Spotlight: ‘I Am The Baron’ by Double Edge Theatre; Samirah Evans at Northampton Summer Music Series

  • Photo by Kim Chin-Gibbons Photo by Kim Chin-Gibbons

Published: 7/18/2019 4:37:24 PM
Modified: 7/18/2019 4:37:14 PM

A Taste for Adventure

In 1785, the German writer Rudolf Erich Raspe published a book of tall tales called “Baron Munchausen's Narrative of his Marvellous Travels and Campaigns in Russia.” The book was loosely based on the life of an 18th-century German nobleman with a mouthful of a name, Hieronymus Carl Friedrich Freiherr von Münchhausen, who had fought with the military and was known for spinning tall tales about his life.

Fast forward 234 years, and Double Edge Theatre in Ashfield is offering its own unique take on these tales in its new summer production, “I Am The Baron,” which debuts Friday and Saturday, July 19-20, with two “preview” performances, followed by regular performances every Wednesday through Sunday from July 24 to August 22.

Matthew Glassman, one of the show’s directors, notes that Raspe’s book inspired many additional editions and artistic interpretations over the years, such as the 1988 film “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” by Terry Gilliam (of “Monty Python” fame), which was a box office dud but a critics’ favorite. What all this source material has in common, Glassman notes, is “a sense of the fantastical, of unlimited possibilities, and a sense of play.”

From journeys to the moon and under the sea, to meetings with characters of myth, Double Theatre’s adaptation, Glassman adds, “touches on the original stories but centers on a troupe of world weary vaudevillians, who are traveling a barren landscape in a time of despair known as the Great Forgetting. Enter Baron Munchausen, awoken from his sleep, to take the troupe on a different sort of journey. Ours is a celebration of stories and storytelling, imagination and heroism, and searching for light in dark times.”

No doubt the story will allow Double Edge, now marking its 25th year in Ashfield, to give full reign to its patented mix of acting, music, visual spectacle and physicality. “I Am The Baron,” as in all the ensemble’s summer performances, takes place both inside and outdoors, rain or shine, on Double Edge’s 105-acre property. Performances this Friday and Sunday and throughout July begin at 8 p.m.; August performances are at 7:30 p.m. For tickets, visit doubleedgetheatre.org.

 

Bring on the summertime music

We’ve been hearing for days about how hot it’s supposed to be this weekend, but Northampton’s Summer Music Series in Pulaski Park is not letting that get in its way. And appropriately enough, tonight’s (Friday, July 19) free show at the park will feature the heat-soaked, New Orleans sounds of vocalist Samirah Evans, who first came to fame in the Crescent City.

After making her mark there as a soulful singer of blues and jazz, Evans relocated to New England after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005. Since then she’s become a regular performer in the Northeast with her band, Samirah Evans and Her Handsome Devils, and her classic New Orleans R&B choir, the NOLABratts, among other projects.

 Evans has also toured North and South America, Europe, and Asia and shared stages with a long list of notable artists, including James Brown, B.B. King, Dr. John, Aaron and Charles Neville, Sheila Jordan and Trombone Shorty.

Friday’s show, which runs from 4-7 p.m. and is sponsored by the Northampton Jazz Festival, will also feature Isosceles Groove, which production notes call “New England's Hottest New Jazz Trio” (piano, drums and bass), and DJ Ron Freshley, who will be spinning a wide range of jazz tunes.

— Steve Pfarrer 

  

 




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