(LENOX, Mass.) – WAM Theatre’s second season of Fresh Takes Staged Readings kicks off with a reading of “Silence” by Moira Buffini, directed by Tod Randolph, at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café in West Stockbridge on Sunday, April 19, 2015. All of this year’s plays were penned by living, female playwrights and include the 2012 Pulitzer Prize-winner “Water by the Spoonful” by Quiara Alegría Hudes. The June reading, “Noms de Guerre,” will be part of the Lift Ev’ry Voice Festival and playwright Jacqueline E. Lawton will be in the Berkshires to participate.
The Fresh Takes series features local actors and directors. The series opens on April 19 with popular actress Tod Randolph directing “Silence,” and in June stage and film star Jayne Atkinson will be directing “Noms de Guerre.” 2014 Fresh Takes curator Kelly Galvin will direct “Three Tall Girls” by Meg Miroshnik in May; Clancy herself will take the directorial reins on “Water by the Spoonful” in August, and WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven will direct the final Fresh Takes offering, “The Effect” by Lucy Prebble, in September.
The first series last year sold out all five readings, and whetted the appetites of area audiences for more professional readings of plays that explore the lives and experiences of women and girls. Each reading is followed by a talkback with the actors and directors.
WAM Artistic Associate Molly Clancy is curating the 2015 series. “The Fresh Takes readings are very intimate in the wonderful art gallery space at No. Six Depot,” Clancy explained, “So the post-show discussion are very conversational, like a book club. We really want to create that dialogue with our audience and get to know them better. And we want to show them what kind of theatre WAM produces, even during months when we don’t have a major production scheduled.”
This season Clancy has selected plays that have had successful productions or readings elsewhere, but are new to the Berkshire audience. “These plays tell stories that are relevant, provocative, and contemporary. This is also a way for WAM to test out plays we are considering for the future, which is exciting for our audience to get a ‘sneak peek’ and offer their feedback.”
Fresh Takes Staged Readings
Fresh Takes, WAM Theatre’s play-reading series held in the gallery space at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café, 6 Depot St., West Stockbridge, MA, on the following Sundays at 3 pm: April 19, May 17, June 14, August 16, and September 13.
Curated by WAM Theatre’s Artistic Associate Molly Clancy, Fresh Takes will give a stage to ground-breaking works – which have been successfully presented elsewhere but are new to our Berkshire audiences – that tell women’s stories. Featuring local established and emerging actors and directors, the series will explore the work of provocative contemporary voices.
There are only 25 tickets available per reading. Tickets are $20, which includes a post-show discussion and the opportunity to meet the cast and director. Refreshments will be available for purchase at No. Six Depot Roastery and Café.
April 19, 2015
Silence by Moira Buffini
Directed by Tod Randolph
A bride and groom forge a pact to keep a secret in this dark comedy where Shakespeare’s cross dressers meet Monty Python’s blithering knights. At the end of the first millennium, Princess Ymma of Normandy was forced by England’s King Ethelred to marry a young Viking, Lord Silence of Cumbria. The events conspire to send them dashing through the mud of England fleeing an enraged despot’s murderous rampage. Winner of a Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and sparkling with deliberate clashes of period and style, WAM Theatre embarks on a journey of power, identity, gender and desire.
May 17, 2015
The Tall Girls by Meg Miroshnik
directed by Kelly Galvin
Welcome to Poor Prairie, the dusty, desolate town where fifteen-and-a-half-year-old Jean has been exiled as caretaker for her wild-child cousin, Almeda. It’s a grim, dangerous place to eke out an existence as a teenage girl—until an out-of-towner arrives with a brand-new basketball in tow. As the town’s girls come together to form a team set on making it out of Poor Prairie, a murky committee of townspeople threatens to stamp out girls’ sports altogether. Written by award-winning playwright Meg Miroshnik this play dramatizes issues important to the WAM Theatre community; the fight for class, education and gender equality.
June 14, 2015
Part of the Lift E’vry Voice Festival
Noms de Guerre by Jacqueline E. Lawton
directed by Jayne Atkinson
Mira is a rising star in the Republican Party, but her campaign against reproductive rights puts her at odds with her best friend, Jude, an award-winning journalist. When Jude discovers that Mira’s war hero husband Douglas is linked to a massacre of Afghan civilians, Mira is thrown into a whirlwind of political intrigue and must decide whether to hold on to her career or save her husband. WAM Theatre presents this haunting, lyrical and passionate story nominated for a 2014 Kilroy, and written by Jacqueline E. Lawton who was named one of the top 30 national leading black playwrights by Arena Stage’s American Voices New Play Institute.
August 16, 2015
Water by the Spoonful by Quiara Alegría Hudes
directed by Molly Clancy
Somewhere in Philadelphia, Elliot has returned from Iraq and is struggling to find his place in the world. Somewhere in a chat room, recovering addicts keep each other alive, hour by hour, day by day. The boundaries of family and community are stretched across continents and cyberspace, birth families splinter and online families collide. A winner of the 2012 Pulitzer Prize, WAM Theatre invites the Berkshire audience to partake in this artful and heartfelt meditation on life on the brink of redemption.
September 13, 2015
The Effect by Lucy Prebble
directed by Kristen van Ginhoven
In this clinical romance two young volunteers, Tristan and Connie, agree to take part in an experimental drug trial. Succumbing to the gravitational pull of attraction and love they manage to throw the trial off-course, much to the frustration of the clinicians involved. This funny, moving and perhaps surprisingly human play explores questions of sanity, neurology and the limits of medicine. WAM Theatre presents this vibrant theatrical exploration of fate, loyalty and the inevitability of physical attraction. Written by Lucy Prebble, a finalist for the 2013-2014 Susan Smith Blackburn Prize, the play garnered the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Play.
About WAM Theatre
Based in Berkshire County, Massachusetts, WAM Theatre was co-founded in 2010 by Canadian director, actor, educator, and producer Kristen van Ginhoven to create professional theatrical events for everyone, with a focus on women theatre artists and/or stories of women and girls.
WAM Theatre also has a philanthropic mission, inspired by the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, and donates a portion of the proceeds from its theatrical events to organizations that benefit women and girls.
Over the past five years, WAM Theatre has donated more than $15,000 to seven nonprofit organizations and provided paid work to more than 100 theatre artists. In addition to the main stage productions and special events, WAM Theatre’s activities include a comprehensive educational outreach program and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series.