Festival Fever: O Solo Mama Mia Festival, 5/5-15/11

Camilla Schade in 'Performing Therapy'
Camilla Schade in 'Performing Therapy'

WAM Theatre is wrapping up its spring season with O Solo Mama Mia, an ambitious theater festival of one-person shows. The festival of solo works written and performed by women will be presented from Thursday-Sunday, May 5-8 at Russell Sage College’s James L. Meader Theatre in Troy. And from Thursday-Sunday, May 12-15 the festival will move to the Storefront Artist Project in Pittsfield.

In conjunction with the theater festival, an exhibit of works exploring female empowerment created by a dozen artists from both the Capital Region and the Berkshires is currently on display at the Storefront Artist Project through Saturday, May 21.

Tickets are $25 (students $15) for each double bill performance. An all-festival pass good for all five performances in either location is also available for $40. Proceeds from the theater festival will benefit the training of at least one community midwife at Edna’s Hospital in Somaliland.

The O Solo Mama Mia Festival will feature the following performance pieces:

“My Salvation has A First Name: A Wienermobile Journey”: Based on the true story of an insecure goody-goody who overcomes years of bullying and finds redemption and her true voice behind the windshield of the Wienermobile. Using music, video and photo footage from her life on the hot dog highway, comedian Robin Gelfenbien tells the story of her transformation from underdog to “one of the most notorious Wienermobile drivers of all time.” (Time Out New York). Written and performed by Robin Gelfenbien. IN TROY: 7:30pm May 5; 7:30pm May 6. IN PITTSFIELD: 7:30pm May 12; 7:30pm May 14; 2pm May 15

“How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less”: Not a coming out story, but not not a coming out story. It’s a dynamic workshop led by teacher and motivational speaker Butchy McDyke that will help you become the “best lesbian you can be!” Writer and performer Leigh Hendrix links unique characters, personal story and a Reba McEntire song in a mostly funny and sometimes earnest exploration of how you can learn to confidently shout, “Iʼm a big ole dyke!” IN TROY: 7:30pm May 6; 2pm May 7. IN PITTSFIELD: 7:30pm May 12; 2pm May 14.

“Performing Therapy”: This one-woman, group-therapy comedy about depression is a sideways safari through loss, displacement, dementia, depression and the surprise healing nature of upstate New York. A ‘depressively experienced’-actress-turned-therapist leads group therapy in an attempt to provide helpful advice and therapeutic modalities to other ‘stressfully afflicted’. Art therapy with balloon animals, affirmations on Post-it notes and primal humming are some of the hopeful remedies. Written by Camilla Schade and Kira Lallas, and performed by Camilla Schade. IN TROY: 7:30pm May 5; 7:30pm May 7; 2pm May 8. IN PITTSFIELD: 7:30pm May 13; 2pm May 14; 2pm May 15.

“Paris 1890-Unlaced!”: Anne Undeland takes you on a quick and saucy romp through Paris in the Belle Epoque – a glittering world of infamous courtesans, imperious grandes dames and clueless but ambitious can-can dancers. Costume, accent and character changes keep the pace lively, delivering laughs, heart and, of course, a little risqué business. Written by Juliane Hiam, directed by Sarah Taylor and performed by Anne Undeland. IN TROY ONLY: 2 & 7:30pm May 7; 2pm May 8.

“Stories from Hell and High Water”: A solo version of Jamuna Yvette Sirker’s full length play, “Hell and High Water or When the Sky Falls,” this is a fantasia on the theme of security in America and a sharply satiric account of Sirker’s experience surviving the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Actor Richarda Abrams portrays Teacher Alice as well as six residents from her flooded New Orleans neighborhood: a nurse, a jazz singer, a photographer, an out of work actor and the spirit of a bag lady. IN PITTSFIELD ONLY: 7:30pm May 13; 7:30pm May 14.

Albany Tulip Festival @ Washington Park, Albany, May 7-8 FREE
Mountain Jam @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, June 2-5
Rhythm On the Ridge @ Maple Ski Ridge, Rotterdam, June 11
Wilco’s Solid Sound Festival @ MASS MoCA, North Adams, June 24-26
Old Songs Festival of Traditional Music and Dance @ Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, June 24-26
Freihofer’s Jazz Festival @ Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Saratoga Springs, June 25-26
The WGNA CountryFest @ the Altamont Fairgrounds, Altamont, July 9
Green River Festival @ Greenfield Community College, Greenfield, July 16-17
The Big Up @ Sunnyview Farm, Ghent, July 28-30
Bluestock Music Festival @ Hunter Mountain, Hunter, August 26-28

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