The Archives category houses previous production information and resources of The Wharton Salon.

‘Archives’

April 27, 2012 · by Catherine · Archives
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Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into the tightly controlled society of “Old New York” at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage.  Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers.  Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, Wharton wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, Wharton was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University, and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

September 1, 2011 · by Catherine · Archives
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The Wharton Salon: Bringing Edith

Wharton’s Works to Life at The Mount

 Preview by Bess J.M. Hochstein

Rural Intelligence Arts

Longtime Berkshire theater goers fondly reminisce about the days in the late 1970s when Tina Packer and her merry band of thespians took up residence at The Mount, where, in addition to Shakespeare, they performed theatrical adaptations of the work of the estate’s esteemed creator, Edith Wharton. That era ended in 2001, when Shakespeare & Company relocated to its current home, just down the road.

Rural Intelligence ArtsThis week for the third summer, Wharton returns to her home, with a production of Autres Temps…, thanks toThe Wharton Salon, brainchild of former Shakespeare & Co. member Catherine Taylor-Williams, right. Like her two previous productions – Xingu andSummerAutres Temps… was adapted by Dennis Krausnick, who was also responsible for Taylor-Williams’ introduction to Shakespeare & Co. in 1996.

“While I was in Toronto I met Dennis, who came up to do a workshop,” recounts Taylor-Williams, who is Canadian. “I found his approach to Shakespeare very refreshing and personal. After that workshop I was pretty determined to come down and work with Shakespeare & Co. I came to the Berkshires just as they were about to leave The Mount in the summer of 2001, but before the move I house-managed their fantasticMidsummer Night’s Dream.”

That summer she also house-managed The Wharton One Acts at Spring Lawn, the mansion adjacent to Shakespeare & Co.’s current campus, where the troupe staged intimate productions before the Bernstein Theatre was built. Among the program of one acts, she says, “Normi Noël directed An International Episode. I was very moved by the production, loved the wonderful roles for women, and also thought that performing in a non-traditional theatre space with windows, daylight, and in such close proximity to the audience was so much better than a black box theatre.”

“From there I began to read Wharton’s short stories,” she recounts. Her first onstage role with Shakespeare & Co., in 2002, was in Wharton’s first novel, The Valley of Decision. “I loved Dennis Krausnick’s adaptations; they were so dry, witty, and wonderful. And I also saw how much the audiences loved them, and I remembered that.”

In 2007 Taylor-Williams was accepted into a prestigious arts management program at the Kennedy Center. “I had been working in the press department at Shakespeare & Co. in addition to being onstage for five years,” she says. “I knew I wanted to run a theatre company, but there was a lot I needed to learn about fundraising, marketing, finance, and planning for a successful company, so I took a year to immerse myself in that alone and build a solid management base.

“From Washington, I went to New York thinking that was where I should strive to make my mark. I worked for two years at the Atlantic Theater Company in development, and was a member of the 2009-2010 Producer’s Lab at The Women’s Project, a company that advances plays written and directed by women. But I wasn’t prepared for how much I would miss the Berkshires.”

In 2008 she began thinking about bringing the works of Wharton back to the author’s home. She found a receptive ear in Susan Wissler, who had recently been named The Mount’s executive director. Taylor-Williams launched The Wharton Salon in 2009 with Xingu, she says, “…because it was one of Wharton’s very rare comedies and it had seven women’s roles for all my favorite actresses.” Next up was Summerbecause, she says, “It was a Berkshire story—about coming of age in time with nature and the seasons, which is a big part of our lives here.”

Rural Intelligence ArtsThis year’s production is based on a short story by Wharton first published 100 years ago in Century Magazine as Other Times, Other Manners—a title derived from the French expressionautres temps, autres moeurs, later retitledAutres Temps… in Wharton’s 1916 collection Xingu. It tells the story of the scandalous Mrs. Lidcote, a divorcee who returns to New York from self-imposed exile in Europe, under the assumption that her daughter Leila, who is getting divorced and quickly remarried, is in need of support. Back in America, she finds that times certainly have changed… to some extent.

Taylor-Williams and Krausnick updated the setting to 1962, which, she says, required very few edits: “‘Sargent’s been to paint her’ changed to ‘Avedon’s been to photograph her for Harper’s Bazaar,’ etc. Really just cosmetics.” She also cast a real-life mother-and-daughter – Diane Prusha and Rory Hammond, both Wharton Salon veterans – in the mother-and-daughter roles. Corinna May, who plays cousin Suzy Suffern, was also in Xingu. (Prusha, May, and Hammond, l-r, in photo above by David Dashiell.)

