity to welcome people in from the cold for refreshment and thoughtful entertainment," Shakespeare & Company artistic director Allyn Burrows said in a news release. "It also allows us to present some playwrights who represent important voices on the cultural landscape.

"This month we present works that explore themes of immediate relevance, including immigration, adoption, addiction, and sexual abuse, and the ramification on individuals, families and communities."

The Winter Studio Festival titles include "Longing," a new play by local playwright Lee Kalcheim, directed by longtime company member Dave Demke; "Luna Gale," by Pulitzer Prize finalist Rebecca Gilman, directed by Gina Kaufmann; Tennessee Williams' "Night of the Iguana" by Tennessee Williams, directed by Berkshire Theater Award- winner James Warwick; "Mariel" by Elliot Norton Award-winner Melinda Lopez; and "Never Not Once" by Carey Crim who penned last season's "Morning After Grace," directed by Regge Life.

Each reading will be followed by a talkback with the artists.

Complete ticket information is available online at shakespeare.org or by phone at (413) 637-3353.

The festival at a glance

SATURDAY

1 p.m.: "Longing" by Lee Kalcheim. Directed by Dave Demke. With Martin Asprey, Rachel Siegel, Andrew Borthwick-Leslie, Bob Lohbauer, Sarah Corbyn Woolf, Elizabeth Aspenlieder, Kate Abbruzzese

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Plot — Henry is about to turn 50. He has lost his job. His wife and he are just separated. He has moved in with his father. And it's a comedy.

4 p.m.: "Luna Gale" by Rebecca Gilman. Directed by Gina Kaufmann. With Kirsten Mulrenan, Gregory Boover, Jennie M. Jadow, Rylan Morsbach, Tanya Avendano Stockler, Colin Gold

Plot — When a social worker places an infant in the care of the grandmother, she sparks a family conflict that exposes a secretive past and forces a risky decision with potentially disastrous consequences.

7 p.m.: "Night of the Iguana" by Tennessee Williams. Directed by James Warwick. With Allyn Burrows, MaConnia Chesser, Annette Miller, Tamara Hickey, Malcolm Ingram, Rylan Morsbach, Jamie Carillo

Plot — A disgraced former minister who ekes out a living as a tour guide in Mexico is accused of statutory rape. The Tony nominated drama explores themes of man's relationship with God, sexual desire, loneliness, jealousy, and confinement.

SUNDAY

1 p.m.: "Mariel" by Melinda Lopez. Directed By Michele Joyner. With Evelyn Howe, Jaime Carrillo, Carsey Walker, Jr.

Plot — Two Cuban refugees from the Mariel Boatlift grapple to find their place in a new America.

4 p.m.: "Never Not Once" by Carey Crim. Directed by Regge Life. With Josh Aaron McCabe, Caroline Calkins, Devante Owens, Toddy Randolph.

Plot — Winner of the Jane Chambers 2017 Award for feminist playwriting, the play follows a woman'sjourney to an unexpected and explosive answer to the question "Where do I come from?"


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