Headliners: Paintbox Theatre’s ‘Peter Pan in Eastampton; Act Too Studio Opera Workshop’s ‘Il sogno d’Arianna’ at the Academy of Music

  • Jennifer Burdick

  • Jenn Burdick Jenn Burdick

Published: 8/4/2016 2:09:07 PM

No strings attached

Headed up by the mercurial Tom McCabe, Northampton’s Paintbox Theatre is used to making magic with bare-bones sets, costumes and props, supplemented by lots of audience imagination and participation. Case in point is Paintbox’s season closer, a production of “Peter Pan” in which Peter (Tom Mercier) and Wendy (Shaina Cantino) will be flying through the air without the aid of wires, ropes or CGI.

“It’s all imagination, which means the audience can fly, too,” says Paintbox publicist Megan Rubiner Zinn. “Also, the audience will play the Darling children, the Lost Children, the Pirates and Tiger Lily’s tribe.”

In true Paintbox tradition, the show promises to be an exercise in meta-theater, with out-of-the-box references to culturally stereotyped Indians and walk-ons by characters from Paintbox’s two previous productions (Raggedy Ann and Tammy the Tortoise show up to save Peter and Wendy from drowning at Marooner’s Rock).

What else? Oh — When Peter and Hook (Tom McCabe) realize in the midst of a duel that the clashing of their swords doesn’t sound right, helpful Tiger Lily (Luke Bosco) pulls out two forks and loudly clinks them together. And since the Lost Children don’t have parents, they’ve never been told that it’s dangerous to consume large amounts of sugar — which leaves the path clear for Smee to try to kill them with a huge sugar cake.

Shows are Friday at 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. in Williston Theater, 18 Payson Ave. in Easthampton. $10. 923-7159, paintboxtheatre.com

Teen opera

“It’s like, instead of falling in love with a person, I fell in love with opera,” says McKenna Troy, one of the teenage members of the South Hadley-based Act Too Studio Opera Workshop, a student-driven arts project devoted to developing a fully-staged opera each summer.

Titled “Il sogno d’Arianna (The Dream of Arianna),” this year’s production is a creative composite of the music of 17th-century composer Claudio Monteverdi, drawing specifically on the “Lamento d’Arianna,” the sole surviving fragment of his opera “L’Arianna.” which begins with the tale of Ariadne, princess of Crete, and her abandonment by the Athenian hero Theseus on the island of Naxos. The piece includes excerpts from Monteverdi’s other operas and his madrigals, for which the workshop has created new English translations and arrangements adapted for its teen singers.

Performances are Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Academy of Music in Northampton. $12 general admission; $7 students. 584-9032, aomtheatre.com

— Dan DeNicola

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