Rural Intelligence ArtsWith so many juicy roles for women, it’s only natural to wonder if Taylor-Williams is tempted to jump back over to the acting side of the stage, but, she says, “I am pleased and a little relieved to say I don’t think of that at all when I’m directing. Directing is very new to me, and there is a lot to learn, so I don’t have a lot of time to spend wishing I were onstage.

“Directing brings a very different type of joy. When the actors play a scene with precision, or something sad, funny or surprising happens, or when the designers create something extraordinary, or when the crew comes in and works all night putting up or taking down the set, it’s extremely humbling to be the one person out there witnessing all that passion and energy. But do I have Wharton roles I’d love to play? Ha ha. Sure.”

Rural Intelligence Arts
The Wharton Salon presents Autres Temps…
In the Stables at The Mount
2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA
August 17 – 28
Performance schedule:
Wednesdays and Thursdays, August 17, 18, 24 & 25 @ 5:30 p.m.
Saturdays, August 20 & 27 @ 10:30 a.m. & 3 p.m.
Sundays, August 21 & 28 @ 10:30 a.m.

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Posted by Bess Hochstein on 08/17/11 at 10:21 AM •

· by Catherine · Archives
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BOSTON GLOBE, STAGES

Updated to changing times of 1962, ‘Autres Temps …’ at The Mount

August 19, 2011|By Joel Brown, Globe Correspondent

Rory Hammond, Diane Prushas real-life daughter, portrays Mrs. Lidcotes… (kevin sprague)

AUTRES TEMPS … Adapted from Edith Wharton by Dennis Krausnick

Directed by: Catherine Taylor-Williams. Presented by: The Wharton Salon

At: The Stables Auditorium, the Mount, 2 Plunkett St., Lenox. Through Aug. 28. Tickets: $35 general admission. 800-838-3006, www.whartonsalon.org

At first, “Mad Men’’ and Edith Wharton seem not to belong in the same sentence. But if you think of them both as chronicling the lives of people at a particular moment in society, constrained by the mores and manners of their time, the linkage makes a little more sense.

This month at The Mount, Wharton’s home in Lenox, the Wharton Salon presents a stage version of her story “Autres Temps …’’ relocated to TV’s “Mad Men’’ era, specifically 1962. Turns out it’s not much of a stretch

“Autres Temps …’’ tells the story of Mrs. Lidcote, who has been living in Europe since her scandalous divorce made her a pariah in high-society circles. But now her daughter Leila is going through a hasty divorce and remarriage herself, so Mrs. Lidcote returns home to help. Allegedly times have changed since her own troubles – but have they, really?

“Her experience was very disorienting, and … that seemed to be the experience of women at that time in general,’’ says the Salon’s producing artistic director, Catherine Taylor-Williams, who also directs the show.

“Autres Temps …’’ was first published in a magazine in 1911 as “Other Times, Other Manners,’’ and appeared under the current title in a story collection a few years later, Taylor-Williams says. She wanted to set the play halfway between 1911 and today. But wouldn’t that mean it should be set in 1961?

“I chose 1962 because I wanted to do just the year before some of the big changes that happened for America,’’ she says, listing President Kennedy’s assassination, and publication of “The Feminine Mystique.’’ “It’s like change is just on the cusp, but not yet. Obviously some wonderful changes and some unfortunate changes, but certainly ones that changed the landscape of America. I wanted to get that moment just before.’’

Although she’s aware that the era has been reexamined due to the popularity of “Mad Men,’’ Taylor-Williams says what really influenced her plan was two books she had been reading: “When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women From 1960 to the Present’’ by Gail Collins and “A Strange Stirring: The Feminine Mystique and American Women at the Dawn of the 1960s’’ by Stephanie Coontz. Mrs. Lidcote had a lot of similarities to women in the early 1960s, Taylor-Williams says.

“Being told they should stay at home and be mothers and housewives, there was a whole cult of femininity they were expected to observe,’’ Taylor-Williams says. “But there was sort of an inner desire to break out, and no way to do that. And Mrs. Lidcote is trapped [too].’’

The adaptation by Shakespeare & Company’s Dennis Krausnick dates more than 20 years and has been somewhat revised for a smaller cast, Taylor-Williams says, but very few changes were required to move it forward a half-century in time.

