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MuseFLASHES: Arts happenings this week in the Amherst area

  • Simon Carrington, Visiting Professor of Choral Conducting at the University of Birmingham, U.K., and co-founder of the internationally-acclaimed vocal ensemble The King’s Singers. Carrington will lead two full performances of Bach’s “Mass in B minor” April 22 and 23. Isabel Chenoweth

  • The late Gene Wilder in Mel Brooks’ classic “Young Frankenstein.”

  • “Life Defying Acts” by Pam Dickler: A tale of two sisters caught in throes of America’s epidemic wave of juvenile depression and young adult suicide, the toll and atonement, recrimination, recovery. UMass Theatre

  • “I Love Sean” by Sarah Einspanier: Who am I outside of a relationship? How do we connect, communicate when words are underwater? An absurdist modern Karaoke satire on the pursuit of love. UMass Theatre


Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Two new plays in lab at UMass

The UMass New Play Lab was only supposed to feature one new play this year, but the writing gods had different ideas. Two shows are on the bill, and both run Saturday.

Pam Dickler’s “Life Defying Acts,” playing over two weekends, looks at juvenile depression and young adult suicide through the story of sisters Sandra and Helen. The latter seeks understanding in the wake of an event that has left Sandra in a coma. It shows this Saturday at 2 p.m.

Meanwhile, Sarah Einspanier’s “I Love Sean,” a renegade addition which will get a staged reading Saturday at 5:30 p.m., is billed as “a wildly absurd comedy.”

All audience members are invited to attend not only the performance, but also the discussions held after each show. The playwrights, who are in residence at UMass for rehearsals and performances, edit their plays based on those discussions. Audiences at the beginning and end of the runs sometimes end up seeing very different versions of the plays. Patrons can attend one show, or they can get a combined ticket at a special price that allows them to see both.

Painting with Paper

Artist Kelia Ploof presents, “Painting with Paper,” at the Amherst Town Hall Gallery. Kelia Ploof’s work will continue on display at the gallery through April. There will be an artist reception on April 6, from 5 to 8 p.m.

Kelia will have on display approximately twenty-five original works that highlight her creative approach to using paper and charcoal as her medium of choice. An environmentally friendly artist, Keila uses old books and paper that is past its usefulness. Each piece of paper is torn, cut or otherwise manipulated to create a 3D quality to her work. There will be a large variety of works on display.

Bach Festival and Symposium

Today, Johann Sebastian Bach’s music is enjoyed by millions around the globe, and performances of his works attract larger audiences than ever. What’s at the root of this enduring and ever-expanding appeal? What does Bach have to say to present-day audiences, and how does that contemporary perspective impact our appreciation of his music?

The UMass Amherst Department of Music and Dance will address these questions and many more during the 2017 Bach Festival and Symposium, which will include performances of over twenty of Bach’s works by students, faculty, and acclaimed guest performers along with in-depth discussions and presentations by a wide range of internationally-renowned scholars.

Highlights include two full performances of the epic “Mass in B minor” on April 22 and 23 led by renowned conductor Simon Carrington, Visiting Professor of Choral Conducting at the University of Birmingham, U.K., and co-founder of the internationally-acclaimed vocal ensemble The King’s Singers. UMass will also host a day-long scholarly Symposium on April 22 to explore Bach’s continued influence and popularity, including a keynote delivered by noted Bach scholar Michael Marissen.

Tickets for April 22 and 23 Mass in B minor performances and April 21 Opus One Concert can be purchased at the Fine Arts Center Box Office, by phone at (413) 545-2511, or online at www.fineartscenter.com/musicanddance. Registration for the April 22 academic symposium is $25 ($5 for students), and will take place in the Bezanson Recital Hall lobby beginning at 8 a.m. For complete details on the UMass Amherst Bach Festival and Symposium, please visit www.umass.edu/music/Bach.

Incarceration, on paper

The Nixon Gallery for Works on Paper at the Smith College Museum of Art will feature works on the them of incarceration through April 23. This coincides with the project, “The U.S. in the Age of Mass Incarceration.” This project, supported by the 2016-2017 Feinberg Family Distinguished Lecture Series at the University of Massachusetts, explores the ways in which state violence, mass incarceration, and mass criminalization have transformed the U.S. economy, culture, and society.

The gallery is poen Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Noon to 4 p.m.

Admission $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, $3 for students and $2 for youth ages 6 to 12.

One-man show

Painter and printmaker Marius Sznajderman will exhibit paintings and collages at the Jewish Community of Amherst, 742 Main St., through April 30. The exhibit includes early works rooted in an Latin American tradition as well as Judaicas.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday.