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August Theatre Highlights

Fr 8/5- BROADS REGIONAL ARM WRESTLING LEAGUE (B.R.A.W.L.) 2011 SUMMER BRAWL, at the Bridgewater Grill, Kingston—Summer night: hot, sweaty, and loud in the bar. The natives are restless as they gravitate toward the center of the room, clutching drinks in one hand, a wad of bills in the other. The light focuses on a small table, a two-seater, with an array of vinyl-covered foam pads in the center. Music bursts from the loudspeakers, causing the crowd to adjust its volume to match, and suddenly the circus has well and truly arrived. The M.C.—rumor has it a discredited former Olympic thumb wrestler—hits the mic with a motorized patter for the proceedings, while the steely gaze of The Ref shows no quarter will be given, nor asked. The Celebrity Judges take their positions—though no judgment on their part will have any bearing on the outcome, their bickering and self-aggrandizing add a certain je ne sais quoi. The first arm wrestlers are announced—ladies only—and said wrestlers sweep in with their Entourages, whose function it is to look good, attend to the wrestlers’ needs, and work the crowd for “bets.” Once the money is collected, the trash is talked, and any encumbering clothing discarded, the women of B.R.A.W.L. get down to business, grappling wrists, reaching for any advantage of position. Countdown and BAM: you have a winner and a loser (unless there’s a cheater, but The Ref don’t play that). Lather, rinse, repeat until the champ is crowned. It’s quite the show, with full audience participation, and this time all “bets” go to the Phillies Bridge Farm Project. And though it’s quite a physical “sporting event”—these are some strong women, y’all—it’s really more of a living theatre piece, and you’re invited. Bring lots of singles for the worthy cause, and don't have anywhere you really have to be early Saturday morning. Bridgewater Grill, 50 Abeel St., Kingston,, 845.340.4272. 8 PM

Fr/Sa/Su 8/19 through 9/4- VOICETheatre presents a site-specific production of HAY FEVER, by Noel Coward, in Bearsville/Woodstock—It’s a pretty neat trick if you can pull it off: have your theatrical event occur in almost the exact location that is called for in the play. In this case, it’s a nice big country house just outside of Bearsville, big enough for four couples to get into theatrical trouble on the natural proscenium—and big enough to fit a modest audience to properly enjoy it. Seems like a fine way to enjoy a delightful production of Noel Coward’s “comedy of manners” Hay Fever, courtesy of New York City-based VOICETheatre, a non-profit company that has conducted national and international tours and workshops in Germany, France, Britain, Scotland, the Middle East, Austria and Poland. The light comedic play has been updated and relocated, from 1924 Cookham, U.K. to 1958 Woodstock, NY, and centers around the somewhat eccentric Bliss family, the four of whom (Dad, Mom, brother and sister), unbeknownst to each other, have each invited a guest to the house for a romantic weekend. Once the awkward situation is realized, events conspire to rearrange partners, and while urbane hilariousness ensues, the Bliss family comes to realize that they are pretty much meant for each other. After a fashion. It’s a stellar cast from the city and the region, featuring Robert Lloyd, Peter Brook, Joris Peters, Kimberly Kay, AR Rappaport, Jess Crandall, Christa Trinler, and John Gazzale. VOICETheatre director Shauna Kanter has directed on four continents, and was awarded “The People’s Choice Award” for best director at JET Theatre, Detroit. Please be sure to make reservations. Private Residence, 13 Wittenberg Rd., Bearsville/Woodstock,, 845.679.0154. Fr/Sa 8 PM, Su 2 PM

Through August- PS21 presents “FAMILY VARIATIONS” summer film festival (8/7 through 8/15), and Arm-Of-The-Sea’s TO FUEL THE FIRE (Sa 8/27), at The Tent at PS21, Chatham—Though they have a variety of events happening over the course of the month at The Tent at PS21—see their website for more—of particular interest is the second annual film festival titled “Family Variations,” with works that explore different facets of family life, each film to be introduced by local families. “We’re living in a time when the traditional definition of what constitutes a ‘family’ is in flux. How the family is structured and how it looks is constantly changing,”comments PS21 president, Judy Grunberg. “For this year’s festival we wanted to explore this notion by offering films that focus on family’s many variations—the joys and the heartbreaks, the function and the dysfunction.” Admission is free, and films start at 8 PM. The films: A Walk On the Moon (US 1999, Su 8/7), L’Heure D’été (Summer Hours)(France 2008, Mo 8/8), Fiddler On the Roof (US 1971, Tu 8/9), La Cage Aux Folles (France/Italy 1978, We 8/10), Cat On a Hot Tin Roof (US 1958, Th 8/11), Eat Drink Man Woman (China 1994, Fr 8/12), The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (Italy 1970, Sa 8/13), Fanny and Alexander (Sweden 1982, Su 8/14), Radio Days (US 1987, Mo 8/15). Then, later in the month it’s a special performance by the renowned Saugerties-based mask and puppet theatre group, Arm-Of-The-Sea, with their To Fuel the Fire, an allegory about the ecological costs of acquiring and delivering energy. Created after the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill, this original show features two mythological characters drawn from Ancient Egypt, recast as an immigrant couple running a soup shop on the modern-day Gulf Coast. From their ancient rounds of planting, harvesting, cooking and composting, Isis and Osiris feed generations of workers sent to gather fuel. After the disastrous oil-rig explosion, they use their powers to restore the waters of life. The combination of engaging storyline, three-dimensional visuals, and the remarkable music of Dean Jones makes this a family must-see. The Tent at PS21, 2980 Rte. 66, Chatham,, 518.392.6121. “Family Variations” films 8/7 through 8/15, 8 PM. To Fuel the Fire Sa 8/27 3 & 7 PM

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