“I’m not pointing a big red arrow at that. I’m just setting it there and saying, ‘See, Mrs. Wharton knew what was happening long before it was happening,’ which is what I’ve always suspected,’’ Taylor-Williams says. Wharton lived from 1862-1937.

They did change a reference to a portrait sitting for John Singer Sargent to one for photographer Richard Avedon, she says.

The Mount was home to Shakespeare & Company for more than 20 years, before an acrimonious split a decade ago. Longtime members tend to remember the years at The Mount as an idyll. The Salon was founded in 2009 to bring theatrical versions of Wharton’s work back to the site, but has also provided a bit of a rapprochement between the two organizations. The group produced “Xingu’’ at The Mount in 2009 and “Summer’’ in 2010.

Prusha was in those productions, too. And she grew up as an actress with Shakespeare & Company at The Mount, she says by cellphone just before a rehearsal. “So coming back and doing these is like coming home for me. Right now I’m sitting under a tree, by the stables at The Mount, and it’s like home.’’

And there’s even more resonance in the casting: Mrs. Lidcote’s daughter, Leila, is played by Prusha’s daughter Rory Hammond, who has also been in all three Wharton Salon shows and who made her stage debut at The Mount as a small child in Shakespeare & Company days.

“It’s wonderful,’’ says Prusha. “She grew up here at The Mount, so it’s really fun to come and do this, to work with her as an actor and watch her grow up and become an artist in her own right.’’

“How much further had we come?’’ says Diane Prusha, the longtime Shakespeare & Co. actor who plays Mrs. Lidcote. “Other than what the costume is, the look of it, I don’t find it that much different, I don’t find the sensibilities of the people that much different.’’

June 15, 2011 · by Catherine · Archives
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Kate Sinclair Foster (Set Designer) is a New York-based theatrical designer and artisan. For the The Wharton Salon: Set designer for Autres Temps. Other favorite projects include: The Flea Theater’s Office Hours (A. R. Gurney world premiere), Looking at Christmas, American Sexy, The Electric Lighthouse and A Letter from Omdurman (Resident Set Designer 2010-present), Christine Elmo’s Empress… (Lighting Design), Collaboration Town’s The Play About My Dad, Target Margin’s Uncle Vanya, The Tempest and The Really Big Once (Props Design) and production design for numerous TMT lab pieces, Young Jean Lee’s Untitled Feminist Show, LEAR and The Shipment (Assistant Set Design), SoHo Rep’s Uncle Vanya (Props Master), and props work for the Hudson Valley Shakespeare Festival and Glimmerglass Opera.  Kate holds a B.A. in theatre and art history from Williams College (’08).


May 14, 2011 · by Catherine · Archives
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Contact

Catherine Taylor-Williams
The Wharton Salon
413-637-8961
c.taylorwilliams@gmail.com

June 1, 2011
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For captioned high resolution photos go to:
http://www.studiotwo.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=29869

THE WHARTON SALON SETS 100 YEAR-OLD STORY “AUTRES TEMPS…” IN 1962  FOR 3RD SEASON AT THE MOUNT
(August 17-28)

[2 Plunkett St, Lenox, MA] The Wharton Salon returns to The Mount for a third season setting Edith Wharton’s 100-year old story “Autres Temps…” about divorce American-style in 1962.  Cast includes real-life mother and daughter Diane Prusha and Rory Hammond playing Mrs. Lidcote and daughter Leila, Corinna May as Susy Suffern and James Goodwin Rice as Franklin Ide, directed by Catherine Taylor-Williams, adapted by Dennis Krausnick with costumes by Arthur Oliver.  Tickets are $35 General Admission.  Performances take place in The Stables Auditorium two weekday evenings (Wednesday and Thursday at 5:30 pm) and on weekends (Saturday at 10:30 am and 3:00 pm, and Sunday at 10:30 am) August 17-28.  For tickets and information go to: www.whartonsalon.org; www.edithwharton.org or call 1-800-838-3006.

“I’ve always thought Mrs. Wharton was at least 50 years ahead of her time and this year we’re going to prove it,” says Taylor-Williams.  “Autres Temps… was written in 1911, so we’re going to set it half-way between then and now, in 1962, a tipping point in American society our audiences will recognize.  There are a lot of modern novels on the market now that are inspired by Wharton, but this will be the first time we have brought a Wharton play adaptation this far forward. Not surprisingly, almost nothing needed to be changed – it fit like a glove.”

