Go and see the play ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’ and have a good time…..we did!
Saturday night we saw the entertaining and funny play, ‘The Mystery of Irma Vep’ at Shakespeare and Company in Lenox.
The two stars, Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles are marvelous as they assume several characters and take you on a wild adventure that includes frequent costume changes and clever uses of props and the sets. They will entertain you from start to finish. Kevin G. Coleman does a great directing job.
The play is welcoming entertainment on a cold, winter night.
Review from Guidestar
Shakespeare & Co. provides a terrific mix of Shakespearean drama and comedy, plays by other writers, and educational programs that extend beyond their home base in Lenox (I am going to be working at an upcoming school-audience presentation of their Hamlet in upstate New York). Some of their events are free, which is important to community access; in fact, one of their most moving is their now-annual July 4 reading on the lawn of the Declaration of Independence. I especially enjoy their secondary theater which puts the audience nearly onstage with the actors. The Mystery of Irma Vep, featuring the multitalents (including beautiful singing in falsetto) of Josh Aaron McCabe and Ryan Winkles, was all the funnier because, even from so very up close, all those costume/character changes were brilliant. I must add that during the summer, it is lovely to see the casts and crew around town, at times rehearsing their lines as if in ordinary conversation; they live and breathe their art, they aren't just there for a gig. All in all, this company is a valuable community and cultural resource as well as a world-class training ground for actors of the future.
Review from Guidestar
As a freshman, my daughter participated for the first time in the Shakespeare Fall Festival run by Shakespeare & Co. at ten high schools in New York and Massachusetts. She only did costumes and she had a blast; she can't wait to audition for a part next year. To see so many teenagers not only understanding Shakespeare but absolutely excited about his work was amazing. Ten high schools doing ten different plays over four days, and she wanted to see them all. It was also a great counterpoint to her sports, which are so competitive, because Shakespeare & Co. really teaches the kids how to cheer each other on and have fun putting on a great show together. What an incredible job this organization does, they should be at every high school!
Year after year S&Co;has produced not only Shakepearean plays, but a wide variety of great adaptations from short stories, traditional plays and new productions. They may take on too much at times, but there's never a dull moment.
Shakespeare & Company runs the highly ambitious yet successful Fall Festival of Shakespeare, which affords students from ten schools or more in the states of Massachusetts and New York the opportunity to work with professional directors, designers, and technicians in staging ninety-minute versions of Shakespeare's plays, which are then performed in each school and again at Founders' Theatre in Lenox, MA in a rollicking, supportive, non-contesting atmosphere. The students absolutely love the Festival, which is a life-changing experience for most of them. They make friendships, gain confidence, and develop a strong affection for Shakespeare and live theatre. There is no other project like this in the country. Our school, Springfield Central High School, is probably the most urban school of all those in the Festival, therefore relecting more diversity, and our students always feel valued and indeed embraced by the students from the other school, many of them from the Berkshires. We have taken part in the Festival for eighteen years, and as soon as we finish, the students are clamoring to know what play we are planning to do next year. On the Monday after the Festival, we gather in our theatre for "closure," in which the students sit in a circle on stage and each one has the chance to say what the experience meant to him or her. Every year, students speak from the heart, many becoming emotional, especially the seniors, for whom the experience is finished. They tell us how much the Festival means to them, and how they wait all year for the Fall because they look forward to it so much. Many of our students go on to be involved in theatre in college, and this certainly would not be the case if they hadn't had the opportunity to be part of the Fall Festival of Shakespeare.