• Fri. & Sat. August 4 & 5 at 8pm.  Sun. August 6 at 7pm. (Note non-standard curtain time) Created by TEAM SUNSHINE PERFORMANCE CORPORATION and THE PHILLY PIGEON/JACOB WINTERSTEIN Directed at Ko by Alex Torra (Team Sunshine) With participation by KoFest artists, a secret lineup of local performers, and members of the Detroit ensemble A HOST OF PEOPLE In an era where facts don't seem to matter, in an area where fractious town meetings are the rule, and in a time when we have lost all sense of the humanity of those who disagree with us — we invite you to an evening of utter nonsense. What is it? The Society of Civil Discourse is an interactive night of debate, appreciation, hating and rhetorical excess. It’s  all about style, not substance. The event gives people a chance to have fun in community, with art at the center. Its an event where the line between performer and audience member gets blurred. You can come and quietly watch the entire night, or you might take us up on this opportunity to show off your best rhetorical skills. You might even be might tapped for the Great Debate that concludes the evening. But most of all, you'll have the opportunity to learn to love the people you argue passionately with. SO WHAT HAPPENS? The best way to understand is to watch this brief video: As you can see, the evening’s events will happen in several phases. Attendees get name tags and there is a brief period for mingling, beverages, after which all present are called to order and invited to become members of the fictitious SOCIETY OF CIVIL DISCOURSE.  After a brief and fun induction ceremony, audience members are invited to circulate between three or four different talking stations at their own pace.  At these stations your trained facilitators will guide you into a debate, gripe session, appreciation. You might defend an opinion: Pick a card with silly opposing views on it. Defend one.  You listen to others make noises of appreciation 0r disagreement. And at any time you can take a break to get a drink or a snack. THE FINAL PHASE IS THE GREAT DEBATE: Professional Argument Teams and a few outstanding audience members selected from Phase 1 engage in a 5 round debate over a secret topic. After choosing a team name there will be 5 debate rounds: Round 1: Opening Statements Round 2: Personal testimony Round 3: Fake statistics Round 4: Mime Round 5: Closing statements We invite you to watch, heckle, applaud and vote for the winners. The meeting of the Society of Civil Discourse is formally adjourned but you are invited to stay and hang with all the cool people you've just met — and argued passionately with.
  • THE RINGDOVE

    $8.00$10.00

    BECAUSE OF THE HEAT WE ARE MOVING THE SHOW TO THE AIR-CONDITIONED HOLDEN THEATER ON THE AMHERST COLLEGE CAMPUS. Sunday July 21 at 8pm Because of the more limited seating reservations are suggested!

      Performed by the METTAWEE RIVER THEATRE COMPANY Directed by RALPH LEE The Mettawee River Theatre Company has spent two years preparing a new version of THE RING DOVE, which they first performed  in 1988. An allegorical tale about friendship, it is drawn from THE PANCHATANTRA, a collection of stories whose origins reach back over 2,000 years, to ancient India.  The central characters are a crow, a rat, a turtle and a gazelle, whose behavior and relationships reflect many aspects of human nature. The production tells the story of the creatures’ growth in friendship with each other, as they achieve strength and harmony through cooperation and understanding. The production will incorporate an array of giant figures, puppets, and masks and will be performed out under the stars in a landscape permeated with live music, song and a spirit of celebration. NOW IN AMHERST COLLEGE'S HOLDEN THEATER! Tickets: $9 Adults / $7 Children (12 & under). Cash or check only. Supported, in part, by the Amherst Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency
  • Fri. & Sat. July 6 & 7 at 8pm, Sunday July 8 at 4pm An original performance by The Hinterlands Created and Performed by Richard Newman, Liza Bielby, and Dave Sanders. Live Scoring by Richard Newman. Scenic design by Shoshanna Utchenik Archive Creation by Casey Rocheteau and Liza Bielby Publication design by Benjamin Gaydos Layering historical accounts of the radical left in the 1960’s and 70’s with a master class in American method acting, socialist pageantry, and a gleefully obtuse re-production of The Living Theatre’s Antigone, THE RADICALIZATION PROCESS stokes the embers of America’s past revolutions to ignite our radical potential. Audiences begin the performance sifting through a basement archive of a forgotten revolutionary, navigating histories true and false, real and imagined, before they make their way into the performance space, a safe-house within a house in 1970s Detroit. Imagery unfolds both mundane and shocking; a live-score is performed on analog synthesizers and everyday objects; L’Internationale is sung; an explosion occurs. The Radicalization Process asks us to question our assumptions about what drives us to take action, how far is too far, and what role the imagination has in revolution. Also, it’s funny. Sometimes. Other times it’s really dark. But hey, that’s America! WHAT THE PRESS HAS SAID: Check out Rosie Sharp’s review of the piece in Hyperallergic The performance was commissioned by Legion Arts, Power House Productions and Alverno Presents with generous support from the National Performance Network, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, and the NEA Artworks program.
  • THE OVEN

