In one of the most unexpected bookings of the summer – and the most welcomed – comes news that New York City’s famous (among the theaterati) QWAN Company is planning a single performance at the Colonial Theatre in Pittsfield on August 20 at 7:30 PM.
Randy Harrison Jenn Harris and Chris Coulson
QWAN (Quality Without a Name) means that Randy Harrison (Broadway’s Wicked, Showtime’s “Queer as Folk”) will be back in his favorite summer home, and with him will be Christian Coulson (Tom Riddle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.) and Jenn Harris (Confessions of a Shopaholic), all Berkshire Theatre Festival alum, and members of the impromptu and inventive QWAN Company.
Jack Ferver, Phillip Taratula and Matthew Wilkas too!
QWAN Company (Quality Without A Name) is coming to the Colonial to present two of their favorite dramatic parodied readings. Don’t miss NOTES!!!, based on the film Notes on a Scandal and SWAN!!!, based on the film Black Swan.
Inspired by the movie Black Swan, SWAN!!! finds a goldmine of material to parody. In the SWAN!!! satire, Nina (Jenn Harris) is freaking out. She is freaking out because she really wants to play the Swan Queen in the new production of Swan Lake.
She is also freaking out because she is crazy. And so is her mother (Randy Harrison). And so is the choreographer (Christian Coulson) she works under, and we mean works under. And so is the former prima ballerina Winona Ryder, we mean Beth (Matthew Wilkas). The pressure is a lot, and she finds a little release, and we mean release, when she meets hot new bad ballet girl in town, Lily (Jack Ferver). However, she gets a little more than nervous when it seems Lily may want her part. Things boil up and over, and there is self-mutilation and violence towards MOM — and cunnilingus and jetés.
NOTES!!! is a Parody of Notes on a Scandal
An over-the-top, insane evening of lesbian lust, sociopath school teachers, and outlandish fighting, sex, and more fighting — all done with British accents! Played with camp hysteria (and quite a bit more actually) of the 2006 film that it parodies, this reading features stars of film, television, Broadway, Off-Broadway, and… contemporary dance?
Middle-aged, lonely, and bitter teacher, Barbara, played by Philip Taratula (The Lily’s Revenge), falls for the young, lonely, and idealistic new teacher on the block, Sheba, played by Jack Ferver (Strangers With Candy). However, Sheba is married. Not a lesbian. And into her 15-year-old student. When Barbara discovers Sheba’s transgression, what ensues is a tense tête-à-tête of two desperate women. There will be tears before bedtime.
Both pieces are created and performed by Christian Coulson, Jack Ferver, Jenn Harris, Randy Harrison, Phillip Taratula and Matthew Wilkas. Time Out NY’s Adam Feldman calls NOTES!!! “Uproarious…pure camp gold.”
QWAN and BTG
In many ways QWAN is a forced marriage between Forbidden Broadway and Outrageous Hollywood. The members of the company are almost all alumni of the Berkshire Theatre Group from the days when it was the Berkshire Theatre Festival. They live and work in NYC, and have used the small company as a vehicle to explore the comic possibilities of high culture while honing their skills in improvisation, theatre writing and having fun at the same time.
Many members of the Berkshire Theatre family are in the QWAN company, including Jenn Harris who is currently starring is Silence: The Musical off-Broadway. Christian Coulson last appeared in the Berkshires in last year’s Dutch Masters. Randy Harrison had the title role in the sensational 2011 Tommy, and has appeared annually in Stockbridge for the past six years in plays as diverse as Equus, Waiting for Godot, Endgame and Ghosts. He recently completed a double run of Red to rave reviews at New Jersey’s George Street Playhouse and the Cleveland Playhouse.
Tickets to QWAN Company Presents SWAN!!! and NOTES!!! are $20-$45. Tickets are on sale to members Friday, July 6 and on sale to all on Monday, July 9. Contact the Stockbridge Campus Ticket Office at 83 East Main Street, by calling 413-298-5576 or the Colonial Ticket Office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield by calling 413-997-4444. Tickets can also be bought online at www.berkshiretheatregroup.org. Ticket Offices are open Monday-Friday 10am-5pm, Saturdays 10am-2pm or on any performance day from 10am until curtain. All plays, schedules, casting and prices are subject to change.
Christian Coulson Theater: Travesties (McCarter), Dutch Masters (Berkshire Theatre Festival), Rumble Ghost (PS122), Ghosts (London’s Gate Theatre), Festen (UK national tour), Journey’s End (West End), Romeo and Juliet (Liverpool Playhouse). Film: Amateurs, Gayby, Leaving Circadia, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Hours, Four Feathers. TV: The Good Wife, Gossip Girl, Miss Marple, Charles II, Little Britain, Hornblower, Forsyte Saga, Love in a Cold Climate. Directing: Jeffery and Cole Make It Bigger (Here Arts Centre/Dixon Place), Kim Smith: Misfit (New York & Australia).
