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Bits & Bytes: Community dialogue on racism; Lenox Land Trust conversation; ‘Love Travels Fast’; Berkshire Theatre Awards

During the presentation, Gwendolyn VanSant will address personal identity and bias and their relationship to systemic racism and cultural barriers.

Scoville Library to host Gwendolyn VanSant for discussion of systemic racism

Multicultural BRIDGE CEO Gwendolyn VanSant. Photo courtesy Scoville Memorial Library

Salisbury, Conn. — On Saturday, Nov. 16, from 4 to 5:30 p.m., Scoville Memorial Library will host “Salisbury Community Talk, Dialogue and Discussion: Identity, Bias and Systemic Racism” presented by Gwendolyn VanSant, CEO of Multicultural BRIDGE.

During the presentation, VanSant will address personal identity and bias and their relationship to systemic racism and cultural barriers. She will explore how individual and collective actions can dismantle or uphold the racial disparities existing in education, health, poverty and other aspects of community. Following the talk will be a facilitated community dialogue to shed light on individual and community biases, identify the work that needs to be done, and provide participants with examples of accountability structures to support such work.

VanSant is a thought leader in diversity leadership and community organizing for racial justice. As the CEO and founding director of BRIDGE, she is a frequent speaker and a longtime activist. VanSant is the vice chair of the Great Barrington W.E.B. Du Bois Legacy Committee in Massachusetts. She has also founded several initiatives based on the principles of equity and justice, the inherent dignity and worth of individuals, and the interconnected web of humanity. She serves on the board of Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, contact Scoville Memorial Library at (860) 435-2838 or scovlibn@biblio.org.

–E.E.

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Lenox Land Trust to hold discussions on invasive plants, vernal pools

Lenox — The Lenox Land Trust will host its annual Community Conversation: Fighting the Good Fight event Thursday, Nov. 14, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Lenox Community Center.

The event will include ideas and advice on beating back invasive plants from Jess Toro of Native Habitat Restoration as well as “Where the Wild Things Are,” an introduction to protecting vernal pools presented by Berkshire Community College environmental science professor Tom Tyning. Following the Community Conversation will be a brief annual meeting of members for election of the board for 2019.

All Lenox residents and the public are invited to the free event for conversation and dessert. For more information, contact Kate McNulty-Vaughan at (413) 637-0233 or Ken Kelly at (413) 329-9678.

–E.E.

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‘Love Travels Fast’ to showcase short plays

Bennington, Vt. — Bennington Community Theatre will present present “Love Travels Fast,” an evening of short plays about the many forms of love and acceptance, Friday, Nov. 15, through Sunday, Nov. 17, at Oldcastle Theatre.

Anne Undeland

The included playwrights represent both coasts and offer unique stories told in 10 minutes. “Etymology” by Jennifer Jasper (Bennington) tells a love story in seven words. “All Out of Second Chances” by Scotto Moore (Seattle) spins the tale of a chance encounter on the Transcontinental Railroad that ties an unlikely family together. “Paolo and Francesca” by Anne Undeland (Berkshire County, Massachusetts) presents a woman’s musings at a museum in Paris, causing her to question the nature of love and physical connection. Three veterans visit the widow of their fallen buddy to remind her of the love she and her husband once shared in “The Story of Us” by Patrick Flores-Scott (Ann Arbor, Michigan). “Hi, Honey I’m Home” by K. Brian Neel (Seattle) shows a modern relationship told in a classic style. Facing the imminent death of her father, a young singer turns to her music teacher for comfort in “Lunch With Dad” by Michael Brady (Berkshire County). The performance closes with “The Almost In-Laws” by Andy Roninson and Greg Edwards (New York City), a 10-minute musical in which Des who has to introduce his fiancée to his parents.

Directed by Jasper with choreography by Sophie Marie, the performance features musical interludes by the “Love Travels Fast” band under the direction of Matt Edwards with musicians Kate Whitehall and Kevin Breese. The cast of 12 includes BCT veterans Erika Floriani, Mike Cutler, Jennifer Marcoux, Danny Townsend and Amanda Reagan as well as BCT newcomers Karson Kiesinger, David Haley, Jacqueline Holloway, Amber Roberts, Tony Conner, Mary Jo Greco and Michael Snide.

