The month of August brings a lot of great art to view in our region, but especially in the Saranac Lake area where there are six new exhibits opening plus the Adirondack Plein Air Festival, Aug 15-18.
Bluseed Studios, 24 Cedar St., starts off the month with “Paper Migration”. This is an international collaborative exchange between Bluseed and a cooperative of artists in Mazatlan, Mexico. Saranac Lake residents have had the pleasure of seeing one of the Mexican artists working outdoors on a large painting in Berkely Green. Bluseed always has exciting, cutting edge shows and this collaboration, between Adirondack artists and Mazatlan artists should prove to be another one. Learn more about it on the Bluseed website. The exhibit opens Thursday August 1 from 5 – 7 and will continue through September 15. » Continue Reading.
My family enjoys going to the theatre as much as we enjoy hitting the trails. Thankfully because of the many wonderful Adirondack seasonal theatre companies we never have too far to travel to get our summer theatre fix. There is no need to drive to the ends of the Park in the other months thanks to Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake. As the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre, Pendragon has been bringing live theatre to the Adirondacks for over 30 years. This year Pendragon Theatre has chosen the theme of “Saints and Sinners” for the upcoming 2013 season.
Pendragon’s new Executive/Artist Director Karen Lordi-Kirkham says, “This is the first season that I’ve chosen the plays. The theme began with the fact that A Street Car Named Desire was the first play Pendragon produced. I wanted this to be a tribute to Bob and Susan. Everything else came together and followed the Saints and Sinners theme.” » Continue Reading.
One holiday tradition for our family is to see a production of the Nutcracker ballet. Throughout the Adirondacks and beyond, this is a tradition that many hold dear to their hearts as a family-friendly way to kick off the holiday season. With productions in Old Forge, Plattsburgh, Lake Placid and Glens Falls, this ballet gathers professional and community dancers on stage for a limited performance.
“Seeing a performance of the Nutcracker is part of the theatre tradition that is wholesome and something the whole family can see,” says Old Forge Ballet Company Director Sue Ann Lorenz-Wallace.” If children are performing in the production, it is something that will stay with them the rest of their lives. If they watch it, it will always bring back fond memories of the holidays.” » Continue Reading.
The Pendragon Theatre Company tackles yet another American classic with their performance of “To Kill A Mockingbird,” at View in Old Forge on Thursday, March 1st at 7:00 PM—one of several touring performances by the company, following the close of their 2011 season at their home theatre in Saranac Lake. The Pendragon Theatre secured a $15,000 grant from the National Endowment of the Arts with additional funds from the Lake Placid Center for the Arts to mount an Adirondack tour of this stage adaptation by Christopher Sergal of the 1960 novel by Harper Lee. The grants allow the company to offer reduced-price tickets to schools wishing to send their classes who may be already studying this classic American novel.
This riveting story of boiling racial tension in the 1930s South as white lawyer Atticus Finch defends a black man accused of raping a white woman in a small Alabama town has as much relevance today as it did when Gregory Peck gave his 1962 academy award-winning performance. The trial takes center stage, but we share the view from the ‘colored’ balcony with Atticus’ two small children, whose innocence magnifies the ugliness of the prejudice and violence around them.
Tickets for the March 1st performance at View, located at 3273 State Rt. 28 in Old Forge, NY, are $20 for adults, $15 for members and $10 for children. For further information contact View at 315-369-6411 or visit their website at www.ViewArts.org
The tour will then go to Main Street Landing PAC: Burlington, V.T. – Friday, March 9th @ 7:30pm, and wrap the following week at the Tannery Pond Community Center: North Creek, N.Y. – Friday, March 16th. Visit the Pendragon Theatre website for more information on these and future performances.
Photo courtesy of Pendragon Theatre from their home performances of “To Kill A Mockingbird.”
Linda J. Peckel explores the Adirondacks by following the arts wherever they take her. Her general art/writing/film/photography musings on can be found at her own blog Arts Enclave.
Pendragon Theatre’s production of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, To Kill A Mockingbird is on the road throughout the Adirondack Park and beyond. The two-act play was adapted by Christopher Sergel and first performed in 1987 in England. Since that time the play has been performed in schools and theatres around the world to great acclaim.
