Monday, August 1, 2016

When a cast member can’t make curtain, should a play be postponed?

Know when to fold ‘em

Posted by Maura Hogan on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 12:30 PM

On the heels of watching a historic DNC, with a presidential boys’ club ceding to a female frontrunner, I was particularly up for Love’s Labour’s Lost at Threshold Repertory Theatre. After all, William Shakespeare’s early comedy exposes what fools these male mortals may be at the hands of spectacularly sound women. In the play, Ferdinand, the King of Navarre, has sworn off the other sex for the sake of uninterrupted scholarship, and has induced his three chums to follow suit. Instead, they all find themselves quickly distracted by the arrival of the Princess of Aquitaine and her ladies.

What would the Bard do?
  • What would the Bard do?
I also was keen to support Threshold’s ambitions to bring Shakespeare to local audiences, as the Bard hasn't trod Charleston’s boards much these days. However, right before the show opened, I was thrown a curve ball by an announcement made from stage. Due to a cast member’s emergency, the leading role of the Princess of Aquitaine had been recently replaced and would be assumed by the production’s stage manager. As the actor joined the production at the eleventh hour, the company chose to gamely labor on with this compromise and have her play with script in hand. Grim visions of a headset-crowned techie in a black turtleneck stomped through my head. It was all I could do to muffle a groan.

Instead, the stand-in was a bright-eyed, ravishing leading lady bedecked in a red dress topped off by a tiara. With another week or two, she likely had the chops to portray the princess with polish and command. However, her reliance on her clenched paper not only hampered her delivery, it scuttled any chance for the audience to enter the hard won world of the ensemble.

We’ve all heard that venerated, if belabored, backstage saw: The show must go on. I’ve worked at performing arts spaces where I’ve witnessed all manner of unhappy accidents that can derail the best laid theatrical plans, with the opening curtain hanging in the balance. I’ve seen stage managers nervously counting the minutes as deadlocked contract negotiations are hammered out. I’ve been privy to potentially unsafe stages getting hurriedly shored up under the expectant hum of a full house. I’ve heard tell of threatened opening nights on account of a famous artist on a full-out bender or just in a crisis of confidence.

I am not suggesting it’s an easy spot to sort. I am suggesting that there are certain unfortunate twists of fate that may just call for cancellation or postponement. When the locomotion that is a theatrical production leaves the station, the impulse is to power through, no matter what the extenuating circumstances. However, identifying the deal-breakers is more important than ever in Charleston’s theater-scape. That is, if the city realizes the potential it has so clearly demonstrated of late. In the past year alone, Charleston audiences have held seats at regional premieres of exciting new plays from across the country; had a first crack at original, homegrown works; and gained much from well-executed takes on acclaimed plays never before mounted on this city’s stages.

Threshold Rep has distinguished itself as an ambitious, serious company, taking admirable risks in both the scope and the difficulty of the work it takes on. It is a drag they got dealt a bad hand by losing a key player in a Shakespearean work that is known for the complexity of its wordplay. What’s more, knowing when to fold is no small ask. Tickets have been purchased; production costs have accrued.

As companies like Threshold continue to raise the bar in risk-taking, the stakes raise, too. Aye, there’s the rub — whether to move the show onward to its final bow, or to simply bow out for now. Theater companies should also know that if they are not ready to be reviewed, it is proper, and, at times, preferable, to indicate as much to audience members and critics alike.

I’ll omit the details to avoid a spoiler, but one of the plot pivots of Love’s Labour’s Lost hinges on a family emergency, which prompts the characters to delay a goal until their affairs are in order. For them, as for this considered production, I am confident it would be worth the wait.


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Make the most of Charleston County Libraries with new downloadable items

Calling all bookworms

Posted by Elizabeth Gelbaugh on Mon, Aug 1, 2016 at 9:45 AM

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Local residents can now download and stream thousands of items free from the Charleston County Public Library website. The website offers over 100,000 eBooks, 33,000 audio books, 275,000 albums, 11,000 movies, 1,300 television shows, and 6,000 comic books. These materials are available through hoopla digital, which allows residents to check out up to 10 items per calendar month.

Users can access these items on their iOS and Android devices, using the free hoopla mobile app. Best of all, there is no waiting period for popular content, and users can return anything instantly to prevent the late fees that often accompany traditional library usage. Parents with young children are able to limit browsing to content specifically for kids.

This service is only available for those with a CCPL library card. Cards are free for Charleston County residents, business owners, property owners, students, teachers of accredited K-12 grade schools, members of the military, and employees of Charleston County.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Daniel Island Performing Arts Center begins months-long fundraising campaign

A theater for DI

Posted by Elizabeth Gelbaugh on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 2:44 PM

The PAC is being designed by Stubbs Muldrow Herin architects. The image shown here is a concept drawn up by a Clemson student. - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • The PAC is being designed by Stubbs Muldrow Herin architects. The image shown here is a concept drawn up by a Clemson student.
Daniel Island is getting a new Performing Arts Center, and a one million dollar fundraising campaign started last week. Over five million dollars have already been raised to purchase space to build the state-of-the-art facility. The Performing Arts Center, which will be located on the newly acquired Island Park Drive, will boast a 400-seat theatre, rehearsal halls, catering kitchen, community gathering spaces, and other mixed use and retail spaces.

