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Bits & Bytes: Isadora Duncan dance workshop; ‘Berkshire Voices’; Berkshire Stonewall potluck; Berkshire Theatre Awards

Berkshire Voices, led by playwright Michael Brady, was created by and for Berkshire-based playwrights to provide key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers

Berkshire Pulse to present Isadora Duncan dance workshop

Dancers from Dances by Isadora – Boston rehearse at Berkshire Pulse in Housatonic. Photo courtesy Berkshire Pulse

Housatonic — Dances by Isadora – Boston will return to Berkshire Pulse Saturday, Nov. 17, from 1 to 3 p.m. to hold a workshop on the technique and choreography of Isadora Duncan.

Considered by many to be the mother of modern dance, Duncan was inspired by nature, music, and a longing to express the freedom of the soul through movement. The workshop will explore the use of weight, the flow of movement through the body and moving from the solar plexus, as well as go over some of the Duncan repertoire. The workshop will also serve as an opportunity to find dancers interested in participating in a performance with the company Sunday, June 9, 2019, at Chesterwood in Stockbridge.

Dances by Isadora – Boston is a professional company dedicated to preserving the art and technique of Isadora Duncan. The company has performed and taught at Jacob’s Pillow as well as Boston area venues such as Mount Auburn Cemetery, New England Conservatory, Multicultural Arts Center and the Dance Complex, among others. The company has also staged performances New York, Chicago, Russia, Japan, Hungary, Finland and Canada.

The cost of the workshop is $20. For more information or to register, contact Berkshire Pulse at (413) 274-6624 or berkshire.pulse@gmail.com.

–E.E.

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Berkshire Voices to present new play by Elizabeth Nelson

Elizabeth Nelson. Photo courtesy Athena Project

Great Barrington — Berkshire Playwrights Lab’s Berkshire Voices writers’ group will present a staged reading of “Colors Inside the Body” by Elizabeth Nelson Monday, Nov. 19, at 7 p.m. at Saint James Place.

After her brother’s disappearance and her parent’s split, 16-year-old Lily declares war on her mother. “Colors Inside the Body” explores violence through the lives of three women whose paths cross inextricably one semester at Regan High, where lockdown drills are the norm, as is growing up with a gun.

Nelson is an artist and writer working as a communications professional at Berkshire Humane Society. Most recently, Denver’s Athena Project workshopped her play “The Golden Hour” as part of its annual Plays in Progress Series. Her play, “Fugue, A Ten-Minute Play,” has been produced worldwide, and “The Going Price” was selected in 2011 as part of Red Bull Theater’s inaugural Short New Play Festival. A graduate of Texas Wesleyan University and Sarah Lawrence College, Nelson was the original art director for SDC Journal, a craft magazine published by the Stage Directors and Choreographers Society in New York City.

Michael Brady

Berkshire Voices, led by playwright Michael Brady, was created by and for Berkshire-based playwrights to provide key support and resources for writers at every stage of their careers, fostering supportive artistic relationships across generations and experience levels. BPL provides a framework for the crucial first read of a new play, allowing writers to hear and experience their work and receive supportive feedback from artistic staff and theater-skilled audiences.

The reading is free and open to the public. There is a $10 suggested donation. Registration is required due to limited seating. For more information or to reserve seats, contact admin@berkshireplaywrightslab.org.

–E.E.

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Berkshire Stonewall to hold Friendsgiving potluck

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Stonewall Community Coalition will hold a Friendsgiving potluck Saturday, Nov. 17, at 3:30 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church.

The event will allow the LGBTQ+ community and its friends and allies to renew the bonds of friendship and share ideas, inspirations and positive outlooks in preparation of moving forward with renewed purpose through community outreach, activism and camaraderie. The coalition will provide turkey and beverages; participants are asked to bring side dishes or desserts. In an effort to make the event welcoming an open to all members of the community, participants are asked to help keep the event alcohol-free.

Those planning to attend are asked to RSVP with the dish they are planning to bring to info@berkshirestonewall.org no later than Wednesday, Nov. 14. Dishes should be labeled with ingredients so as to identify any possible allergens.