“Autres Temps…” was first published in Century Magazine, July and August issues, 1911 as “Other Times, Other Manners,” and comes from a French saying, “Autres temps, autres moeurs”. It appeared next in the collection Xingu in 1916 as “Autres Temps…” It has since been published in numerous collections.

Synopsis
Mrs. Lidcote (Diane Prusha) is returning to New York from Europe where she has been living in self-exile since her scandalous divorce years earlier made her a pariah in Society.  When the play begins, Lidcote has just learned that her only daughter, Leila (Rory Hammond), is getting divorced, and quickly remarried, and Lidcote has left Europe for America to stand by her side in her time of need.  As it turns out, and as her friend and aspiring companion Franklin Ide (James Goodwin Rice) and cousin Susy Suffern (Corinna May) take great pains to prove, “times have changed.” Rather than being an outcast, Leila is advancing her place in New York Society by throwing an important party to secure her new husband’s appointment as a secretary to Rome with an introduction arranged by her “ex”.  But have times really changed? “If the new dispensation has come,” wonders Mrs. Lidcote, “why not for me as well?”

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into the tightly controlled society of “Old New York” at atime when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage.  Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers.  Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.  Edith Wharton’s The Age of Innocence was selected for the 2011 New York Magazine’s Greatest New York Ever issue as the greatest novel written about New York – ever, and is described as “the first New York novel that feels like us.”

The Wharton Salon performs the stories of Edith Wharton and her contemporaries in adaptation, offering a unique intimacy between author, actor and audience.  The plays are performed in site-specific locations allowing audiences to experience Wharton’s world through words, architecture and nature. For cast bios, video, performance archives and photos go to www.whartonsalon.org.

The Mount is a center for culture inspired by the passions and achievements of Edith Wharton. Designed and built by Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses (1897).  The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by extensive woodlands.  Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton’s core interests in the literary arts, interior design and decoration, garden and landscape design, and the art of living.  For more information go to www.edithwharton.org.

At A Glance
Production: Autres Temps…
Adapted from Edith Wharton, by Dennis Krausnick
Theatre: The Stables Auditorium, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA
Director: Catherine Taylor-Williams
Co-Producer: Lauryn Franzoni
Costumes: Arthur Oliver
Technical Director: Maia Robbins Zust and Berkshire Production Resources
Cast: Rory Hammond, Corinna May*, Diane Prusha* and James Goodwin Rice*
Sound Design: David Edwards

Dates/Times:
Wednesday, August 17 and Thursday, August 18
Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25  at 5:30pm

Saturday, August 20 and Saturday, August 27 at 10:30am and 3:00pm

Sunday, August 21 and Sunday, August 28 at 10:30am

Tickets: $35, General Admission. Wheelchair accessible.
Online Ticketing anytime: www.whartonsalon.org or www.edithwharton.org
24-hour Ticket Line: 1-800-838-3006.

*Appearing Courtesy of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, under Special Appearance Contract.

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May 15, 2010 · by Catherine · Archives
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Alexander Sovronsky (Original Music/Sound Design) is excited to be returning to The Wharton Salon for his third season.  In addition to being a composer, Alexander is also an actor/musician, whose performance and design credits include:  BROADWAY: Cyrano de Bergerac (starring Kevin Kline).  OFF-BROADWAY: Romeo & Juliet, Measure For Measure (NYSF/The Public); Bottom of the World (Atlantic Theater Company); Othello (TFANA); Women Beware Women (Red Bull); King Lear, Macbeth, Romeo & Juliet, Marat/Sade, Three Sisters (Classical Theatre of Harlem); and The Libertine (Fools’ Theatre).  REGIONAL: The Merry Wives of Windsor (Shakespeare Theatre Company); As You Like It, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Twelfth Night, Hamlet, All’s Well That Ends Well (Shakespeare & Company); Necessary Sacrifices (Ford’s Theatre); Cymbeline (Shakespeare Theatre of NJ); and Fiddler on the Roof (Walnut Street).  MFA in Classical Acting from the Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Academy for Classical Acting. For a good time, visit www.AlexanderSovronsky.com

· by Catherine · Archives
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Kevin Sprague

Kevin Sprague

Kevin Sprague (Marketing Consultant) Kevin Sprague is the Creative Director of Studio Two in Lenox MA and is pleased to support Catherine Taylor-Williams and The Wharton Salon. Kevin and Catherine have collaborated frequently in the past, including working together on the graphic novel Muse.

 


February 21, 2010 · by Catherine · Archives
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Summer Tickets – Download an order form (PDF) today to reserve your tickets for “Summer”!

