family

Roslyn Ruff (Berenice) - THE MEMBER OF THE WEDDING  By Carson McCullers  Directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch  Williamstown Theatre Festival  August 5 - 19
Carolyn Brown / Williamstown Theatre Festival

Carson McCullers’ “The Member of the Wedding,” directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, is running on the Main Stage at The Williamstown Theatre Festival through August 19.

Set in the South on the eve of a family wedding in 1945, housekeeper Berenice Sadie Brown tries to calm the nerves of her 12-year-old charge, Frankie, a tomboy - lonely and uncertain - struggling to feel a part of something.

McCullers novel was published in 1946 and the author adapted the story for the stage where it opened on Broadway in 1950.

Roslyn Ruff plays Berenice Sadie Brown. Ruff’s an accomplished television, film, and stage actress with Broadway credits that include “Romeo and Juliet” with Orlando Bloom and Condola Rashad, and “All the Way” with Bryan Cranston.

Families today are squeezed on every side from high childcare costs and harsh employment policies to workplaces without paid family leave or even dependable and regular working hours. Many realize that attaining the standard of living their parents managed has become impossible.

In her book, "Squeezed: Why Our Families Can't Afford America," Alissa Quart, executive editor of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, examines the lives of many middle-class Americans who can now barely afford to raise children. She shows how our country has failed its families. Her subjects, from professors to lawyers to caregivers to nurses, have been wrung out by a system that doesn’t support them, and enriches only a tiny elite.

Joselin Linder has been on a quest to uncover the truth about her likely fatal genetic disorder that opens a window onto the explosive field of genomic medicine. Linder’s new book is “The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future.”

At the age of nine, Issac J. Bailey saw his hero, his eldest brother, taken away in handcuffs, not to return from prison for thirty-two years. Bailey tells the story of their relationship and of his experience living in a family suffering from guilt and shame in his book, "My Brother Moochie: Regaining Dignity in the Midst of Crime, Poverty, and Racism in the American South." Drawing on sociological research as well as his expertise as a journalist, he seeks to answer the crucial question of why Moochie and many other young black men, including half of the ten boys in his own family, end up in the criminal justice system.

What role do poverty, race, and faith play? What effect does living in the South, in the Bible Belt, have? And why is their experience understood as an acceptable trope for black men, while white people who commit crimes are never seen in this generalized way?

Issac J. Bailey was born in St. Stephen, South Carolina, and holds a degree in psychology from Davidson College in North Carolina. Having trained at the prestigious Poynter Institute for journalists in St. Petersburg, Florida, he has been a professional journalist for twenty years. He has taught applied ethics at Coastal Carolina University and, as a Nieman Fellow at Harvard, has taught journalism at Harvard Summer School.

The Badilas are a close-knit family of artists whose incredible talent and community spirit have made them a household name in Hudson. The Badila’s unique blend of Central and West African traditions and popular culture resonates at home, and reverberates on the world stage. Elombe and Pamela Badila united to create a family and legacy of education and performance that celebrates their heritage. Elombe passed away in 2012 and his family continues this mission.

Hudson Hall presents a series of Badila family events this weekend. 

We learn more from each of them but do want to make sure it’s clear that there are many other siblings and participants celebrating and performing in Hudson this weekend.

"Spirit of the River" will be performed at Hudson Hall on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Milandou Badila (aka Young Paris) creates Afrobeat hip-hop music with an electronic injection on Jay-Z’s Roc Nation label. His most recent album is “My Tribe.” Lady Moon and The Eclipse perform on Saturday at 7pm - their EP "Believe" is available now and they are working on their first LP.


"Fun Home" is a groundbreaking five-time Tony Award winning musical based on Vermont author and illustrator Alison Bechdel’s acclaimed graphic memoir. The show features a book by Lisa Kron and music by Jeanine Tesori. As the show unfolds, you meet Bechdel at three different life stages as she grows and grapples with her uniquely dysfunctional family, her sexuality, and her father’s secrets.

"Fun Home" runs on Weston Playhouse's Second Stage at Walker Farm through July 28.

Director Malcolm Ewen and Caitlin Kinnunen (Medium Alison) join us.

Set over the course of one week in June of 1939, the new novel The World of Tomorrow by Brendan Mathews is a story about siblings, the joys of music, love (mutual and unrequited), and the meaning of home.

It is a New York novel, but also one of the world, of big dreams and big love and what it means to be willing to pay any price for your family. 