–E.E.

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Berkshire Theatre Critics Association bestows third annual Berkshire Theatre Awards

Actors David Gow, Bill Mootmos and Annette Miller; Director James Warwick; and Shakespeare & Company artistic director Allyn Burrows at the 2018 Berkshire Theatre Awards. Photo: David Dashiell

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association presented the third annual Berkshire Theatre Awards Monday, Nov. 12, at Zion Lutheran Church to honor and celebrate the excellence and diversity of theater in the greater Berkshire region.

The 2018 award recipients represent the commitment of regional theaters to presenting new and diverse work. Women and minorities were well represented among the nominees and winners in all categories. Nominees represented theaters in Massachusetts, New York, Vermont and Connecticut.

Critics J. Peter Bergman and Macey Levin emceed the ceremony, which featured several performances from regional theater groups, some of whom were nominated for awards. The Acting Class with Patrick White at the Sand Lake Center for the Arts recreated scenes from its production of “Men on Boats”; director Christine Decker and actors Erika Floriani and Jana Lillie from Oldcastle Theatre Company presented a scene from “Chocolate” by Frederick Stroppel; Brian Petti performed a monologue from the Bridge Street Theatre production of Mickle Maher’s “There is a Happiness that Morning Is,” directed by John Sowle; and Joel Ripka and Paul Pontrelli portrayed a scene from the Chester Theatre Company production of “The Aliens” by Annie Baker, directed by Daniel Elihu Kramer.

Danielle Skraastad accepts her award for Outstanding Solo Performance at the 2018 Berkshire Theatre Awards as theatre critic J. Peter Bergman looks on. Photo: David Dashiell

The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to Shakespeare & Company for its Shakespeare in the Courts and Fall Festival of Shakespeare programs.

The 2018 Berkshire Theatre Awards winners are:

  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Skyler Volpe, “West Side Story,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Sean Ewing, “West Side Story,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Nemuna Ceesay, “The Cake,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: John Hadden, “HIR,” Shakespeare & Company;
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: George Dvorsky, “Annie,” Mac-Haydn Theatre;
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Addie Morales, “West Side Story,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play: Annette Miller, “Mothers and Sons,” Shakespeare & Company;
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: Hoon Lee, “Seared,”Williamstown Theatre Festival;
  • Outstanding Ensemble Production: “The Aliens,” Chester Theatre Company;
  • Outstanding Solo Play: Danielle Skraastad, “Homebody,”Ancram Opera House;
  • Outstanding Director, Musical: Julianne Boyd, “West Side Story,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Director, Play: James Warwick, “Mothers and Sons,” Shakespeare & Company;

    Chester Theatre Company artistic director Daniel Elihu Kramer, center, and actors Joel Ripka, left, and Paul Pontrelli, right, accept the award for Outstanding Ensemble Production at the 2018 Berkshire Theatre Awards as critic J. Peter Bergman looks on. Photo: David Dashiell
  • Outstanding Scenic Design: Kristen Robinson, “West Side Story,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Costume Design: Alejo Vietti, “The Royal Family of Broadway,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Lighting Design: Lap Chi Chu, “Dangerous House,” Williamstown Theatre Festival;
  • Outstanding Sound Design: TIE – Fabian Obispo, “The Chinese Lady,” Barrington Stage Company and Palmer Hefferan, “Dangerous House,” Williamstown Theatre Festival;
  • Outstanding Choreography: Robert La Fosse, “West Side Story,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding New Play: “Dangerous House” by Jen Silverman, directed by Saheem Ali, Williamstown Theatre Festival;
  • Outstanding New Musical: “Coming Back Like a Song” by Lee Kalcheim with songs by Irving Berlin, Harold Arlen, Jimmy Van Heusen and their collaborators, directed by Gregg Edelman, Berkshire Theatre Group;
  • Outstanding Musical Production: “West Side Story,” directed by Julianne Boyd, Barrington Stage Company; and
  • Outstanding Play Production: “Seared” by Theresa Rebeck, directed by Moritz von Stuelpnagel, Williamstown Theatre Festival.

–E.E.

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