Thursday, April 26, 2018

Pioneer Valley Theatre News April 26, 2018

Pioneer Valley Theatre Newsletter
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 April 26 - May 16, 2018

Valley Gives Day is May 1! Here are just a few of the participating theatres and venues: Academy of Music, CitySpace, Eggtooth, Hampshire Shakespeare Company, Happier Valley Comedy, Ko Festival, Northampton Community Arts Trust, PaintBox Theatre, Serious Play Theatre Ensemble, Silverthorne Theater, and many many more! You can see the main page of Valley Gives here. Did I miss your theatre? Let me know and I'll link you on my Facebook page.

The next issue will include events through May 23. Submit upcoming events via the link below or by emailing me before Tuesday at midnight. Any questions, comments or feedback? Email me at

Submit Your Theatre Event
MEN ON BOATS at Smith College
from Howlround
The Care and Feeding of Playwrights in Nashville
by Nate Eppler

From the article: 

I don’t like working on the plays as much as I like going out for dinner after.

After we’ve heard a new play aloud at the table in the Ingram New Works Lab, after we’ve talked through the feedback from the room, after we’ve met with the directors and the dramaturgs, all the playwrights go out and have a meal together. Nashville has spectacular restaurants; locally grown ingredients and caring hands produce the distinct flavors that unmistakably reflect the culture of the city. It’s the kind of alchemy that can only happen when the right ingredients are paired with the clear intention to make room at the table for every taste. Sharing a meal here is part of Nashville’s magic, but it’s always more than just something to eat, it’s a means of creating connection. The conversation at those meals— a small group of playwrights working through their challenges together—is like nothing else. Sitting around a table, sharing food, supporting each other as we build and rebuild our plays…it all starts to feel like home.

Have you read an interesting article about theatre recently? Send it to me!
Want to know even more about events in the Pioneer Valley and beyond,
including reviews, interviews, and previews? Check out In the Spotlight, Inc.
Smith College Department of Theatre presents

by Jaclyn Backhaus
directed by Tara Franklin

April 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 PM 
Theatre 14
Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts, Smith College

Ten explorers. Four boats. One Grand Canyon. MEN ON BOATS is the true(ish) history of an 1869 expedition, when a one-armed captain and a crew of insane yet loyal volunteers set out to chart the course of the Colorado River.

April 20, 21, 26, 27, 28 at 7:30 PM in Theatre 14.
$10 General, $5 Students/Seniors, FREE for Smith Students. Smith students can reserve a ticket by emailing:

UMass Amherst presents
The Lily's Revenge: A Flowergory Manifold

April 26, 27 at 6:30 p.m.
April 28, & 29 at 1 p.m.
Beginning in the Curtain Theater, and traveling to other spaces in the department.

Lights, sequins, FLOWERS! The Lily's Revenge is not just a play, it's an extravaganza. You are cordially invited to the glorious finale of the UMass Amherst Theater 2017-18 season. 
Mark the joyous occasion of the first­-ever university production of this extraordinary multi­media, multi­-genre spectacle by queer New York performance artist Taylor Mac (McArthur Genius Fellow 2017, Pulitzer Prize Finalist 2017).
Running April 18­ to 29, the play is a bold allegory for the struggles and celebrations of LGBTQIA+ communities in contemporary American politics and invites audiences of all backgrounds to participate in radical acts of compassion and empathy.
"At its core, The Lily's Revenge is a play about community, courage, authenticity, and expanding perceptions of love--all ideas which feel necessary and hopeful at this time," says Jen Onopa, the graduate student who is directing this production. 
The Lily's Revenge follows a torch-singing anthropomorphic lily flower who falls in love with a human bride. Desperate to marry the Bride, the Lily embarks on a hero’s quest to transform into a human man, but comes to realize that this might not be the only path to life-long happiness.
The production is a kaleidoscopic somersault in 5 parts, taking the audience from musical theater to spoken word to drag performance, as the Lily explores humanity, love, and self­-discovery in the pursuit of becoming a fully-realized being. Along the way, the Lily meets other flowers, battles a nefarious curtain, and enters a high stakes world of haiku battles — while rocking a killer costume that would make any kween proud.
The Lily's Revenge moves through different spaces in the Department of Theater over the course of a run time akin to the span of a wedding reception. Just as a wedding physically moves from ceremonial space to reception hall to after­party, audiences will do so too! Between these stages, audiences are offered opportunities to participate in a parade, to interact with characters, and to ask questions about the production during the intermissions.
“What drew me to the play is its unapologetic celebration of life,” says dramaturg Gaven D. Trinidad, “And what better way to end a wonderful theatrical season than an inclusive party of a show!” This production is above all an expression of joy and happiness that welcomes audiences into a vibrant community. Everyone’s invited!

