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Theater

Wonderful, Heartbreaking

Theater: ‘ ’Night Mother’
darrylg@lakevillejournal.com

A simple, matter-of-fact line transforms a normal evening at home into an intense discussion as a mother tries to understand her daughter’s thinking.
“I’m going to kill myself, Mama.”
The Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck is a perfect spot for “ ’Night Mother.” The stadium seating, which is close to the stage, gives the audience the opportunity to sit with the Cateses in their living room and kitchen, observing this powerful exchange between Thelma and her daughter, Jessie.

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New Ideas Ahead for TriArts

Michael Berkeley ­— for many the face of TriArts, a founding member, its music director for 8 years and its artistic director for the last 13 — has stepped down, or been squeezed out, as his friend Marshall Miles claimed on WHDD Robin Hood Radio recently.
Berkeley, age 54, says the board made him an offer he could not accept. His contract ran out Nov. 1.

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Life as Theater

The Theater Scene: ‘The Countess’ & ‘Dear Liar’
leong@lakevillejournal.com, compass@lakevillejournal.com

Take John Ruskin, Victorian England’s greatest art critic; John Everett Millais, one of its finest painters and surely the greatest Pre-Raphaelite artist; and Effie Gray, the Scotswoman who would marry the one and then, scandalously, the other. The story is so plummy, so ripe, it could never be dull. Well, dear readers, it could and is in the Ghent Playhouse’s new production, “The Countess.” (The title was Millais’ pet name for Effie.)

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At Aglet This Weekend . . .

Jeffrey Kent and Deann Halper during a break in rehearsing “Dear Liar,” about the love affair between George Bernard Shaw and Mrs. Patrick Campbell. This two-person piece runs at the Bok Gallery in Sharon Playhouse Oct. 12 and 13 at 7 p.m. and Oct. 14 at 2; and at Berkshire Theatre Festival’s Unicorn Theatre in Stockbridge, MA, Oct.19 and 20, both at 7 p.m. For reservations, call 860-435-6928.

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All Buffoonery, Double Entendres And Farce

Theater: ‘The 39 Steps’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Shakespeare & Company’s new fall production is “The 39 Steps,” a huge hit on Broadway and now a favorite of theater companies across the country.

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Faith and Uncertainty, Hand in Hand

Theater: ‘Doubt’
darrylg@lakevillejournal.com

The last few productions I’ve seen at the Center for Performing Arts at Rhinebeck have all been musicals that featured large casts, moving sets and choreographed dance numbers.
While I enjoyed those shows, the powerful simplicity of “Doubt” was a breath of fresh air that kept my attention glued to the stage until the final line of dialogue.

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Seeking the Greed Cure, Sort Of

Theater: ‘The Bonus Room’
compass@lakevillejournal.com

Yes, we’ve heard lately about the 47 percent of Americans said to pay no federal income taxes (the elderly, the unemployed, the college bound, the afflicted, the impoverished and the very, very wealthy with sharp accountants).
But we have ignored the outliers, that 2 percent of the population that is successful, wealthy and incapable of minding the rules most people follow, most of the time.

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Maddening to Madcap

Theater Scene
compass@lakevillejournal.com

It has a familiar, nightmarish ring to it: Sonia, in her frumpy bathrobe, is snapping at Henry about his willingness to allow their screaming 6-year-old son to eat cookies in bed. He wants to placate the kid; she wants him to vaporize. Then Hubert and Inez, expected for dinner the next night, show up at the door and Aglet Theatre Company’s one-night production of Yasmina Reza’s “Life X 3” is underway.

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A Tale of Hard Times At Sherman’s Playhouse

Theater: ‘Of Mice and Men’
leong@lakevillejournal.com

Critics can argue about John Steinbeck’s merits as a writer — even he never thought he deserved the Nobel Prize — but “Of Mice and Men” remains a powerful portrait of the heartbreaking aspirations of simple, fallen men and the honest comradeship, even love, that can exist between them.
It has no artistic pretensions nor grandeur; yet there is something magnificent in the telling of this ultimately tragic fable, even on the small stage in The Sherman Playhouse’s current revival.
Although Steinbeck published “Mice” as a book, he always intended it to be staged.

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Where Voters Have To Draw the Line

Theater: ‘November’
compass@lakevillejournal.com

If the political landscape looks strewn these days with cravenous and mean-spirited pinheads, willing to say or do anything to hold public office, I have news for you: Things could be worse, at least in David Mamet’s “November” at TheatreWorks in New Milford.
The writer of “Glengarry Glen Ross,” a disturbing and Pulitzer Prize-winning play about men willing to say or do anything to sell real estate, also wrote the screenplay for “Wag the Dog.” There, the president’s minions stage a war to divert attention from his hitting on a juvenile touring the White House.

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