three of thirty-nine rainbow teardrops by Jim Day adorning Park Square, Pittsfield; photo: J. Peter Bergman
MY FIRST EDITORIAL IN THIS SPACE
Tuesday, June 14. Several hundred people, a completely non-oriented representation of the population, gathered in Pittsfield's Park Square for a vigil for the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting. There were a dozen speakers including Mayor Linda Tyer from Pittsfield and Mayor Richard Alcombrite from North Adams, several religious leaders, political moguls and private citizens, all with their own particular take on the subjects of "hate" and "love" and the universality of human lives. It was a moving event. In particular the rousing rhetoric of Dennis Powell, head of the regional NAACP who used the word "Hate" in particular to make an enormous impact on the crowd. He left a feeling of total revulsion and compulsive regret about ever having used the word in any context.
On the opposite side of the coin Tricia Farley-Bouvier, currently campaigning for re-election on the State level, spoke of grief and "grieving." Unlike the riveting Powell, she went for the emotional jugular and was, in fact, the most effective speaker at the event, moving most of us to tears with her cry for deeper commitment and understanding.
Pittsfield City Council President Peter Marchetti and Rainbow Seniors Founder Ed Cedarbaum spoke of their fears in dealing with personal identity and the casual disarray of so many people's lives. Both were effective and so was the reading of 49 names and bios of the dead women and men who lost their lives in a "safe place" in Orlando. It is clear that we all must consider the world we live in and the vast array of humanity whose personal feelings can be delightful or dangerous. There is a long way to go in this world to achieve both acceptance and peace and, for this individual, these are difficult times with the likes of Donald Trump preaching out of both sides of his vaguely stuffed head and Bernie Sanders whose idealism inspires many but is unfortunately peculiar and unattainable.
Leadership in this nation will have to be bigger than the rhetoric that inspires votes. It must inspire the best in all people and leave little room for the worst. Leave none at all.
Tallulah Bankhead in Bette Davis' ALL ABOUT EVE costume
In a week the final play in the trilogy THE NORMAN CONQUESTS opens at the Weston Playhouse bringing to a conclusion a historic union of three theaters in Vermont which began at Northern Stage in White River Junction in April, continued at the Dorset Playhouse in June and finishes up with a short run of "Round and Round the Garden" in Weston.
More and more theaters are working in combination with one another and that's a great thing, it seems. WAM Theatre is producing with Berkshire Theatre Group at the end of the summer and has already worked in conjunction with the Berkshire Museum, Barrington Stage Company and Shakespeare & Co. They are also creating a new piece with the Chester Theatre Company. And their work benefits organizations here and abroad, so their sense of collaboration is quite wide-reaching.
At Herman Melville's Arrowhead we have worked with the Berkshire Theatre Group at the Colonial Theater and with the German company Theater Triebwerk and we have also joined forces with them to present a final performance of their baseball play in the historic red barn on the Arrowhead property where, in October, we will produce a new play based on some of Herman Melville's lighter moments.
I am sure if Tallulah Bankhead was still alive she'd be here with us participating to the fullest in every way that great talent can partake of the creative energy that fills our region at this time of year. We see it in others all the time. People like Debra Jo Rupp and David Adkins pop up in one venue or another all the time. We are rich, indeed, to have so much talent in the neighborhood.
Keep in touch; visit often; go to the theater!!
Watch this space for Things to focus on:
The Turn of the Scrooge - Ghent Playhouse 11/27
Once Upon a Mattress - Ghent Playhouse 1/20/2017
Mothers and Sons - Ghent Playhouse 3/17
True West - Ghent Playhouse 5/19
Watch This Space
There's always more to come!
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