$5 per play students/seniors, $15 general admission
We accept credit cards and Ucards at the door
For tickets, visit the Fine Arts Center Box Office in person, online, or by calling 1-800-999-UMAS
Josie's Magical Flute and Not in Charge - at the Shea Theater
April 26 at 7:30 PM
The Shea Theater, Turners Falls, MA

Josie's Magical Flute, an improv comedy team comprised of Mandy Anderson, Julie Waggoner and Sally Ekus, returns to the Shea for another evening of comedy. Their first performance in March 2018 was well attended and well reviewed by the audience.

They will be joined by Pioneer Valley troupe Not in Charge, which includes the members of Josie's as well as Jim Young, Kate Jopson, Dove Altabef and Maddy Benjamin.

Each show is different! Improv comedy is made up fresh on the spot, just for you!

Tickets are $7, sold at the door only.
APRIL 26 – MAY 27
Majestic Theater, West Springfield

Written by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, Guys and Dolls tells the story of gambler Nathan Detroit who is searching for a spot for his illegal floating crap game while being pursued by police Lieutenant Brannigan. The one likely spot left is the Biltmore Garage, but Nathan has to come up with $1,000 as a security deposit, so he turns to his friend Sky Masterson and proposes a bet he cannot lose; Sky has to convince prim missionary Sarah Brown to have dinner with Havana.

One of the world's most beloved musicals, Guys and Dolls opened on Broadway in 1950 and ran for 1,200 performances, earning the Tony Award for Best Musical. It was inspired by two short stories by acclaimed writer Damon Runyon.

According to Producing Director Danny Eaton, "Out of the old Broadway musicals, Guys and Dolls has long been my favorite. Those Damon Runyan characters, as obvious as they are, still manage to find their way into our hearts and when you leave the theater afterward you leave with a smile and humming a tune."

Cast members include Buzz Roddy (Nathan Detroit), Bill Clark Taylor (Sky Masterson), Julia Suriano (Sarah Brown), Annie Kerins (Miss Adelaide), Stuart Gamble (Arvid Abernathy), Michael Morales (Harry the Horse), Jack Neary (Nicely Nicely Johnson), Margie Secora (Matilda Cartwright), Michael Garcia (Benny Southstreet) and Robert Clark (Big Julie).

The play is being directed by Rand Foerster, and Mitch Chakour is music director. Set design is by Greg Trochlil and Dawn McKay is costume designer. Dan Rist is lighting designer, Justin LeTellier is sound designer and Stacy Ashley is choregrapher. Stephen Petit is production stage manager, assistant stage manager is Cate Damon, and Aurora Ferraro is associate production manager.

Ticket for the play range from $26-$33 and are now available by calling or visiting the box office during its hours of operation, which are Monday through Friday 10am – 5pm and Saturday 10am – 1pm.

For additional information, visit
Exit 7 Players present Spring Awakening
April 27, 28, May 4 & 5 @ 8pm April 29, and May 6 @ 2pm
Exit 7 Theater, 37 Chestnut St, Ludlow, MA

Based on Frank Wedekind’s groundbreaking and controversial play (once banned in Germany), Steven Sater and Duncan Sheik’s brilliant rock score and searingly emotional book take the story of sexual awakening, youth revolt, and self-discovery into a new century. It’s 1891, and grown-ups hold all the cards.

Rated R. Due to mature content, parents are strongly cautioned. Material may not be suitable for young audiences.

The April 27 and May 5 performances will be ASL (American Sign Language) interpreted. Please purchase seats in section 3 for the best viewing of the interpreters.

