J. Michael McGuirt Exhibit at Harbison Theatre

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J Michael McGuirt’s new show hanging in the halls of Harbison Theatre says his show was inspired by none other than his hometown, Camden, SC.

 

“I was born in Camden, raised in Camden.  Love Camden and I kind of alluded to being in the area.  You’re exposed to a lot of art; got the Fine Art Center there and a lot of musical programs, so I was raised around that and inspired by that, and then Camden in itself is a really beautiful town,” says McGuirt.

 

McGuirt is a self-taught artist who initially set out for a degree outside of the art field, yet art was continuously a part of his life, and so he took hold of that.  He started with sculptures but it wasn’t until a few years ago that he would discover the medium that would be found in a majority of his work.

 

“I went to Furman University and have a business degree, but I’ve always been creative. … I’ve actually made sculpted dolls before, a long, long time ago; but probably about four years ago I was introduced to acrylic painting and I was like, ‘I love acrylics.’  And they dry fast and you’ve got to really work with it, unlike oils.  You know oils take a long, long time to dry and, I had tried an oil painting when I was in college.  I just went and bought supplies and was like, ‘I’m gonna do an oil painting,’ which of course didn’t work out.  I was like, that’s just really juvenile looking you know, no classes or whatever,” McGuirt explains.

 

Since the decision to work with acrylic paint, McGuirt has developed a very unique technique with his work.  Rather than thinning his paint with a paint thinner, he simply uses water and works with his painting while it is completely wet, rather than waiting for layer after layer to dry as typically done with acrylic paintings.

           

“… I really want to work with color and not [be] so constrained.  So, I started watching it and messing around with it.  And there’s a lot of people who do the flow work now and they make products that are thinned acrylic paints, and so they’re layering them like- well, I want to do that but I want to do it a little differently.  So, it took about a year and a half to develop the technique …  You’ve really got to get all of the motion and the life and the depth, all at one time and that was the trick – [that] and controlling. You’re thinning the paint and letting it flow …,” says McGuirt.

           

On September 7, 2018, Harbison Theater opened a gallery exhibition for McGuirt’s collection known as “Form and Flow,” in which McGuirt’s new technique is amply exhibited.  Harbison began the process of hanging art on their lobby walls nearly three years ago, however, it wasn’t until Executive Director, Kristen Cobb joined the team nearly a year ago that the art has really began to take off, starting with McGuirt.

           

“I’ve known Mike McGuirt for pretty much, most of our lives, 20 plus years.  And I’ve really watched him evolve as such a talented artist and the type of work he does is so fascinating … He approached me about doing the show and I really loved the idea of having his handmade robots,” Cobb says.

           

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While most of the work found in this show is Abstract paintings, McGuirt has also brought in three dimensional figures that most people call “Robots,” along with a couple of modern, geometric black and white paintings.  McGuirt is a fan of modernism, and through the inspiration of the Bauhaus movement and his love for modern work, he was able to develop these pieces, which also play into his show at Harbison Theater.

           

“There was a school in Germany, Bauhaus, and I’ve always liked modern stuff and appreciated, you know, the modernism and it was the fore runner of that … Their students were also known for their parties and the wild, wacky costumes that they designed.  They were geometric but they were asymmetrical and they used circles and squares and curves.  But it was like, one side of the head would be one color and then the leg would be that color.  So, it was balanced yet it was still skewed.  And I’m like, okay, that’s what I want … So, the inspiration for the three-dimensional figures came from that,” Michael explains.

 

With this show at Harbison Theater, McGuirt wants people to have their own experience through his work. “People really want to be engaged by a painting,” he says. “They want to relate to it.  So, I’m like, let me give them something really complex and I like being complex in a painting.  People, no matter what their background and what their mood is, they might relate to that painting. They may see something in there that I didn’t see and I’ve noticed that really depends on the person.”

