SEASON PREVIEW: Thoughts on Bard’s spa for the mind

MAGICAL MUSIC, STROBE LIGHTING and handsome Finnish dancers opened the 2011 SummerScape at Bard College last week.

The Fisher Center for the Performing Arts, where much of SummerScape takes place, is tucked into the woods like a dinosaur at rest. As we arrived, its wide glass front, three stories high, welcomed early theatergoers, while across the road others delayed going indoors on a perfect summer evening. They sat at picnic tables or checked out The Parliament of Reality. This permanent outdoor installation, which features a pond and a bridge covered with wire mesh, is the creation of Olafur Eliasson. Read more…

THEATER REVIEW: As myth retold, spare Eurydice yields performance full of surprises

Eurydice/Walking the Dog Theater with PS/21

IF PLAYWRIGHT SARAH RUHL has not met director David Anderson in person, it is past time she did. She will seldom be better understood. At PS/21, all directorial ego and actor-narcissism has been carved away, and there is nothing left but text and movement and breathtaking connections. It is director as sculptor, releasing the play from where it lives in the marble script.

You remember the basic Orpheus/Eurydice story: A brilliant musician, Orpheus, loves and marries the dryad, Eurydice. Soon thereafter she is bitten by a snake, dies from the poison and descends to the underworld. He employs his magical music to convince the gods that he should go there and retrieve her. Erebus, king of the underworld, allows him to lead her back to life on the condition that, during the journey, he not look back. He looks back. She dies again. He is so grief-stricken that he can never engage with women again. This rejection so enrages the Bacchae (priestesses of Bacchus) that they tear him limb from limb. Read more…

THEATER REVIEW: This ‘concept’ does little to enhance the Bard’s charms

‘As You Like It’/ Shakespeare & Co/ Lenox, MA

TO THE SHAKESPEARE & COMPANY PRODUCTION of “As You Like It” director Tony Simotes adds his own ornaments: a mixture of brilliantly staged bits and over-the-top bits. Over-the-top suggests a lack of trust in Will’s wit, wisdom, etc. To Shakespeare’s ornaments, he also adds an actors-on-uppers physicality and “a concept.”

In the beginning, from Sandra Goldmark’s beautiful blue-gray stage with mottled blue-gray curtain, blue-gray miniature Eiffel Tower and miniature Paris buildings, one gathers (and Tony tells us in the program) that the play will be set in Paris just after the First World War. Read more…

MUSIC REVIEW: Tannery Pond offers concert as lively as weather

Andrés Díaz, cello/ Wendy Chen, piano/ Tannery Pond, New Lebanon

VIGOR was the word of my evening, Saturday at the Tannery Pond Concert.

The crowd walked briskly, with vigor, on a suddenly chilly night from the parking area to the simple, two-story tannery that’s the concert hall on the grounds of the Mount Lebanon Shaker Village and Darrow School in New Lebanon.

The wind blew vigorously, bending ancient trees in my view through the hall’s many windows. Read more…

Opera House show paves way for new view of Warren Street

HUDSON – Saturday, June 11, the Hudson Opera House opened its doors to “Warren Street,” an exhibition in which some 33 artists, many with local connections, take as their inspiration Hudson’s main shopping and dining street.

Richard Roth, the exhibition’s curator, said he was inspired by a body of work created by photographer Lynn Davis, who photographed every building on Warren Street in 1994 to document the city’s eclectic mix of architectural styles. From pyramids and other forms of architecture, to icebergs, Ms. Davis, a contemporary and friend of the late Robert Mapplethorpe, tackles large scale subjects with vigor and iconic style. Visitors to “Warren Street,” will get to see her 314-foot-long work in its entirety. Read more…