Topical and Timeless

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014
John Iverson photo

Silverthorne Theater Company, the newest entry on the Valley summer theater circuit, is starting small, but plans to grow incrementally and become fully professional within five years. The upstart troupe, based at Northfield Mount Hermon School, continues its three-show inaugural season this weekend with Bertolt Brecht’s political fable The Caucasian Chalk Circle.

Director David Rowland says the play was chosen “to signal Silverthorne’s interest in producing material a bit outside the summer stock mainstream, and to provide a flexible script that would offer acting opportunities both for adults and for students.” For Rowland, the play, which is set in the Caucasus region bordering the Black Sea and centers on a revolutionary upheaval and its aftermath, resonates with “recent events in that part of the world, especially the circumstances in Ukraine and the Crimea” while delivering a timeless judgment of Solomon-like message. He has set each section of the play in a different time period, from 1700 to the present, with the costumes of those in power—nobility, bureaucrats, soldiers—changing with the period while those of the peasants remain the same. Rowland’s approach also “keeps in mind the unique qualities of Brecht’s ‘epic’ theater which distinguish him from the two major preoccupations of mid-20th-century theater, Realism and Absurdism.”

July 24-26, 8 p.m., Rhodes Arts Center, Northfield Mount Hermon School, Gill, (413) 768-7514,

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