Arts Briefs: Dance festival and a one-woman play in Northampton, summer music fests in Easthampton, and more

Image courtesy SCDT

Image courtesy SCDT

Image courtesy SCDT

Image courtesy SCDT

Keyboard expert Andrus Madsen has been appointed the new director of Arcadia Players.

Keyboard expert Andrus Madsen has been appointed the new director of Arcadia Players. Photo by Desiree Walters/courtesy Arcadia Players

Country/folk singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz will be one of the headliners at the Arcadia Folk Festival in Easthampton, which this yeat takes place in August.

Country/folk singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Sarah Jarosz will be one of the headliners at the Arcadia Folk Festival in Easthampton, which this yeat takes place in August. Image from Signature Sounds website

Double Edge Theatre’s “Summer Spectacle” performance this year is “The Heron’s Flight,” which runs July 23-31 and Aug. 1-11.

Double Edge Theatre’s “Summer Spectacle” performance this year is “The Heron’s Flight,” which runs July 23-31 and Aug. 1-11. Courtesy Double Edge Theatre

In  Karin Trachtenberg’s one-woman dramatic comedy, “My Mother had Two Faces,” that takes place May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts, Trachtenberg discovers her mother’s diaries and tries to come to grips with a side of her she hadn’t known.

In Karin Trachtenberg’s one-woman dramatic comedy, “My Mother had Two Faces,” that takes place May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts, Trachtenberg discovers her mother’s diaries and tries to come to grips with a side of her she hadn’t known. CONTRIBUTED photograph

Published: 05-09-2024 12:58 PM

Modified: 05-09-2024 4:50 PM


Dance festival, encore

NORTHAMPTON — A week after 33 Hawley hosted an extensive dance festival, the city’s community arts center is set to stage another one.

On May 10-11, Friday and Saturday, the School for Contemporary Dance & Thought (SCDT) is presenting “Improvisation and Performance,” a mix of workshops, performances and talks that will in part recognize the legacy of notable dancers from the area.

The festival also marks the 10th anniversary of what’s called RIFF Talks, a series SCDT started in 2014 that includes presentations led by internationally renowned contemporary artists that explore critical themes in dance.

The festival’s main event takes place May 11 at 7 p.m. in the Workroom Theater at 33 Hawley with some improvisational performances and talks, which also examine the work of four late dancers who left a major mark in different ways: Steve Paxton, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Nancy Stark Smith and Peter Schmitz.

A presentation of dance works in progress takes place May 10 at 7 p.m.

Tickets and additional information are available at scdtnoho.com.

 

New director for Arcadia Players

NORTHAMPTON — Arcadia Players, the Valley early music ensemble, has appointed a Wayland-based historical keyboard player as its new director.

Article continues after...

Yesterday's Most Read Articles

Hadley’s Hampshire Mall faces foreclosure
GOP silences McGovern over Trump remarks
Looming rent hikes worry artists at Cottage Street Studios in Easthampton
Balise finds temporary home for Subaru dealership in Hadley
Officials sorting out disarray at Leverett Elementary School
Guest columnist Larry Hott: ‘Daughter of Cummington’ brings stories to the stage

Andrus Madsen, who plays organ, harpsichord, clavichord, and fortepiano, is the founding director of the ensemble Newton Baroque, and he also performs with the Boston-based vocal ensemble Exsultemus.

As Arcadia Players’ new director, Madsen succeeds Andrew Arceci, who has led the group for the past two seasons and but is leaving due to increasing commitments abroad.

Jon Solins, who heads the ensemble’s board of directors, notes that though Madsen has not previously performed with Arcadia Players, he said during the interview process that some of his colleagues had connections to the group and encouraged him to apply to the director’s position.

In a statement, Solins said Madsen’s “extensive knowledge of historical performance,” as well as his collaborative approach and dedication to developing Arcadia Players, made him an attractive candidate for the job.

