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A Shot of Theater: Spontaneous Theater in Northampton

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Local Theater at The Elevens in Northampton

A Shot of Theater Features Local Playwrights

Finding Love at A Shot of Theater at the Elevens in Northampton. Photo Courtesy of A Shot of TheaterIt seemed as if there was an open mic or creative venue for every art form in Northampton, but there was something missing from its eclectic mix. For every experimental rock group that got to try its hand on stage at The Elevens or Bishop’s Lounge, there was no youth movement for truly cooperative theatre. Knowing what locals can accomplish with little resources, Liz Jensen set out to fix this by creating A Shot of Theater, a theater showcase at The Elevens meant to enrich aspiring artists with the opportunity to  manage their own part in a cabaret of locally written, directed, and acted plays.

First, Liz gathered up a number of local playwright’s pieces, and decided which of them would make the cut. And then the directors for certain pieces were picked, and then those directors held castings to find their characters’ proper matches. All members involved were pushed to work under a shared assigned theme, which this time was “Finding Love.” Seven pieces were chosen and with a month to get their short play together, each group set out to portray their act, and showcase it for a small crowd of those in the know enough to be there.

The premiere was last Thursday, and the project will continue to happen every Thursday in March. The delight in witnessing the different takes on love and its maddening nuances was particularly interesting. Each piece brought a new aspect of the four letter word’s weight to the table, whether through sexual tension, tragedy or humor. As the show unfolded, the audience grew to see a truly diverse set of plays. And this is all set at a cozy bar, making for a warm occasion. It proved fruitful to allow inexperienced and experienced performers/writers to collaborate. It showed that the directors had worked hard with their actors and that the actors were not phoning it in, though some could have been more convincing. But that’s not the point anyway. The point is that A Shot of Theater offers a realm where creative people can work at ease, and without the pretension of high-budget productions. The point was also that there is a vast amount of unknown theatric potential in many people and that if given the chance strangers can unite and become something new together by exploring reality through a new lens.

Such an inspirational event required an emcee with both dignity and quirks, and Ms. Hors d’oeuvres did not come up short on either account. She tied everything together nicely, flaunting her body in a drag routine to the stage, and reacting to each play with witty commentary before cleverly introducing the next. She kept the momentum strong throughout. After all, who knows more about love than someone who has accepted its own sexuality with such tenacious showmanship?

So come and check out A Shot of Theater before this edition of it is through and the next writing prompt is chosen. You have three more chances to be there and they are on the 14th, 21st, and the 28th respectively. The Thursday night occasion starts at 7pm, and costs eight dollars. So come on down with your lover, or your friend, or whoever it is that you love most and prepared to be surprised by the quality of production that each crew established so quickly, and with such tenacity! You will leave with a sore tummy from having laughed so hard as this show took a rather comic look at love, and did not pull many punches.

The Elevens is located at 140 Pleasant St. in Northampton. Call 413-586-9155 for details.

Ezra Prior is a Contributor to The Free George

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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