Shakespeare's spirit invoked at Third Thursday


Photo Gallery | July 2014 Third Thursday

PITTSFIELD -- Not often does one hear words like "wilt," "dost" and "whither" spoken in the city.

The likelihood dramatically increased, however, during the city's "All the World's a Stage" Third Thursday celebration on a year that happens to mark the 450th anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth.

A scene from Henry IV thesepians Kelly Kilgore and Tim Venable of Shakespeare & Company acted out right on North Street was peppered with such language, of course.

"We were able to adapt very quickly with a little improvisation," Venable said. "I've never done street performance, but was thinking of Penn and Teller and what they were able to do in San Francisco in the ‘70s. It was an exciting experience."

Later, in Springside Park, a healthy crowd of well more than 100 gathered despite showers to watch local businessman and actor Enrico Spada's brainchild of free Shakespeare plays in Springside Park come to life.

The inaugural performance? "A Midsummer's Night Dream."

"Tonight, Pittsfield's ‘Shakespeare in the Park' is born," lead sponsor Alan P. Harris, of Berkshire Money Management, said. "There was blood, sweat, and I'm willing to bet, more than a few offstage tears that went into this.

"But now the hard work is done; I invite you, masters, spread yourselves, and witness ‘what fools these mortals be,' " Harris quipped, channeling the play.

Meanwhile, Barrington Stage Company's production of ‘Breaking the Code' was debuting at the main stage on Union Street.

Representatives of the company had earlier spent hours promoting another of their productions, the Youth Theatre's ‘Hairspray, Jr.' show, scheduled to run July 23 through Aug. 10 at Berkshire Museum.

Shannon Adamites of Barrington Stage also said she spent some time recruiting youthful talent.

"Events like these where you get to make Shakespeare appealing to the youth audience are so important," Adamites said. "I love any chance to interact face-to-face with people who've never been to the theater before."

The Shakespeare & Company show, Henry IV, parts one and two, runs from Aug. 2 to the 31.

"It's going to be great," Kilgore said. "We're including a lot of modern aspects to bring [the play] to life for a contemporary audience. It's physical and scary in parts, with plenty of guns, dancing and aerials."

To reach Phil Demers:
or (413) 281-2859.
On Twitter: @BE_PhilD


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