AMERICAN PREMIERE Co-produced by the Berkshire Theatre Group and WAM Theatre
When: September 29–October 23
- Thursday, September 29 at 7pm (Preview)
- Friday, September 30 at 7pm (Preview)
- Saturday, October 1 at 7pm (Press Opening/Opening Night)
- Sunday, October 2 at 2pm (Talkback)
- Thursday, October 6 at 7pm (Talkback)
- Friday, October 7 at 7pm
- Saturday, October 8 at 2pm (Talkback) and 7pm
- Sunday, October 9 at 2pm (Talkback)
- Thursday, October 13 at 7pm
- Friday, October 14 at 7pm (Talkback)
- Saturday, October 15 at 2pm (Talkback) and 7pm
- Sunday, October 16 at 2pm (Talkback)
- Thursday, October 20 at 7pm
- Friday, October 21 at 7pm
- Saturday, October 22 at 2pm and 7pm
- Sunday, October 23 at 2pm (Closing) (Talkback)
Location: Larry Vaber Stage in the Unicorn Theatre (BTG’s Stockbridge Campus) – 6 East St, Stockbridge, MA
Tickets: $50, Previews are $45
Box Office Info: (413) 997-4444
Performance days 10am–curtain
The Bakelite Masterpiece by Kate Cayley
Directed by Kristen van Ginhoven
with David Adkins and Corinna May
Co-production with Berkshire Theatre Group and WAM Theatre
The end of World War II. Holland is in chaos. The artist van Meegeren is arrested. His crime? Selling a long-lost painting by the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer to Hermann Goering, Nazi leader. His defense? It was a perfect forgery painted by him. His proof? In front of his prosecutor (art historian and resistance fighter) Geert Piller, he must paint another flawless Vermeer to save his life. A play that debates beauty, faith, memory and the reconstruction of a country.
DAVID ADKINS (Han van Meergeren) WAM Theatre: David is very pleased to be making his WAM debut in Bakelite Masterpiece. Elsewhere: He is an Artist Associate at BTG and has performed in over 20 seasons. David made his Broadway debut at the National Actor’s Theatre, has worked off Broadway numerous times, and has worked extensively in resident theaters across the country. TV: David has guessed starred recently on Blacklist, Elementary, The Good Wife, recurred as George on The Americans, was in the pilot BlaqJaq (dir.Forest Whitaker), the mini-series Ben Franklin, and others like Happyish, Law and Order, SVU, Trinity, Chicago Hope. Training: Juilliard.
CORINNA MAY (Geert Piller) WAM Theatre: 2011 & 2016 24 Hour Theatre Projects. Elsewhere: Shakespeare & Company 28+ productions including The Unexpected Man, The Memory of Water, King Lear, A Winter’s Tale, Twelfth Night, Enchanted April, Roman Fever, An International Episode, Jack and Jill, Betrayal, Fortune and Misfortune, House of Mirth, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet. BTF/BTG: Benefactors, Same Time Next Year, Homestead Crossing, Two-headed. Wharton Salon: The Long Run, Autre Temps. National Tour: The Graduate with Jerry Hall/Linda Gray/Lorraine Bracco/Kelly McGillis/Morgan Fairchild. Regional (selected): Portland Stage Co., Merrimack Rep., Syracuse Stage, Rep. Theater of St. Louis, Capitol Rep., Studio Arena Theatre. Film: Split Ends (starring); Rain Without Thunder; Speck’s Last. Television: House of Cards; Unforgettable; Bourbon Street (pilot); Law & Order; PBS: Evening at the Pops. Et cetera: Playwright: Dancing with the Czar. Designated Linklater Voice teacher. Feldenkrais practitioner. Proud to be a union member: SAG-AFTRA, AEA.