J. Michael McGuirt

J. Michael McGuirt

You can also find work of McGuirt in other locations, such as in his own gallery in Camden, SC.  Outside of art, McGuirt does real-estate and owns The Heritage Antique Mall, which holds his very own art gallery. McGuirt is also a member of Sumter Country Artist Guilds which is associated with the Sumter Country Gallery of Art, where his painting of a young bird recently won a People’s Choice Award. “I made it bigger in its chest like it’s taking a deep breath and it’s got its eyes closed, and I’m like, it’s about to fly.  I called it ‘Gathering Courage,’” McGuirt says.

           

McGuirt’s work will show at Harbison Theatre through October and more shows by a variety of local artists are on the way.  Cobb wants to continue supporting local art and developing more extensive relationships with local artists.  After working for The Fine Arts Center of Kershaw County for over ten years, Cobb appreciates the value of local relationships. “I know how important it is to have those relationships with the local artist and to be able to give back to the local community … Columbia is very fortunate.  We have some amazing artists,” says Cobb.

           

To see McGuirt’s work at Harbison Theater, tour the venue during any of their operating hours. Support local artist, local art and local venues - these are the things that give Columbia, SC, so much character.

 

Hallie Hayes

Intern, the Jasper Project

 

Learn more about Bauhaus at

https://www.theartstory.org/movement-bauhaus.htm

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REVIEW: Celestial Stars Performing Arts' "The Christmas Angel" by Melissa Swick Ellington

The Christmas Angel If you are seeking a fresh and innovative holiday arts experience, you won’t want to miss The Christmas Angel by Celestial Stars Performing Arts at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College this weekend. Written and choreographed by artistic director and performer Gabrielle Celeste, The Christmas Angel debuted in December 2001 and is now in its fifteenth year of production. The originality of the story, combined with the quality of dance, create a uniquely gratifying performance.

Celestial Stars Performing Arts is based in West Columbia, where Celeste leads a training program that includes ballet as well as other forms of dance. (Disclaimer: Although my young daughter attends class at the ballet school, we are not directly involved with this production.) While The Christmas Angel engages even the youngest of dance students in the cast, the production value is noteworthy. Theatrical elements such as costumes, scenic design, lighting, and sound are crafted with high standards. At the final dress rehearsal I attended, pride and poise radiated throughout this inspiring production.

The story explores the redemptive journey of the Christmas Angel, who reveals how purity of love and power of forgiveness can transform even the darkest of hearts. As the ballet opens, Father Frost brings the Christmas Angel and magical toys together in Christmas Land, where they celebrate Christmas Eve and look forward to the excitement of Christmas Day. When the Christmas Angel is kidnapped by the Goblin Queen, the brave toys set out on a dangerous mission to rescue their beloved friend. The Christmas Angel’s ability to see the Goblin Queen’s true identity – a banished princess, sister of the Fairy Queen – leads to change and reunion on Christmas Day.

The large company of forty-seven cast members performs with strength and conviction. Nora Mader shines in a lovely heartfelt portrayal of the Christmas Angel. Celeste creates a powerful and mesmerizing Goblin Queen whose vulnerable transformation is truly moving. In the roles of Father Frost and Fairy King, Blade Boulware establishes an appealing stage presence and admirable partnering skills, accompanied by the charming Nyna Dalbec as the Fairy Queen.  Jane Mader delivers a beautiful interpretation of the Bird of Paradise. Two delightful French Dolls (Katie McHugh and Anna Grace Powell) cavort with a crowd-pleasing Jester (Devin McCormick) in particularly exceptional dances. Perhaps the most remarkable accomplishment of The Christmas Angel is the palpable joy that pervades this entire production as each performer from the sassy Black Poodle (Grayson Smythe) to the tiniest of Pixies conveys capable confidence.

Director and choreographer Celeste guides a strong production team, with additional choreography by Debbie Spivey and coaching by Dalbec, Spivey, and Gene Reed. Reed also provides effective set design and construction; the visual transitions into three distinctly different worlds uphold the story line while offering exciting spectacle. Celeste’s costume designs are first-class, from the playful reindeer to the menacing Wraiths to the exquisite Silver Moon and Golden Sun. The production elements and choreography unify in striking tonal shifts, leading the viewer through the light-hearted joyous Christmas Land into the genuinely frightening dark world of the Goblin Queen, yet ultimately rejoicing in the fairies’ celebration of redemption. The impressive Wraiths and Imps succeed with fascinating rhythmic sequences that emphasize the peril of the Goblin Queen’s world, while airy Woodland Nymphs and Butterflies lift the mood into the jubilant fairy realm.

