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Mount Greylock Regional High School Rocks Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, MA with “Much Ado About Nothing!”

One of the joys of living in Massachusetts is that there is a commitment to support of cultural institutions and of grass-roots cultural projects and programs. These programs result in wonderful exhibits, exhibitions, events, performances and activities that create learning experiences and enriching experiences for residents and visitors to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. These activities are overseen by the Massachusetts Cultural Council (MCC) which is the umbrella organization that oversees individual Local Cultural Councils (LCC) across Massachusetts. The MCC’s official website states,”Administered by 2,400 municipally appointed volunteers, the LCC network consists of 329 councils serving all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. Each year, local councils award more than $3 million in grants to more than 5,000 cultural programs statewide.

I am now in my fifth year serving on the Cultural Council Northern Berkshire (CCNB) which represents the 11 towns in the Northern Berkshires of Berkshire County in Western Massachusetts. I have done my best, over the last four years, to attend events and performances that are funded by CCNB which have included programs at Centers for the Aging, summer events at local libraries aimed at entertaining while educating children, magicians, singers and dancers, art gallery exhibits, storytellers and dramatic productions performed at schools, churches, social halls, auditoriums, museums and other venues in the Northern Berkshires, all funded, in full or in part, by the Cultural Council Northern Berkshires.

On Friday evening, November 17, 2017, I attended the performance of, “Much Ado About Nothing,” performed by students of Mount Greylock Regional High School, the local high school serving students from Lanesborough and Williamstown, Massachusetts. This culminating activity was the result of the students studying this Shakespearean work, learning and understanding the language of Shakespeare’s time and the story and its nuances and, ultimately, participating in the set design, creating the costumes, learning and performing the parts, performing the play for the school’s student population and another for family and friends before Friday night’s highlight of performing on the same stage where Screen Actors’ Guild and Shakespearean actors of renown have performed.

The play, with a 21st century twist at every turn, was clearly well understood by the students who attended this performance by the bus loads! The theater, which holds almost 400 attendees, rocked with the laughter, applause, and encouragement of the schoolmates of those who were performing and it was clear they understood the story line, the plot, the nuances and subtle meanings as they reacted to the salient spots of the story in all the right places!

I was seated just to the left of Tina Packer, for whom the theater that we were in, the Tina Packer Playhouse, was named. Her beaming face reflected the joy in the production and her enthusiastic support of the relationship between Lenox, Massachusetts’ Shakespeare & Company. Tina Packer was more than pleased! And well she should be as the experience of  the student spectators and the student actors, costumers and others who worked on the play but were not among the performers, created one of those life-altering and lifetime memories of what effort, work, and enthusiasm can produce. That alone is a great life-lesson.

Official information about Tina Packer states that, “Tina Packer is the founding artistic director of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox, Massachusetts. She has directed most of Shakespeare s plays, acted in seven, and taught the entire canon at multiple colleges and universities, among them Harvard, MIT, and Columbia.” How lucky we are to have such talent in this county and talent that is so interested in this particular program that she would be at the performance to see the product of the investment of time and resources by Shakes & Co! Note that this is the second performance by Mount Greylock Regional High School which performed, “Romeo & Juliet” earlier Friday evening at the Tina Packer Playhouse following the same educational scheme outlined above.

The Cultural Council Northern Berkshire takes pride in supporting the efforts of all who bring their talents to share with the eleven communities we serve. This event is just one of so many worthy projects that CCNB supports. Have a look at the photos below to get a sense of the production and go to my facebook page at facebook.com/stephanie.abrams.94 to see the video I shot from my seat!

Special congratulations to all of the students who performed, acted as stage hands, scenery design, and costume design, and to all who had a hand in making this an outstanding production! Also kudos to the faculty members involved in this enriching experience for the students and all who were privileged to see the production at Mount Greylock Regional High School and at Shakespeare & Co. And huge thanks to all of the staff associated with Shakes & Co. (the loving local knickname for Shakespeare & Co.) for investing their time and talent yearly to bring Shakespeare to life for the students and adults in this county who are constantly reminded of the universal and ongoing relevance of Shakespeare’s work.

Enjoy the photos and remember to go to my facebook page to join the play in progress with a short video depicting  a reason to rejoice in the story line!

BRAVO TO ONE AND ALL!

BRAVO! YOU ALL ROCK!

--Gotta Fly Now!sm
Your Personal Travel Expert
Nationally syndiated radio show host
Stephanie Abrams

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