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MCLA Presents! Home: Past Shows : 2011 / 2012 Season  

Joan Soriano: The Duke of Bachata

September 24 - 3pm
MCLA Academic Quad
In Honor of Hispanic Heritage Month - Co-Presented with MCLA's Latin American Society, the ALANA Office & Clubs and Student Development

You cannot help moving your feet to the beat of Soriano's bachatas and meringues. Born in the rural countryside of the Dominican Republic, Soriano made his first guitar out of a tin can and fishing line and has not stopped playing since.  Through beautiful melodies and fiery dance rhythms, Soriano brings to the stage the stories of love, life, and the culture of Latin America. 

Known as the "Duke of Bachata" Soriano plays music with origins in the Dominican Republic but deep roots in the regions of Africa, Europe, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Soriano plays Afro-Dominican traditional salve and palo drums, blending percussive styles with bachata, creating fresh sounds. Join the celebration as we kick off the MCLA Presents! 2011 Season with The Duke of Bachata and a party on the Quad.

Housing Sponsor: Williamstown Motel


Drawing from the Body

September 29 & 30 - 6pm and 8pm each night
October 1 - Video Portraits Workshop

MAYA IV Gallery DownStreet Art, North Adams
Co-Presented with Williams College Dance Department as a part of DownStreet Art

The back room of the DownStreet Art gallery MAYA IV in downtown North Adams is transformed by DRAWING FROM THE BODY, an installation performance by an by choreographer Polly Motley, video artist Molly Davies, and composer Paul Geluso. DRAWING FROM THE BODY consists of two works Autopsy and Dressing. Autopsy has live video feed from two cameras, mixed by Molly Davies. Motley's performance occurs and is shot in one room while the video mix is displayed large in another. The audience moves between the two rooms choosing the timing and perspectives from which to view the 40-minute work. They are given cameras and their photographs along with a mix of the performance video may be left in installation.
Dressing is an interactive, three-monitor installation of a four-minute, three synchronous-image work. The piece plays two complete loops and is then joined by a large display of Motley's live dressing simultaneously occurring in another room.
VIDEO PORTRAITS, a performance-video workshop will be held on October 1st.
VIDEO PORTRAITS is a three-part performance-video interface that yields a multi-perspective characterization of each performer. The performer is recorded and projected simultaneously with a 2-4 minute performative action.  This repeats two more times while the previous footage is also projected.  Workshop participants will shoot and mix video and/or perform.  The process is open to the public.

Polly Motley has been choreographing and performing since 1974, showcasing
her work in NYC at the Jack Tilton Gallery, the Kitchen and Danspace Project as well as at the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival, and venues in Europe, Japan and Indonesia.

Molly Davies has been making experimental films since the 1960's,
collaborating with artists including John Cage, Lou Harrison, and Anne Carson.
Davies's films have been shown at venues including The Whitney Museum, The Walker Art Center, and the Venice Film Festival.

Housing Sponsor: Scarafoni Associates


Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship Concert: Stew & The Negro Problem

October 22 - 8pm
MCLA Church Street Center, Auditorium
Sponsored by the MCLA Multicultural Resource Center and Clubs and the Hart Scholarship Committee

Tony Award-winning musical writer of the contemporary jazz-rock-musical Passing Strange, Stew and his partner Heidi Rodewald, of Stew & The Negro Problem, will be headlining the annual Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship Concert.

Stew & The Negro Problem are to hit the stage performing new work, musical numbers from Passing Strange which combines the cultural lifestyles of jazz, rock, and rap in the coming of age tale of a young African-American man, as well as the work of Kurt Weill/Bertolt Brecht.  Clearly, an evening not to be missed; Stew & The Negro Problem take the stage for one night only in North Adams, MA.

All proceeds benefit the Margaret A. Hart '35 Scholarship.


The End by Samuel Beckett
Directed by Judy Hegarty Lovett
Performed by Conor Lovett
A Gare St. Lazare Players Ireland Production

October 29 - 7:30pm

MCLA Church Street Center, Auditorium 
Co-Presented with MCLA's Fine and Performing Arts Department 

The Gare St. Lazare Players of Ireland, with internationally renowned Beckett actor Conor Lovett, return to MCLA Presents! with The End, a companion piece to last year's performance of First Love.  This heartbreaking and hilarious production features a man near the end of his life, expelled from an institution of care, and left to fend for himself.

Lovett's work with Gare St. Lazare Players of Ireland on Samuel Beckett has gained him a reputation as one of the foremost Beckett interpreters. In all, he has performed 17 Beckett roles in 23 different Beckett productions internationally. He has appeared in Ireland, UK, China, France, Germany, Holland, Israel, USA, and Spain.



Water Is Rising: Music and Dance amid Climate Change 

November 15 -7:30pm
MCLA Church Street Center, Auditorium 
Co-Presented with MCLA Environment Studies Department

Performance and purpose collide in this powerful presentation that illuminates the plight of the Pacific Islands. Scientists report the vulnerable coral atolls of Kiribati Tokelau and Tuvalu are already experiencing rising sea levels as result of global warming and climate change. Thirty-six dancers and musicians express their deep connection to nature and their ancestral past through multi-part harmonies, poetry, and gracious movement cascading over dynamic rhythms inspiring us all to be better stewards of our shared planet. Water is Rising harnesses the power of performance art in an impassioned plea for global awareness and social change.  

