Tom Minter's Off The Stoop Blog

a playwright's journey, creating, connecting, and conversing.

Return to Great Barrington..

with 2 comments

I would say a ‘return to platform’ and the Berkshire Playwrights Lab.. but being able to participate in the BPL Gala is all so much more than that..

..it is the warmth in the feeling, walking along Pope Street into the Wainwright Inn, and up to my room, the same room Marja had selected for my first visit, over 3 years ago now..

The hospitality of the Inn remains all about ‘sanctuary’, and the enjoyment of conversations with like minded travelers, who are never strangers, as we all have Marja, Robert and the Wainwright Inn in common, and instantly fall into mapping the connections and journeys that have brought us there this time.

..the summer had not settled into the surrounding hills as yet; fog started the mornings; mid-day, piercing blue held the sun; by afternoon, scrums of roiling clouds tumbled over the skies, and unleashed torrential rains that then vanished, to leave the tarmac smoking wet..

And night –night was luscious, quiet, dense, and perfect sleeping..

Four days of this; it was far more than a treat, it was an invaluable pause and opportunity to rejuvenate..

And with this calm came nurturing; the engagement of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab is a all encompassing cradle of creativity and facilitation; in three days of rehearsal, 5 plays are raised and ready for presentation.

This year the format combined them with a video “welcome” by Joe Mantegna, followed by a presentation of a film ‘short’, called Food for Thought, which is going to be part of Mr. Mantegna’s series, for KCET TV LA, called Quick Bites. The short was directed by BPL Artistic Director, Joe Cacaci..

..and here, is one of many bisections, in the connection to BPL; Joe Cacaci first introduced me to Berkshire audiences in 2009, when he directed a week’s workshop and reading of my play The Orion. We’ve been angling to bring Reconstruction (the 3rd ‘panel’ of the triptych of plays, that start with The Orion) to similar opportunity..

And that’s some of what we spoke of, on the ride up to the Berkshires, this past Wednesday; some –of what we spoke of. As we also spoke about the short, Food For Thought, which Joe had written and directed, at the behest of Joe Mantegna. Now leading Joe Cacaci to think of further short bits for filming ..and compiling a series of piquant, visual narratives..

Plots, plans, and possibilities were woven in that drive up the Taconic, woven while weaving through thunder, wet, and rainbows.. And I got to hear the back story on the filming of his piece.. and the subsequent synergy of opportunity, which led Joe to ask Joe to ‘open’ this year’s BPL Gala with a “welcome”, leading into a first view of Food For Thought, and the evening’s presentations..

Film, theatre –and then an offering from NYU, Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program; three snippets of musicals ‘in-the-works’; then closing the Gala with a monologue, written by Richard Dresser, and given by Treat Williams.

Heady stuff..

Oh yes –and something from David Mamet as well; something written for Elizabeth Franz.

All this, in three days of rehearsal; faultlessly scheduled through moments of respite.. in the boughs of Great Barrington.. in walking distance to the Gypsy Joint Cafe, a wild den of tasteful ‘hippie’ vision and fare –food so beautifully healthy –so ‘edibly’ simple –in a space reminiscent of stoked brownies, cigarette haze, beads and bands and bargaining.. none of which in this incarnation, but in homage and resonance.. so seamlessly flavored with the past, without any of the infractions.

..across the street from another indulgence –Robbins Candy Store; ..yeah, don’t get me started.. every item out of childhood cavities; every sweet, sour, tooth shattering, filling sucking, insolently delicious candy in memory.. and then some..!

..I’d like to say I remained an adult, and walked past that shop, unswayed, unimpressed..

-yes; I’d like to say that.. but..

-so many things I’d like, to be able to say: such as.. I didn’t really slop my own glass of Margaux on the kitchen floor of our BPL hosts, in the first evening’s “company dinner”..

-but I did, and they were so wonderfully unphased by it, as though they were used to having uncoordinated artists in their homes all the time..

My first night there, straight out of Joe’s car and the trip from New York –which had been straight off the train and the trip up from DC –which had been straight out of the school year’s closing presentation, at the WNO studios, in Takoma Park..

..yes; last Wednesday had been a long day..

But it was all so worth it.. From the morning’s enjoyment of seeing all our schools and students, showing one another their creations.. to the rush to NY, and Great Barrington..

A day across all my worlds of endeavor and engagement..

-returning to Great Barrington: more to digest; more to relate..

More soon.

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2 Responses

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  1. Sounds like a great artist centric four days, Tom. My god, do we artists need that petting at times or what? A good telling of the time spent in Great Barrington from a playwright’s angle. I feel there is more to the spilled wine story though!

    Tim

    June 15, 2012 at 10:00 PM

    • Thank you for taking me along for the ride through your blog post, A wonderful time for you to be who you are and where you were.

      And, I have to agree, there must be more to the far-flung wine story than you shared!

      magbana

      June 17, 2012 at 12:32 PM


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