Nine post-show conversations open to those attending WAM’s “Bakelite Masterpiece”

(l to r ) The Berkshire Theatre Group's Artistic Director Kate Maguire, actors Corinna May and David Adkins, and WAM co-founder Kristen van Ginhoven.

(l to r ) The Berkshire Theatre Group’s Artistic Director Kate Maguire, actors Corinna May and David Adkins, and WAM co-founder Kristen van Ginhoven.

WAM Theatre has scheduled a series of comprehensive audience enrichment programs around their upcoming co-production with the Berkshire Theatre Group of The Bakelite Masterpiece. The play is written by Kate Cayley and directed by WAM Artistic Director Kristen van Ginhoven. Funded by Mass Humanities, the post-show conversations take place with the playwright and other notable scholars, program notes, plus a lobby display and resource list exploring Truth and Reconciliation from World War II to today. There is also a subsidized ticket program.

“The Bakelite Masterpiece explores the themes of humanity’s ever-present need for justice and our search for truth,” van Ginhoven explained. “And so the aim of our audience enrichment program is to promote critical, reasoned, and open-minded discussions of the basic values around truth and reconciliation that are at stake both in the play and in our world today.”

The play is set at the end of World War II. Holland is in chaos. The artist Han van Meegeren is arrested. His crime? Selling a long-lost painting by the Dutch Master Johannes Vermeer to Hermann Goering, Nazi leader. His defense? It was a perfect forgery painted by him. His proof? In front of his prosecutor, art historian and resistance fighter Geert Piller, he must paint another flawless Vermeer to save his life. A play that debates beauty, faith, memory, and the reconstruction of a country. The cast features Corinna May and David Adkins.

Scholarly Notes

The primary scholar on this project is Brenda Oppermann, a senior advisor for military and civilian organizations working primarily on issues concerning international peace and conflict. She is currently a Visiting Professor at the Bush School of Government and Public Service, Texas A&M University. She lives in the Berkshires when not traveling for work. The production playbill will include program notes written by Oppermann giving an overview of formal and informal Truth and Reconciliation efforts throughout the world since World War II, and how humanity’s ever-present need for justice has influenced the success and failure of these efforts.

Post-Show Conversations

There will be a facilitated post-show conversation after each weekend matinee and a couple of the evening performances to promote open discussion of the larger issues around Truth and Reconciliation directly affecting our community. The conversations will dive into what Truth and Reconciliation means to us today and what it asks of us. The conversations will be moderated by van Ginhoven and WAM Education Coordinator Alicia Maher, and will feature Brenda Oppermann and the playwright Kate Cayley, as well as other community members.

These conversations will provide a space for the audience to share their thoughts, engage with the issues around Truth and Reconciliation embedded in the play and how they relate to our responsibilities as citizens.

Post-Show Conversation Schedule

Sunday, October 2, following the 2pm matinee:
Kate Cayley, playwright

Thursday, October 6, following the 7pm performance:
David Adkins and Corinna May, actors

Saturday, October 8, following the 2pm matinee:
David Adkins and Corinna May, actors

Sunday, October 9, following the 2pm matinee:
Adriana Millenaar Brown, author of An Unlikely Hero: Adrianus Millenaar Dutch Farmer Turned Diplomat in World War II Europe

Friday, October 14, following the 7pm performance:
Brenda Oppermann, scholar

Saturday, October 15, following the 2pm performance:
Brenda Oppermann, scholar

Sunday, October 16, following the 2pm performance:
Representatives from the Berkshire Commission on the Status of Women
Julia Courtney, Curator of Art, Springfield Museum

Saturday, October 22, following the 2pm performance:
Designers of The Bakelite Masterpiece

Sunday, October 23, following the 2pm closing performance:
Artist Suzi Banks Baum and Brooke Mead of the Berkshire Immigrant Center, WAM’s beneficiaries for The Bakelite Masterpiece. Ms Baum and Ms. Mead will speak about their respective projects and how WAM’s donation will be used to further the impact of their work. The check presentation of WAM’s donation will follow. To learn more about the 2016 Beneficiaries, visit:

Resource List
A suggested reading list will be included in the playbill. Oppermann and Cayley have selected five resources – books, websites, or articles – which provide audience members with opportunities for further personal research around Truth and Reconciliation.

Lobby Display
In the lobby of the theatre, there will be a larger visual display of Oppermann’s program notes. Oppermann has also gathered the information for a visual timeline of examples of Truth and Reconciliation efforts prior to and after the time period of the play.

Subsidized Ticket Program
As in past years, a portion of this grant allows WAM Theatre to offer subsidized tickets to our partner organizations, including Berkshire Immigrant Center, Multicultural BRIDGE, the Rite of Passage and Empowerment for Girls Program, The Elizabeth Freeman Center, and Moments House. Each year we reach out to more organizations to ensure all audiences have equal opportunity to engage with our work, regardless of circumstance.

Performances and Tickets

The Bakelite Masterpiece tickets are $50, all preview tickets are $45. Tickets may be purchased in person at the Colonial Theatre ticket office at 111 South Street, Pittsfield; by calling 413-997-4444, or online at

Preview performances are scheduled for September 29 and 30. Opening is October 1st and the play runs through October 23 on the Larry Vaber Stage at the Berkshire Theatre Group’s Unicorn Theatre, 6 East Street, Stockbridge, MA. Matinees are at 2pm and evening performances are at 7pm.

Production Sponsors: Bobbi Hallig, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Berkshire Magazine, Furlano & Arace PC, Mass Humanities.

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