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South County Stories

Cultural lore can be preserved in many forms - stories recounted around the family table, in artwork and perhaps most eloquently, in plays. This last form of expression will be explored Monday, August 17 at 7 PM at the Mahaiwe Theatre in South County Stories.

The free program of four original short plays is rooted in local history.

Jim Frangione, co-artistic director of the Berkshire Playwrights Lab, is involved in the project. “(Mahaiwe executive director) Beryl Jolly approached me at the beginning of the year about the Cornerstone Theater Company.” he said. “I’ve been a fan of their work for years. They go into communities and help them tell their stories through theater.”

Modeling the East Coast version on Cornerstone, the Mahaiwe worked with community partners and local teaching artists to create the program. “Fun stories have evolved from talk-backs with community members,” said Frangione. “One story is about farming, Joshua Briggs and Rebecca Honig created a piece called Trouble, drawn from community members who told about mischief they got into as kids. Then there is a lovely piece about two teachers - one retiring, another starting out. It is beautifully written.”

Frangione, himself, wrote about the village of Housatonic using the train station, a conductor and train sounds to propel a plot that ranges from 1911 to the present.

“All four plays were a lot of fun to work on,” he said. “They are performed by actors and community members and there will be a moderated talk-back at the end of evening.

To reserve tickets call the Mahaiwe Box Office at 413-528-0100 or stop by the box office at 14 Castle Street, Great Barrington, MA.