The highlights of the cultural weekend in our region include play openings, chamber music, indie-pop, plus a whole lot more.
MASS MoCA in North Adams is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, and it’s kicking off its summer season this weekend with a bang. The cultural laboratory is overflowing with activity this weekend, much of it centered around pop singer and artist Annie Lennox. One of the greatest singer-songwriters of our era, first in her work with Eurythmics and then in her fabulous solo career, Lennox has installed Now I Let You Go..., a curated collection of artifacts, found objects, and personal effects. An opening reception begins at 5:30 p.m. on Saturday. Also on tap for Saturday is a free block party with events and activities for all ages from 5 to 8:30 p.m., followed by a ticketed funk dance party featuring Tanks and the Bangas, of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert fame.
Some of the major summer theaters are getting an early jump on the summer season with plays going up this weekend on their second stages. In Lenox, Shakespeare & Co. opens its season with Kenneth Lonergan’s ‘Waverly Gallery’, a finalist for the 2001 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The Tina Packer-directed play stars Shakespeare favorites Annette Miller and Elizabeth Aspenlieder.
In Pittsfield, the one-man show ‘Hold These Truths’ goes up on the St. Germain Stage at Barrington Stage Company. The play is based on a true story about a Japanese-American soldier who defied the U.S. government’s orders to forcibly remove and mass incarcerate all people of Japanese ancestry, launching a 50-year journey from college to courtroom and eventually to a Presidential Medal of Freedom and to a stage in downtown Pittsfield.
And in Stockbridge, Edward Albee’s ‘The Goat or, Who is Sylvia’ kicks off the season at Berkshire Theater Group in the Unicorn Theatre. The play, which won all the major awards for best new drama in 2002, concerns a 50-year old successful architect who while he seems to have everything, confides to his best friend that he is also in love with a goat.
Hancock Shaker Village in Hancock, Mass., kicks off its summer-long Shaker Barn Music series with a performance on Sunday at 7:30 p.m. by The Suitcase Junket. One-man virtuoso Matt Lorenz plays a mash-up of mountain ballads, original rock anthems, blues manifestos, and dance-hall ditties. Opening for the Suitcase Junket is Berkshire-bred singer-songwriter Eliza Edens.
The feast continues for lovers of chamber music. The West Stockbridge Chamber Players play their annual Spring Concert at Old Town Hall this evening at 6 o’clock when they will assay works by Mozart, Schubert and others. Then on Sunday at 3 p.m., Clarion Concerts presents its annual Spring Gala concert in Hillsdale N.Y. with a program of Baroque pieces including those by Bach, Handel, and Biber. And that ain’t Jason.
Adventurous, eclectic indie rockers Dirty Projectors bring their experimental pop sounds to Hudson Hall on Saturday at 8 p.m.
And before I sign off, just a note that today is Bob Dylan’s 78th birthday, if you can believe it. In just a few weeks he goes back out on the road for a three-week tour of Scandinavia, Central Europe and England. Happy birthday, Bob. May you stay forever young.
Seth Rogovoy is editor of Berkishire Daily and the Rogovoy Report, available at rogovoyreport.com