This weekend is bubbling over with outdoor events, from the production of the iconic “Macbeth” in the wooded setting at Windhover under a large tent, to the Cape Ann Artisans mini-tour during the tax-free weekend, to Gloucester’s second Block Party downtown on Saturday, Aug 13, from 6 to 10 pm
Additionally, Cape Ann offers several free outdoor concerts weekly through the summer, starting with Thursday evening at Harbor Loop in Gloucester, followed by Music on the Meetinghouse Green in Gloucester on Friday evenings, and then the free Sunday concerts in Rockport at the Back Beach bandstand and also in Gloucester at the bandstand in Stage Fort Park (See Tunes on the Town).
In the realm of theatre, there are three productions going on at different venues. In addition to “Macbeth,” Gloucester Stage’s production of the Tony-Award winning “Grand Horizons” continues along with the annual summer musical of the Annisquam Village Players with “Mary Poppins.”
Shakespeare in Wooded Wonderland
The wooded setting of Windhover, the locale for Lanes Coven Theater Company’s production of “Macbeth,” provides the audience with a unique experience for this Shakespearean classic.
Surrounded by trees and under a tent, theater-goers can attend shows this Thursday, Aug. 11, to Sunday, Aug.14, and Aug. 18 to 21, all at 7:30 pm “Doors” open at 7 pm, and the audience can arrive early to picnic and BYOB.
“When you walk into Windhover, there’s an immediate sense of peace, relaxation and sacredness. You get the sense of the trees and the earth, and it enhances the supernatural element,” said Lily Narbonne, a founder of the theater company. “There’s something for everyone in this tale, including exciting movement and comedy to complement the intensive poetry.”
Set in medieval Scotland, the tale shares the story of Macbeth’s rise to power and his tragic downfall, which began after the warrior is visited by Three Witches to learn that he will become king. However, the witches also prophecize that future kings will be descended not from Macbeth but from another lineage.
The cast features the father-son duo of Gloucester’s Michael McNamara, who plays gentle King Duncan, and Max McNamara, who plays the role of Banquo, a fellow warrior lord. Oliver Shirley, who directed Lanes Coven’s “Taming of the Shrew” last year, plays the title role.
“Why Macbeth Now? We’ll embrace the beauty of the natural world on the edge of Cape Ann to investigate whose voice gets heard in institutions with power. In our hands, Shakespeare productions are meant to make the works understandable and accessible for all. Macbeth is still relevant after 400 years, because it reminds us to not get ahead of ourselves, or be ensnared in our own ‘vaulting ambitions,’” according to a theater statement.
The ambitious Lady Macbeth will be played by Adrianna Mitchell of New York City, who brings her talent with Shakespeare plays to the Cape Ann stage.
“Ironically, they have been called by some as the happiest married couple in Shakespeare’s works in the way the poetry is written,” added Narbonne. But that lust for power brings unwelcome results.
Narbonne referred to the line when Macbeth is told that he will be defeated when “Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane,” which means that he will be king until the forest starts moving. On stage that means the enemy soldiers cut branches to hide themselves, hence the appearance of the moving woods.
Narbonne also mentioned the many bird references throughout the script and the fact that the characters at times take their cues from the natural world.
For details and ticket options, visit www.lanescoven.com. Educators receive free admission by emailing the company at email@example.com.
Chamber Music Festival Annex
This weekend brings three chamber music concerts along with the final late-evening cabaret of Rockport Music’s Chamber Music Festival. The festival returns on Friday, Aug. 12, at 7:30 pm with “Debussy & Mahler” featuring the festival chamber orchestra with conductor Earl Lee, mezzo-soprano Rihab Chaieb, and tenor Paul Groves. The orchestra includes Ruggero Allifranchini, concert master/violin; Danny Koo, violin; Barry Shiffman, violin; Allison Eldredge, cello; Charles Clements, double bass; Yoobin Son, flute; Ryan Roberts, oboe; Todd Palmer, clarinet; Bee Ungar, bassoon; Brian Mangrum, horn; Jung-A Bang, piano; Hope Wilk, harp; Michael Bridge, accordion and celesta; and Matt Sharrock, percussion.
Later Friday, the cabaret event, “Bach to (Chet) Baker” starts at 9:45 pm with Danny Koo, violin; Jung-A Bang, piano and Michael Bridge, accordion. They will play music ranging from Bach to Chet Baker along with music from Koo’s latest Warner recording, “Home.”
