But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? — #Berkshireweekend

We’re in the kitchen talking about Shakespeare, and both of us turn out to be the kind of people who have pulled out a play sometime or other and started to read it with friends, just for the high of it.

I remember sitting in a college dining hall with an old friend who had Hamlet in her pocket for a class, and both of us were helpless with laughter. Something about the casualness got hold of us — walking into the story without a stage or props or lights, just the heights and depths of feeling in the words.

And now, in the middle of February, a new friend is leaning on the counter and talking about theater games. We’re thinking about building trust and how to make something vast and wild out of almost nothing.

We’ve just learned about a community theater that used to perform in Williamstown in the 1960s and 1970s, and we’re wondering how it would feel to perform like that, in real settings around town — to be actors where people didn’t know you were acting, or audience and become part of the play.

It’s good to remember how it can feel to walk into a story like that and let a scene run just to see where it goes. Sometimes what you say and do can surprise you. And even when it’s 16 below, I can find some of that energy. It gives the world a feeling of improvisation.

I can end up talking about characters in the Torah and Hagar meeting an angel at a well in the desert, or the library of Alexandria in 200 B.C.E., or how a new translation of Rumi sounds more like

Sometimes the Berkshires can be the kind of place where people make something out of nothing …

Contemporary Tibetan artists’ work comes to WCMA, including Nyema Droma’s photographs and Dedron’s paintings, as Just Futures brings a roundtable to Williams College and Valentine week brings celebrations and snow on the ridge at Tamarack Hollow …

Events coming up …

Find more art and performance, outdoors and food in the BTW events calendar.

A boy and a lamb walk by the pasture at Hancock Shaker Village.
Apr 17 2024 @ 11:00 am
Hancock Shaker Village welcomes visitors to meet their newest farm babies – lambs, piglets, calves, chicks and kid goats, and enjoy events and activities throughout the Village.
Wildflowers bloom on Stone Hill with the Clark Art Institute in the distance. Press photo courtesy of the museum
Apr 17 2024 @ 1:00 pm
Celebrate spring and Earth Day at the Clark with an art-making activity that incorporates indigenous pollinator seeds that you can take home and plant.
A local exhibit of poems celebrate the Hoosic River on the suspension bridge at Tourists Welcome in North Adams.
Apr 17 2024 @ 6:00 pm
The Hoosic River Watershed Association invites everyone in the communities along the river to celebrate the waterway and write haiku inspired by the river and its surroundings.

By the Way Berkshires is a digital magazine exploring creative life and community — art and performance, food and the outdoors — and I’m writing it for you, with local voices, because I’ve gotten to know this rich part of the world as a writer and journalist, and I want to share it with you.

If you’d like to see the website grow, you can join me for a few dollars a month, enough for a cup of coffee and a cider doughnut. Members get access to extra stories and multimedia, itineraries a bookmark tool. Let me know what you're looking for, and we’ll explore together.

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