Bits & Bytes: Casting call for short film; WordXWord Teen Poetry Festival; ‘Environmental History” panel at Williams

WordXWord Festival invites poets ages 13 - 19 to participate its first annual Teen Poetry Slam Festival which will take place the evening of Friday, May 6, and all day Saturday, May 7,

Open casting call for Karen Allen short film

Karen Allen.

Stockbridge A local production company is looking to cast an 11- or 12-year-old boy for a leading role, as well as several male adult roles, in a short film to be shot in the Berkshires. The film, “A Tree. A Rock. A Cloud.,” is based on the Carson McCullers’ short story and will be the directorial debut of award-winning actor Karen Allen. Filming will take place over six days in late May and June in southern Berkshire County.

Already cast in the film are Jeff DeMunn (“The Shawshank Redemption,” “The Green Mile,” “The Walking Dead”) and James McMenamin (“Orange is the New Black”). Allen is hoping to locally cast the lead part of the young boy and several male adult roles. Allen is looking for a boy who is a good listener, quiet, and thoughtful. Previous professional acting experience is not necessary. The other adult roles include two male soldiers aged 20-30 years old, and two mill workers aged 30-55 years old. The film is set in a 1947 café.

Most of the production crew will also be made up of Berkshire talent: the film’s Director of Photography is Richard Sands, one of the producers is Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative Executive Director Diane Pearlman, and the assistant director is feature film and television assistant director Amy Lynn. Kristi Zea, Allen’s friend and Academy Award nominee, is the production designer. Brian Long of New York City’s Rattlestick Playwrights Theater is the other producer on the project.

The open casting call will be held on Friday, March 11 (Young Boy: 4 p.m. – 6 p.m.; Adults: 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.), and Saturday, March 12 (Young Boy: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.; Adults 3 p.m. – 6 p.m.). Callbacks (for the Young Boy only) will be on Sunday, March 13, from noon – 4 p.m. All auditions will take place at Berkshire Theater Group’s Unicorn Theater, 6 East St. Appointments are necessary to audition.

To schedule an audition, send a picture (adults should also include a resume where available) to or call (413) 528-4223. Anyone auditioning should read the short story prior to the casting session:

Allen is excited about shooting her first film project in the Berkshires: “I intend to stay very close and true to the story Carson McCullers wrote and to illuminate in the film the characters she has so beautifully drawn in the pages of this story. And the Berkshires is the perfect place to make this happen.”


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WordXWord to present first annual Teen Poetry Slam Festival

Pittsfield – WordXWord Festival invites poets ages 13 – 19 to participate its first annual Teen Poetry Slam Festival.

The festival will take place the evening of Friday, May 6, and all day Saturday, May 7, and will include team and individual poetry slam competitions, workshops, feature performances by guest artists, open mic events, and networking opportunities.

Pre-registration is required and can be done online.


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Panel to discuss urban planning and ‘A Marvelous Order’ Staging

Williamstown — A panel titled “Staging Urban Environmental History” will be held at Williams College on Tuesday, March 8, at 7 p.m. in Griffin Hall, room 3. Panelists Joshua Frankel ’02, Will Rawls ’00, Mason Williams, and Sarah Gardner will discuss the showdown between Robert Moses and Jane Jacobs in 1960s New York City and reflect on that conflict’s ongoing significance to the history of urban planning and to the city’s downtown. Frankel and Rawls will describe how they staged the social drama for “A Marvelous Order,” an opera premiering at the College’s ’62 Center for Theatre and Dance on Saturday, March 12. The panel is free and open to the public.

Joshua Frankel is the director of “A Marvelous Order” as well as an animator and visual artist. His most recent film, “Plan of the City (2011),” has been presented at venues ranging from the Library of Congress to the Brooklyn Academy of Music. Frankel has created over 12,000 square feet of public murals in collaboration with his wife, Eve Biddle ’04, and has also designed projections for musicals at Lincoln Center and on Broadway.

Will Rawls is the choreographer for “A Marvelous Order,” as well as a writer and performer. His recent premieres include “Personal Effects” for Performa 15 (November 2015) and “I make me [sic]” for MoMA PS1‘s Greater New York exhibition (January 2016). Rawls has presented other work at the Chocolate Factory, Danspace Project, and Tanzquartier Wien (Vienna). In 2016, with Ishmael Houston-Jones, he will co-curate Danspace Project’s Platform Lost and Found, exploring themes of AIDS, absence, and queer performance. He is currently an LMCC Extended Life Fellow, a Mellon Creative Campus Fellow at Wesleyan University, and a Levitt Visiting Artist Fellow at Williams College. He received a 2015 award from the Foundation for Contemporary Arts.

Mason Williams is Visiting Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies at Williams College. His first book, “City of Ambition: FDR, La Guardia, and the Making of Modern New York (New York: Norton, 2013),” examines the relationship between progressive reform in New York City and the national New Deal. His next book, “City of Fortune: Urban Democracy in the Age of Inequality,” examines the political economy of affluent cities in the late 20th century, is forthcoming from W. W. Norton.

Sarah Gardner is a lecturer in Environmental Studies and Associate Director of the Center for Environmental Studies at Williams College. She is a current member of the Planning Board for the Town of Williamstown, and has also served on the town’s Conservation Commission. Gardner has published a variety of policy papers on environmental planning for institutions including the New Jersey Office of State Planning and the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy.

Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow in Anthropology and Environmental Studies Natalie Bump Vena ’04 will moderate the discussion.

For building locations on the Williams campus, consult the online map or call the Office of Communications at (413) 597-4277.