• (dis)Place[d]

    $10.00$24.00

    Fri. & Sat. July 26-27 at 8pm, Sunday July 28 at 4pm

    fool'sFURY

    Written and performed by DEBÓRAH ELIEZER Directed by BEN YALOM Video Design: KEDAR LAWRENCE Lighting Design: SABRINA HAMILTON

    In (dis)Place[d], foolsFURY Co-Artistic Director Debórah Eliezer cracks open the assumptions of her own identity through the story of her father, Edward Ben-Eliezer, an Iraqi Jew born in 1930, a member of the Zionist underground, refugee, Israeli spy, and immigrant to America. Eliezer brings twenty years’ experience as an acclaimed physical performer to create a dozen different characters, including her father at three different ages, her great grandmother, their Iraqi neighbors, an ethereal embodiment of the Tigris Euphrates valley itself, refugees, immigrants, and more. First generation immigrants have often hidden the stories of their past, sometimes to keep painful memories from their children, sometimes to enthusiastically embrace their new countries. The children are caught between cultures, with no way of acknowledging a multi-national, multi-ethnic identity. It was not until Eliezer’s father had begun his descent into dementia that she began to glimpse his past. “We kept cyanide in our socks,” he said out of the blue one day. And she learned that her peace-loving father had been a spy for the Israeli Defense Forces. Other stories trickled out:
    • as a child he hid for days on a rooftop as Baghdadi Jews were slaughtered during the Farhoud, a Nazi-inspired “pogrom”;
    • at 11 he joined the Zionist underground, smuggling weapons;
    • at 19 he was targeted for assassination, fled Baghdad, crossed the desert on foot, and lived in a refugee camp on the Iraq/Iran border for two years;
    • he managed to bring 8 of his 9 siblings to Israel, unable to save the eldest, who stayed behind and was killed.
    Bit by bit Debórah uncovered her roots, and the remarkable history of the Iraqi Jewish Diaspora. Remarkable because Jews had been deeply integrated into Iraqi life for over 2500 years, and made up a third of Baghdad’s population in 1940. And because, within a decade, all 130,000 were gone, expelled, escaped, or killed. Today fewer than 10 Jews remain in Iraq. (DIS)PLACE[D] follows her exploration of these stories, and asks hard questions: Who has the right to tell the story of a people? What is the significance of borders versus land and culture? What is the relationship of nationality to identity? The work aims to open a space for community dialogue around these issues in general, and specifically within the diaspora of Mizrahi Jews. Through this journey, the artist also finds a missing part of herself, “a song sung in a language I can’t understand” as she puts it. “A dream I can’t remember.”

    “Luminous…So beautifully written, performed and directed that you might wish it were longer.” (SF Examiner)

  • mettawee-ko-2017

    BEFORE THE SUN & MOON

    $8.00$10.00
    Sunday, July 23 at 8pm - One Show Only! Special All-Ages Event Performed by the METTAWEE RIVER THEATRE COMPANY Directed by RALPH LEE The Mettawee River Theatre Company has spent two years preparing this new piece, BEFORE THE SUN AND MOON, which is drawn from an ancient Korean folktale. It is a magical story, in which a husband and wife discover the power of love and devotion through many unexpected challenges and wild adventures. 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. On the Amherst College Observatory Lawn off of Snell Street in Amherst. Bring blankets, lawn chairs and insect repellent, but leave the dogs at home! Tickets: $9 Adults / $7 Children (12 & under). Cash or check only, No credit cards at the door. No reservations necessary! (Unless the weather looks iffy on the day of the performance, in which case the rain space is the Holden  Theatre) Running Time: Approx. 1 hour. Mettawee's performance at Ko is supported, in part, by the Amherst Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency
  • DEATH OF A MAN

    $10.00$24.00
    Fri. & Sat. July 28-29 at 8pm, Sunday July 30 at 4pm NEW WORLD PERFORMANCE LAB Conceived and performed by JAIRO CUESTA Directed by JAMES SLOWIAK Two years ago, NWPL set out on an expedition to understand their hometown’s relationship with rubber. Through the pillaging of natural rubber in the Amazon forests, and the working class citizens who broke their backs building tires – Akron, OH became the "Rubber City." In this solo performance Colombian actor and NWPL C0-Artistic Director,  Jairo Cuesta performs a ritual of storytelling, a sacrifice to heal the city. In this moving evocation of the jungles of the Amazon where countless indigenous men, women, and children were mutilated and massacred in the mad search for natural rubber, Cuesta seeks to lead the public on a quest for the sources of a city’s sorrow. Through his virtuosic physical and vocal skills, Cuesta enacts a ritual of storytelling, a sacrifice to heal the city by confronting the violence and blood on which the city is built.  The piece has been directed by University of Akron theatre professor and NWPL co-artistic director James Slowiak. DEATH OF A MAN is an attempt at authentic intercultural understanding by reengaging the past and bringing it alive in the present. The performance is not meant to sentimentalize the story or merely invoke empathy, but to interrogate, criticize, and empower by opening a dialogue between text, past, present, performer, and audience.  The performance event is based loosely on John Tully’s book, “The Devil’s Milk: A Social History of Rubber,” along with other historical and fictional sources. Cuesta and Slowiak traveled to the Amazon in 2016 where they engaged in meetings with members of the indigenous community represented in the performance. Watch this fascinating video about their trip to the Amazon.
    Watch Videoi
  • INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS

