Theatre enthusiasts in the Berkshires need not suffer withdrawal because the summer theatre season is over, because one group of thesbians is just back from break and ready to get started. The curtain is going up in the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance at Williams College, as its 2012-13 season has begun.
"Every semester the dance department has five student ensemble performances. The theatre department has either full scale or solo shows," Randal Fippinger, manager of performances and events at the ‘62 Center, said. "Last season, we produced 69 different shows in about 120 days. Some shows ran one day, others ran two days."
Students and professionals perform in shows presented at the ‘62 Center during the academic year.
There are three theatres in the $550 million state-of-the arts ‘62 Center - Main Stage, Center Stage and the Adams Memorial Theater, and Williams College uses all three.
"Depending on the event, we use different places in the building, including the hallway, the lobby," Fippinger said.
The ‘62 Center provides space for the departments of theatre and dance, as well as a dance rehearsal studio.
"Students work and do all classes (in the ‘62 Center)," said Fippinger. "The stage is their classroom."
For the months of June, July and August, the Williamstown Theatre Festival rents the Main Stage and Adams Memorial Theatre, which they also refer to as the Nikos Stage.
"At the end of our academic year, after graduation, we empty the spaces the Williamstown Festival rents. In the summer, our theatre lab uses the black box theater (Center Stage)," Fippinger said, adding that a play in ‘62 Center’s 2012-13 program, "Mary-Kate Olson is in Love," is a reprise of what students in theatre lab did last August.
Included in this season’s diverse array of shows are Arthur Miller’s "Broken Glass," and "The Crucible". The Berkshire Symphony Orchestra, in collaboration with the departments of theatre and dance, stages a unique presentation of Igor Stravinsky’s "The Rite of Spring" one of his most famous works.
Preparations for ‘62 Center’s present season began in 2011.
"You plan everything at least a year in advance. It takes a couple of months to get a show together, to rehearse. I also get advertising in place, get out a ‘62 Center brochure, and do general organizing," Fippinger said. "Once shows are going up, you are very focused on student and professional artists and making the show open."
Fippinger works closely with Cosmo Catalano, theatre department production manager, technical supervisor for the ‘62 Center for Theatre and Dance, and lecturer in theatre.
"Cosmo takes care of what happens backstage," Fippinger said. "I take care of what happens in front of the stage. Rachel (Chanoff, director of programming, Center Series) recommends to a college committee of which she, Cosmo and I are members, professional companies for the Center Series."
Chanoff said everything in the 2012-13 Center Series reflects on danger, because that is the theme in disciplines across the departments.
"Professionals are very interested in coming to Williams not only to perform at the ‘62 Center," Chanoff said, "but because pieces of their work connect with the scholarship. They are happy Williams is exploring themes similar to those in their work."
Professionals stay in residence a couple of weeks and in keeping with Center Series integrated programming, they give lectures, visit classes, lunch with students and faculty, and conduct workshops at Mount Greylock Regional High School.
Most Center Series performances are followed by a question and answer session with the performer and/or a screening of a film that relates to the theme of the performance.
In conjunction with the show "Forces," which, Fippinger said, is all about danger, anthropologist John Fox discussed his book "The Ball: Discovering the Object of the Game" and the danger in sports from an anthropological view. .
"The Center Series can be a jumping off point for discussion in the college, as well as in the community," Chanoff said.
Performances and events at the ‘62 Center are open to the public, either free or at a minimal charge. For information on ‘62 Center’s 2012-13 season: 62center.williams.edu/62center.