Each summer, as stars glitter in the sky, Hampshire Shakespeare Company illuminates the crowd below with open-air renditions of the Bard's greatest hits. As showgoers lounge on their blankets, chairs, or elephants, the company stages interpretations of Shakespeare's plays that prize intelligibility and entertainment. In addition to its main-stage shows, the Hampshire Shakespeare Company also puts on a youth theater production each year to give youngsters a taste of the stage, and buoys playwrights from throughout the Valley with workshops and readings.
Actor and comedian Russell Brand frees chortles from belly prisons with his unique style of manic, irreverent humor. Riffing on the nature of fame and celebrity, Brand regales audiences with edgy observations and outsized characters to delight audiences grown bored with tamer comedians and telephone time-of-day services. Visiting a series of colleges, the tour filters the eccentricities of American universities through Brand's singular wit. George Mason University's recently renovated Patriot Center contains the glee in arena-style seating, ensuring everyone has a clear view of both Brand and the cricket whispering jokes in his ear.
Crunching metal and the sweet smell of burning rubber prevail as the Monster X Tour invades the Ocean Center, thrilling all ages in an action-packed motorsports showcase. Bigfoot, the forefather of all station-wagon smashers, leads a fleet of competitive 10,000-pound monster trucks, including Bear Foot and Black Knight, through jaw-dropping races, wheelie contests, and freestyle car composting. Transaurus, a two-story transforming robot that never learned to love, buries his woes by chomping entire cars in his massive jaws while watching reruns of Felicity. Before the show, VIP tickets also grant access to the Pit Party, where fans can have autographs signed by the drivers. During intermission, fans get the opportunity to eschew sea level with a ride inside a monster truck or visit General Lee from The Dukes of Hazzard and learn its true feelings about excessive hood sliding.
For two decades, New Century Theatre has provoked thoughtful postshow discussions with a mix of new works and fresh renditions of familiar classics. "Distracted," a new play by acclaimed playwright and screenwriter, Lisa Loomer, follows the parents, teachers, and doctors of a rambunctious 9-year-old boy as they try to determine whether he has ADHD. By turns hilarious and poignant, the action unfolds within Smith College's Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, a performance hall built in 1964 and recently renovated to add modern comforts and chase Banquo's ghost from the wings.
Wrapping up its third season, Out! For Reel holds monthly screenings of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender films from around the world. The first celluloid feature of the evening is eCupid, a romantic comedy that follows a newly single gay man as he searches for true love on the Internet and finds more than he bargained for. Or choose to view A Marine Story, an award-winning drama about a female soldier who is discharged from the military when she is discovered to be a lesbian and finds renewed purpose in training a teen for boot camp. The feature is preceded by Chained!, a short film about wallet chains and their centuries-long feud with metal detectors, by Betsy Kalin, who will be present at the screening.
The two screens of Tower Theaters host an eclectic cast of characters, from the flying superheroes of summer blockbusters to elaborately costumed opera singers. And 3D technology propels many of them toward the audience with the vivid clarity of digital projection. The dancers and singers appear as part of an opera-and-ballet series, which showcases stage productions such as Caravaggio or Die Fledermaus in digital high definition. But on the first Saturday of every month, film and live performance combine with midnight showings of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, during which a shadow cast poses in front of the screen to mirror the cult classic's plot and catch Tim Curry when he falls out.