On Saturday, Aug. 13, at 5 pm, the festival features the Grammy Award-winning Los Angeles Guitar Quartet, whose programs range from bluegrass to Bach. They play to sold-out houses around the world.
And the weekend closes with David Deveau and Andres Cardenes on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 5 pm when Deveau, Rockport Music’s former artistic director and concert pianist, performs with his longtime collaborator, violinist Andrés Cárdenes, for a much-anticipated program of Beethoven.
For details, visit rockportmusic.org.
‘There Are Places I Remember’
A collection of paintings by the late Gloucester artist David P. Curtis will be on view at Santander Bank, 17 Union St., Manchester-by-the-Sea, through Aug. 31. The exhibition comprises approximately 20 plein air paintings created during his extensive career. Curtis was well known throughout New England for his on-the-spot renditions of nature, particularly the regional landscape of Cape Ann’s wetlands, coastline and vibrant fall foliage. In recent years, the artist enjoyed painting in his own garden. He was also a beloved teacher by countless students who remember his enthusiasm for painting and teaching.
In the words of the Beatles from “In My Life,” this collection of work represents what Curtis would describe as “’There are places I remember all my life’ … From Cape Ann to the Yorkshire Dales, Texas to Maine, and several points in between.” For more details, visit www.davidpcurtis.com.
Women on the Wharf
The Rocky Neck Art Colony opens a new exhibition, “Women on the Wharf: Jane McDonald and Friends,” at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck from Thursday, Aug. 11 to Sunday, Sept. 11. The opening reception will be Saturday, Aug. 13, from 4 to 6 pm
In addition to Jane McDonald (1938-2009), the other featured artists are Joan Frank (1941–2014), Eileen Mueller, Carol St. John and Patti Sullivan.
“This is a story of the women’s friendship, mutual support and creative output, which I believe, is bigger than the sum of the parts. The show also captures a time in Rocky Neck for which many are nostalgic,” said Christina McDonald, Jane’s daughter. “These artists all had studio/gallery space on Rocky Neck on the Madfish Pier and formed a close community in the summer of 1994, 1995, and beyond. They generated a powerful female presence on Rocky Neck’s Madfish Wharf. Jane dedicated herself to supporting these artists, encouraging each to be true to her own vision. The exhibit reunites this dynamic group for the first time.”
Christina McDonald co-curated the exhibition with her sister Colleen Gianatiempo.
Jane McDonald, a student of Zygmund Jankowski, painted on Cape Ann and Rocky Neck from the 1970s until her death. In the 1980s and 1990s, she collaborated with this group of women painters featured in this exhibition.
“A genius of whimsical watercolors, McDonald’s spirit and influence echoes in the work of other Cape Ann artists: Patricia Sullivan’s strong colors and composition; Eileen Mueller’s bold brushwork and energy, Joan Frank’s combination of childlike vision and sophistication, and in Carol St. John’s playful, satirical watercolors,” according to an exhibition statement.
The galleries are open Thursday through Sunday, noon to 5 pm at the Cultural Center at Rocky Neck, 6 Wonson St., Gloucester. In a related program, St. John will present a free book talk on her recently-published, “With Life as Your Canvas, All is Art, Art is All,” on Sunday, Aug. 14, at 3 p.m. at the Cultural Center.
For more details, visit www.rockyneckartcolony.org.
Cape Ann Artisans Tour
The Cape Ann Artisans Open Studios Mini-Tour takes place during the state’s sales tax holiday on Saturday, Aug. 13, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring nine studios. This mid-summer tour is “self-guided,” and organizers encourage advance planning by viewing the online map. Brochures also are available at the Greater Cape Ann Chamber, Stage Fort Park Visitors Center, local banks and partner locations.
Featured artists are: John Abisamra, Fine Art Photography; David Archibald, ceramic arts; Cynthia Curtis, ceramic arts; Jacqueline Ganim DeFalco, sea glass jeweler; Deborah Gonet, painting/mixed media; Melody Phaneuf, painter; Scott Place and Erin O’Sullivan, ceramic arts; Pam Stratton, mosaics/mixed media; Beth Williams, handmade glass beads and jewelry.
For updates and more details, visit www.capeannartisans.com.
Around Cape Ann is a column devoted to events happening on Cape Ann and artists from Cape Ann performing elsewhere. If you would like to submit an item, contact reporter Gail McCarthy at 978-675-2706 or firstname.lastname@example.org at least two weeks in advance.