Set in 1930 Alabama at the height of the Great Depression, To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on the intense class and racial tensions of the time as seen through the eyes of young Scout Finch. Narrated by the adult Scout, the coming of age story tackles such complex issues as interracial relationships, segregation and sterotypes. As Scout’s father Atticus, a lawyer, defends a black man accused of raping a poor white girl, the characters in the town expose their own bigotry. Throughout the story are themes of courage, innocence and the moral failures of society. Pendragon Founder and Managing Director Bob Pettee, who also plays Atticus Finch, says, “The version we at Pendragon Theatre chose to do is the only authorized version of the book. Harper Lee talked to Christoper Segel directly. The version that we’ve chosen does not have the older character of Scout, like in the movie. We felt the (Segel) version told the story more directly.” Pettee says, “ To Kill A Mockingbird is a universal story, so simple, so direct. The Boo Radley character becomes so fictionalized, larger than life and then finally known to just be human.”
Pettee comments on the larger issues that are addressed in the play with “man’s ability to be inhuman.” Pendragon Theare recently had received a letter from a teacher thanking the cast for the school performance. The teacher had overheard two students from his English class comparing the injustices of To Kill A Mockingbird with the injustices of the class reading assignment The Lottery. The teacher felt that the unprompted discussion of two pieces of literature from his students was powerful.
“I think this play has opened up conversations where children have an access to this material based on the age of the actors in this piece. The three kids we have are just dynamite, are solid performers ranging from 6th to 8th grade. They are very accomplished and adapt to the other spaces and it is a real treat to have them involved.”
“It is challenging to take a play on the road but we have a lot of experience,” says Pettee. “From an actor’s point of view it is good to see how we will connect this piece with a new audience. The Pendragon (home) theatre is a more intimate theatre where a larger performance space presents differently and we (the actors) still have to connect and be genuine and real for the audience.”
Pendragon actor Donna Moschek brings the part of Miss Maudie to life and says, “This version of the play uses Maudie as the narrator, not an older Scout, which is interesting. I think it’s a good choice because Maudie represents the female role model that Scout most admires in the novel and certainly takes a moral stand. I loved Maudie in the novel and I love her in the play because she is an inescapably part of this small town, but she believes it is possible for change to happen.”
Moschek says, “I think this play and the novel are still relevant and will always be relevant as long as racism, oppression and prejudice still exist. It’s the idea that prejudice can be so quietly present and so accepted that no one even notices what it can do. No one questions. I think the play and the book teach us that looking closely at our beliefs and our actions could be what saves us from making a decision based on prejudice, or a stereotype we have in our minds. If we can be aware of it, we can move to change it in ourselves and in others.”
Once again commercials are doling out advice on what to get me for Mother’s Day. Well, not just me but any mother. Jewelry and flowers seem to have a stronghold of the market share of Mother’s Day ad dollars. If I were to dog-ear each magazine ad or keep the TV on during the commercials, clearly the hints would lead to some sort of diamond tiara coming my way. Though I have been bedazzling a few items with my daughter (because everything does look better with a bit of sparkle) I feel saddened by those commercials that only indicate that buying something expensive is the way to appreciate the one who labored through birth and probably wiped a few noses as well. Saranac Lake’s Pendragon Theatre offers a win-win situation for families. Mothers get to see the family show on Mother’s Day for free (so it’s a bit of a savings) and it is a wonderful way to spend a few enjoyable hours together.
On May 8th, Pendragon Theatre will open with the E.B. White classic story of Stuart Little adapted for the stage by Joseph Robinette. Personally I belief that seeing a family play isn’t just for people with kids. Sometimes in my hectic life I want to be reminded of magic and animals that talk and to be pulled along into a story that exercises my imagination. Stuart Little promises all of that.
Pendragon Theatre Managing Director and Co-Founder Bob Pettee says,” There will be no intermission during Stuart Little. It is a one act play. The basic story is of a couple who have an unusual son, a talking mouse. We follow the mouse on a series of adventures and meet a variety of characters along the way.”
