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Shakespeare & Company Presents a Winter Play Reading Festival

January 18 and 19, 2020

(Lenox, MA) – Shakespeare & Company is pleased to announce its annual Winter Play Reading Festival on January 18 and 19, 2020. This weekend of staged readings will showcase emerging and established playwrights, and feature Company artists. All performances will take place in the Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre on the Shakespeare & Company campus in Lenox, Massachusetts.

"We are very excited to present the works of these uniquely talented playwrights as they provide fresh insight into the resiliency of the human spirit," said Artistic Director Allyn Burrows. "At once thought provoking and funny, every one of these pieces provides a reason to come out on a crisp winter weekend to take in dialogue and relationships that remind us that no matter how crazy the world gets there's always room for a good story."

The Winter Play Reading Festival titles include: the dark comedy The Norwegians by C. Denby Swanson; The Price by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Arthur Miller; the critically acclaimed, Five Mile Lake by Rachel Bonds; When We Were Young and Unafraid by the Golden Globe Award-winning writer Sarah Treem, and the Pulitzer Prize-winning play Water By the Spoonful by Quiara Alegria Hudes. Each reading will be followed by a talkback with the artists.

Tickets are currently on sale, $10 for students and $25 for adults, general admission seating. A Festival pass to all five readings is also available at a 50% savings. Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling Shakespeare & Company box office at (413) 637-3353. The Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre is wheelchair accessible. Shakespeare & Company is located at 70 Kemble Street in Lenox, Massachusetts.

Schedule for Shakespeare & Company’s Winter Play Reading Festival:

Saturday January 18

1:00 pm: The Norwegians
by C. Denby Swanson
Directed by Alison Larkin
Cast: David Bertoldi, Chris Brophy, Tamara Hickey, and Kristen Moriarty

A strong, bitter comedy about women scorned in Minnesota and the really, really nice gangsters—Norwegian hit men—they hire to whack their ex-boyfriends. Olive is a transplant from Texas and Betty is a transplant from Kentucky, but neither of them was prepared for the Norwegian men they would fall in love with there: the practical, warm, thoughtful, destructive, evil, jilting kind. If you're a hit man in Minnesota, 83% of your clients want to take out their ex (oofda!). Betty has referred Olive to Gus and Tor, a partnership in the whacking business. But things get complicated when secrets are uncovered and plans go astray.

4:00 pm: The Price
by Arthur Miller
Directed by Regge Life
Cast: Glenn Barrett, Allyn Burrows Jim Frangione, and Leigh Strimbeck

Years after an angry breakup, Victor and Walter Franz are reunited by the death of their father. As they sort through his possessions in an old brownstone attic, the memories evoked by his belongings stir up old hostilities. The Price was nominated for two Tony Awards, including best play.

7:00 pm: Five Mile Lake
by Rachel Bonds
Directed by Gina Kaufmann
Cast includes: Luke Haskell, Madeleine Maggio, and A’ssia Thara

Jamie and Mary are stuck in a small town with nothing to do. Jamie enjoys his slow life, soaking in the world around him as he fixes up his grandfather’s lake house, and cares for his ailing mother. He rounds out his days by working alongside the restless Mary in the local bakery. When Jamie’s brother and new girlfriend Peta show up unexpectedly to escape the city, the peaceful town is met with new energy, sending each of these young adults searching for something new, as they navigate a rapidly transforming world. This artful and tender play explores those who stay and those who go away, and the nostalgia we all face along the way.

Sunday January 19

1:00 pm: When We Were Young and Unafraid
by Sarah Treem
Directed by Michele Joyner
Cast: Gregory Boover, Rory Hammond, Ruby Harvey, and Tod Randolph

For years, Agnes has used her quiet bed and breakfast as a refuge for victims of domestic violence. Creating a place of escape and recovery brings her joy and she whole-heartily welcomes her latest runaway Mary Anne, that is until, Mary Anne starts to influence Agnes’s own college-bound daughter Penny. As Agnes is forced to confront her own presumptions, and the dialog of feminist revolution is cracked open, and reveals truths all three women must reckon with. Set in the early 1970s before Roe vs. Wade, this dynamic and electric drama questions both our past and present ideals.

4:00 pm: Water By the Spoonful
by Quiara Alegria Hudes
Directed by Molly Merrihew
Cast includes: Joe Cardozo, Jaime Carrillo, Charls Hall, Evelyn Howe, and Zoe Laiz

Vibrant with empathy and humor, Water By the Spoonful unpacks community and connection. In a world that would rather communicate through screens than face-to-face, our story is set in both Philadelphia and an online chat-room. The twenty something, Elliot has returned from Iraq and is searching for his new normal. While, at all hours and from all places, a forum in an online chat-room for recovering addicts is helmed by Odessa Ortiz who’s known online as Haikumom. Boundaries of family and community are challenged, as these two world collide, and we are asked to examine the humility and redemption of human connection.

For tickets or more information visit

About Shakespeare & Company
Located in the Berkshires of Western Massachusetts, Shakespeare & Company is one of the largest Shakespeare Festivals in the country. Founded in 1978, the organization attracts over 40,000 patrons annually. The Company is also home to Shakespeare & Company’s internationally renowned Center for Actor Training and nationally renowned and award-winning Education Program. More information is available at

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Shakespeare & Company is a professional live theatre company in the heart of the Berkshires, presenting a vibrant summer performance season featuring the works of Shakespeare in repertory with classic and contemporary plays. The Company offers one of the most extensive actor training programs by a regional theatre in the country, and is also home to an award-winning and nationally recognized theatre-in-education program.