This episode was recorded at The Mount in Lenox, Massachusettes. 

Clemantine Wamariya was six years old when her mother and father began to speak in whispers, when neighbors began to disappear, and when she heard the loud, ugly sounds her brother said were thunder. In 1994, she and her fifteen-year-old sister, Claire, fled the Rwandan massacre and spent the next six years migrating through seven African countries, searching for safety—perpetually hungry, imprisoned and abused, enduring and escaping refugee camps, finding unexpected kindness, witnessing inhuman cruelty. They did not know whether their parents were dead or alive. 

In "The Girl Who Smiled Beads," Clemantine provokes us to look beyond the label of “victim” and recognize the power of the imagination to transcend even the most profound injuries and aftershocks. Devastating yet beautiful, and bracingly original, it is a powerful testament to her commitment to constructing a life on her own terms.

The youngest of thirteen children in a devout Catholic family, Tina Alexis Allen grew up in 1980s suburban Maryland in a house ruled by her stern father, Sir John, an imposing, British-born authoritarian who had been knighted by the Pope. Sir John supported his large family running a successful travel agency that specialized in religious tours to the Holy Land and the Vatican for pious Catholics.

But his daughter, Tina, was no sweet and innocent Catholic girl. A smart-mouthed high school basketball prodigy, she harbored a painful secret: she liked girls. When Tina was eighteen her father discovered the truth about her sexuality. Instead of dragging her to the family priest and lecturing her with tearful sermons about sin and damnation, her father shocked her with his honest response. He, too, was gay.

The secret they shared about their sexuality brought father and daughter closer, and the two became trusted confidants and partners in a relationship that eventually spiraled out of control.

Tina Alexis Allen’s new book is "Hiding Out: A Memoir of Drugs, Deception, and Double Lives."

Larry Ruhl’s new book, “Breaking the Ruhls,” is a profoundly personal account of the impact of complex trauma on a man’s life. Larry’s father sought comfort from his only son, blurring critical boundaries that would prove deeply debilitating. Larry’s mother, with her spiraling, ever-changing mental illness kept the family in a constant state of anxiety.

Tara Westover’s memoir, “Educated,” has made its way to the number one spot on the New York Times bestsellers list.

She tells her story of being a young girl who, kept out of school, leaves her survivalist family and goes on to earn a PhD from Cambridge University.

Multi-platinum rock superstar Eddie Money takes viewers home every Sunday night in AXS TV’s all-new original reality series “Real Money.” The program captures the daily lives of the Money family—which includes Eddie; Laurie, his wife of over 30 years; their five kids, Zach, Joe, Jesse, Dez, and Julian; and eight pets as they live, laugh, bicker, and rock.

Eddie Money’s Top 40 hits include: “Take Me Home Tonight,” “Shakin’,” “Think I’m In Love,” “I Wanna Go Back,” and many more. His new show, "Real Money," premieres this Sunday, April 8th at 9:30 PM.

Susan Meissner is the acclaimed author of "Secrets of a Charmed Life" and "A Bridge Across the Ocean." Her new novel, "As Bright as Heaven," is set in Philadelphia during the Spanish flu epidemic of 1918, which tells the story of a family reborn through loss and love.

"As Bright as Heaven" is the compelling story of a mother and her daughters who find themselves in a harsh world not of their making, which will either crush their resolve to survive or purify it.

Susan Meissner is a former managing editor of a weekly newspaper and an award-winning columnist.

Kristin Hannah’s best-selling novel “The Nightingale” illuminated the women of the French resistance in World War II. Her new novel “The Great Alone” focuses on fiercely independent women in extraordinarily difficult circumstances in Alaska who must fight each day to survive.

"Down the Up Staircase" tells the story of one Harlem family across three generations, connecting its journey to the historical and social forces that transformed Harlem over the past century.

Bruce D. Haynes and Syma Solovitch capture the tides of change that pushed blacks forward through the twentieth century as well as the many forces that ravaged black communities, including Haynes's own.

As an authority on race and urban communities, Haynes brings unique sociological insights to the American mobility saga and the tenuous nature of status and success among the black middle class. Bruce Haynes joins us.

"Before They Were Our Mothers: Voices of Women Born Before Rosie Started Riveting" was conceived when Patricia Nugent realized, at her mother’s funeral, that she knew very little about her mother’s life before her mother was her mother. She’d never asked; her mother had never offered. Nugent deeply regretted missing the opportunity to know her mother more fully. To inspire other families to share personal histories, she compiled this anthology of real-life stories about women before they were mothers.