    $11.00$24.00
    Fri. & Sat. July 13-14 at 8pm, Sunday July 15 at 1:30 pm PLEASE NOTE NON-STANDARD SUNDAY PERFORMANCE TIME! Written and performed by ILAN STAVANS Directed by MATTHEW GLASSMAN Lighting by SABRINA HAMILTON After a chance meeting with a shaman in Colombia, Ilan Stavans, the highly regarded literary scholar, found himself in the Amazon rainforest. He had reluctantly agreed to participate in a religious ceremony that involved taking the hallucinogen ayahuasca. Even though he considered himself a skeptic and a rational intellectual, as someone whose worldview was defined by his education and his heritage as a Mexican Jew, Stavans found that the ritual pushed him to reconsider many of his basic understandings, including his perceptions of indigenous cultures in Latin America, as well as his career as teacher, thinker, and artist. This one-act play is delivered in the form of a lecture that mimics the author’s startling spiritual journey.

    BUZZ ON THE OVEN

    "How does a mild-mannered scholar/writer/professor become a jaguar, kill and eat a deer? I got to witness Ilan Stavans’ re-immersion into what happened to him, telling and showing the audience his impulsive and, transformative journey into the dark Columbian night. He finished the performance shirtless and soaked with sweat. I drove home, filled with the knowledge that there are so many worlds in our world and “reality” is, indeed, a shifting and terrifying place. And how the theater, in the hands of a great story and good actor, can give reality a good shake."—Connie Congdon, author of Tales of the Lost Formicans

    "Ilan Stavans’ wonderful The Oven is a daring reveal of his deep dive into another culture, told with humor, poignancy, and excitement. His self-effacement and emotional awareness pokes holes at academic stuffiness. He is fully in it, and brings his audience along on this spiritual journey both of the shamanic tradition he visits in Latin America and his own deep Jewish heritage."—Stacy Klein, founder and director, Double Edge Theatre

    "Ilan Stavans is one of today’s most prolific shapers of Latinx letters, in his scholarly and creative work, and both are realized in this hybrid project. The Oven innovates in content and form. It offers a penetrating look behind the façade of our existence, in a non-appropriative way; Stavans is always conscious of his outsider/cosmopolitan status. It will certainly stimulate much critical and creative conversation and scholarship."—Frederick Luis Aldama, author of Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands and editor of The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Popular Culture

    "A compelling piece of stagecraft that documents the inner and outer workings of a mind on a narcotic trip, but it also documents the uncanny and serendipitous curiosity of a literature professor."—William A. Nericcio, editor of Homer from Salinas: John Steinbeck’s Enduring Voice for California

