Shakespeare & Co Opens 2019 Season with THE WAVERLY GALLERY
Shakespeare & Company's season opens Memorial Day Weekend with Pulitzer Prize finalist The Waverly Gallery by Kenneth Lonergan, directed by Founding Artistic Director Tina Packer. This powerful story sheds a heartrending and humorous light on the effects of senility on a family. Performances run from May 23rd - July 14th in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre.
Once a vibrant lawyer, Greenwich Village activist and family matriarch, Gladys Green has run a charming boutique art gallery on Waverly Place for decades. Now she stands to lose its tenancy, as her world shrinks through loss of memory and hearing. As told from her grandson's perspective, we watch Gladys' family struggles to cope with her fading faculties. Lonergan takes audiences on a poignant multi-generational journey, and shows us how humor can come in unexpected places.
"The Waverly Gallery is a very insightful, very funny, and very painful play," said Director Tina Packer. "It deals with something we are all going to have to face, whether we like it or not: getting old and losing our minds. Lonergan has woven a story from his own life and experience, similar to the play, everyone in his family rallied round his Grandmother, as she moved from being a women active in the world- politically, socially, and personally- to someone who could no longer follow the conversation. Like Gladys' her desire to remain active is as necessary as breathing, and her denial of reality deeply affected the lives of everyone around her."
Helmed by acclaimed Director Tina Packer and Associate Director Michelle Joyner, the cast features Shakespeare & Company veterans: Elizabeth Aspenlieder, David Bertoldi, David Gow, Annette Miller, and Michael F. Toomey. The creative team includes Juliana von Haubrich (Set Design), James W. Bilnoski (Lighting Design), Elizabeth Rocha (Costume Design), and Brendan Doyle (Sound Design).
"My interest is The Waverly Gallery is centered around my interest in Tina Packer- being by her side in the rehearsal room after many years apart is truly a gift," said Joyner. "The fact that the play we are tackling is such a gem, so effective and wisely and wryly observed makes it all the better! Naturally I find the subject very relatable, as the daughter and the mother are characters that resonate with both Tina and I. Aging parents and mortality are definitely very much on my mind."
"The play is about time and how we meet the challenges that face us: the themes are common to all of us," continued Packer. "As we have begun rehearsing the play, we all find ourselves telling stories of our families, reflecting on the qualities of our own lives. I hope you find it as deeply moving as we have, that there is humor and grace even when there is no cure."
Tickets for The Waverly Gallery are available online at shakespeare.org, or by calling Shakespeare & Company's box office at (413) 637-3353. Previews are May 23 - 25, and seats are discounted by $10. The show runs from May 26 - July 14 tickets are $25 - $65, student and resident discounts are available. The Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre is air-conditioned and wheelchair accessible. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble St. in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Under the theme, "The Strings of the Heart," the Company's 2019 season also includes Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Taming of the Shrew, and, in a special work-shop production, Coriolanus. Contemporary plays this season include the Tony Award nominated play The Children by Lucy Kirkwood; Pulitzer Prize winner Topdog/Underdog by MacArthur Foundation Fellowship recipient Suzan-Lori Parks; and Time Stands Still by Obie Award winner Donald Margulies.