The Christmas Angel demonstrates how a community arts organization can achieve professional performance quality while nurturing a strong educational program. In this fifteenth year of The Christmas Angel, Celeste and her company have created and evolved an original Christmas tradition for our community. Their achievement reflects how performers collaborating in educational settings can make true works of art. Audiences will leave the theatre hoping to treasure this living gem for many years to come.

Performances of The Christmas Angel will take place Friday, December 18 and Saturday, December 19 at 7:00 pm at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, 7300 College Street in Irmo, SC. Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for children under 12 and seniors. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit www.celestialstars.org or contact the box office at 803-407-5013.

Preview: PURE Theatre Brings The Mountaintop to Columbia

The Mountaintop - Harbison Theatre - Nov. 8 2014 (8)  

Audiences will be transported to 1968 Memphis during The Mountaintop, a drama produced by Charleston’s PURE Theatre at Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College on Saturday, Nov. 8, 2014 at 7:30 p.m.

 

Regarded by the Charleston City Paper as “Charleston’s go-to for the best in contemporary theatre,” PURE Theatre will bring The Mountaintop to Harbison Theatre’s stage during its tour as the inaugural production of a new statewide touring circuit, developed this year in an initiative led by Harbison Theatre with other presenting theatres in the South Carolina Presenters Network. By collaborating with producing theatres like PURE, Harbison Theatre hopes to expand and ensure access to excellent, professional theatre in all South Carolina communities.

 

With a powerful dialogue that delves into Martin Luther King Jr.’s fundamental humanity, the play takes place on April 3, 1968, in Memphis’ Lorraine Motel, Room 306, where Dr. King spent the final evening of his life. The story consists of only two characters: King and hotel maid Camae, who turns his room service call into a stirring and poignant discourse marked with moments of levity and humor.

 

The Mountaintop depicts King as a man exhausted from his travels and concerned for the safety of his family, an image that strays from the common view of King as an always-poised, indestructible public figure.

 

“I love this play because it shows one of our country’s greatest leaders as the person he was when no one was watching,” says Katie Fox, Executive Director of Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College.

 

“Martin Luther King Jr. accomplished amazing works and led thousands of people, but he was also a person who questioned himself, made mistakes and sought forgiveness,” notes Fox. “When we remember these things about him, we also remind ourselves that though we may experience moments of weakness and doubt, we are called on to be our best for each other.”

 

It has been a longtime professional goal of Fox’s to make it easier for all communities to have access to high-quality theatre, believing that everyone benefits from involvement with professional artists – yet it can be hard for rural areas and smaller communities to afford top-rated, artistically strong touring groups.

 

As a part of this new statewide touring circuit, The Mountaintop will be presented in five theaters in Camden, Beaufort, Manning, Cheraw and here at Harbison Theatre in Columbia, the first theatre to invest in the circuit, giving it seed money to make smaller theatres' commitments easier. Fox and fellow participating presenters are optimistic that the statewide touring initiative will be successful with The Mountaintop, and expand in years ahead.

 

 

The Mountaintop is one of 9 shows selected for Harbison Theatre’s 2014-2015 Signature Series. Individual show tickets and The Flex Pass, offering a 10% discount with the purchase of 4 or more tickets, can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org.

 

Tickets are available via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show in the Signature Series.

 

About Harbison Theatre

Rooted in the performing arts, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College offers programs and productions that encourage reflection, examination and discovery; and that provide entertainment, education and opportunity to professionals, learners and community members in all stages of life. To learn about upcoming events, purchase tickets, or pursue sponsorship and volunteer opportunities with Harbison Theatre, please visit www.HarbisonTheatre.org.