  • Fri. & Sat. July 5-6 at 8pm, Sunday July 7 at 4pm

    Lead Writer/Performer/Deviser: HILARY CHAPLAIN Director/Deviser NANCY SMITHNER Puppeteeers/Makers/Devisers: ARIEL LAURYN & MINDY ESCOBAR-LEANSE Composer/Musician: SERGEI DREZNIN Lighting Design: SABRINA HAMILTON Scenic Design: JUDY GAILEN Dramaturg: STEPHEN RINGOLD
    Our 2019 season opens with THE LAST RAT OF THERESIENSTADT, a show about Sofia Brünn, a Weimar cabaret star from 1930's Berlin who finds herself transplanted to Theresienstadt, a concentration camp in Czechoslovakia. In this completely foreign habitat, she forges an unlikely friendship with Pavel, a rat (played by a puppet), who despite the lack of food that has driven away the rest of his kind, remains out of love for her and her art. THE LAST RAT is show about resistance and hope, and the need to fill the soul as well as the body. A black comedy, it's a low tech, multi-media play with music, rod/bunraku style puppetry (our titular Rat), shadow puppetry,  overhead projections (artwork from the camp used to set the scene and illustrate a landscape for our story) — and three performers. Developed at Ko during a 2017 rehearsal residencythe piece was performed in New York at The Tank and to sold-out houses at two theater/puppet festivals in Poland.  It won the Jury Grand Prize, Student Jury Prize, Audience Prize, A Moment of Beauty in Puppetry  awards at the  Lalka Tez Cztowiek Puppet Fest, Warsaw, Poland. It will be touring to Israel in the fall. For adults, but appropriate for mature 10-11 year olds and up. Running time: Approx 75 mins.
  • Tense Vagina
    Fri. & Sat. July 14 & 15 at 8pm,  Sun. July 16 at 4pm Created and performed by SARA JULI TENSE  VAGINA: an actual diagnosis is about motherhood — its beauty, challenges, isolation, comedy and influence on the human experience. This hour-long evening-length solo uses humor, movement, sounds, songs, text and audience participation to reveal “all that is awesome and all that sucks” when it comes to being a mother. TENSE VAGINA focuses on the seldom-discussed and taboo aspects of motherhood, such as loss of bladder control, tears, monotony, loneliness and dildos. The narrative is anchored in sharing the physical therapy Sara received at The Pelvic Floor Rehab Center of New England as she sheds light and humor on her treatment of post-childbirth urinary incontinence. Created and Performed by Sara Juli with an original set by Pamela Moulton, Costume by Carol Farrell and with Lighting Design by Justin Moriarty, adapted by Sabrina Hamilton. The show runs 1 hour with no intermission and is not appropriate for children due to its strong language, subject matter and dildos. WE WILL BE PROVIDING ON-SITE CHILDCARE FOR THE SUNDAY, 4PM SHOW.  Please call the box office after July 3 at (413) 542-3750 to reserve and so that we can get information about your child.  
    “Who knew a tense vagina could be so funny?” – Dance View Times “Tense Vagina is the rare piece that harnesses art and advocacy into perfect harmony, making for an unforgettably hilarious and edifying experience.” – Independent Weekly "Like a standup routine performed in a supine position while doing Kegel exercises.” – The New Yorker "Tense Vagina is thrillingly feminist, and very much belongs to the current zeitgeist.” - The Five Point Star
  • OK, OK

    $11.00$24.00

    Fri. & Sat. July 12-13 at 8pm, Sunday July 14 at 4pm

    Writer/Performer: KATIE PEARL Additional Performers: LAURIE McCANTS, CARRIE  J. COLE,  SHEILA SIRAGUSA Scenic Design: SUSANNE HOUSTLE Lighting Design: SABRINA HAMILTON
    OK, OK is a performance reckoning with the racism of today through the lens of what Katie Pearl learned—and didn't learn—about Oklahoma history while growing up in Tulsa, OK. Performed by Pearl with a local ensemble of four, OK, OK weaves together personal biography and civic narrative to crack open closed surfaces and get at what’s underneath. Hilarious, heartbreaking and informative, it reveals the truths and untruths we as a country tell ourselves about who we are, where we came from, and where we're going.
    OK, OK was developed, in part, during a 2018 Ko Festival Rehearsal Residency.
    Running time: Approx. 85 minutes. Suitable for ages 12 and up.
  • LIKE A MOTHER BEAR

    $11.00$24.00
    Fri. & Sat. July 27-28 at 8pm, Sunday July 29 at 4pm BLACK SWAN ARTS & MEDIA Writer/Performer: HELEN STOLTZFUS Director/Dramaturg: ALBERT GREENBERG Original Director/Dramaturg Martha Boesing Lighting Design: SABRINA HAMILTON What happens when the last grizzly bear dies? What happens to a sleep that is no longer slept by a bear? LIKE A MOTHER BEAR follows one woman’s extraordinary journey to healing in which she encounters the Great Bear Mother of the imagination and the very real endangered bear of the wilderness.  Based on the playwright’s personal story, this life-changing experience propels her on an odyssey that moves from the bear den of dreams to the office of an Elvis-impersonating acupuncturist to the Alaska wilderness. She relives her past illness and infertility, grappling with the “womb-knowledge” that insists that life continue even in the face of environmental devastation. In the wilds she comes to understand the connection between her own endangered health and that of the threatened grizzly bear – as well as the painful and exhilarating secret of what it means to become like a mother bear. In this groundbreaking call to action, personal healing and the welfare of future generations are inextricably entwined with the survival of the natural world. A compelling quest for birth of spirit… San Francisco Examiner This is a deeply significant personal journey that has great meaning for individual women and for the planet... Jean Shinoda Bolen, author of Goddesses in Every Woman and Close to the Bone