This weekend brings art openings, puppet theater, feminist theater, an environmental film festival, a duo concert of contemporary music, vaudeville, and a whole lot more to the greater Berkshire region.
Artist Darren Waterston has been in residency at MASS MoCA in North Adams since laar July. The project he has been working on since then is a full-fledged reimagination of James McNeill Whistler's decorative masterpiece, Harmony in Blue and Gold: The Peacock Room, which Whistler made in 1877. The original Peacock Room was designed to showcase shipping magnate Frederick Leyland’s collection of Asian ceramics. Whistler turned the design into a subtle mockery of his patron.
At MASS MoCA, Waterston reconstructs the historical room as an extravagant ruin. Inside, viewers will find a crumbling structure with re-interpretations of Whistler’s work in Waterston’s distinct style, as well as 250 hand-painted ceramic vessels inspired by the collections of both Leyland and the American industrialist Charles Freer, who acquired the room after Leyland’s death. A soundscape featuring voice and cello composed by the New York-based trio BETTY is heard intermittently through the space, punctuating the silence with haunting reverberations. Waterston describes the MASS MoCA intallation as a “transgressive parody.” An opening reception celebrates Waterston and Uncertain Beauty on Saturday at 5.
Also in North Adams, Who’s Hungry, an experimental puppet show based on the oral histories of homeless and hungry individuals, will be presented at the North Adams Puppet Lab on Saturday at 7:30pm. The show was created by Bessie Award-winner Dan Froot and directed by Obie Award-winner Dan Hurlin.
The fourth annual Project Native Film Festival kicks off with a free screening of the environmental documentary Revolution on Saturday at 7pm, at the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington. The festival continues on Sunday, March 30, at the Triplex Cinema, with free screenings of eight films from 10am to 9:30pm. The films cover a wide-range of current environmental topics including salmon farming, GMOs, Tar sands, invasive Asian Carp, fracking and industrial hemp.
Two-time Tony Award-nominee Jayne Atkinson will direct a benefit production of Motherhood Out Loud at Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge tonight and tomorrow, as part of the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers. Proceeds from the production will benefit WAM Theatre and the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.
Hudson’s own Bindlestiff Family Cirkus concludes its three-month winter residency hosting a monthly cabaret, featuring its vaudeville-style variety of circus, theater, comedy and musical entertainers, at Club Helsinki Hudson with two shows this weekend - Saturday at 9pm; and a matinee show on Sunday at 3pm geared to the whole family.
Works by modern and contemporary composers will be performed in Pairings: Art Songs and Cabaret, featuring vocalist Gilda Lyons and composer-pianist Daron Hagen, at the Hudson Opera House on Saturday at 7pm. The program will include the premiere of a new work commissioned from David Macbride by the Phoenix Concerts, as well as works by Marc Blitzstein, Jacques Brel, Chabuca Granda, Jennifer Higdon, Ned Rorem, Stephen Sondheim, and Kurt Weill, among others.