More info.
Three Fundraising Performances for:
Serious Play / Edinburgh Fringe Performance Exchange

An international exchange of compelling performances. Taking work of inspiring Valley performers to the Fringe festival every August, and bringing back bold and authentic work for local audiences.

When & Where:
Friday April 27, 8PM, Shea Theater in Turners Falls
Saturday May 12, 8PM, Gateway City Arts in Holyoke
& Friday June 1 st, 8PM, Hallie Flanagan Theater, Smith College in Northampton

Tickets: In advance at ($15 Seniors & Students / $18
General Public, $20 at the door )

Time: Each show is 50 mins with an intermission in between
Additional information: email or call 413-588-7439
Serious Play Theatre Ensemble presents the two shows going to the August 2018 Edinburgh Fringe Festival: 

John Sheldon’s The Red Guitar directed by Sheryl Stoodley
A virtuoso guitarist, a red Stratocaster, a life in sound

In 2016, The Red Guitar struck the right chord in Scotland, earning a coveted 5-star review with The Herald’s highly respected music reviewer Rob Adams and has been invited to return to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival this August. His candy apple red Fender Stratocaster in hand, John takes us on a trip, careening through the rise of guitar music in the nuclear age, from Folk through Blues and Rock, to a vision of the future in which the past is vibrantly alive, a heartfelt yet unsentimental performance. Just when you think you are seeing a deconstruction of popular music, you sense something else taking place, a quickening, an awakening of senses long lost, a reclaiming of sounds you thought were consigned to history. Something unexpected is being made right in front of you, a sound loop sculpture plucking chords of your memory.

John, a master guitarist who played lead in Van Morrison's band at the age of 17, wrote songs for James Taylor, unknowingly drew praise from Jimi Hendrix, and whom Ed Ward of National Public Radio called "One of the great guitarists of our time," uses a unique blend of storytelling, unearthly sounds, and wicked, layered guitar licks, to send us zipping through the folds of time and space, emerging into the light of a simple, transformative melody. John's ironclad belief in the power of sound pervades the whole performance, the conviction that music is not just entertainment, but a soul saving enterprise, worthy of the lifelong commitment he has made to it. His technical skill never overwhelms the story, the poignant, the humorous, the moments of connection, of illumination. The journey continues, setting a course to the center of who we truly are: vibration.

In the same evening, Serious Play also presents:
DO IT NOW: Manual Override directed by Sheryl Stoodley

Three master artists collaborating with a mutual message for change

Danger!! Danger!! Systems are being corrupted or broken. A crash surely lies ahead. No time to waste. We must take back control! Do It Now. Manual Override. Pulling the controls together are John Sheldon on electric guitar, Tony Vacca on all things percussion, and Paul Richmond’s beguiling William S. Burroughs-like spoken word. The trio takes on anything from the mundane envy for a neighbor’s dog to nuclear power posturing to interracial tension, turning them into poetic flashes of text that erupt from a hotbed of music. Non-verbal communications on stage, based in trust and intuition between masters at their craft, creates theatrical moments with authentic music interwoven with Richmond’s text. An evening of food for the mind as well as the soul.

Smith College Department of Theatre presents Spring Studio Productions

May 2, 3, 17, 18 at 7:30 PM in Hallie Flanagan Studio Theatre
Mendenhall Center for the Performing Arts
Smith College

written and directed by
Zoe Rose Kriegler-Wenk ‘18

Linnea and her daughter Heather must navigate a notable shift in their relationship when the progression of Linnea’s Alzheimer’s prompts Heather to take on a maternal role.

RED BIKE by Caridad Svich
directed by Marty Bongfeldt AC ‘19
featuring Alana Young ‘18

What kind of future will you have living in these here United States? Remember when you were eleven years old and you had a bike, one that made you dream about a world bigger than the one in which you live? This is that memory. Except it is now.

Free and open to the public, no reservations


Silverthorne Theater is honored to bring to the stage an important piece of dramatic writing, The Tattooed Man Tells All - a new voice in the telling of the stories of the Holocaust.  New York playwright Peter Wortsman's gripping solo piece, woven from a series of interviews conducted, on a fellowship from the Thomas J. Watson Foundation, in Vienna in 1975 with witnesses to and survivors of the Holocaust, the scene of Western Civilization's worst excesses.