Summer (1917) was affectionately referred to by Wharton as the “Hot Ethan,” and is often compared with its better-known counterpart, Ethan Frome.  The story follows the sexual awakening and coming of age of Charity Royall over a single summer, late May to early November 1890, reflected by the hills and trees of her native Berkshire landscape.  

Charity Royall (Alyssa Hughlett) is bored and restless, working at the local library to save money to escape, when Lucius Harney (Adam Gauger), a handsome young New York cousin of the town matriarch arrives, researching a book about the historic houses in the area.  Their early romance is thwarted at first by Royall (Miles Herter), her oppressive guardian, who to keep Charity to himself makes an unwanted proposal of marriage.  Despite the growing suspicions of the townspeople, the relationship between Harney and Charity blooms in secret.  By late August, however, Charity is alone and pregnant, Harney having recently left to marry Annabel Balch (Rory Hammond), a girl of his own class and “the Beauty of Springfield.”  Charity begins a desperate search to secure the survival of her child; a journey leading her to self-discovery and ultimately acceptance.

Directed by  Catherine Taylor-Williams, Summer features Adam Adam Gauger, Reilly Hadden, Rory Hammond, Miles Herter, Alyssa Hughlett, Diane Prusha, and Robert Serrell with live music composed and performed by Alexander Sovronsky. Performances take place in The Mount’s Stables Auditorium at the entrance to Wharton’s historic estate. The play will run 90 minutes without intermission.  Audiences are encouraged to make reservations in advance, as the intimate 90-seat  venue sells out quickly.  Summer has mature themes and may not be appropriate for children.

At A Glance

Production: Summer

Adapted from Edith Wharton, by Dennis Krausnick

Theatre:  The Stables Auditorium, The Mount, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA

Director: Catherine Taylor-Williams

Co-Producer: Lauryn Franzoni

Production Stage Manager: Lyn Liseno

Costumes: Arthur Oliver

Set: Carl Sprague

Technical Director: Maia Robbins Zust and Berkshire Production Resources

Cast: Adam Gauger, Reilly Hadden, Rory Hammond, Miles Herter, Alyssa Hughlett,

Diane Prusha and Robert Serrell

Music Composed and Performed by: Alexander Sovronsky

Dates/Times:     Wednesday, August 18 and Thursday, August 19; Wednesday, August 25 and Thursday, August 26 at 5:30pm

Saturday, August 21 and Sunday, August 22; Saturday, August 28 and Sunday, August 29 at 10:30 am

Tickets: $35, General Admission.  Includes Day Pass to The Mount.  Wheelchair accessible.

Box Office: 413-551-5113 ; Box Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Messages left after hours will be returned.

For further information: www.whartonsalon.org or www.edithwharton.org

Summer Tickets – Download an order form (PDF) today to reserve your tickets for “Summer”!

 

· by Catherine · Archives
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You may access and Download high-resolution images for publication here. Please credit Kevin Sprague.

>>>>>>>

Contact

The Wharton Salon: Catherine Taylor-Williams

413-637-8961 c.taylorwilliams@gmail.com

The Mount: Lise Dubé-Scherr

413-551-5115 ldube-scherr@edithwharton.org

May 24, 2010

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHARTON SALON RETURNS WITH BITTERSWEET ROMANCE

SUMMER” IN THE STABLES AT THE MOUNT

(August 18-29)

[THE MOUNT, LENOX, MA] The Wharton Salon, which enjoyed a sold-out run in its first season last year, returns with Edith Wharton’s Berkshire novella, Summer, adapted by Dennis Krausnick.  Performances will run for one week longer this year, including two weekday evenings (Wednesday and Thursday at 5:30 pm) and two weekend (Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am) performances August 18-29.  Tickets are $35 General Admission and include a Day Pass to The Mount.  For tickets and information, call 413-551-5113 or visit www.whartonsalon.org or www.edithwharton.org

Directed by the Salon’s founder, Catherine Taylor-Williams, Summer features Adam Gauger, Reilly Hadden, Rory Hammond, Miles Herter, Alyssa Hughlett, Diane Prusha, and Robert Serrell with live music composed and performed by Alexander Sovronsky.  Performances take place in the Mount’s Stables Auditorium at the entrance to Wharton’s historic estate.  The play will run 90 minutes without intermission.  Audiences are encouraged to make reservations in advance, as the intimate 90-seat venue sells out quickly.  Summer has mature themes and may not be appropriate for children.