In addition to deeply evocative first-person accounts, "Before They Were Our Mothers" offers readers a personal glimpse of world events from the late 1800s to the mid-1900s, as written in that moment by current-day descendants. We are joined by Patricia Nugent (editor), Sue Van Hook (author) and Crystal Hamelink (author). There will be a reading from the book at Battenkill Books in Cambridge, NY on Thursday, February 15 at 7 p.m.

The new book, “Modern Loss: Candid Conversation about Grief. Beginners Welcome,” is an examination into navigating grief and resilience in the age of social media, offering comfort and community for coping with the mess of loss through candid original essays from a variety of voices.

At a time when we mourn public figures and national tragedies with hashtags, where intimate posts about loss go viral and we receive automated birthday reminders for dead friends, it’s clear we are navigating new terrain without a road map.

Enter Rebecca Soffer and Gabrielle Birkner. Each having lost parents as young adults, they co-founded Modern Loss, responding to a need to change the dialogue around the messy experience of grief. They look to offer the insights of the Modern Loss community to help us cry, laugh, grieve, identify, and empathize.

David Brooks
CNN

David Brooks has a gift for bringing audiences face-to-face with the spirit of our times with humor, insight and passion. He is an observer of the American way of life and a savvy analyst of present-day politics and foreign affairs.

He holds several positions as a commentator, including bi-weekly Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, and regular analyst on PBS "NewsHour" and NPR’s "All Things Considered."

David’s newest book, "The Road to Character," explains why selflessness leads to greater success. He tells the story of ten great lives that illustrate how character is developed, and how we can all strive to build rich inner lives, marked by humility and moral depth.

David Brooks will be at Proctors on Wednesday, January 17th at 7:30 p.m.

Alexandra Fuller is best known for her memoirs about her African childhood and the family she left behind; she’s just written her debut novel, Quiet Until the Thaw.

The book brings us into the world of the Lakota Sioux in South Dakota and the fictional family she has imagined there. 

Listener Essay - Moving Over

Nov 2, 2017

Moving Over

Today was my mother Teresa’s wake. As I drifted out of sleep that morning, the telephone rang, beginning one of the weirdest phone calls of my life.

“Hello Deborah?” It was Phil Bocketti from the funeral home. “We have an issue. It’s not your problem, and it’s not mine, but we have to get a decision anyway.”

Under the collective name of Kennedy-Smith, our family owned a six-grave plot at Saint Joseph’s Cemetery in Troy. My grandparents were buried alongside one another; the other graves were for their two daughters and their respective spouses. The cemetery caretaker, upon reviewing the records, found Aunt Josie, who never married, was buried right next to Dad.

Phil continued: “The caretaker wants to know what he should do. If we bury your mother like it is now, she won’t be next to your father. If we move your Aunt Josie, we may have to dig more graves. What do you think?”

“Phil, they’re all dead, right? Who cares?”

Nancy Pearl has worked as a librarian and a bookseller for more than three decades, she is regularly featured on NPR’s Morning Edition talking about her favorite books.

The author of several works on non-fiction, she has now written her first novel, George & Lizzie, an emotional novel about an unlikely marriage as a crossroads.

Paul Theroux is the author of many highly acclaimed books. His novels include The Lower River and The Mosquito Coast, and his renowned travel books include Ghost Train to the Eastern Star and Dark Star Safari.

Mother Land is a piercing portrait of how a parent’s narcissism impacts a family. While the particulars of this tale are unique, Theroux encapsulates with acute clarity and wisdom a circumstance that is familiar to legions of readers.

Caroline Leavitt’s new novel, Cruel Beautiful World is about coming of age in 1969; about wild love, rebellion, and finding oneself in the time of Woodstock and the Manson murders.

The novel is a haunting, nuanced portrait of love, sisters, and the impossible legacy of family.   

In Raising Cooperative Kids, research psychologists Marion Forgatch and Gerald Patterson, one of the original developers of Time Out, provide parenting techniques that tap deep-rooted human instincts, making them universal and easy to use no matter where you live or how your family is structured.

Developed over 40 years of practice and tested in clinical and prevention trials, these skills empower parents to teach their children new behaviors, change unwanted behaviors, and reduce family conflicts. Together, Forgatch, Patterson, and Friend give parents the formula to overcome family struggles and inspire children to cooperate -- from toddlerhood into their teens.