    $11.00$24.00
    Fri. & Sat. August 3 & 4 at 8pm, Sunday August 5 at 4pm INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS is hand-made by Laurie McCants, in collaboration with director/lighting designer Sabrina Hamilton, scenic designer F. Elaine Williams, and composer Guy Klucevsek, who has created a haunting score with piano, violin, accordion, and toy piano. Funded in part by the Amherst Cultural Council, a local agency which is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council. INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS is a solo hand-crafted-story-spinning-shadow-puppet-memory-play-with-music evoking the secret creative lives of women, mother/daughter bloodlines, and the ghost of Emily Dickinson. In a shadowed attic, crammed with curio cabinets, work tables, chests and drawers (containers for mementos and unmentionables), a daughter searches for what it is that ties together her mother, herself, and a radical, elusive poet. A story about the crafting of stories, INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS was conceived by actor/creator Laurie McCants on a visit to Emily Dickinson’s home, where the poet wrote the almost 1800 poems that were found after her death.  The story unfolds through puppetry, paper-cutting, music, movement, light and dark, and the weaving together of words.  It is a dance of the hands honoring women’s handiwork:  mending, preserving, ordering, adorning, writing, hiding. This piece was developed at the Ko Festival of Performance and the Bloomsburg Theatre Ensemble in Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania. It first premiered at the Ko Festival in 2011 and is being reworked and revived this year at Ko in conjunction with Annual Meeting of the Emily Dickinson International Society which is being hosted by the Emily Dickinson Museum. An elite group of musicians, from as far afield as Vienna, gathered to record Klucevsek’s score for INDUSTRIOUS ANGELS. They include Todd Reynolds on violin, pianist and toy piano prodigy Isabel Ettenauer, and the composer on accordion.
  • Jimmy and Lorraine

    JIMMY & LORRAINE

    $11.00$24.00

    Sunday Performance is almost sold out. Call box office for ticket availability. (413) 542-3750 Tickets still available for Sunday performance.

    Fri. & Sat. July 7 –8 at  8pm, Sun. July 9 at 4pm.

    by TALVIN WILKS

    Performed by HARTBEAT ENSEMBLE

    Developed by playwright Talvin Wilks through research and in collaboration with HartBeat Ensemble members, this play is a meditation on the American political climate of the late '50s and early '60s through the lens of two significant artists and social activists of the time. James Baldwin and Lorraine Hansberry were firebrands who helped to forge an image of a true America, an inclusive America, one that debunked all notions of a second-class citizenship. Significant speeches, television interviews, and political debates all served as fodder for this investigation. The result is a piece that gives a view of the personal lives of the two artists, exploring key relationships that navigate the challenging terrain of race, class, sexuality, and friendship while holding up a mirror to America’s history and shedding light on the issues of race, art and politics in an ever-changing multicultural society. James Baldwin taught locally at Hampshire College and UMASS. We hope that post-show discussions will feature recollections by his colleagues.

    HartBeat's performances at Ko are supported, in part, by the the New England States Touring Programs of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the 6 New England state arts agencies.
    “Simply put, this seemingly modest gem is one of the best plays of the year..." —Frank Rizzo, Hartford Courant

    Jimmy & Lorraine was nominated for the 2015 Best New Play award by the American Theater Critics Circle.
  • KOFEST STORY SLAM 2018