The additional fundraising campaign will finance theatre design, permitting, and hiring staff. DIPAC's national fundraising campaign is scheduled for launch this October. This will be the first performing arts center for Berkeley County.

In a statement founder Mary Gould says, "I also envision establishing South Carolina's first League of Resident Theatres (LORT) theatre at DIPAC as the anchor tenant. LORT is a prestigious designation for a regional destination theatre that provides a significant economic engine for its community. LORT theatres also are incubators for Broadway productions, are eligible for regional Tony awards, and expand opportunities for performing artists living and working in the community."

Stay up-to-date with the DIPAC's future here.

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Friday, July 22, 2016

Killer Mike coming to Charleston for Fahamu Pecou's interSessions

When worlds collide

Posted by David Hall on Fri, Jul 22, 2016 at 2:26 PM

Killer Mike will speak at Fahamu Pecou's interSessions. - FLICKR USER PAPAPATRANIAS
  • Flickr user papapatranias
  • Killer Mike will speak at Fahamu Pecou's interSessions.
Fahamu Pecou, a visual artist and scholar whose work investigates contemporary representations of black masculinity, will present his works at the Halsey Institute of Contemporary Art from Aug. 26-Oct. 8. 

As part of his exhibition, Do or Die: Affect, Ritual, Resistance, Pecou will host interSessions, conversations that are curated and mediated by Pecou and feature one hip-hop figure and one visual artist.

As part of interSessions, Rapper and activist Michael Render, known by his stage name Killer Mike, will appear in Charleston on Fri. Sept. 9 at 7 p.m. at the Simons Center for the Arts next to artist Arturo Lindsay.

Render has been active in the world of hip-hop as a solo artist and is one half of the critically acclaimed rap duo, Run the Jewels. In addition to being a successful rapper, Render has made a name for himself as a social activist. The rapper has given lectures at universities, appeared on television to comment on inequality in America, and was most recently a vocal supporter of Bernie Sanders is the 2016 Democratic Primary.

Lindsay, visual artist and mentor to Pecou, will join Killer Mike for the interSessions conversation. They will speak on a number of topics, including art and entertainment's effect on culture in America.

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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Charleston art galleries grapple with alcohol licensing following the Palette and Palate Stroll

Will walk for wine

Posted by Connelly Hardaway on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 3:51 PM

No more vino? - PROVIDED
  • Provided
  • No more vino?
On Fri. July 15, 11 downtown art galleries hosted the 11th annual Palette and Palate Stroll, a fundraising event that features small bites from local restaurants along with local art. A ticketed event ($45) that usually sells out, as it did this year, P&P donates a portion of its proceeds to art programs at 11 local high schools.

For nine years the nonprofit Charleston Fine Art Dealers’ Association hosted the event, but for the past two years P&P has been put on by Stylee PR. And for a decade, Palette and Palate has featured food, art ... and wine. This year, however, only one participating gallery, the Martin Gallery, served alcohol — a fact that had some people upset.

“I got seven emails that were nasty,” says Vladia Spencer, the event’s organizer. She says that while most attendees were pleased with the event, there were a few who were disgruntled by the lack of alcohol. While Palette and Palate is advertised simply as a food and art event, many guests assumed that, after 10 years of serving alcohol, galleries would continue to do so this year.

The day before the P&P stroll, Spencer says she caught wind that the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division would be cracking down on ticketed events serving alcohol.
After realizing that Palette and Palate’s participating galleries may not have the correct permits, Spencer asked each gallery to try and obtain one — ASAP — or not serve alcohol at all to avoid a fine. The Martin Gallery was the only spot that was able to get a permit in time.

According to the Department of Revenue’s Bonnie Swingle, “Every special event is required to have a license.” She confirms that the Martin Gallery was the only P&P venue to both apply for and receive a special event license.

“If you have everything correct and don’t have any follow-up, you can sometimes do three to five days, or the day of if it’s an emergency,” says Swingle of receiving an alcohol license. She says that venues should request a license at least 15 days before their scheduled events.

Palette and Palate is a ticketed event, meaning their guests are paying money to enter and each venue must have an alcohol license to serve. So why the confusion?

Art galleries often host free art receptions — most notably on First Fridays or once a quarter at the Charleston Art Gallery Association’s ArtWalks. If you’ve ever been to a Charleston art gallery on an art walk, you’ve probably had a glass or two of wine. But Julie Dunn, president of the Charleston Gallery Association (which is not associated with Palette and Palate), says that she was not aware of any issue regarding the need for alcohol licenses for non-ticketed free events.

Swingle explains the reason. “ABL laws are very specific and all of the details of the venue and event are needed to make that determination [if a license is required]. For example, if people have to buy tickets to get into the venue but do not need to purchase the alcohol, a license may still be required because the sale of alcohol is included in the ticket price,” she says.

We asked Thom Berry, SLED’s spokesman, for verification. He says, “A good rule of thumb is if money changes hands then a permit would be required.”

Art galleries aren’t the only venues who have to deal with alcohol licenses. Since May, SLED has been enforcing old state laws that prohibit breweries from, among other things, donating their beer to an event hosted by a nonprofit. Berry, though, says that SLED has not stepped up monitoring; instead, increased funding has allowed for SLED to hire more agents in the area of alcohol enforcement.

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