 

 

Jasper talks with Aquila Theatre Artistic Director Desiree Sanchez about Fahrenheit 451, coming to the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, February 7th

aquila1 Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College will host a stage adaptation of Ray Bradbury’s classic novel Fahrenheit 451, presented by by New York City’s Aquila Theatre Company on Feb. 7, 2014 at 7:30 PM.

Desiree Sanche, Aquila's Artistic Director and the director of this play, filled Jasper in on the company and this production.

Jasper:   Tell us about the roots of Aquila.  Why is touring an integral part of that mission?

Desiree Sanchez:  Aquila Theatre was founded in London in 1991 by Peter Meineck while he was a student at University College London. The company at that time was called The London Small Theater Company and was primarily focused on Greek plays. Meineck formed the company with intention of bringing the greatest classical works to the greatest number and making Greek Drama both relevant and moving to its audience. Touring was a major component to this mission as it brings the work to a much wider audience.

Jasper: "Aquila" is Latin for "eagle" - why that choice for a title?

Sanchez:   We wanted a name that we couldn’t outgrow. It needed to be a name that was informed by the work and not the other way around. The eagle represents strength, leadership and beauty. Its Latin representation is both beautiful in its expression and classical in its origin. In Roman times, each legion had a designated legionary whose job was to carry an emblem of the aquila through battle. This eagle was a symbol of honor to the Romans, and it was the duty of the head legionary to assure that the aquila was never captured. We at Aquila Theatre see ourselves as artistic leaders who are committed to maintaining a high artistic standard, and never forgetting our mission not only to spread classical drama, but to continue to push the canon of what is a classic. We not only perform Greek and Shakespeare plays, but also Heller and Bradbury. I think people now associate Aquila with artistic excellence.

Jasper:   As you say, Aquila has presented classics from classical antiquity (The Iliad, Oedipus, The Birds, etc.) and from Shakespeare as well as adaptations of modern classics (Jekyll and Hyde, 6 Characters In Search of An Author, and now Fahrenheit 451.) What makes something a "classic," and why are these works so important for modern audiences?

Sanchez:    We like to think of a classic as piece of work that has had a lasting impact on the psyche of our culture. Each of these works you mention, which we have performed, has its own unique way of expressing fundamental questions of who we are and how we got to be this way. Classics often have allowing often suppressed questions of society and ourselves to the surface. For whatever reason we are compelled to watch others play these questions out.

Jasper:   This adaptation is by Bradbury himself, correct?  

Sanchez:  Bradbury did write this adaptation in 1979. It has not been produced very often. Though I did not see it, there was a production in the city in 2006, which was well received. Beyond the occasional amateur production, it has not been produced often.

Jasper:   How challenging is taking a show on the road, nationally?  I gather this show is being alternated with Twelfth Night, with both done in some cities, and it's a cast of only seven actors.

Sanchez:    That is correct. We have a cast of 7, and they all play multiple roles in both shows. This means that our actors have to be very versatile, disciplined and hardy.  The road is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of time on the road, and the length of the tour is six months with a month off in December. This is a big country, and a lot can go wrong getting from point A to B, or in our case California to NY, Florida to Canada. For all its difficulty, our actors seem to get a lot from the tour. They definitely form close friendships with each other, and get to see some incredible parts of the country. They also can really hone their acting skills. It’s rare for an actor to have the opportunity to perform in rep for that stretch of time anymore. They always come back with amazing stories and it tends to be a tour they never forget. I always take it as a good sign when we get people who want to keep coming back.

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Jasper:  We assume that the set has to be fairly minimal, and obviously easy to put up and take down and pack into the truck.  What are the mechanics?  How do you travel from venue to venue, and what sort of tech support do you have?

Sanchez:  We travel in a large but comfortable passenger van with a small trailer attached to the back. We try and keep our set creatively compact. Design is key. We have a Technical Director, Stage Manager and two assistants to the technical director. Our crew is highly skilled. Each venue is different. The local crews range from union to non-union to even student crews on occasion. This means our crew has to be able to deliver the same show with the standards no matter what the level of experience the local crew has. Our TD is very good at knowing how to adjust our equipment needs in each venue to get a top-notch Aquila show delivered on time.

