2015 Summer Arts Preview | Theater | Hudson Valley | Hudson Valley; Chronogram

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2015 Summer Arts Preview

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Shadowland Theater

Ellenville's nonprofit professional theater is full-steam ahead since the major renovation of its Art Deco home in 2013. Its summer season promises comedy, drama, musical theater, and a love letter to an American folk icon. "Clybourne Park," the Tony award-winning homage to Lorraine Hansberry's "A Raisin in the Sun," charts race relations in 1959 Chicago (through 6/14). Playwright Donald Margulies's "Shipwrecked: An Entertainment" is a Rashomon-told story, with three actors and a foley artist exploring the high-sea adventures of the narratively unreliable Louis de Rougemont (6/19-7/5). A love letter to the American musical theater, "Moon Over Buffalo" follows a couple of fading never-weres as they make one last-ditch grasp at stardom (7/10-8/2). The songs of the folk icon come alive in "Woody Guthrie: American Song," a tribute to the troubadour who gave us "This Land is Your Land" (8/7-8/30). Shadowlandtheatre.org

AUNTS will perform at the 2015 Mount Tremper Arts festival.
  • AUNTS will perform at the 2015 Mount Tremper Arts festival.
Mount Tremper Arts

The avant-garde returns to the Catskills for 8th annual summer of Mount Tremper Arts from July 11 to August 22, featuring a variety of performance art, choreography, sculpture, music, and theater pieces. Festival highlights include AUNTS, a dance and performance troupe; the FLUX string quartet; the International Contemporary Ensemble performing David Lang's chamber piece "Whisper Opera"; and "Clouds/Cows," a theatrical exploration of the inner lives of bovines by Nat and Veronica.

Started by photographer Matthew Pokoik and choreographer Aynsley Vandenbroucke, MTA has become an upstate incubator for New York City-based experimental performance artists. At the start and close of the festival on July 11 and August 22, Mount Tremper Arts will be holding "Art-B-Qs," in which the audience has the chance to interact with the artists over dinner, prepared by Pokoik and the festival chef, Ethan Knechel, with both meat and vegetarian options available. All produce comes from the on-site garden and regional farms. Mounttremperarts.org

The cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performing at the 2015 Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival. - TRAVIS MCGEE
  • Travis McGee
  • The cast of “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” performing at the 2015 Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival

The Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival returns to Boscobel for a 28th season from June 9 through September 1. This year, the company will perform "The Winter's Tale," "A Midsummer Night's Dream," "The Tempest," and "The Arabian Nights." "An Iliad," a one-man interpretation of Homer's classic epic by Lisa Patterson and Denis O'Hare, will also be performed by Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival veteran Kurt Rhoads. The performances are all outdoors with a scenic Hudson River backdrop, set in a theater tent that seats 540 audience members. Special events will be held throughout the summer, including Friday Night Prologues, with actor-director-scholar and guest artist-led pre-show discussions; and Teen Nights, with designated workshops and discussions for teens 13 and older. This year's guest directors include Eric Tucker, Lileana Blain-Cruz, Jim Calder, and Gaye Taylor Upchurch (directing "An Iliad", see sidebar). The festival is designed not only to showcase classic theater, but also to encourage conversation about Shakespeare's plays. Preshow picnicking on the beautifully landscaped grounds is encouraged, and catered picnic meals are available with advance purchase. Hvsf.org

"An Iliad"

Homer's classic, "The Iliad," gets a modern flourish at this year's Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival at Boscobel. Lisa Patterson and Denis O'Hare's interpretation, appropriately titled "An Iliad," combines the ancient Greek prose with modern vernacular, a one-person cast, and a personal connection with the audience. Patterson and O'Hare's play, staged for only five performances, will be directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, best known for directing Simon Stephen's "Harper Regan" with the Atlantic Theater Company. The one-man show will star Kurt Rhoads, a Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival veteran. Gaye Taylor Upchurch discusses the underlying themes of the adaptation, working with Kurt Rhoads, and the reason why the Trojan War is as relevant as ever. "An Iliad" will be staged on July 30 and August 3, 9, 21, and 24.As told to Kelly Seiz.

What's your connection/interpretation of "An Iliad" as a director?

One of the beauties of Lisa and Denis's adaptation is that it's wide open for another director to have their own take on the material. I am keeping the same format—it's still going to be a solo piece, and in this version, I'm working with Kurt Rhoads, who's an incredible actor and has done a lot with the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival.

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