“It is told in a story theatre where six actors play about 24-30 various characters,” says Pettee. “The actor playing Stuart Little will be altered throughout the season by two younger people (about 10 or 11) with stage experience. The play is done very simply with minimal costume and props.”
The 1:00 p.m. show is general seating only with the next performance happening on June 29. There will be a limited run of nine performances for this showing of the little mouse throughout the summer and into the fall. Admission is $10 for adults and seniors, $8 for those 6-15 and $5 for anyone 5 and under. For more information, please call the theatre at 518-891-1854.
“We are not doing our regular repertory theatre this season, that so many people have come to count on,” Pettee announces, “This season some of the shows will only be performed over a limited period of time so I urge people to not wait to the end.”
Pettee specifically mentions Sweeney Todd (opening July 13 with 12 performances) Mouse Trap (opening August 18 with nine performances) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (opening July 27 with ten performances). Pettee wants to make sure audience members know to check the schedule and not rely on each performance traveling to the Lake Placid Center for the Arts.
I can not say what my family will do for me on Mother’s Day. I hope it has something to do with copious amounts of coffee and an activity we will all do together that includes a talking mouse.
By Diane Chase, Adirondack Family Activities I am finished with my holiday shopping. I can actually hear choruses of angels singing in my head when I say that. I would like to be one of those people that shop early, who sits smugly back and watches the holiday madness. But without last minute consumers like myself, what would happen to the retail industry? I like to convince myself that I am personally causing shops to get “in the black.” I have cooked, wrapped, shopped and supported the local economy to the point where my wallet has cried, “Uncle.” Now it is time for me to take a step back and remember what Christmas is all about. Oh, who am I kidding?
Bah, humbug! This week Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake will have its final performances of Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol before the Christmas holiday. As part of its 30th year celebration, Pendragon Theatre once again returns to a holiday tradition that helps remind us that some gifts come from within.
Pendragon Theatre, the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre, started with modest beginnings in 1980. In their 30 seasons, co-founders, a husband and wife team, Susan Neal and Bob Pettee have acted, directed and produced thousands of shows along with the support of friends, staff and community. In addition to productions at the Pendragon Theatre stage, the professional troupe takes performances on the road all around the Adirondack Park. They provide an Arts in Education program, making live theatre accessible to school children around the Adirondacks, as well as internships and classroom study guides.
For those unfamiliar with the tale of Ebenezer Scrooge, the story is of a resentful old man who has the opportunity to see how his life will turn out if he continues on a path of stingy bitterness. This Christmas classic continues to be retold and reinvented so much that Charles Dicken’s characters have integrated into our everyday language. That mean, greedy person who hates Christmas has become a Scrooge while we are all often visited by our ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Yet To Come.
This year’s production at Pendragon is directed by Kent Streed. The following are members of the cast: Josh Beaudion, Don Carlisto, Schuyler Crankler, Jessica Deeb, Emily DeLancette, Tom Delahant, Scott Eichholz, Matt Eick, Kody Gates, Holly Huber, Jim Kries, Katie Marcinko, Chris McGovern, Leonie Mohrs, Garth Olsen, Natalie Orman, Sean Orman, Bob Pettee, Kate Pettee, Kama Prellwitz , Noel Prellwitz, Barbara Touby, Abby Wolff, Steve Wolff, Arthur Volmrich with understudies Leslie Dame, Kent Streed and Laura Warden.
For me this holiday tradition grounds me to what is truly important, spending time with my family. It is easy to be caught up in the flurry of packages and onslaught of online bargains. When I am visited by my own ghosts I hope they show me a life full of family moments.
And so, as Tiny Tim observed, “God bless us, everyone!”
In a challenging economy people may forget that a gift of live performance is sometime less than the ticket to the latest film. For $10/adults and $8/under 17, performance times are December 21, 22, 23 at 7:00 p.m.
This Pendragon production moves to The Lake Placid Center for the Arts after Christmas (December 27 and 28 at 7:00 p.m.) For reservations at Pendragon Theatre call 518-891-1854 or reservations at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, call 518-523-2512. Merry Christmas!
Pendragon Theatre is once again offering its year-round subscriptions with some bonuses added in celebration of their 30th year anniversary. The line-up is expansive and for anyone who wants more live theatre in his/her life there are discounts available to make that possible.
