News from the art community in Charleston

He's Kind of a Big Deal

When College of Charleston theatre student Michael Smallwood's original short play Talk premieres at Footlight Theatre as part of the company's new late-night Salt & Battery series on April 12, audiences will (presumably) be enjoying an award-winning script. Earlier this month Smallwood nabbed the top prize for one of the three short scenes in his play at the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, Region IV. At the Americus, Ga., event, fellow CofC student and future theatre critic Linda McClenaghan also nabbed KCACTF's first prize for The Critics Institute. The KCACTF -- a national theatre program involving 18,000 students from colleges and universities nationwide -- is the only national forum highlighting student theatre works, so, yeah, it's kind of a big deal.

Comprised of three separate but interrelated short one-acts, Smallwood's play is, by all accounts, a dark one.

"Talk speaks to greater truths about love, fear, and life, while displaying the lengths to which people will go to get what they want," a description of the play reads. "Through a hostage situation that is more than it seems, an interrogation that becomes a struggle for dominance, and a life-changing park meeting, Talk aims to make its audience do just that."

After Footlight's two-weekend premiere, Smallwood will have a reading of his play at The Kennedy Center, and it will be performed at CofC in January 2008, after which it will open next year's KCACTF festival at Clemson.

What does budding critic McClenaghan think of Talk? She's not talking. --Patrick Sharbaugh

Mucho Menotti?

After Spoleto Festival founder Gian Carlo Menotti's death, at the age of 95, on Feb. 1, the posthumous accolades were flying thick as hailstones. We even got a treacly letter from Spoleto general manager Nigel Redden in which he called Menotti a "remarkable composer and friend of the arts and artists" -- high praise indeed, given that Redden was handed his walking papers by Menotti back in the early '90s, during the period of internal strife that led up to the composer ditching the festival he began.

The long-since rehired Redden says that his team is in the process of adding new programming to this year's festival to celebrate Menotti's life. How extensive that additional material will be is anyone's guess, but Menotti fans looking for a full-on production of The Saint of Bleecker Street are advised to tamp down their expectations. After all, Spoleto's only nod toward the festival's 30th anniversary last year was a single sentence in the program guide intro. Maybe if the Wando High students were to circulate a petition... --PS


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