Shakespeare in Finlay Park, Grease at Town, Wild Party at Workshop

April was the month for several hundred amazing cultural events all going on seemingly at once. The hubbub may have died down a bit, but there's still plenty to do in May, especially if you're an enthusiast of live theatre.  For example, did you know Columbia regularly has Shakespeare in the Park?  Who needs New York? This spring, the South Carolina Shakespeare Company is presenting a comic tribute to not one but all of Shakespeare's works, first in Finlay Park this week, then at Saluda Shoals next week.  The show opens with a preview performance tonight, Tues. May 15th, and then continues Wed. through Sat. (5/19) in the Finlay Park Amphitheatre, with all shows starting at 7:30 PM.  The cast then migrates to Saluda Shoals Park for three more performances, Thurs. May 25th through Sat. May 27th, with all shows again at 7:30 PM.

From their press release:


SC Shakespeare Company has a sense of humor about its patron saint!

For the past 19 years, SC Shakespeare has given Columbia a great many of the Bard’s most famous plays from The Taming of the Shrew to Henry V. This spring, they wanted to give Columbia audiences something a little different but very enjoyable for patrons and their families.

The company presents The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged), written by Adam Long, Daniel Singer, and Jess Winfield. It's been performed internationally, including hit productions all over the US and Europe.  The show pays homage to Shakespeare as much as it mocks him, and is actually a fair introduction to the Bard for a first-timer by watching the players dance, act, parody, and soliloquize through Shakespeare's works, raucously and without regard to political correctness. And, while the play pokes fun at the Bard’s works, it never looks down on the actual writings, showing a great deal of respect for both the material and the author.

Directed by Robert Bloom, the three players - Jeff Driggers, Marques Moore, and Elizabeth Stepp - are a young and vibrant trio, entertaining and involving the audience as much as possible in skewering all 37 of the Bard’s plays in one two hour show (with intermission)!   The comedy is edgy - demanding craft: even the simplest gags require taste, timing, discipline, and the willingness to push things to the limit but not beyond. The end result: both homage and honest fun!

Come out with family and friends for a raucous evening of laughter.

For more information, please visit or call 803-787-2273.

We must note that Bloom made a vigorous and assertive Benvolio in a Finlay Park Romeo and Juliet a few years ago, smacking down those Capulets like flies, and Stepp has caught our eye with some amusing performances at Columbia Children's Theatre, so we suspect this is a show not to be missed.

In other news, there are three other great shows also running in town currently, and it's not the worst of dilemmas, at least in the broader sense, to have to figure out which great performance you want to see first, since there's something for just about every taste.  By now you already know about the new show at Trustus, In the Next Room, or the Vibrator Play, which runs through Sat. May 26th. (If not, my review is at  Town Theatre meanwhile is presenting Grease, and there's a review at .  This show has been held over, and now also runs through Sat. May 26th. Most recently, Andrew Lippa's Wild Party just opened this weekend at Workshop Theatre, and there's a review for it as well at the same site.  Sure enough, it too runs through Sat. 26th, meaning Sunday the 27th will be a sad day for local theatre-goers.  Not to worry - pick up a copy of the new Jasper - The Word of Columbia Arts (issue # 5, which is being released in about 3 hours) for details on what shows are being done this summer!    And look for a review of The Compleat Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged) from Jillian Owens in a few days at that same site, .

~ August Krickel

Shooting Match Coming to Saluda Shoals Park

I admit it. I’m a shutterbug. I’m also just a tad competitive, so it’s like catnip when a photography contest comes around. You may have heard that the always breathtaking unearth celebration of nature and the arts is returning to Saluda Shoals Park at the end of September, and festival organizers are seeking submissions for their unearth Amateur Photography Contest. Do I hear bike trip? My son and I soon will trek to Saluda Shoals in pursuit of that winning photo because, to qualify, photos must be taken at Saluda Shoals Park. The judges will be looking for images that capture the magic and natural beauty of the park. You can take pictures of trees, the river, trails, animals, and even people enjoying the park (but be sure to get photo releases if you submit any pictures with identifiable people in them; the critters, however, probably don’t have legal representation).

While I’m on the subject (and although I’m merely a hobbyist at this point), I would like to offer some tips for shooting your best nature photos. Did you ever notice how most sunset photos tend to look alike? Sure, they’re pretty and all, but boring unless there’s some special, different element to them. And while it’s great to stand back and see the “big picture,” I’ve had some surprising success focusing on tiny, off the beaten path treasures I happen upon. There is so much beauty everywhere you look as long as you just see. Fungi are among nature’s most fascinating ‘sculptures,’ and they come in all sort of shapes and colors. Don’t overlook the lichen on tree bark, insects, small reptiles, even the tiniest of flowers. Focus your lens on them and see what happens.

Earlier this year, I took a hiking trip to Jones Gap State Park in the Upstate. I just happened to bring my camera with me. Here are a few examples of what I found there (and shot on sight) over the course of just a couple of hours.

See. It’s OK to get down and dirty, play a little Pachisi with the beetles. There’s a lot that’s below (or even above eye level). Anyway, I was pleased with these shots.

OK. I know a lot of you will want to join me at the unearth photo contest AWARDS CEREMONY on Thursday, Sept. 29. Photos will be exhibited at the park’s Environmental Education Center throughout the entire unearth weekend, Sept. 30 – Oct. 2. Cash prizes will be awarded in Adult and Junior divisions in each of four categories: General Nature, Human Nature, and Digital Creativity. The deadline for entries is Saturday, September 17, at 5:00 p.m. For a copy of contest rules, go to or call (803) 772-1228.

And if I see you on the trails at Saluda Shoals Park between now and the 17th, well, … bring it!

- K. Hartvigsen


PS -- While we have your attention, see that little box over to the right? Have you had a chance to submit your email address so that "What Jasper Said" can come directly to your mailbox everyday? Why not go ahead and do that now? Just takes a sec -- and then Jasper can visit you everyday and keep you up to date on all the arts happenings in town. Thanks!

Check out the official Jasper website at