For Alison Larkin, it's out of the recording studio and onto the stage with a brand new show
"My children (Toby, 17, and Eliza, 15) are teenagers. They don't want to have anything to do with me so I have to get out of the house," the Stockbridge resident said brightly over tea at a coffeehouse and eatery in nearby West Stockbridge.
And so, before she heads out beyond the Berkshires, Larkin is bringing her new show, "Alison Larkin LIVE!" to Shakespeare & Company's Elayne P. Bernstein Theatre for performances Friday evening and Saturday afternoon and evening, presented by WAM Theatre as part of its ninth season.
The Saturday matinee will be followed by a panel discussion on adoption and reunion. The evening performance will be followed by a Champagne reception for VIP ticketholders.
Larkin's performances are part of a WAM spring event that begins 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the Bernstein Theatre, with a Fresh Takes Play Reading Series presentation of Kate Hennig's "The Virgin Trial," the second play in Hennig's Tudor Queens Trilogy that focuses on Queen Elizabeth I before she became queen. The first play, "The Last Wife," was given a fully mounted production by WAM in October, also in the Bernstein.
"Typically, we do our Fresh Takes readings at No. 6 Depot Roastery in West Stockbridge," WAM artistic director Kristen van Ginhoven said by phone. "But since we already were renting the Bernstein for Alison's performances, I thought we might as well rent the theater for an additional night."
This is not Larkin's first go-round with a one-woman show. In the autobiographical "The English American," she played herself, her British adoption mother and her American birth mother. She performed the show in England and in the United States. It was the inspiration for her novel, "The English American," which was published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster.
In "Alison Larkin LIVE!" Larkin talks about life as the adopted child of a British couple in Sussex, England; her reunion with her American birth mother — whom she traced to Bald Mountain, Tenn. and whose voice Larkin replicates in flawless American accent; culture clash; parenthood, particularly of teenagers; life in the Berkshires; and, she says, with a devilish twinkle in her eyes, some tips on brewing a perfect cup of tea.
"It's about how much of life is nature, how much nurture, how that affects the choices we make," she said.
Van Ginhoven says she and Larkin have been talking, off and on, about doing something together for a couple of years. "(Alison) hosted our gala last summer but because of her schedule, she couldn't do any more for us then."
With the release on Dec. 4 of Larkin's latest recording project, "The Complete Novels of Jane Austen," van Ginhoven decided to approach Larkin again.
Larkin did an early version of this show in May 2015 as a benefit for The Montessori School of the Berkshires.
"People seemed to like it," Larkin said. "When Kristen approached me and asked if I would be interested in doing something, I had this show. I said I'd do it but only if I could have a director, which I didn't have for the Mahaiwe show, and we could fully produce it."
She has a director in James Warwick, an actor and director who has worked with a number of Berkshires theaters, most recently Chester Theatre Company.
She and Warwick had worked together on an audiobook version of Oscar Wilde's "The Importance of Being Earnest."
Working with him on this show has been a boon, Larkin says. "We are on the sane wave length."
Larkin has come a long way since her years — three of them — doing stand-up comedy at comedy clubs in Los Angeles; making her debut earlier in the evening than she had planned, following profanity riddled Andrew Dice Clay. "I came up on the stage holding my tea cup and said 'Let us pray,'" she said with a soft laugh.
Most of her time now is spent in her cozy recording studio behind the Stockbridge house she shares with her children. She's eager to travel but the Berkshires are home.
She came here with Toby and Eliza shortly after publication of "The English American."
"[The book] did well enough for us to be able to move anywhere we wanted and I fell in love with this place," she told the Berkshire Eagle's Benjamin Cassidy in a Jan. 21 interview in The Berkshire Eagle's Berkshire Landscapes.
"I moved here on a whim," Larkin said, finishing the last of her pot of tea. "I'm feeling I'm in the right place at the right time.
"For me to start this show here feels organic and exciting and right."
Jeffrey Borak can be reached at 413-496-6212 or email@example.com
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