    $11.00$17.00
    CLICK HERE FOR INFO ABOUT OUR 2019 STORY SLAM on JULY 20
    Saturday, July 21 2018 at 8pm - one night only!
    WE ARE VERY CLOSE TO SELLING OUT AND ARE NO LONGER SELLING TICKETS ONLINE! PLEASE CALL THE BOX OFFICE AT (413) 542-3750 TO CHECK FOR AVAILABILITY OR TO GET ON THE WAITING LIST. You’ve heard of poetry slams – competitive poetry events. This is one is for first person, true stories – told live and without notes – just like most of the shows you see on the lineup this season. Cash Bar & Prizes! Tickets are $16, which goes to support the Ko Festival of Performance. Additional donations gratefully accepted.
    Stories must be true and told without notes, and under 5 minutes long, and related to our season theme of "RADICAL ACTS." It could be a story about you, or a story about someone or something you've personally observed, but somehow it must be have that first-person element. Lots of room for lots of kinds of stories. There will be some pre-selected ringers, but this might be your opportunity to take your place on the Ko Festival stage alongside KoFest artists & staff. We’ll have a few slots reserved for last minute sign-ups —our very first grand prize winner was someone who decided at the last minute to share a hilarious story about her experiences being fitted for a Playboy Bunny costume at the Playboy Club in NYC. If we have too many sign-ups, we’ll audition the first lines of stories – and audience members will get to vote on which ones should be told in their entirety! Feeling a bit unsure? We’re offering a limited number private storytelling coaching sessions from Ko Festival artists! Call 413.427.6147 to sign-up for one of these slots or for more information. Price for this coaching is a donation to the Ko Festival. Whatever you can afford. Know a great raconteur? – tell them about the event! Everyone should come prepared to listen, but you may want to come prepared to tell! Club style lighting will be by Holly Gettings. And to help you wet your whistle we’ll have a cash bar. And prizes! We'll be saving a few slots to be given away on the night - but we're currently accepting pitches for pre-slotting. To be considered for pre-slotting please email info@kofest.com about your story, and give us a little biographical background. Or you can call (413) 427-6147. You may also wish to hone your story by taking Gerard Stropnicky's FIRST PERSON: Crafting your Story for Performance Workshop which runs from July 16-21.
  • KOFEST STORY SLAM 2019

    $11.00$17.00

    Saturday, July 20 at 8pm - one night only!

    You’ve heard of poetry slams – competitive poetry events. This is one is for first person, true stories – told live and without notes – just like most of the shows you see on the lineup this season. Cash Bar & Prizes! Tickets are $16, which goes to support the Ko Festival of Performance. Additional donations gratefully accepted.
    Stories must be true and told without notes, and under 5 minutes long, and related to our season theme of "HABITAT."And this year we're interested in stories that have to do with human habitats - particularly changes in human habitats. For example we might have a story that looks back at where someone grew up, or about move to a new locale or culture.  It could be a story about you, or a story about someone or something you've personally observed, but somehow it must be have that first-person element. Lots of room for lots of kinds of stories. There will be some pre-selected ringers, but this might be your opportunity to take your place on the Ko Festival stage alongside KoFest artists & staff. We’ll have a few slots reserved for last minute sign-ups —our very first grand prize winner was someone who decided at the last minute to share a hilarious story about her experiences being fitted for a Playboy Bunny costume at the Playboy Club in NYC. If we have too many sign-ups, we’ll audition the first lines of stories – and audience members will get to vote on which ones should be told in their entirety! Feeling a bit unsure? We’re offering a limited number private storytelling coaching sessions from Ko Festival artists! Call 413.427.6147 to sign-up for one of these slots or for more information. Price for this coaching is a donation to the Ko Festival. Whatever you can afford. Know a great raconteur? – tell them about the event! Everyone should come prepared to listen, but you may want to come prepared to tell! Club style lighting will be by Holly Gettings. And to help you wet your whistle we’ll have a cash bar. And prizes! We'll be saving a few slots to be given away on the night - but we're currently accepting pitches for pre-slotting. To be considered for pre-slotting please email info@kofest.com about your story after July 1, and give us a little biographical background. Or you can call (413) 427-6147. You may also wish to hone your story by taking Gerard Stropnicky's FIRST PERSON: Crafting your Story for Performance Workshop which runs from July 15-20.
  • LESSONS OF HUMANITY

    $11.00$24.00

    Fri. & Sat. August 2 & 3 at 8pm, Sunday August 4 at 4pm

    An original performance by SAMITE

    Lighting Design by Sabrina Hamilton

    A performance tailor-made by Samite to fit KoFest's 2019 season theme of "HABITAT: (human)" using a rich a blend of traditional African music and personal stories that draw on his own experience of war in Idi Amin’s Uganda, and his life as a refugee who finds his new home in rural upstate New York to be a place from which he can reach out globally to help remind others of their strength, so that they may find peace. Funded in part by the Expeditions program of the New England Foundation for the Arts, made possible with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts Regional Touring Program and the six New England state arts agencies.
  • 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