KRISTEN VAN GINHOVEN (Director) WAM Theatre: In Darfur (New England Premiere), Emilie (New England Premiere), The Old Mezzo (World Premiere), The Attic, The Pearls and Three Fine Girls and Melancholy Play. Regional Theatre: The Whale (Adirondack Theatre Festival), 10 Minute Play Festival (Barrington Stage Company), Petticoats of Steel (Capital Repertory Theatre), Footloose (Cohoes Music Hall), Children’s Hour (Siena College), Vendetta Chrome (Emerson College). Selected assistant directing: They Physicists, 42nd Street (Stratford Shakespeare Festival of Canada), Two Men of Florence (Huntington Theatre), Sleuth, Absurd Person Singular (Barrington Stage Company) Training: Dalhousie University (BA), Queen’s University (BEd), Emerson College (MA). Et Cetera: Kristen is the Artistic Director of WAM Theatre, an associate member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers and a theatre artist for the International Schools Theatre Association. She was a member of the 2013 Lincoln Center Director’s Lab. Website: www.wamtheatre.com
KATE CAYLEY (Playwright) WAM Theatre: Debut. Plays: Tarragon Theatre: After Akhmatova, The Bakelite Masterpiece; Zuppa Theatre: The Archive of Missing Things; Stranger Theatre: The Yellow Wallpaper Project, The Counterfeit Marquise, and what Alice found there, The Hanging of Francoise Laurent. Books: How You Were Born (short stories), The Hangman in the Mirror (young adult novel), When This World Comes to an End (poetry), Other Houses (poetry, forthcoming). Training: University of King’s College, Halifax. Awards: Trillium Book Award, Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, Chalmers Fellowship. Online: www.katecayley.ca
In a year when WAM has the daughter of Dutch immigrants, WAM’s Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven, directing a play about a painting and a country working to rebuild after conflict- We are very proud to share that the two beneficiaries of ‘The Bakelite Masterpiece’ will be Suzi Banks Baum for her project empowering women artists in Armenia and the Berkshire Immigrant Center for their work helping women and their families navigate a path to a new life with permanent residence and safety in the US.
BERKSHIRE IMMIGRANT CENTER
The mission of the Berkshire Immigrant Center (BIC) is to welcome new immigrants and refugees and to provide them with the tools and services needed to integrate into the fabric of their new community. BIC serves 800 immigrants and their families each year. Each year hundreds of thousands of immigrants seek assistance across the US with humanitarian based immigration law. These are mostly women and children and what they all have in common is that they are seeking refuge and protection from violence they have experienced abroad or even here in the US at the hands of an abuser. Unfortunately BIC is not funded to assist these clients; they are often among the most vulnerable and regardless of whether an attorney is involved or not- often require the most help and are unable to compensate the Center for our services. They are dedicated to continue helping these women and their families navigate a path to permanent residence and safety in the US. WAM’s donation will make it possible for the Berkshire Immigrant Center to provide this much needed help to these women and their families. http://berkshireic.com/
Suzi Banks Baum is a writer, artist, actor, teacher, and community organizer. She is editor and publisher of An Anthology of Babes: 36 Women Give Motherhood a Voice. She lives in Great Barrington and produces Out of the Mouths of Babes: An Evening of Mothers Reading to Others for the Berkshire Festival of Women Writers.
In March of 2016, Suzi visited Gyumri, Armenia interviewing women artists through affiliation with National Geographic photographer, John Stanmeyer and 4Plus, an Armenian organization of female documentary photographers.
Suzi learned during her visit that the cultural expectations of women form a restrictive structure out of which they struggle to carve lives that include art making. Giving these women voice, telling their stories and empowering them to begin to tell theirs is essential to raising the value of Armenian women’s lives. Suzi’s project is blossoming into a residency in Gyumri in October 2016 to continue interviewing women, and leading a multi-disciplinary workshop to gather stories and teach the artists the ancient practice of book building. WAM’s donation helps make this trip and compensation for the female artists possible. http://www.suzibanksbaum.com/
The Bakelite Masterpiece explores the themes of humanity’s ever-present need for justice and our search for truth. Thanks to the generous support of Mass Humanities, WAM Theatre is offering an audience enrichment project around the production, exploring Truth and Reconciliation throughout the world since World War II.
