Wednesday, October 26, 2016

South of Broadway receives 2016 National Theatre Company grant

Quality theater

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 12:02 PM

South of Broadway's theater in Park Circle - GOOGLE MAPS
  • Google Maps
  • South of Broadway's theater in Park Circle
The American Theatre Wing — the same organization that created the Tony Awards —  has awarded Charleston's South of Broadway Theatre Company with one of seven grants given to theater companies across the country. According to the American Theatre Wing these companies have, "articulated a distinctive mission, cultivated an audience, and nurtured a community of artists in ways that strengthen and demonstrate the quality, diversity, and dynamism of American theatre."

Founder and producer of South of Broadway, Mary Gould, says, "As one of only seven theatre companies across the country to receive this recognition it is a profound endorsement and validation of our history, our product, and our vision of the past 16 years to become a LORT theatre and Tony Awards eligible. As we move forward with the launching of the Daniel Island Performing Arts Center which will be South of Broadway’s future home, that vision becomes possible."

Learn more about the new Daniel Island PAC here. And get a taste of South of Broadway's quality theater with their current show, Emilie, this weekend, Thurs.-Sat. at 7:30 p.m. 

Pick up your Charleston Animal Society 2017 Firefighter calendar today

Hot, hot, hot

Posted by Sigrid Johannes on Wed, Oct 26, 2016 at 10:29 AM


You’re going to need to cool off after this. Charleston Animal Society's 2017 Firefighter calendars are on sale now. For $20, you can flip through 12 months of half-naked, heroic firefighters and some super cute rescue animals. But wait, there’s more: All proceeds from the calendar sales go to Toby’s Fund, the Charleston Animal Society’s fund for medical care for injured, abandoned, and abused animals.

More than 9,000 animals come to the CAS every year. They are accepted regardless of their health, age, or breed, and receive the best medical care and rehabilitation possible. In 2013, the CAS launched No Kill Charleston, an ambitious initiative to save every treatable animal. Today, their efforts have paid off: Charleston County is the first in the Southeast to become “no kill.” This life-saving work is expensive though, and the CAS relies on donations and events like the calendar to keep their doors open.

You can order your 2017 calendar here, or pick it up from a number of local retailers, including Dolittles locations in Mt. Pleasant, Kiawah, and West Ashley; All is Well in James Island and West Ashley; James Island's Ohlandt Veterinary Clinic; North Charleston's Camping World and, of course, the Charleston Animal Society; Mt. Pleasant's Lowcountry Plastic Surgery; and West Ashley's Windjammer Apartments, Barber & Shave Shoppe, Consign Charleston, Heron Reserve Apartments, and Kia Country of Charleston.

If you still want the 2016 version (we won’t ask why), you can grab it here for only $10.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Local illustrator Timothy Banks now taking orders for his new book, 'Monsters in Charleston'

Things that go bump in the Holy City

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Tue, Oct 25, 2016 at 3:17 PM

  • Timothy Banks
Local illustrator and sometimes-City Paper contributor Timothy Banks is knee-deep in the production of a new book, Monsters in Charleston. Banks plans on rolling out the first copies later this year, but as he writes on his website, "The painstaking process of capturing each monster in picture form means that this book is still in production." 

If Banks' delightful illustrations do, indeed, delight you, then you can help make his book a reality by supporting his crowdfunding effort. Pre-order the book (there are three levels to choose from: Watcher, Gate Keeper, Elite Force) at prices starting at $20. Learn more about pre-ordering here. 

In the meantime, enjoy Banks' sneak peek illustrations of monsters around town — and be sure to let him know if you spot one, too. 

"Arnold and St. Michael's." - TIMOTHY BANKS
  • Timothy Banks
  • "Arnold and St. Michael's."

"Spike on Folly." - TIMOTHY BANKS
  • Timothy Banks
  • "Spike on Folly."

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Monday, October 24, 2016

CofC's College Reads hosts an evening with author Anand Giridharadas

Come one come all

Posted by Sigrid Johannes on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 1:33 PM

Days after September 11, 2001, an ambitious Bangladeshi immigrant was working behind the counter at a convenience store. A white man entered and shot him in the face, nearly killing him. After a Death Row sentence was handed down, the convict and the victim developed an incredible bond.

What follows is The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anand Giridharadas. The book is a powerful examination of the ties that bind all of humanity, and the lines we draw when deciding who is or is not American. Giridharadas, who is also a columnist for The New York Times, will give a lecture on his book at 7 p.m. tonight in the Sottile Theatre, as part of CofC's College Reads program. The event is free and open to all. During the Q&A, Giridharadas will be joined by one of the book’s protagonists, Rais Bhuiyan.