Tickets are $10-$15. For tickets and more information, see the Berkshire Edge calendar or contact Oldcastle Theatre at (802) 447-0564 or oldcastletheatre@gmail.com.

–E.E.

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Berkshire Theatre Critics Association bestows fourth annual Berkshire Theatre Awards

The company of the Mac-Haydn Theatre production of ‘Ragtime.’ Photo: Ann Kielbasa

Pittsfield — The Berkshire Theatre Critics Association presented the third annual Berkshire Theatre Awards Monday, Nov. 11, at Zion Lutheran Church to honor and celebrate the excellence and diversity of theater in the greater Berkshire region.

The 2019 awards really display the commitment of regional theaters to presenting new and diverse work. Women and minorities were well represented among the nominees and the 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 musical and Shakespearean performances by nominees David Joseph (“Times Stands Still” at Shakespeare & Company) and Gregory Boover (“Twelfth Night” at Shakepeare & Company) as well as musical selections by Monica M. Wemitt, Rachel Rhodes-Devey and Gabe Belyeu from Mac-Haydn Theatre. Robert Bruyr, Actors’ Equity Association stage manager and a union contract negotiator and representative, asked the crowd to acknowledge the excellent work of the many stage managers who work in regional theaters.

Mykal Kilgore as the Witch in the Barrington Stage Company production of ‘Into the Woods.’ Photo: Daniel Rader

The Larry Murray Award for Community Outreach and Support through Theater went to Tina Packer, founder of Shakespeare & Company, for her decades of work bringing theater and theater education to the Berkshire community.

The 2018 Berkshire Theatre Award winners are:

  • Outstanding Solo Performance: – Tara Franklin, “On The Exhale,” Chester Theatre Company;
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical (Tie) – Monica M. Wemitt, “Curtains,” Mac-Haydn Theatre and Dorcas Leung, “Into the Woods,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Elizabeth Aspenlieder, “The Waverly Gallery,” Shakespeare & Company;
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Rob Brinkmann, “Oklahoma!”, Mac-Haydn Theatre;
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Robert Zuckerman, “If I Forget,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Rachel Rhodes-Devey, “Ragtime,” Mac-Haydn Theatre;
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: Mykal Kilgore, “Into the Woods,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play: Diane Prusha, “The Children,” Shakespeare and Company;
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: David Adkins, “The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?”, Berkshire Theatre Group;
  • Outstanding Ensemble Performance (Tie): “Time Flies and Other Comedies,” Barrington Stage Company and “Topdog/Underdog,” Shakespeare & Company;
  • Outstanding Scenic Design of a Play or Musical: Brian Prather, “Into the Woods,” Barrington Stage Company;

    Diane Prusha as Hazel in the Shakespeare & Company production of ‘The Children.’ Photo: Nile Scott Studios
  • Outstanding Costume Design of a Play or Musical: Jen Caprio, “Into the Woods,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Lighting Design of a Play or Musical: Sherrice Mojgani, “Into the Woods,” Barrington Stage Company;
  • Outstanding Sound Design of a Play or Musical: Beth Lake, “Selling Kabul,” Williamstown Theatre Festival;
  • Outstanding Choreography: Justin Boccitto, “Crazy For You,” Sharon Playhouse;
  • Outstanding Direction of a Musical: John Saunders, “Ragtime,” Mac-Haydn Theatre;
  • Outstanding Direction of a Play: Regge Life, “Topdog/Underdog,” Shakespeare & Company;
  • Outstanding New Play: “Dig” by Theresa Rebeck, Dorset Theatre Festival;
  • Outstanding Production of a Musical: “Ragtime,” Mac-Haydn Theatre;
  • Outstanding Production of a Play: “Topdog/Underdog,” Shakespeare and Company;
  • Outstanding Production With Fewer than Six Performances: “Don Pasquale,” Berkshire Opera Festival.

 

–E.E.

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