“Everyone was so pleased with how things went last year we thought we’d better come back,” says Taylor-Williams.  “I am excited to take on the challenge of directing this fragile coming-of-age story, and to have the chance to expand our company of actors and offer a longer run for the audience.”

“We are delighted to continue our collaboration with Wharton Salon,” says Susan Wissler, executive director of The Mount.  “Where better to see a classic Wharton work come alive than at The Mount, the home she created?”  \

Summer (1917) was affectionately referred to by Wharton as the “Hot Ethan,” and is often compared with its better-known counterpart, Ethan Frome.  The story follows the sexual awakening and coming of age of Charity Royall over a single summer, late May to early November 1890, reflected by the hills and trees of her native Berkshire landscape.

Synopsis: Charity Royall (Alyssa Hughlett) is bored and restless, working at the local library to save money to escape, when Lucius Harney (Adam Gauger), a handsome young New York cousin of the town matriarch arrives, researching a book about the historic houses in the area.  Their early romance is thwarted at first by Royall (Miles Herter), her oppressive guardian, who to keep Charity to himself makes an unwanted proposal of marriage.  Despite the growing suspicions of the townspeople, the relationship between Harney and Charity blooms in secret.  By late August, however, Charity is alone and pregnant, Harney having recently left to marry Annabel Balch (Rory Hammond), a girl of his own class and “the Beauty of Springfield.”  Charity begins a desperate search to secure the survival of her child; a journey leading her to self-discovery and ultimately acceptance.

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into the tightly controlled society of “Old New York” at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage.  Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers.  Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Wharton Salon performs the stories of Edith Wharton and her contemporaries in adaptation, offering a unique intimacy between author, actor and audience.  The plays are performed in site-specific locations allowing audiences to experience Wharton’s world through words, architecture and nature.

The Mount is a center for culture inspired by the passions and achievements of Edith Wharton. Designed and built by Wharton in 1902, the house embodies the principles outlined in her influential book, The Decoration of Houses (1897).  The property includes three acres of formal gardens designed by Wharton, who was also an authority on European landscape design, surrounded by extensive woodlands.  Programming at The Mount reflects Wharton’s core interests in the literary arts, interior design and decoration, garden and landscape design, and the art of living.  Annual exhibits explore themes from Wharton’s life and work. In the summer of 2010, The Mount launches the Berkshire Literary Festival, a vibrant gathering of writers and readers in one of the most beautiful settings in the Berkshires.

At A Glance

Production: Summer

Adapted from Edith Wharton, by Dennis Krausnick

Theatre: The Stables Auditorium, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA

Director: Catherine Taylor-Williams

Co-Producer: Lauryn Franzoni

Production Stage Manager: Lyn Liseno

Costumes: Arthur Oliver

Set: Carl Sprague

Technical Director: Maia Robbins Zust and Berkshire Production Resources

Cast: Adam Gauger, Reilly Hadden, Rory Hammond, Miles Herter, Alyssa Hughlett,

Diane Prusha and Robert Serrell

Music Composed and Performed by: Alexander Sovronsky

Dates/Times:     Wednesday, August 18 and Thursday, August 19; Wednesday, August 25 and Thursday, August 26 at 5:30pm

Saturday, August 21 and Sunday, August 22; Saturday, August 28 and Sunday, August 29 at 10:30 am

Tickets: $35, General Admission.  Includes Day Pass to The Mount.  Wheelchair accessible.

Box Office: 413-551-5113 ; Box Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm.

For further information: www.whartonsalon.org or www.edithwharton.org

###

August 16, 2009 · by Catherine · Archives
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052409ctw_xingukspra0272_11You may access and Download hi-resolution images for publication here. Please credit Kevin Sprague.

>>>>>>>>

Contact:

The Mount: Susan Wissler

413-551-5103 swissler@edithwharton.org

The Wharton Salon: Catherine Taylor-Williams

413-637-8961 c.taylorwilliams@gmail.com

June 18, 2009

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WHARTON PLAYS RETURN TO THE MOUNT

THE WHARTON SALON: Xingu (August 20-23)