Jack Ferver is a choreographer, writer and performer living in New York City. He has been presented at The Kitchen (NYC), PS 122 (NYC), The New Museum (NYC), The Museum of Arts and Design (NYC), Institute of Contemporary Art (Boston, MA), Diverse Works in conjunction with the Contemporary Arts Museum of Houston (Houston, TX), Danspace Project (NYC), Abrons Art Center (NYC), and Théâtre de Vanves in France. Shorter and solo works have been presented at MoMA/PS1, Andrew Edlin Gallery, and NP Gallery (all NYC). His work has been written about in The New York Times, The Financial Times, The New Yorker, Artforum, Modern Painters, and Dance Magazine. As an actor he has been in numerous theatre, TV, and film projects, most recently the independent featureGayby. He teaches privately as well as at New York University and Bard College, and has set choreography at The Juilliard School.
Jenn Harris Off Broadway- Silence! The Musical, Modern Orthodox (Lucille Lortel Award & Theatre World Award) Understudied Julie White in The Understudy, New Jerusalem, Mercy on the Doorstep, Ashley Montana… Berkshire Theatre Festival-Pageant Play, The Heidi Chronicles. The Wilma Theatre-The Understudy. Williamstown- Blithe Spirit, God of Vengeance, The Winter’s Tale, Street Scene. NY-The Plank Project, My Deah, The Dilemma of Drugs, Our Hit Parade at Joes Pub, SWAN!!!, NOTES!!! Film: Better Living Through Chemistry, Gayby(Official Selection SXSW 2012), A Case of You, For A Good Time Call, Confessions of A Shopaholic. TV: 30 Rock, Bored to Death, Law & Order, Law & Order C.I., Guiding Light. Boston University School for the Arts, L.A.M.D.A., The Second City (Chicago).
Randy Harrison is currently in the off-Broadway show, Silence! The Musical. He made his Broadway debut as Boq in Wicked. His other New York credits include The Singing Forest (Public Theatre/NYSF), Antony and Cleopatra (Theatre for a New Audience), Edward the Second (Red Bull Theater), A Letter from Ethel Kennedy(MCC), NOTES!!! and SWAN!! with the QWAN Company at PS122, Abrons Arts Center and Theatre 80, and numerous appearances in Our Hit Parade at Joe’s Pub. Regionally, he most recently appeared as Ken in Red at the George Street Playhouse and Cleveland Playhouse as well as in Alan Bennet’s The Habit of Art at the Studio Theatre in DC, Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Theatre, DC), Pop! (Yale Rep),The Glass Menagerie (Guthrie Theatre), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (SITI Company/ASF). Randy has spent six very happy summers at BTG. Some favorites here includeTommy, Ghosts, Waiting for Godot and Amadeus. His film and television work includes five seasons on Showtime’s Queer as Folk, Bang Bang You’re Dead, andGayby.
Phillip Taratula recently played Time in The Deepest Play Ever at the New Ohio Theater. Other NY theatre credits include Taylor Mac’s Obie-winning The Lily’s Revenge (HERE Arts Center); Call Me Anne (Access Theater, also scripted); Two Gentlemen of Verona (Poor Tom); 6969 (59E59 Theatres); White Noise (NYMF); Accidentally, Like a Martyr (Wild Project). Regional credits include The Soldier’s Tale (Castleon Festival, Lorin Maazel conductor); The George Place (Welfleet Harbor Actors Theater); Out of Sterno (Portland Stage Co.); The King Stag (Williamstown Theatre Festival). He can be seen on the web series The Outs. BFA, Boston University School of Theatre.
Matthew Wilkas has worked off-Broadway at The Mint, The Rattlestick, and PS122. Regionally he has worked at the Berkshire Theatre Festival, Williamstown, The Huntington and Syracuse Stage. He has made appearances in Law and Order, Ugly Betty, Hope and Faith, All my Children and As The World Turns. Film work includes:The Bits Inbetween, Gayby (the short and feature), Curious Thing, and The New Twenty. He is currently playing Flash Thompson in Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark on Broadway.
First there is this incredibly short and subtle video put together by Randy Harrison and friends:
And then, if you have not seen Jenn Harris and Matthew Wilkas at work, this new film that is making the round of the film festivals will give you a real laugh:
Finally, there’s a fascinating story behind the Keep Calm and Carry On Poster.