Jasper: Aquila has a special relationship with Columbia and USC; how did that come about?

Sanchez:   Yes, Peter Meineck was an assistant professor of Classics at USC in 1998. He brought Aquila to South Carolina when it became a joint US/UK Equity company. The actors came from London and New York and stayed in Columbia during the summer and opened their shows at the Koger Center. Aquila worked with the school’s Masters program in design and had an internship program with the MFA acting program. Two actors from USC joined the company and Nate Teraccio, a USC undergraduate in the Honors College and one of Peter’s students also joined the company as a technician and rose through the ranks eventually becoming the company manager. Nate now works as the production manager for Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York City, Thorne Compton, who was chair of the Theatre and Speech department and Peter Sederberg, Dean of the SC Honors College at that time, were instrumental in hosting Aquila at USC. After two years at USC Peter was offered a professorship ay NYU and Aquila was offered a company in residence position there. Three or four Aquila shows that went on to tour internationally and play long runs in New York were created at the Koger Center.

Jasper:  Burning and banning books comes and goes in America, and seems to have died down in the last few years.  Nevertheless, censorship is a HUGE issue for this country, as is intellectual freedom.  Why will this play/novel and its themes resonate with modern audiences, especially younger theatre-goers who may not be familiar with the work, and may not remember the Red Scare and the McCarthy era?

Sanchez:   I think resonates with our current society as it not only focuses on book burning but the over saturation of media, technology, reality TV and the lack of interest in anything that cannot be captured in a single headline. One of Bradbury’s characters in the play, Faber, has a great quote about the ban on books: “Remember the firemen are rarely necessary. The public itself stopped reading of its own accord.” This play is probably too close to home for many of us. In our present society, I don’t think its censorship or intellectual freedom that’s the problem, but rather the general lack of interest in knowledge and history. There is definitely an inertia that is present in our culture, which allows for censorship and intolerance to thrive. Real education purely for the sake knowledge is not valued in our culture. We learn to perform for standardized tests, universities are pressured to cut their humanities classes so that they can make way for more “useful” subjects. History lessons are practically extinct in the elementary schools.  It is no wonder we rank 26th in the world. No new curriculum will ever be able to change this unless it can change the way we think as a society.

.......................

From press material:

Fahrenheit’s protagonist, Guy Montag, is a fireman whose job is to hunt down and burn outlawed books, as well as the houses that contain them. He goes about this occupation undeterred until he considers his enforcer role in the oppressive, dystopian society.   Through Montag, Bradbury questions the impact of information technology on literature and society. The ubiquity of cell phones, laptops and tablets makes Bradbury's work more relevant today.

Katie Fox, Director of Theatre Operations at Harbison Theatre, said “While we may not debate censorship as heavily as we have in the past, the effect of technology on our lifestyle and relationships has never been more prevalent.  When I learned that Aquila Theatre Company, one of the best touring theaters in the country, was producing the stage version by Ray Bradbury, I knew it was perfect for our college and community.”

Published in 1953, Fahrenheit 451 is an early Cold War-era novel written against the backdrop of McCarthyism and the threat of a communist impression on America known as the Red Scare. During the McCarthy era, thousands of Americans were accused of being communists and communist sympathizers and were subjected to invasive investigations. Bradbury was concerned about censorship — and the threat of book burnings.

Harbison Theatre’s 2013-2014 Signature Season features eleven shows; view the entire season here: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/2013-2014-season/. Fahrenheit 451 is presented on Feb. 7, 2014 at 7:30 PM. Tickets are $22 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org. Buyers may also order tickets via phone at 803-407-5011, or in person at the Harbison Theatre Box Office, Monday through Friday, 9 -4. The box office also will open two hours prior to each show during the season.

~ August Krickel

"Planet Hopping" at the Harbison Theatre - a review by Melissa Swick Ellington

Planet-Hopping  

Planet Hopping Is Out of This World

 

The actor questions, “Is everybody ready to go back to earth?”

“No!” declares a young boy in the audience.

