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Weekend Preview May 19-24
Bob Dylan tributes, Deborah Voigt, Tom Paxton, Bill Kirchen, John Kirk and Trish Miller

Celebrating Bob Dylan's 70th Birthday in Style
Paying tribute to the greatest rock songwriter ever

FILM REVIEW: In a Better World and Of Gods and Men
Review by Seth Rogovoy

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Deborah Voigt Headlines Mahaiwe Gala
Opera star to sing arias, show tunes on Saturday, May 21

Famed Spiritual Teacher to Speak on Nonviolence
Mother Maya in free talk at Sruti Yoga in Great Barrington, Mass., on Friday May 20 at 7pm

Special Effects Wizard to Be Honored by Film Festival
Doug Trumbull to be Feted by BIFF

Weekend Preview May 12-16
Cultural Highlights of the Berkshire Weekend

Talk about a small world
Elaine and I grew up together, but only just recently met....

Berkshire Living to Cease Publication
A Farewell from Publisher Michael Zivyak

twiGs Branches Out
Lenox boutique launches new e-tail site

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[MUSIC REVIEW] Avalon Quartet in Close Encounters at Mahaiwe
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

[FILM REVIEW] Bill Cunningham New York
Review by Seth Rogovoy

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Morning's at Seven
by Paul Osborn
Directed by Vivian Matalon
Through August 11, 2007

review by SETH ROGOVOY, editor-in-chief and critic-at-large, BERKSHIRE LIVING Magazine

(STOCKBRIDGE, Mass., August 4, 2007) -- In the brilliantly staged and superbly acted Morning's at Seven at berkshire Theatre Festival, Jane Austen meets Anton Chekhov
filtered through the sensibility of Woody Allen with a little Monty Python thrown in for good measure.

This riotously funny extended-family drama, all of which takes place in the backyards of two adjacent homes owned by sisters and their husbands (houses, which by the way, are mind-boggling in their verisimilitude -- we spent many minutes trying to figure out how they moved real houses onto the stage at BTF, which of course they didn't -- they built
them to suit, and the result is a breathtaking set), has a bit of farce to it, but a lot of emotional truth and poignancy.

The nine-member ensemble hasn't a weak link, and in fact is a textbook example of professional acting at its best -- no star turns, no stars, but just solid actors who can play sad, pathetic, angry, pretentious, and, of course, funny.

Special shout-outs go to Kevin Carolan as Homer Bolton, the aging bachelor/mama's boy who's on the verge of asking his girlfriend of five, seven, or twelve years (the time seemed to change depending on how you counted) to marry him, setting off a chain reaction that rocks the family relationships among the four sisters and their husbands to the core. Carolan is that great, old-fashioned style of actor who plays straight but broad, and the end result is hysterical (think Chaplin or Keaton).

Other standouts were Jonathan Hogan as Carl Bolton, Homer's dad, a house builder undergoing an existential crisis (they called them "spells" back then), and Christianne Tisdale as Myrtle Brown, Homer's unfortunate girlfriend, who is as wacky as anyone in the family, and therefore is the perfect addition to this wild bunch.

The thing is, this wild bunch really isn't so wild, as one of the sister's husbands points out. In fact, they're a bunch of "morons" (the word use in the play, which was written in pre-P.C. days, thankfully), although by the end of the evening we come to appreciate that even morons like these are the stuff of great drama.

Director Vivian Matalon obviously knows this play inside out, and the comic and tragic timing of the events as they unfold was masterful.

At nearly three hours running time, this could have been another LONG night at the theater. In fact, it was an utter delight to lose oneself in the comic tribulations of this clueless bunch.

In the end, this was one of the most enjoyable nights out at the theater all summer.

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