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Sharon Smullen

Eagle Correspondent

On the silver screen at PS21’s bucolic open-sided pavilion theater on Aug. 11, the 1930 Ukrainian silent film “Earth” by Oleksandr Dovzhenko will show peasants farming amid scenes of extraordinary natural beauty from a long-forgotten, utopian world. Accompanying these images in elaborate folk costumes complete with tall black lambskin hats, the four musicians and singers of Ukrainian band DakhaBrakha will form harmonies evoking a distant time and place, steeped in the ethnic and regional roots of their beleaguered country.

Kriyol Dance! Collective (KDC) explores passages on a more earthly plane through the adversity of human migration, and the enduring, generational impact this has on minds and bodies at the Williams College Museum of Art. These two worlds speak to each other on Aug. 4 when Brooklyn, N.Y.-based KDC presents a 45-minute new work “Rasin San Bout” (Endless Roots) at the museum, followed by a talk back and patio reception.

Growing up in New Zealand, Black Grace dance company founder Neil Ieremia looked to his Samoan roots for creative inspiration. New Orleans native Michelle N. Gibson fled the devastation of Hurricane Katrina with a newborn baby and built a new life in Texas. This coming week, they both share their rich cultural heritage through dance at Jacob’s Pillow.

“It’s very simple,” said Jeffrey Lependorf, FCF’s executive director. “We take clips of films, remove dialogue and sound, and then neo-benshi artists create new dialogue. They might lip-synch it, do a voiceover, or something poetic totally contrary to the actions. But they can’t hep but talk to one another. They’re fully visible standing in front of the screen. It’s not improvised, it takes a lot of practice.”

Benny and Gil are two midlife strangers who meet at a funeral and learn the ties of blood run deep. As the bond between them grows, their journey of discovery leads them to connect and confront challenges, as they explore the relationships in their lives and with each other, amid a musical soundtrack of the times. “Hymn,” directed by Regge Life in Shakespeare & Company’s Elayne P. Bernstein Theater, can be seen July 24 through Aug. 28.

In Barrington Stage's production of "Anna in the Tropics," it's 1929 and Juan Julian Rios is a lector, hired to read aloud in clear, expressive tones to workers in a hand-rolled cigar factory in Tampa’s Ybor City. The book he has chosen to begin with is “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy’s weighty tale of marriage, desire and betrayal. This choice will affect the lives of those around him in ways no one can imagine.

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