The play will be performed by Silverthorne Theater Company May 3, 4, 5 at 7:30 pm and May 6 at 2 pm in the Pushkin Studio of Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center of Greenfield, Massachusetts Ellen Kaplan directs Keith Langsdale in this tour-de-force performance. Tickets are available at or on Silverthorne Theater’s web page. 

By condensing these accounts into that of a survivor who is committed to a no-holds-barred retelling, Wortsman gives us a fully fleshed out dramatic character, the Old Man, warts and all, for the audience to come to know. As the playwright says in his introduction, “The interchange[s] recorded on tape [were] painful to revisit...for my interlocutors’ merciless bluntness...[T]he subject of which [the Old Man] speaks has since been loaded with a leaden label, idealized and idolized, riddled with spotlights, torchlit for moral uplift, hagioscopically highlighted with a reverence formerly reserved for the Crucifixion."

The audience becomes the interviewer to whom the Old Man talks, retelling and reliving his time in the camp. "I could be whatever they wanted...melt in...become part of the landscape...or better yet, turn into thin air so they could look right through me."

From his closet comes his camp uniform that quickly assumes a life of its own. The stories weave in and out of the Old Man’s memories and paint a picture both fascinating and horrifying. 

Why now? Now we need to hear and see again what ‘humanity’ is capable of under duress and at its darkest moments. “You can’t just dispose of the past, cut it out like a malignance tumor! It’s still there, it’s still an intimate part of me...” Playwright Peter Wortsman

"I admired The Tattooed Man Tells All. It seems to me you handle both subject and dialogue with just the right degree of passion and distance. [...] Congratulations. I would imagine it is a part one of the best actors would like to take on." The late Arnold Wesker

 For questions and further information, go to, or call 413-768-7514. 
Springfield Technical Community College presents
All Nighters: Original Ten Minute Plays from 24-Hour Theater Festivals

Directed by Phil O'Donoghue
May 3 through May 6 

Playwrights include: Meryl Cohn, Emily Savin, Peter Shelburne, and Phil O'Donoghue. 

Our Saturday night performance is a benefit for the Springfield City Library's Read/Write/Now program. This is a wonderful adult literacy program. We are honored to be donating the proceeds of our performance to them.
Happier Valley Comedy presents the Happier Valley Comedy Show

Saturday, May 12 at 8:00 PM
Northampton Center for the Arts (33 Hawley St)

A completely improvised comedy show on the second Saturday of every month! May's show features our guests ImprovBoston's Musical Improv Company, and the Ha-Has performing their signature form "Shrink: Where Frued Meets Funny."

At The Northampton Center for the Arts, 33 Hawley Street, Northampton. Doors open at 7:30pm, tickets are $13 at the door.

More information.
Happier Valley Comedy presents More Improv More Better Showcase and Jam
Saturday, May 12 at 10:00 PM
Northampton Center for the Arts (33 Hawley St)

The "More Improv, More Better Jam & Showcase" is an open improv jam and short performance.
Play improv games lead by a Happier Valley Comedy School Jam Leader and watch a short improvised set featuring Josie's Magical Flute! Takes place directly after the Happier Valley Comedy Show. Come watch, come laugh, come play!

More information.
Pioneer Valley Theatre Companies
Is your theatre company missing? Email me!
Academy of Music Theatre

Arena Civic Theatre

Black Cat Theater

Chester Theatre Company

The Country Players

Eggtooth Productions

Exit 7 Players

Ghost Light Theater

Hampshire Shakespeare Company

Happier Valley Comedy

Ja'Duke Center for the Performing Arts

Ko Theater Works/Ko Festival of Performance
Majestic Theater

New Century Theatre

PaintBox Theatre

Pauline Productions

Real Live Theatre

Red Thread Theater

Serious Play Theatre Ensemble

Silverthorne Theater

Smith College Department of Theatre

St. Michael's Players


Turbulent Times Theater

Westfield Theatre Group

Wilbraham United Players

Auditions are currently being booked from 10am – 6pm on April 28 for parts in this summer's lineup of Majestic Children's Theater at West Springfield's Majestic Theater.