He’s also “known for his eloquent Baroque-style improvisation and for his inventive programming, striving to bridge the barriers between audience and performers,” Solins noted.

Madsen, who earned a doctorate in harpsichord performance and literature from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York, serves as music director at several churches and synagogues in the greater Boston area; he also teaches privately.

Arcadia Players, started in 1989, specializes in what’s known as historically informed performances: music designed to match the tone and style of the era in which a composition was written. The group’s repertoire is focused primarily on the Baroque and early Classical eras, from chamber music to orchestral and choral pieces.

 

The festivals are coming

EASTHAMPTON — It’s not too early to think about getting tickets to two big music events headed to town in late summer.

The Arcadia Folk Fest, a co-production of Signature Sounds and Mass Audubon, has been moved up a month this year and will now take place Aug. 24 at the Arcadia Wildlife Sanctuary.

For its sixth season, the festival will again feature a range of mostly acoustic performers and will be built along lines of sustainability, such as having on-site food vendors serve their fare with compostable or reusable utensils and dishware.

Sarah Jarosz, the Grammy-winning country/folk singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist, is one of the headline performers, and a number of regional and other national acts will be part of the lineup.

And on Sept. 7 at Millside Park, the second annual River Roads Concert will take place, an event featuring mostly acoustic performances by female artists.

The concert, produced in collaboration with Laudable Productions and the Connecticut River Conservancy (CRC), is also coordinated with an annual cleanup of the Connecticut River.

It was started last year by former Valley singer-songwriter Dar Williams, who will again be one of the performers along with Cheryl Wheeler, Sunny War, Jill Sobule, High Tea and others.

More information is available at riverroadsfestival.com.

 

Summer theater on the way

ASHFIELD — Double Edge Theatre has marked some significant anniversaries in the last few years, including 40 years of total operation and 25 years of staging performances in Ashfield.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of ensemble members first setting up shop in Ashfield, doing some training here and getting closer to nature while still maintaining ties to their original home in Boston — through the connection to Boston didn’t last.

Double Edge also began their “Summer Spectacle” performances — expansive productions that take place across the grounds of the group’s Ashfield farm, with audience members moving from place to place — over 20 years ago, and the newest one has just recently been announced.

“The Heron’s Flight,” which runs July 23-31 and Aug. 1-11, offers a story in which, as production notes put it, “Familiar and mythological creatures gather for a Midsummer Feast — an explosive celebration of love, dance, and flight,” at which attendees will be invited to “walk … toward transformation in an impossible world as we embrace the knowledge of the land.”

Two preview performances take place July 18-19. Tickets are now on sale for members and will become available for the general public May 22.

 

Difficult conversations with mom

NORTHAMPTON — Boston actress Karin Trachtenberg grew up in New York City but spent many summers in Zurich, Switzerland with her maternal grandparents.

Now Trachtenberg has fashioned an autobiographical play in which she examines her complicated relationship with her Swiss-born mother, from her mother’s journey to New York to how her mother’s fixation with beauty and outward appearances influenced her daughter’s sense of self-worth.

In “My Mother had Two Faces,” a one-woman dramatic comedy that takes place May 23 at 7 p.m. at the Northampton Center for the Arts, Trachtenberg discovers her mother’s diaries and tries to come to grips with a side of her she hadn’t known.

As production notes put it, “Engaged in dialogue with her mirrored reflection, Karin wrestles with her own inner demons. What does the mirror uncover when we strip away the makeup? Can Karin find closure and comfort in loving her mother’s vulnerabilities, strengths, and imperfections, or is that really what she’s seeking for herself?”

The play uses multimedia as well as two theatrical masks, which are designed to personify the “Good Mother/Wicked Stepmother archetype,” Trachtenberg says in a statement.

“In embodying my mother, an image of the Good Mother/Bad Mother emerged,” she says. “Introducing theatrical masks is a powerful dramatization of those roles.”

— compiled by Steve Pfarrer