This weekend’s cultural highlights in and around the Berkshires include a surreal marching band, newly adapted stage versions of Edith Wharton stories; a new play about Hemingway and Fitzgerald; a handful of chamber music concerts, and a whole lot more.
Combining the spirit of punk rock with the fun of a fireman's parade, the 30-member Mucca Pazza – “the marching band that thinks it’s a rock ’n roll band” - takes over MASS MoCA's campus in North Adams for five performances this weekend, today through Sunday. The Mucca Pazza catalog covers everything from Balkan brass to reworked 1960s TV show themes, to pieces by Shostakovich and Bartok.
The Wharton Salon celebrates its fifth anniversary this month with Two By Wharton, two Edith Wharton stories newly adapted into one-act comedies: The Quicksand and The Looking Glass, running through Sunday, August 25 at The Mount in Lenox. The plays showcase Edith Wharton’s early and late writing.
Scott and Hem in the Garden of Allah, a new play about the friendship and rivalry between F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, premieres at Barrington Stage Company in Pittsfield now through Sunday, September 29. The play, written by Mark St. Germain, takes place in 1937, when Fitzgerald and Hemingway met in Hollywood at the notorious Garden of Allah apartment complex. A humorous and heated exchange ensues about the cost of love, friendship and the price of being a writer.
Kaufman’s Barber Shop, a new play about a group of first-generation American-Jewish businessmen and professionals in upstate New York who meet regularly to have their hair cut and to socialize away from a society that accepts them only marginally, gets its world premiere in an innovative production by Shakespeare & Company, staged on location at Upstreet Barbers on North Street in Pittsfield, where it runs through Sunday, September 1. Written by local author Bob Sugarman, the play concerns three highly spirited men who had early on been tempted to go into vaudeville, and who now find themselves enmeshed in the lives of an immigrant Irish manicurist and an African American shoeshine boy with literary aspirations.
On Tuesday at 8 PM, at the Clark in Williamstown, the Dover Quartet will play Beethoven’s Quartet in E minor, Opus 59 No. 2; Brahms’s Quartet in A minor, Opus 51 No. 2; and “De Profundis,” a piece written by local composer Stephen Dankner in honor of Williams College Professor of Music Emeritus Irwin Shainman, who died last year, and who was an incredibly kind and friendly man, a popular teacher for many generations of Williams students, and something of a hero in the community, in more ways than one.
Pianists Vassily Primakov and Natalia Lavrova will perform works by Chopin and Rachmaninov in the Tannery on the grounds of the Darrow School as part of the Tannery Pond Concerts chamber music series in New Lebanon on Saturday at 8pm. The program features Primakov playing a selection of Chopin, followed by the duo playing Rachmaninov’s Symphonic Dances.
Ordinary Festivals, a dance-theater piece for 300 oranges, seven performers, and two knives, is among those that will be performed by Pearsonwidrig Dancetheater at PS21: Performance Spaces for the 21st Century, in Chatham, today and tomorrow, as part of PS21’s comedy-themed season.
The curtain comes down on the 2013 season at Chester Theatre Company with a production of An Iliad, a critically acclaimed one-man retelling of Homer's epic poem, running through Sunday, August 25.