[THE MOUNT, LENOX, MA] A new forward-looking theatre ensemble, The Wharton Salon, in partnership with The Mount returns the adapted stories of Edith Wharton to the stage August 20-23 for a limited run of two evening and two morning performances in the drawing room of Wharton’s historic home. The Salon’s first production will be the delightful comedy Xingu adapted by Dennis Krausnick featuring Wharton veteran actors Corinna May, Daniel Osman, Diane Prusha and Tod Randolph with newcomers Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Jennie Burkhard Jadow, Rory Hammond and Karen Lee, directed by Catherine Taylor-Williams. Xingu performs Thursday and Friday at 5:30 pm, Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 am. Tickets are $35 General Admission and include a Day Pass to The Mount. For tickets and information, call 413-551-5113 or visit www.edithwharton.org; www.whartonsalon.org

“The Wharton plays were an enormous asset to the cultural life of the Berkshires and I am delighted we can bring them back in a new form,” says Taylor-Williams. “I have missed the combination of these terrific actors, Wharton’s home and her wonderful adapted stories. I am grateful to Susan Wissler and The Mount for the opportunity to share these plays with audiences once again, to Dennis Krausnick and Shakespeare & Company who began this work and inspired my love for Wharton, and I’m especially happy to be reunited with one of the most important characters in the plays, the house.”

“We are thrilled to have The Wharton Salon with us at The Mount,” says Executive Director Susan Wissler. “What an enlivening experience to see the stories of Edith Wharton performed in her historic home. We look forward to many great collaborations with The Wharton Salon”

Published in 1916, Edith Wharton’s Xingu centers around Mrs. Ballinger (May), a society hostess in the town of Hillbridge, and the Lunch Club, a curious grouping of women who have gathered to host celebrated author, Osric Dane, (Randolph) with a discussion of her recent novel, The Wings of Death. The meeting is off to a terrible start, as no subjects of conversation can be found to endear the author to her audience and the meeting is heading for social disaster when the Club is “rescued” by the introduction of a fascinating subject, Xingu, by the Club’s most unpredictable member, Fanny Roby (Lee). Roby immediately leaves, having remembered “a pressing engagement to play bridge” — celebrated author in tow. The Club members praise their good fortune of being rid of the author, and their knowledge of Xingu, until they make a startling discovery….

Edith Wharton (1862-1937) was born into a tightly controlled society known as “Old New York” at a time when women were discouraged from achieving anything beyond a proper marriage. Wharton broke through these strictures to become one of America’s greatest writers. Author of The Age of Innocence, Ethan Frome, and The House of Mirth, she wrote over 40 books in 40 years, including authoritative works on architecture, gardens, interior design, and travel. Essentially self-educated, she was the first woman awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, an honorary Doctorate of Letters from Yale University and a full membership in the American Academy of Arts and Letters.

The Wharton Salon performs the stories of Edith Wharton and her contemporaries in adaptation, offering a unique intimacy between author, actor and audience, and a view of The Mount’s fantastic gardens with the Berkshire hills beyond. Salon plays are performed in the air-conditioned drawing room, and on temperate days the terrace doors are open, welcoming the outdoors into the playing space.

The Mount was designed and built by Edith Wharton in 1902. The house, three acres of formal gardens, and extensive woodlands are open to the public daily May through October.

At A Glance:

Production: Xingu

Adapted from Edith Wharton, by Dennis Krausnick

Theatre: The Drawing Room at The Mount, 2 Plunkett Street, Lenox, MA

Director: Catherine Taylor-Williams

Stage Manager: Lyn Liseno

Costumes Coordinated by: Arthur Oliver

Cast: Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Jennie Burkhard Jadow, Rory Hammond, Karen Lee, Corinna May, Daniel Osman, Diane Prusha and Tod Randolph

Dates/Times:     Thursday, August 20 at 5:30 pm

Friday August 21 at 5:30 pm

Saturday August 22 at 10:30 am

Sunday, August 23 at 10:30 am

Tickets: $35, General Admission. Includes Day Pass to The Mount. Wheelchair accessible.

Box Office: 413-551-5113 Box Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-5pm

or www.edithwharton.org; www.whartonsalon.org

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August 9, 2009 · by Catherine · Archives
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Dennis Krausnick

Dennis Krausnick

Dennis Krausnick (Playwright) The Wharton Salon: Playwright XinguSummer, Autres Temps and The Inner House. Dennis is a founding member and Director of Training at Shakespeare & Company where he is also on the Board of Trustees and Faculty for the S&Co Summer Training Institute.  He teaches and directs in theater programs across the country as well as designing and leading the actor training programs for S&Co. He has adapted several stories of Edith Wharton and Henry James for the stage over the past 30 years, the most popular being Ethan Frome, Xingu, Roman Fever and Summer. Dennis is performing as King Lear this summer in Shakespeare & Company’s 35th season.