Performers aged 14-19 are encouraged to call the theater at (413) 747-7797 during business hours (Monday through Friday 10am-5pm and Saturday 10am-1pm) to schedule an appointment. They will be asked to read scenes during their audition. Performing a monologue (not to exceed one minute in length) and singing are encouraged, but not required. If singing at the audition, performers may bring an instrumental CD to accompany themselves.

Shows being performed on a rotating schedule this July and August are “James and the Giant Peach,” “Through the Looking Glass...and What Alice Found There” and “You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.” Tickets can be purchased by calling (413) 747-7797.
Exit 7 Youth Players will be holding auditions for its summer youth musical production of Disney's The Little Mermaid. Based on one of Hans Christian Andersen's most beloved stories and the classic animated film, The Little Mermaid is a hauntingly beautiful love story for the ages. Ariel, King Triton's youngest daughter, wishes to pursue the human Prince Eric in the world above, bargaining with the evil sea witch, Ursula to trade her tail for legs. However, the bargain is not what it seems, and Ariel needs the help of her colorful friends, Flounder the fish, Scuttle the seagull and Sebastian the crab to restore order under the sea. Songs include "Kiss the Girl” “Part of Your World” and “Under the Sea.”

Auditions will be held at the Exit 7 Players theater at 37 Chestnut Street in Ludlow, MA on Monday, April 30 and Wednesday, May 2 at 6:30 pm. Callbacks (if needed) will be on Monday, May 7, 2018 at the theater at 6:30 pm. All roles are open. Youth from the age of 9 to 18 are encouraged to apply. Those auditioning for roles should prepare the audition song(s) listed below. People may audition for more than one role and/or for the ensemble. Those auditioning for ensemble should be prepared to sing a song of their choosing and bring any sheet music for their audition song to auditions. No a cappella please.

In addition to the vocal audition, those auditioning will be asked to participate in a section of dance/movement and to read from the script. Please be prepared to indicate any relevant dance experience, including tap (though specific dance experience is not required in order to audition). Please also let us know if there are any physical concerns or limitations that would make it difficult or unsafe to participate in dance/movement. Please wear clothing that is comfortable to move in and tap shoes if you have them.

All roles are open, though it will not be possible to cast everyone who auditions. If you have any questions about auditions email us

Directed by Drew Gilbert
Musically directed by Dan Monte
Choreographed by Steph Gilbert and Kelsey Collis

For audition specifics and character breakdowns visit
Auditions for My Life As A Cowboy 
Wednesday, May 2, 10am -1pm
One Cottage St. in Easthampton.

This is a collaborative community project with a participant at Riverside (RSI) in Easthampton, Mike O'Neill. Mike was born with physical and mental disabilities and attends classes at Riverside, a non-profit organization that supports people with disabilities through job training, arts, and education programs. 

Mike dreams of being a cowboy. For the past year, he’s met regularly with Riverside staff member Lyndzi Wildheart to dictate a story to her. “My Life As A Cowboy,” is a fictional memoir of his imaginary life as Sherriff Buford Ewing, a trick shooter and leader of a down-and-out western town called Denton.

Along with a team of other artists, a playwright (who's adapting the novel into our script), set builders, actors (professional and amateur), and Riverside participants we want to help Mike’s dream become a reality. 

Together, we are going to build a life-sized set of Mike’s town (including the city hall and the Sherriff’s di facto office, the Sweetwater Saloon) and stage a play inspired by his story for a live audience.

We plan to work through the summer to complete the set, costumes and rehearse. Ideally, the team will perform the short play in a free, outdoor performance in the late fall of 2018 or Spring 2019. 

The Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation is accepting applications from emerging directors and choreographers for paid opportunities to observe the work of master directors and choreographers as they create productions on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and at leading regional theaters across the country.

Through the program, SDCF Observers may have access to the entire rehearsal process, from first rehearsal through opening night. Observers also will have the invaluable opportunity to observe first-hand the techniques, disciplines, approaches, and insights of master artists as they create new productions and revive classics. 

Each observer receives a weekly stipend of at least $250 as well as a project travel stipend. 

Anyone with serious interest in pursuing a career in directing and/or choreography may apply to the Observership program. A $25 application fee is required to apply for those unaffiliated with SDC. Any observer who is not already a member of SDC will be awarded a free, one-year SDC associate membership.

