The Stone Witch (thru 8/20/16)
When the lights finally shine on the cave the disgruntled and enigmatic children’s book illustrator Simon (Judd Hirsch) calls home, the audience abruptly applauds because Hirsch, the highly-acclaimed Tony- Award winning actor, comes face to face with an audience that loves him. The applause quickly calms down, however, as the brilliance and chaos of his character slaps us in the face with his enigma and conflict. This is the World Premiere showing of “The Stone Witch”, and, as Hirsch shows us, we all have our own Stone Witch. "The Stone Witch" is the fine line between between soul and genius. It lives inside us, controlling us, like a puppet.
Peter (Rupak Ginn) is an aspiring children’s book author who worships Simon and his work, but remains unknown and unpublished and has no chance in hell to ever meet his hero. Peter has lots of talent but has never been published, and Simon has lots of published works but appears to have lost his talent. Peter’s agent (Kristin Griffith), the gatekeeper between the two, hatches just the plan for the apprentice to meet the artist. When Peter takes his new work to Simon, he steps not just into the lair of the master, but into the life and chaos of the genius, whose trials and inner conflict run parallel to the novel Peter just penned, the unpublished “The Stone Witch”.
We find ourselves face to face with Simon, a burned out and deeply troubled artist who looks in the mirror and sees the book Peter just wrote. If you wanted a glimpse into the life of artistic brilliance, you found it. Not since “Red” has a work come this close to showing us the inner turmoil we expect of those who create. Hirsch keeps Simon’s character moving, distraught, miserable yet vulnerable. We always had a hint brilliant and chaotic artists had demons. Now, we are introduced to them.
No lack of talent exists in this launch:: Hirsch, a character America loves and who has won every award possible, is directed by Steve Zuckerman (Everybody Loves Raymond). Penned by Shem Bitterman (Harm’s Way, Open House, and others), Stockbridge and the Fitzpatrick Mainstage are natural venues.
This is an exciting play, deeply intertwining artist and conflict, apprentice and master. World premieres are just that: Premiere’s. Changes are expected to be made and audience reaction is measured. This performance is near flawless. Hirsch carries the torch in a brilliant performance. The crowds came to see him, and he did not disappoint.
Go see it.
Richard DiMaggio, didyouweekend
90 minutes, no intermission.
by Shem Bitterman
with Rupak Ginn and Kristin Griffith
directed by Steve Zuckerman
Produced in association with Darlene Kaplan Entertainment and Brierpatch Productions
at The Fitzpatrick Main Stage, Stockbridge
Previews: July 21-22
Opening Night: Saturday, July 23
Closing: Saturday, August 20
Tickets: Preview: $45
Address: Stockbridge, MA, USA