Local improv company Happier Valley Comedy has a new addition to their Comedy School line up of classes for this Fall. Family Improv is a six-week class held on Sunday afternoons beginning in September and is geared to kids 8-12 and their adults.

Family Improv gives families the opportunity to laugh with a loved one and bond over fun improvisation games and exercises. The Family Improv curriculum is guided by the principles of acceptance, mindfulness, quieting judgment of self and others, and strengthening communication, all while having a blast playing together. 

Happier Valley Comedy is the heart of improv comedy in the Pioneer Valley, and offers a full curriculum improv school, regular improv comedy shows, and the "Through Laughter" program for professional and personal development. Happier Valley Comedy was founded in 2015 by Pam Victor in her quest to make the Happy Valley happier. 

In the new movie, Landline, Jenny Slate and new comer Abby Quinn play sisters Dana and Ali. Dana is engaged and feeling trapped and Ali is a senior in high school feeling somehow tethered and free at the same time when she finds out that their father, Alan (played by John Turturro) is cheating on their mother Pat (Edie Falco). The film also features Jay Duplass as Ben and Berkshire native Finn Wittrock as Nate. Set in 1995, Landline is human and hilarious.  

Co-written by Gillian Robespierre and Elisabeth Holm and directed by Robespierre, Landline begins screening at Images Cinema in Williamstown, MA today. Robespierre will participate in a Skype Q&A at tomorrow night’s 7pm showing of the film.

Robespierre’s first feature-length film - also co-written with Elisabeth Holm and starring Jenny Slate - Obvious Child was released in 2014.

During the course of his life, Malachy McCourt practically invented the single's bar; was a pioneer in talk radio, a soap opera star, a best-selling author; a gold smuggler, a political activist, and a candidate for governor of the state of New York. 

It seems that the only two things he hasn't done are stick his head into a lion's mouth and die. Since he is allergic to cats, he decided to write about the great hereafter and answer the question on most minds: What's so great about it anyhow? 

Elizabeth Strout is the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Olive Kitteridge; the #1 New York Times bestseller My Name Is Lucy Barton; The Burgess Boys, a New York Timesbestseller; Abide with Me, a national bestseller and Book Sense pick; and Amy and Isabelle, which won the Los Angeles Times Art Seidenbaum Award for First Fiction and the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize. She has also been a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Orange Prize in England. Her short stories have been published in a number of magazines, including The New Yorker and O: The Oprah Magazine.

She joins us to discuss her latest novel, Anything is Possible.

Jeffrey Lent was born in Vermont and grew up there and in western New York State. He studied literature and psychology at Franconia College in New Hampshire and SUNY Purchase. His first novel, In the Fall, was a national bestseller. His other novels are Lost NationA Peculiar GraceAfter You've Gone, and A Slant of Light, which was a finalist for the New England Book Award and a Washington Post Best Book of 2015.

In his new novel, Before We Sleep, Katey Snow, seventeen, slips the pickup into neutral and rolls silently out of the driveway of her Vermont home, her parents, Oliver and Ruth, still asleep. She isn't so much running away as on a journey of discovery. She carries with her a packet of letters addressed to her mother from an old army buddy of her father's. She has only recently been told that Oliver, who she adores more than anyone, isn't her biological father. She hopes the letter's sender will have answers to her many questions.

Two-time Tony Award nominee Jayne Atkinson and Tony Award nominee Jessica Hecht stars in Sarah Ruhl’s The Clean House, a 2005 Pulitzer Prize finalist. In the whimsical play, a physician (played by Jayne Atkinson) discovers that her sister (Jessica Hecht) and not her Brazilian cleaning woman has been cleaning her home.

The Williamstown Theatre Festival Main Stage Production is directed by Rebecca Taichman – who just won a Tony for directing the play, Indecent. The Clean House runs through July 29th.

Jayne Atkinson is best known on television for her long-running roles in 24Criminal Minds, and the current Netlix original series House of Cards. She made her Broadway debut in a revival production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons. Broadway credits also include The RainmakerOur TownEnchanted April and Blithe Spirit

Jessica Hecht has been on television in such shows as Friends, Seinfeld, Breaking Bad and The Good Wife. Hecht was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress for her role in A View From The Bridge on Broadway. Other recent productions include Harvey, Golde in Fiddler on the Roof, and she just finished a run in Arthur Miller’s The Price with Mark Ruffalo and Danny DeVito. 

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