Bits & Bytes: ‘Mortal Friends’ at Ventfort Hall; Jay Ungar & Molly Mason at Music & More; Lenox walking tours; IS183 workshops

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By Thursday, Sep 14 Arts & Entertainment
David Adkins will play author Nathaniel Hawthorne in a staged reading of Steve Otfinoski's 'Mortal Friends' at Ventfort Hall in Lenox on Friday, Sept. 15. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Ventfort Hall to stage ‘Mortal Friends’

Chris Tucci. Photo courtesy Ventfort Hall

Lenox — A dramatic staged reading of “Mortal Friends” will be presented at Ventfort Hall Mansion and Gilded Age Museum in collaboration with the Berkshire Historical Society on Friday, Sept. 15, at 7:30 p.m. Written by Steve Otfinoski, “Mortal Friends is the story of the relationship between writers Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville.

“Mortal Friends” delves into the nature of friendship and its betrayal, the mystery of creation, and the difficult choices all artists must make when the truths found in their works are rejected. The play exposes how the friendship between Hawthorne and Melville blossomed and provided the inspiration for Melville’s masterpiece, “Moby Dick.” Why the friendship ended as abruptly as it began less than two years after the two met remains a mystery, and the play attempts to shed light on the situation while raising new questions about the relationship.

Featuring David Adkins as Hawthorne and Chris Tucci as Melville, “Mortal Friends” is directed by James Warwick with scenography by Peter Ling. It was first performed earlier this year at the University of Bridgeport’s Bernhard Center for the Arts and the National Arts Club in New York City under the auspices of the Theatre Artists Workshop in Norwalk, Connecticut.

Tickets are $35 and reservations are recommended due to limited seating. For tickets and more information, contact Ventfort Hall at (413) 637-3206 or


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Jay Ungar and Molly Mason to perform at Music & More

Jay Ungar and Molly mason. Photo courtesy

New Marlborough — The New Marlborough Village Association’s Music & More series will present a family program with Jay Ungar and Molly Mason on Saturday, Sept. 16, at 4:30 p.m. at the New Marlborough Meeting House, 154 Hartsville-New Marlborough Rd. A reception with the artists will follow in the Meeting House Art Gallery.

Ungar and Mason draw their repertoire and inspiration from a wide range of American musical styles including 19th-century classics, Appalachian, Cajun, Celtic fiddle tunes, and favorites from the golden age of country and swing along with their own songs, fiddle tunes and orchestral compositions. They achieved international acclaim with their performance of Ungar’s composition “Ashokan Farewell” for Ken BurnsPBS series “The Civil War.” In recent years, they have reached an ever-widening audience through their appearances on “Great Performances,” “A Prairie Home Companion” and their own public radio specials as well as through their work on soundtracks for films such as “Brother’s Keeper” and “Legends of the Fall.”

Admission is $10 for adults and free for youth under age 18. For tickets and more information, contact NMVA at (413) 229-2785 or


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Walking tours of Lenox to be offered

Belvoir Terrace. Photo courtesy Lenox 250th Anniversary Committee

Lenox — In celebration of the 250th anniversary of the founding of the town of Lenox, two walking tours will be offered that will introduce participants to Lenox’s history. The first, “Walk the Sites of Lenox Town Estates” with Lucy Kennedy, will take place Saturday, Sept. 16, at 1 p.m. and will focus on the current and former in-town estates of Groton Place, Ethelwynde, Stoneover, Belvoir Terrace and others.

The tour is limited to the first 20 people and is free and open to the public. The second tour, “Discovering Historic Kennedy Park” with Jan Chague, will occur Sunday, Sept. 17, at 1 p.m. The 5-mile, three-hour hike will take place in Lenox’s historic Kennedy Park, the site of the Aspinwall Hotel, which was built in 1902 and burned down in 1931. The hike is a Housatonic Heritage Walk and is also free and open to the public. For more information, contact the Lenox 250th Anniversary Committee at


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IS183 to present workshops with internationally known artists

Gail and Phil Sellers. Photo courtesy IS183 Art School of the Berkshires

Stockbridge — IS183 Art School of the Berkshires will present internationally recognized artists and teachers in three, one-time workshops. On Sunday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Gail and Phil Sellers of Riverhill Pottery in North Adams will teach “Basketweaving in Clay” at their studio, which will encompass a presentation, demonstration, instruction and the creation of a woven clay basket. “Modeling the Self-Portrait in Clay” with Amy Podmore will take place from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25, through Friday, Sept. 29, at Chesterwood in Stockbridge and will teach students to fashion a life-size portrait bust in clay. “Paint Fast, Bold and Loose” with Patti Mollica from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 21, and Sunday, Oct. 22, is a step-by-step workshop on how to learn what to paint and, more importantly, what to leave out. For registration and more information, contact IS183 at (413) 298-5252 x100 or


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