The summer cultural season is indeed slowly creeping to an end. Williamstown Theatre Festival has closed up shop; this is the last weekend of activity at Jacob’s Pillow, and several of the other major venues are wrapping up their summer programs before launching their fall seasons. That being said, there still is a wealth of cultural activity taking place this weekend, as there always is in and around the Berkshires. This weekend’s highlights include two programs featuring dance companies that blend classical dance and hip-hop; 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.
Kyle Abraham’s Abraham.In.Motion will perform its evening-length dance piece, Pavement, about the decline of inner-city black neighborhoods in Pittsburgh, at Jacob’s Pillow in Becket through Sunday. The diverse music used in the work ranges from classical greats such as Johann Christian Bach and Antonio Vivaldi to electronic music from Hudson Mohawke and blues from Donny Hathaway. Meanwhile, over in Chatham, Canadian dance company RUBBERBANDance Group brings its fusion of hip-hop, ballet and modern dance to PS21 tonight and Saturday at 8pm. The ensemble will perform Gravity of Center, which features original music by Jasper “DJ Lil Jaz” Gahunia, whose piano compositions are partnered with hip hop production and turntablist techniques.
The Wharton Salon celebrates its fifth anniversary with Two By Wharton, two Edith Wharton stories newly adapted into one-act comedies. The Quicksand and The Looking Glass run through Sunday at The Mount in Lenox.
“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.
The Daedalus Quartet returns to the Music and More Festival at the Meeting House in New Marlborough on Saturday at 4:30 p.m., with a performance of works by Schubert, Beethoven, and others.
Last Monday, I caught the debut performance of the Voodoo Orchestra North at Club Helsinki Hudson. Led by drummer/composer Bobby Previte, the project – featuring eight terrific upstate New York jazz improvisers -- revisits Miles Davis's electric jazz-funk masterpiece, “Bitches Brew,” approaching the work like the jazz symphony it really is. Last Monday’s concert was magical, so much so that the musicians will try it again this Monday night at Helsinki Hudson at 8pm.
Stockholm, an award-winning play by Tony Award-nominated playwright Bryony Lavery, is getting rave reviews in its American premiere, running at Stageworks/Hudson through Sunday, September 1. Incorporating theater and movement, Stockholm is a visual, physical and poetic exploration of one day in the life of Todd and Kali, an exuberant couple who have, for all appearances, made it. They are emotionally open, sexually charged and their designer home is perfect. But peel away the flawless surface and underneath are two people held hostage to a cycle of love and destruction from which neither can escape.