· by Catherine · Archives
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Tod Randolph* (Edith Wharton, The Inner House) first played Edith Wharton at The Mount in 1995 in a beautiful play by Dennis Krausnick called The Fiery Rain, about Edith’s love affair with Morton Fullerton. Fifteen years later, Tod had the great pleasure of performing in The Wharton Salon’s inaugural production, Xingu, playing the character of the visiting novelist Osric Dane, believed by some scholars to have been intended by the author as a self-parody. Tod has also recorded short stories in two Wharton collections by Berkshire Mountain Audio: Autre Temps in Edith Wharton on Audio, Vol. I, and The Lady’s Maid’s Bell in Ghosts: Edith Wharton’s Gothic Tales. Other great writers in Ms. Randolph’s repertoire have included Virginia Woolf (Virginia; A Room of One’s Own; Vita & Virginia; Shakespeare & Company) and Emily Dickinson (Emily; Mixed Company). She has been an acting, teaching and directing member of Shakespeare & Company since 1990, where her roles have included Queen Elizabeth in Richard III (opposite John Douglas Thompson), Goneril in King Lear (with Olympia Dukakis as Lear), Jaques, Titania, the Princess of France, Portia, Desdemona, Hermione, Lady Macbeth, and Beatrice, among others.

This season at Shakespeare & Company she can be seen as the journalist Dorothy Thompson in the world premiere of Norman Plotkin’s Cassandra Speaks. New York Credits include The Libertine at Theatre Row Theatre (Elisabeth Malet), Cymbeline with The Holderness Group (Imogen), and A Room of One’s Own with the Lincoln Center Theatre Director’s Lab. She is a graduate of the Juilliard Drama Division.

*Tod appears courtesy of Actors Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers in the United States, under Special Appearance Agreement.

 

· by Catherine · Archives, Creative Team
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Diane Prusha

Diane Prusha

Diane Prusha* (Mrs. Fontage in The Rembrandt) Five seasons with The Wharton Salon: Mrs. Plinth in Xingu; Chorus, Miss Hatchard, Dr. Merkle in Summer, Mrs. Lidcote in Autres Temps Diane has performed for 20 seasons with Shakespeare & Company and two seasons with the Berkshire Theatre Group. Diane is thrilled beyond words to be returning spending another summer with with The Wharton Salon.  She has performed with many of the theatre companies in the area including, Shakespeare & Company, Berkshire Theatre Group, Mixed Company, Aglet Theatre Company, and The New Stage.  Some of her favorite roles include, Lottie in Enchanted April, Lottie in Lettuce and Loveage, Hettie in Two-Headed and all of The Wharton Salon characters.  The roles dearest to her heart are the ones she encountered throughout the years in the Salon at The Mount.  There she was able to grow and hone her craft as an actor through the genius of Edith Wharton’s writings and now, with The Wharton Salon, to continue this never-ending process.  She is honored and proud to be a part of such a talented group of artists, craftpersons, and friends. May it flourish and continue.


June 18, 2009 · by Catherine · Archives
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“They probably think as I do, that nothing matters except the thing itself – except Xingu.”

Xingu, the Wharton Salon’s first production ran for four sold-out performances August 20-23, 2009 in the Salon at The Mount.  Wharton’s story was adapted for the stage by Dennis Krausnick and featured Salon actors Lydia Barnett-Mulligan, Jennie Burkhard Jadow, Rory Hammond, Karen Lee, Daniel Osman, Corinna May, Diane Prusha, and Tod Randolph.

Published in 1916, Edith Wharton’s Xingu centers around Mrs. Ballinger (Corinna May), a society hostess in the town of Hillbridge, and the Lunch Club, a curious grouping of women who have gathered to host celebrated author, Osric Dane, (Tod Randolph) with a discussion of her recent novel, The Wings of Death. The meeting is off to a terrible start, as no subjects of conversation can be found to endear the author to her audience and the meeting is heading for social disaster when the Club is “rescued” by the introduction of a fascinating subject, Xingu, by the Club’s most unpredictable member, Fanny Roby (Karen Lee). Roby immediately leaves, having remembered “a pressing engagement to play bridge” — celebrated author in tow. The Club members praise their good fortune of being rid of the author, and their knowledge of Xingu, until they make a startling discovery….

From the sold-out performance of Xingu, adapted by Dennis Krausnick; August, 2009 at The Mount, photos by Catherine Taylor-Williams.

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