This Audience Enrichment Project promotes critical, reasoned, and open-minded discussions centered on the basic values of Truth and Reconciliation at stake both in the play and in our world today. The Project includes a lobby display, notes in the program including suggestions for further reading, a subsidized ticket program, and a comprehensive post-show conversation series with the playwright and other notable scholars.
The Audience Enrichment Project includes the following:
The primary scholar on WAM Theatre’s Audience Enrichment Project, generously funded by Mass Humanities, is Brenda Oppermann. Ms. Oppermann is a senior advisor for military and civilian organizations working primarily on issues concerning international peace and conflict. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. The production playbill will include program notes written by Ms. Oppermann. These notes give an overview of Truth and Reconciliation efforts throughout the world since World War II, both formal and informal, and how humanity’s ever-present need for justice has influenced Truth and Reconciliation efforts, successes and failures. Ms. Oppermann resides in the Berkshires when not traveling for work.
Throughout the production, there will be facilitated post show conversation after each weekend matinee and a couple of evening performances. The conversations will dive into what Truth and Reconciliation means to us today and what it asks of us. The conversations will be moderated by Kristen van Ginhoven (Artistic Director of WAM Theatre) and Alicia Maher (WAM Education Coordinator) and will be featuring scholar Brenda Oppermann and playwright Kate Cayley, as well as other community members, thereby opening up the conversation to the larger issues around Truth and Reconciliation which directly affects our community.
The conversations provide a space for the audience to share their thoughts, engage with the issues embedded in the play and how they relate to our responsibilities as citizens, government and society around Truth and Reconciliation.
Post-Show Conversation Schedule:
Sunday, October 2, following the 2pm matinee: Kate Cayley, playwright
Thursday, October 6, following the 7pm performance: David Adkins and Corinna May, actors
Saturday, October 8, following the 2pm matinee: David Adkins and Corinna May, actors
Sunday, October 9, following the 2pm matinee: Adriana Millenaar Brown, author of An Unlikely Hero: Adrianus Millenaar Dutch Farmer Turned Diplomat in World War II Europe
Friday, October 14, following the 7pm performance: Brenda Oppermann, scholar
Saturday, October 15, following the 2pm performance: Brenda Oppermann, scholar
Sunday, October 16, following the 2pm performance: Julia Courtney, Curator of Art, Springfield Museum and Representatives from the Berkshire Commission on the Status of Women
Sunday, October 23, following the 2pm closing performance: artist Suzi Banks Baum and Brooke Mead of the Berkshire Immigrant Center, WAM’s beneficiaries for The Bakelite Masterpiece. Ms Baum and Ms. Mead will speak about their respective projects and how WAM’s donation will be used to further the impact of their work. They will then be presented with their WAM donation.
Included in the playbill, there will also be a list for further reading. Ms. Oppermann and Ms. Cayley have selected five resources (books, websites, or articles) that will provide audience members with opportunities for further personal research around Truth and Reconciliation.
In the lobby of the Unicorn Theatre, a display board provides visual examples of the program notes as written by Ms. Oppermann. Connected to our efforts to use The Bakelite Masterpiece as a springboard, the lobby display also includes a visual timeline of examples of Truth and Reconciliation efforts prior to and after the time period of the play, as based on information gathered from Ms. Oppermann.
Subsidized Ticket Program
As in past years, and as part of the Mass Humanities grant, WAM Theatre provides subsidized tickets to our partner organizations, including Berkshire Immigrant Center, Multicultural BRIDGE, the Rite of Passage and Empowerment for Girls Program, The Elizabeth Freeman Center, and Moments House. Each year, WAM Theatre reaches out to more organizations ensuring all audiences have equal opportunity to engage with our work, regardless of circumstance.