A project of UCLA Center for Intercultural Performance in collaboration with the Foundation for World Arts and the EarthWays Foundation.

Official Airline Sponsor: Air Pacific
Housing Sponsor: Porches Inn at MASS MoCA

C. Ryder Cooley - XMALIA

January 25 - 7:30pm
MCLA Venable Gymnasium  
In collaboration with DownStreet Art; Co-Presented with MCLA Art Department

A lonely mortician, who summons the animals back to life for her Graveyard Cabaret, hosts this entertaining tragedy about extinction. Performed with taxidermy animals, aerial movement, mesmerizing video and bitter-sweet songs about the Tasmanian tiger, the Pyrenean ibex, and the Xerces butterfly.  C. Ryder Cooley weaves together songs on the accordion, ukulele, and singing saw with projections and movement, revealing a terrain of lost dreams and phantom memories.

C. Ryder Cooley is a visual artist, musician and performer whose work has been shown around the country including DownStreet Art, Club Helsinki and Proctors.  She has performed in numerous bands, including Fall Harbor, Jug Stompers, The Darklings, Corner Tour, and Down River. 

Housing Sponsor: Holiday Inn




A TWO NIGHT EVENT with Misty Blues and Blitz The Ambassador as part of the 7th Annual MCLA Blues & Funk Festival

Misty Blues
February 3 - 9pm
Public Eat and Drink Restaurant: 34 Holden St.

Blitz The Ambassador
February 4 - 7:30pm
MCLA Venable Gymnasium

Local and international artists, from the Berkshires to Ghana, come together this year to celebrate Blues and Funk! Misty Blues and Blitz The Ambassador provide two great nights of soul pumping music.

Get the party started Friday night with local favorite Misty Blues, from Williamstown. Misty Blues puts old jazz on its head and spins it. Paying homage to the great female jazz singers and players of yester-years, lead vocalist Gina Coleman keeps the sound fun and energetic with jazz influences to which all can dance.

Local and international artists, from the Berkshires to Ghana, come together this year to celebrate Blues and Funk! and provide two great nightsof soul pumping music. Get the party started Friday night with local favorite Misty Blues, from Williamstown. Misty Blues puts old jazz on its head and spins it. Paying homage to the great female jazz singers and players of yester-years, lead vocalist Gina Coleman keeps the sound fun and energetic with jazz influences to which all can dance.

The celebration continues Saturday night with Ghanaian-born, New York-based MC, composer, and producer Blitz The Ambassador. Unleashing psychedelic Afrobeat colors and triple time rhymes with a spot-on sense of flow. Blitz The Ambassador has a lightning-fast mind, the political boldness of Chuck D, and the sixth groove sense of Fela Kuti. Calling upon the flow of old school hip-hop and the unique shifting between English, West African, and Ethiopian jazz, Blitz the Ambassador never stumbles over his words and messages.

Housing Sponsor: Williamstown Motel



3rd Annual Sekou Sundiata Evening of Spoken Word & Poetry, featuring the voices of MCLA and Williams Students, hosted by Shailja Patel

February 24 - 6pm
MCLA Gallery 51
Co-presented with Williams College Stalwart Originality: New Traditions in Black Performance and MCLA English Department 

Join us in the intimate setting of MCLA's Gallery 51 for our third annual evening of poetry and spoken word, dedicated to the life and work of the great poet Sekou Sundiata.

Shailja Patel is an award-winning poet, playwright, and theatre artist. Born and raised in Kenya, Patel has lived in London and San Francisco, and now divides her time between Nairobi and Berkeley. Trained as a political economist, accountant and yoga teacher, she honed her poetic skills in performances that have received standing ovations on three continents.


Living in Exile - Production by American Vicarious Production

13 - 8pm,
14 - 3pm & 8pm
15 - 5pm

107 Main Street
Co-Presented with Williams College's Off Center Series

Waiting for Godot adapting director, Chris McElroen and Krapp's Last Tape actor T. Ryder Smith return to MCLA Presents! with  John Lipsky's anti-war play Living in Exile. A radically intimate two-character retelling of Homer's Iliad performed in a private living room, Living in Exile is eloquent, moving, and often violent. Drawing scary on-point comparisons between the first nine years of the Trojan War and the conflict in Vietnam, and our current eleven years of war in the Middle East, Living in Exile is meditation on the human costs of prolonged warfare, imperialist culture shock and the citizen-as-spectator.
Actors and audiences experienced the play in the same intimate setting: an American living room.
The show was sold out every night!

Housing Sponsor: Orchards Hotel 


3rd Annual PAM! Show

May 6
Downtown North Adams 

The Pam! Show is fully programmed and produced by the students of MCLA's Spring 2012 Performing Arts Management class under the guidance of Jonathan Secor, instructor and director of special programs at the College. Performers and location will be determined during the spring semester. Look for updates on our website at to see that MCLA's finest come up with.

"Performing Arts Management was by far one of the most valuable courses I have taken so far at MCLA. The whole class worked with Jonathan as a team to plan, program, and present MCLA's biggest event yet ... I am proud to have been a part of such an experience and I will carry it with me for the rest of my life." Karolyne Symonds '12 

FB invite [here] / Event blog [here]