Between May 1, 2010 and April 30, 2011, Pendragon will offer 11 productions. Productions that are set are an adaptation of Jungle Book, Sarah Ruhl’s Eurydice, Constance Cogdon’s adaptation of The Imaginary Invalid, Edward Albee’s Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolff, a return engagement of Orson’s Welle’s Moby Dick Rehearsed, and a return engagement of The Complete Works of Shakespeare (abridged). The annual holiday show and fall production are still in the process of being finalized. Another facet of the 30th anniversary, Adirondack only year-round professional theatre, is a “Pendragon Alumni” staged reading for one night only, July 17, 2010 with a reception. There will also be Cabaret Evenings – songs from past Pendragon productions and the New Directions Series – showcasing up-and-coming directors and playwrights.
“We wanted to offer these subscriptions as a celebration of our 30th year and as a thank you to the community, a payback for all the support over the last 30 years,” says Managing Director and Pendragon Co-Founder Bob Pettee. “We hope that people will also be able to come to more performances and understand the variety we have.”
“We feel like you don’t get the full effect of what we do unless you see a range of performances. Some people ask or want to know what the one ‘best’ show is to see. I want people to know that all the shows are well crafted and together offer the audience diversity.”
Pendragon is a repertory theatre, showcasing a range of musical, dramatic and comedic material with a professional resident cast. There will be six different performances happening continuously throughout this upcoming summer season along with various other special events.
“Being a repertory allows us to perform a variety of plays. A full-length play is just that full length [with different acts and usually an intermission] while something like Jungle Book is considered a one-act as New Directions is a series of one-act plays,” says Pettee. “We also have an alumni event and about five different cabarets throughout the season.”
“The 3 for $30 subscription is for three events so you can use it see whatever you want throughout the year. People are only allowed to purchase one of these so if they want to see that fourth play, it would be full price. The year-round subscriptions save people money. If someone wants to see all 11 productions the subscription ticket price is almost half price, about $10 a ticket from the regular $20 adult price. A subscription gives people an inexpensive way to experience all that we have to offer.”
“What we want most of all and the reason why we made the subscription price so reasonable is we really want people to come in and understand the breadth of the stuff that we do at Pendragon.” Pettee says. “Seeing more than one event is critical to that understanding and the cheapest way is to buy a subscription.”
Pettee acknowledges all the Pendragon supporters, “The only reason we are still here is because of our supporters and the community. People have shown us they want live theatre by coming to the theatre for all these years.”
Pendragon Theatre is located at 15 Brandy Brook Lane, Saranac Lake. 518-891-1854. Regular ticket prices are $20.00 for adults, $17.00 for seniors and $10.00 for those under 18 years of age. Other productions: Jungle Book, New Directions, The Holiday Show: ages 15 and up/$10.00, under 15/$8.00. All Full Length Matinees are $12.00 (also Cabarets and Alumni Readings)
Subscription only apply to Pendragon Productions at the Pendragon Theatre location, not tour locations or special events. Subscriptions are prepaid admissions, non-transferable and do not assure you a seat. Reservations are required. Year Round: All 11 events (including Moby Dick and Shakespeare) $120 Year Round: All 9 events $100 The 5 Show Summer Full-Length: $70 Special 30th year deal: “3 for $30” = 3 events for $30 (restrictions do apply. Only one/person/season) Good for any combination of full length, cabaret, alumni event, etc…but just three events.
*As a matter of full disclosure I am a board member of Pendragon Theatre but also a parent on a budget. If you have never attended Pendragon Theatre before the “3 for $30” would be a good opportunity to save some money and see three shows. If you attend or wish to start attending more frequently, a year-round subscription will benefit your pocketbook.
Long ago there were whales at the edge of the Adirondacks, but it wasn’t till last year that I saw one myself—the same day our trail was blocked by a bull moose, another creature I’ve yet to see here. This wild kingdom was on Gaspe peninsula, Quebec. The whale left a huge impression, as did Moby Dick. I can’t pretend to have read this engrossing however longass 1851 book, but I listened to it on tape during that trip, and it took another week to finish it. So it was as unexpected as a water spout to spy a poster announcing that Pendragon Theatre, in Saranac Lake, is staging the story this weekend. Pendragon’s Web site has an explanation. “Moby Dick Rehearsed is a play that attempts to turn the 800-page novel into a two-hour play,” says director Karen Kirkham of Dickinson College. “That in itself is a feat to admire. Orson Welles’s 1955 play is little known. Even less known is Welles’s repeated opinion in interviews later in life that the play ‘is my finest work—in any form.’”
