Berkshire summers rife with culture

Murray, the world’s cutest dog who has the unique gifts of reading and writing that he learned at the South Berkshire Literacy Network, was sitting in his cutest pose at attention and said to me, “Pops, I’ve been thinking, where do you and mom go on the weekends when you leave me to guard the house? I mean do you go to plays and music and other things?”

I turned to the fierce little pup and said, “Yes Murray, there are so many things to do in the summer in the Berkshires that it really is a matter of picking and choosing. The other night we went to see “Same Time Next Year” at the Berkshire Theatre Group in Stockbridge. It was fantastic.

“You know, I really didn’t want to go. I mean, I’ve seen the movie and I know the plot, but the place seemed to be sold out and once we saw the play I knew why. The stars, Corinna May and David Adkins, were phenomenal. The playwright, Bernard Slade, is so accomplished in so many media forms that there isn’t a dull moment. May is really funny and sexy. Adkins’ character runs the gamut from simple and naïve to intelligent and compassionate. I’ll confess to you, Murray, that I am so tired most of the time that I find myself falling asleep when Mom drags me to the theater, but not during this show. In fact, I’ve been thinking about the play since we went. I would recommend it to anyone, except maybe, to some little kids who may not understand what infidelity is — even in the best circumstances, for the best of reasons — is all about. All I can say is that the play is touching. You leave the theater feeling good. My kind of play.”

“Gee Pop,” said the cute little pup with his pink tongue hanging out, “I know Corinna May’s mom. She walks by every once in a while. We’ve had some nice talks. It’s really too bad that dogs aren’t allowed to go to the theater. It’s really discriminatory. Where else have you been lately?”

“Well Murray, we ate dinner one night at the Stagecoach Inn in Sheffield. We had a great time. It was my birthday and the wait staff was so nice and the owner, David Rothstein, came over and had a chat. We also saw his son, Casey, all grown up and terribly nice and mature. I only had one reservation; our waitress brought us the alcohol menu. Usually, we don’t drink, but it was a festive occasion and we all saw sangria at the top of the list. We each ordered a glass, the perfect thing for a summer night, but our wonderful waitress came back and said that there would be no sangria because there was a large party in another room and the bartender was swamped. Of course, by that time we had all been looking forward to the drinks. Funny how that happens, once you get it into your head that you want something, you anticipate it and it is very frustrating. That’s why the wait staff always tells you they are out of this or that. But we had a great time, and the Stagecoach is a terrific place with a wonderful chef.”

“Then, Murray,” I said to the little white dog, I forgot to tell you that we saw “Oklahoma,” at the Berkshire Theatre group at the Colonial. It was directed by Eric Hill. You know, Murray, I love “Oklahoma.” I know that musical backward and forward. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen it, but every time the cast sings “Oklahoma,” I literally get tears in my eyes. When things get slow in a WAMC fund drive, and I don’t know what else to do, I play the song, and it inspires people to pledge. Don’t ask me why. Here we are in Massachusetts, yet Oklahoma does it to me. I suppose it’s part of our culture.

Originally published in the Berkshire Eagle, 8/3/13

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