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Screw your courage to the sticking place…

It’s been awhile since I did a YOUR WEEKEND round-up of select events in New Bedford – which used to be a regular feature of this blog. But since this weekend promises to be epic, I thought it a good time to jump back into the fray.

I was also persuaded to revisit YOUR WEEKEND due to the fact that I received something rare in my inbox this past week. A professionally-written press release for “Shakespeare in Buttonwood” from Korey Pimental. In a Communications-challenged city, it was a welcome sight  – and nice to know that at least UMass Dartmouth does something right by its Communications students! (Pimental is a recent grad.)

Anyway, let’s ease into things with…a picnic…

An AHA! Fun-Raiser


AHA! Director Lee Heald had a simple idea last summer that turned into something quite special. A bring-your-own-picnic at Haskell Public Gardens. It turned into a terrific community evening last year; every table was full and it was a pleasant happening with pleasant people in a pleasant place. Nothing wrong with that – in fact, there’s a lot right about that.

Tonight, it’s happening again from 6:00-8:00 p.m., again at Haskell, the sweet gem of a spot off Shawmut Avenue. $20 gets you a seat at the table, you bring a basket. In case you’re challenged in the kitchen, The Baker will be on hand with some treats for sale.

You can reserve a spot here – but do it quickly. The only thing slow about the night is the bluegrass band performing, Slow Boat Home.

Operation Clean Sweep


Groundwork! member, Mindy Wallis is into trash – as in, picking it up off our streets. It’s quite possible she’s volunteered for every neighborhood clean-up event since moving to the city a couple of years ago!

She’s at it again today – and wants to spread the word. Today’s Operation Clean Sweep kicks off from Servpro at 1476 Purchase Street at 8:30 a.m. It’s being co-hosted by Veterans Transition House & Anne Whiting Real Estate. If you’d like to lend a hand – and walk-ins are welcome – know the following: FREE breakfast; FREE T-Shirt; FREE Re-usable water bottle; FREE lunch by Domino’s Pizza; Gloves and tools provided; and Community Service hours provided.

Need more info to be persuaded? Find it here.

3rd EyE meets SUPERFLAT


You’d have to be living under a rock if you aren’t aware that what is going to make this weekend epic is the the 20th edition of the 3rd EyE Open – the homegrown, amazing hip hop music and dance festival.

Over 60 performers will be on stages throughout the downtown – and this year, there’s something new: SUPERFLAT, the public art group, will be holding their first mural festival at the same time. Indeed, the street art got underway in Wings Court and overlooking Custom House Square Park on Wednesday and runs through Saturday.

I write all about it in this week’s Coastin’ State of the Arts column, so follow this link to discover all the details!

Screw your courage to the sticking place.


Finally, here’s how Korey Pimental made the lives of Arts & Entertainment editors throughout Southcoast easier…lightly edited because old dogs can still teach young pups a trick or two. ;-)

Shakespeare in Buttonwood, New Bedford’s free Shakespeare event, returns for a three-performance run of the classic tragedy, Macbeth in Buttonwood Park. The tale of what happens when misguided ambition gets swept up in matters of fate marks the program’s second year, preceding the inaugural dystopian production of Romeo & Juliet last summer.

Shakespeare in Buttonwood’s Macbeth will run for three performances: Saturday, August 18 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. and Sunday, August 19 at 1:00 p.m. (NOTE: SATURDAY’S PERFORMANCES HAVE BEEN MOVED TO GALLERY X, 169 WILLIAM STREET, DUE TO THE LIKELY CHANCE OF SOME RAIN TODAY.)The show will take place at the Buttonwood Park baseball diamond, behind the Lawler Library. Audience members are encouraged to bring a blanket or a lawn chair as seating will not be provided. For more information, visit Shakespeare in Buttonwood presents Macbeth on Facebook.

“Last year, Shakespeare in Buttonwood launched with a unique vision of what Romeo & Juliet looked like to us as a company. This year, at least aesthetically, feels more like what a traditional production of this piece would be. However, we are still putting our own spin on the show.” Korey Pimental, Artistic Director of Glass Horse Project, states.

Continuing Shakespeare in Buttonwood with another tragedy was purely logistical, he continued, noting that Shakespeare’s tragedies are the ones most frequently read in schools and the texts the general population seems to remember best.

He adds, “I think why the tragedies are so well-known, both as great pieces of literature and great pieces of drama, is because they start off with a larger than life problem or anxiety that no one can figure out how to resolve and by the end, everyone has learned a lesson. It shows how mutable and possible of change humanity really is.”

Macbeth tells the story of a Scottish general and his quest for absolute power after a prophecy predicts his reign as king. Director Alyssa Steen, who played scene-stealing Mercutio in last year’s Romeo & Juliet, says “Macbeth is one of the greatest tragedies ever written and performed. It shows a darker truth to human nature; despite magic, or outside influence, the choice to act is ultimately up to the individual.”

This year’s production keeps the story in its original setting, opting to instead play up the fantastical and grittier elements of the Bard’s famous tragedy. Audience members can expect to see kilts and more traditional weaponry in the fight choreography, a staunch contrast from the unique weapons last year’s fights called for.

Garrett Olson, Glass Horse’s resident fight choreographer and fight and safety director adds, “I am thrilled and proud of the hard work our actors have done to create these very exciting and believable fights.”

The cast has been hard at work since the end of May, rehearsing every Saturday at the New Bedford Free Public Library—two hours in the morning for those involved in stage combat and an additional four hours to rehearse the show itself.

Leeandra Booth, who makes her Shakespeare in Buttonwood debut with Macbeth as both the gentlewoman and Third Witch acknowledges the level of commitment the cast has for the project by chiming in, “we are a group of hardworking individuals.”

The cast in total is made up of twelve total actors, with a large majority of the company taking on more than one role – as was common practice in Shakespeare’s time. The acting company of Macbeth spans a wide range in both age and experience. Some members of the company are trying Shakespeare for the first time, while others in the company have been acting for decades, both in community and professional settings.

This year’s production of Macbeth also marks the second year of collaboration between the City of New Bedford, New Bedford Free Public Library, New Bedford Department of Parks, Recreation, & Beaches, and local fringe theatre company, The Glass Horse Project.

This program is supported in part by a grant from the New Bedford, Dartmouth, Fairhaven, & Westport cultural councils, local agencies which are supported by the Mass Cultural Council, a state agency.

Steven Froias