The show is at 7:30 Friday and Saturday, November 20 and 21, at and 2 p.m. Sunday, November 22. Tentative performances in December are Dec. 4 at 7:30 and Dec. 6 at 2 p.m. The production will tour schools and arts centers around the region until March. Tickets are $20 for adults and $16 for seniors and students; $10 for age 17 and under. Pendragon is at 15 Brandy Brook Avenue. For information and reservations, contact Pendragon Theatre (518) 891-1854 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
A 1930 edition of Moby Dick illustrated by Rockwell Kent, who lived in Ausable Forks, is credited as a factor in the novel’s rediscovery. You can see Kent’s powerful pen and ink drawings at this link to the Plattsburgh College Foundation and Art Museum, to whom many of Kent’s works were bequeathed by his widow, Sally Kent Gorton. The 1930 printing was first offered as a limited edition of 1,000 copies in three volumes held in metal slipcases. AntiQbook is offering a set for $9,500—something for the Christmas list.
Cover of the 1930 Chicago, Lakeside Press edition of Moby Dick, illustrated by Rockwell Kent
We are huge fans of live performances whether musical or theatrical in nature. My children dress up and put on long, sometimes arduous, routines where we usually have to break for intermission. They are not formal in their script. They only require an avid audience because that is what they give when they go see a performance. For our household watching a professional performance has many additional benefits to the live show. The scripts are reenacted for days after highlighting the favorite bits. Questions are asked about stages, costumes and lightening. Conversations are initiated about the story line. Even the music or soundtrack make guest appearances in our house. The children are entertained and feel the need to continue to entertain long after the curtain has closed.
For the month of October Pendragon Theatre is in residence at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts for what is being billed as Fall Foliage Theatre. The three remaining performances are not all for the very young. If a good babysitter is available then there is no reason to forego these last few remaining performances.
Time is running out to see the Pendragon’s production of Bus Stop. Theatre Reviewer Connie Meng of North Country Public Radio says, ‘Artistic Director Susan Neal has done a fine job of staging and directing this unclassifiable play. Bus Stop is part gentle comedy, part small tragedies and wholly human. This is a good evening of theatre and a solid production of an American classic.” On a scale from one to five Meng gave Bus Stop 4 1/3 pine trees. (Click here for the full transcript.)
The Wizard of Oz is a beautifully streamlined production that allows the audience to focus on the various characters and dialog. The theme is still relevant today that “there is no place like home.” If children have seen the classic film there will be differences. This is not a musical, the sets are simple and the journey is one of imagination. There are still plenty of quests for a heart, a brain and some courage and least I forget, the best-loved message that there really is, “no place like home.” That still holds all the power with a simple click of Dorothy’s ruby slippers.
Lastly the comedy Candida is performed in its entire original Victorian splendor as two men vie for the love and loyalty of Candida. Written by playwright George Bernard Shaw, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925, Candida must choose her husband or the much younger poet. Clever and witty dialog stands the test of time.
So bring the children (to OZ) or take a much-deserved night out and enjoy a Pendragon performance, the Adirondack’s only year-round professional theatre.
All evening tickets are $14.00 for adults and $12.00 seniors and students. Oz tickets are $10.00 for adults and $8.00 for children ages 15 and under. Call LPCA for reservations at 518-523-2512.
Fall Foliage Theatre Schedule Bus Stop by William Inge: October 16 (Friday) and October 17 (Saturday) at 8:00 p.m. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz: the classic L. Frank Baum story adapted by Michelle Vacca: October 18 (Sunday) at 2:00 p.m. Candida by George Bernard Shaw: October 23 (Friday) and October 24 (Saturday) at 8:00 p.m.
Photograph of a performance of Candida performed at the Pendragon Theatre
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