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REVIEW: Actor Brian Turner delights as identical twins in Village Rep's 'Corpse!'

Body Double

Posted by Maura Hogan on Mon, Oct 24, 2016 at 1:29 PM

  • Courtesy of the Woolfe Street Playhouse
A twisted ruse. A bitter rivalry. A trained assassin. Oh, and a corpse, of course. Such is the makings of Corpse!, the Village Repertory Company’s latest production at Woolfe Street Playhouse, adding to the local theater scene’s annual Halloween body count. Directed by Robbie Thomas, this comedy-mystery takes its cue from throwback hits along the lines of The Thin Man or Arsenic and Old Lace in a darkly droll nod to the classic whodunit, which promises more chuckles than chills. After all, the clue is in the name, with Corpse! topping off its titular cadaver with that telltale exclamation point.

The murderous thrust is this: In 1936 London, in the throes of King Edward’s abdication, twin brothers Evelyn and Rupert Farrant (both played by Brian Turner) inhabit vastly different lifestyles on opposite ends of the British food chain. Evelyn, a Shakespeare-spewing, out-of-work actor and all-around scoundrel, dwells in a dreary Soho basement flat, where he dines on pilfered pate and dodges his love-starved landlady, Mrs. McGee (Teralyn Tanner). In infuriating contrast, his financier brother, Rupert, luxuriates in Art Deco splendor in his place near Regent’s Park (think Nick and Nora of the aforementioned The Thin Man), from which he oversees a fleet of Bugatti sports cars and lavishes charitable donations on the local police.

Keen to turn the tables of fraternal fortune, and seal his brother’s fate, Evelyn has hired one Major Walter Powell (Nat Jones), a crack shot with a checkered past and a fondness for Jameson Irish whiskey. Evelyn aims to rid the world and himself of Rupert, and so has masterminded an elaborate scheme involving mistaken identity, precision timing and a bit of blackmail thrown in for good measure. As the plot thickens, antics ensue, resulting in a slapstick farce of fatal errors, with corpses popping up and flopping over throughout the show.

Murder-mystery buffs will likely spy how the play resurrects the halcyon days of the genre, channeling suspense practitioners like Dashiell Hammett and Alfred Hitchcock. If the homage is at first lost on you, never fear: The production’s parodic, melodramatic score asserts itself at select moments to gamely bang that legacy over your head — while it also reminds you that all this gunplay is really just good fun. It may also offer an out regarding the use of stock characters along the lines of a tippling Irishman and desperate housewife, who may simply serve as hangovers from this bygone dramatic form.

It must be pointed out that playwright Gerald Moon doesn’t quite make his mark. While props are in order for him taking a sporting shot at it, the first act involves a belabored set up that can be slow going. As Evelyn, Brian Turner does yeoman’s work in keeping the script aloft under the weight of its considerable exposition. He does so by energetically exploiting Evelyn’s bent for dramatics to entertaining effect (calling to my mind Richard E. Grant in the film Withnail and I). What’s more, Turner maintains this comic poise and sprightly energy level in his other role as well. As Rupert, though, he swaps out Evelyn’s high drama for cool disdain, which at times he ramps up to unchecked, imperious indignation.

Along that vein, Teralyn Tanner’s wanton Mrs. McGee does much to infuse humor into her scenes, lasciviously, hopelessly throwing herself time and again at an aghast Evelyn, who has made it clear to the audience that he prefers men. As the rough hewn, gruff Major, Nat Jones plays the straight man out of the gate — as he gets his head around his client’s chilling request and where the playwright’s pen proves most leaden. However, when the Major gets to the deed at hand, Turner is able to break through with crowd-pleasing sight gags, while he also grapples with a growing perplexity at the curious events transpiring in Evelyn’s flat.

The actors’ efforts pay off in the second act, when all goes horribly, hysterically awry with Evelyn’s ill-advised plan. It is then that the production plays out in well-timed, relentless physical comedy, which serves to buoy the show and send the audience laughing home. The production also gets an assist throughout from its clever technical work, which enables Turner to be felled on the stage floor as one brother and quickly emerge elsewhere on stage as the other.

Regarding the set: It is perceptibly no small feat for Hunter to reemerge as his brother. In displaying both homes joined center stage, the set accounts for a great stretch that is nearly wall-to-wall of the Woolfe. I had good fun noodling out just how the actor managed to duck and dash from one hidden exit to the other. However, when the plot busted loose in pratfalls, gotchas, and confessions, I was duly absorbed by the happenings on stage, when they revealed just exactly who had done what – and, for that matter, why — and manic, delirious, old guard delight.

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