See the Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation website for complete program guidelines and application instructions.

Link to Complete RFP
Acting Classes

Classes are held at the Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street in Northampton, MA.

To register, send an email to Sam Rush ( or call/text 413-626-3238 to hold a spot. You can click on this link to download a registration form.

Acting for Non-Actors - Instructor, Sam Rush  
Ages 18 and up (or by instructor permission)  
Tuesdays, 5:15-7:15 p.m.  
Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street 
April 23 - May 22 

Course Description:
The perfect course if you have never taken an acting class before but have always wanted to try or had a class once way back when and want to try again. With NCT Producing Director Sam Rush, you'll have a chance to explore your inner ham in a fun, relaxed and supportive environment. Using improvisation, text and original source material, you'll learn fundamental acting techniques that may just serve you the rest of your life - on stage or off.  

Scene Study Intensive - Instructor, Sam Rush
Ages 18 and up (or by instructor permission) 
Wednesdays, 5:15-7:15 p.m. 
Northampton Senior Center, 67 Conz Street  
April 24 - May 23 
Course Description: 
This class is for actors with previous experience and for students who have taken the Acting for Non-Actors course and wish to continue their study of the actor's craft. We'll start right away with scene study work and exercises that support the rehearsal process.
J-ART in partnership with Phantom Sheep Productions
LaughCrafters: Comedy Improv class- Spring 2018 session

April 30 at 7:00 PM - Mondays for 6 weeks
Springfield Jewish Community Center

Phantom Sheep Production is proud to offer another session of improv classes for adults and teens 15+ at the Springfield JCC.  All levels welcome and challenged at own pace.
Sharpen quick thinking and build confidence!
Unleash creativity and characters!
Enjoy the power of collaboration!
Relax and laugh! (a lot)!
Taught in a very fun, encouraging, and constructive atmosphere.
Fee: $86 for all 6 weeks. for more info and to register.

Facebook event.

Also coming this June- improv summer camp for grades 3-9! Registration begins now!
Contact for more info.
Heidi Haas - 2 Improv workshops for families

Fridays May 4 and May 18

They will be held at the Florence Civic Center next to Lilly Library from 4:00-6:00.

All ages and abilities are encouraged to join the fun. It’s a great opportunity for people who want to play and try out improv.

The cost is $25 per family for each workshop. Any questions, contact me at 413-584-5562 or email me at

We are psyched to launch five brand new summer workshops for theatre makers of all backgrounds, interests, and levels of experience.

All workshops are led by RLT members and educators and will take place at the North Star Building on Route 116 in Sunderland, MA. Join us for any or all of these fabulous afternoons - discounts are available for those interested in more than one!

Saturday July 21st 1-4 PM: Theater Making with a Conscience with Ellen Morbyrne

Saturday July 28th 1-4 PM: Rooting and Rising: Cultivating Community and Championing the Creative Spirit with Angelica Polk and Julissa Rodriguez

Saturday August 4th 1-4 PM: The Art of the Director with Toby Vera Bercovici

Saturday August 11th 12-4 PM: Choreographing Intimacy with Toby Vera Bercovici and Ellen Morbyrne

Saturday August 25th 1-4 PM: Instigating Hope and Change Through Theater with Ezekiel Baskin and Trenda Loftin

CLICK HERE for more information on each workshop, our educators, and how to register! Feel free to email with any questions.
3 unique workshops as part of the 27th Annual KO FESTIVAL OF PERFORMANCE, held each summer on the beautiful Amherst College campus in Amherst, Massachusetts. Join us for one or more of our 6-day intensives, led by expert teachers, who are adept at gearing their classes for multiple levels of experience. 

July 9 - 14, 2018
An Embodied Approach to Voice, Text & Sound Design for the Theatre
with RICHARD NEWMAN, Co-Artistic Director of The Hinterlands (Detroit)

July 16 - 21, 2018
Crafting Your Story for Performance
with Gerard Stropnicky, Co-Founder Bloomsburg Theater Ensemble (PA)

July 30 - August 4, 2018
with Helen Stoltzfus of Black Swan Arts & Media (San Francisco)

All classes meet from 10 am - 4 pm on the Amherst College campus.

More information.
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