He was certainly not the only one who wanted to prolong tonight’s premiere performance of Planet Hopping: An Intergalactic Puppet Musical. This luminous collaboration between the puppet artists of Belle et Bête and popular “kindie” rock band Lunch Money reveals the theatrical magic possible when innovators imagine together. The performance quality easily rivals family-oriented productions I have attended at national theatre education conferences as well as various venues in New York City. Planet Hopping is a marvel that has been created right here in Columbia, and you don’t want to miss it.

Developed as part of the Harbison Theatre @ MTC Performance Incubator, Planet Hopping shares a voyage from earth to outer space with an emphasis on the power of friendship. Kimi Maeda brings engaging charisma to the play’s puppet hero (Stella Spark, “an astrophysicist when she was just a lass”), while Lyon Hill skillfully characterizes Stella’s sidekick marionette, the lovable and quirky robotic assistant Jack. Through Stella’s Planet Hopping technology, the audience accompanies the characters on a dramatic journey through the solar system, led by the appealing tour guide Mollinda (Molly Ledford). The incorporation of fantasy with scientific facts will delight both children and their adults.

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The Lunch Money band members (Ledford, J.P. Stephens, and Jay Barry) are as captivating as ever, sharing clever lyrics and rocking tunes that resonate with music lovers of all ages. One of the production’s greatest strengths is the seamless inclusion of the multi-talented band members as purposeful characters in the story. The “Amazing on the Moon” musical number melds band, projection screen, puppeteer, and marionette in a charming sequence made extra special by a puppet moonwalking…on the moon. The crowd-pleasing “Big Ball of Gas” Jupiter rap performed by P.J. the “new guy” (Stephens) with beatboxing by Jack the robot (Hill) becomes a highlight of the show.

Planet Hopping benefits from an admirable unity of production design, with creative use of lighting effects, video projections, and shadow puppetry. Want to learn about zoetropes, moveable cutouts, marionettes, transparencies, scrims, and more? Check out a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the production here: http://www.harbisontheatre.org/behind-the-scenes-with-planet-hopping/. You can also read composer/lyricist Molly Ledford’s insights into the development of the show’s music, which includes “a bubblegum pop song about orbiting” and “a rockin’ number about enjoying 1/6 of our normal gravity on the moon.”

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What a gift this collaboration is to our community. My six-year-old daughter spotted a promotional poster weeks ago and has been pleading to “go see the show Planet Hopping” ever since; I am grateful for her awareness and persistence, because this production is a one-of-a-kind experience. Upon receiving a sticker badge when exiting the theatre, my kid sighed happily, “It is amazing to be an official Planet Hopper.”

You can go hop planets with Captain Stella Spark and crew on Saturday, November 16 at 2 pm at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College (803-407-5011 or www.harbisontheatre.org).

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About Columbia Dance & this JUNK show on Friday night

JUNK Jasper loves dance -- and really, why wouldn't he? Dance is a physical interpretation of ideas, expressions, and emotions that run the gamut from joy to sorrow, piety to provocation, intrigue to explanation, and more. Whether executed by highly trained artists who emphasize technique and the curriculum and pedagogy under which they formed their world view about what dance should be, or the hapless and random movements of a toddler trying to find her first groove in the middle of a street concert, witnessing dance can be a transformative experience. The experience of dancing for oneself can border on the religious.

As we've said before, Columbia is in no short supply of dance.  Ballet companies, both professional and civic, abound. Local universities offer impressive dance departments with internationally known instructors. Smaller companies directed by unusually talented and experienced professionals -- like Caroline Lewis-Jones, Terrance Henderson, and Miriam Barbosa -- pop up throughout the season with fascinating shows, although these tend to be sparsely attended due to lack of funding for promotion. Erin Bolshakov down at Vista Studios has created an entire sub-culture around her art form.

Clearly, Columbia is a dancing city. We've had world class dancers come from our midst to grace the great dance stages throughout the world. Many of the dancers who have made Columbia their home have done so after dancing on some of those stages.

And yet, ...

For some reason we seem to lack the concomitant energy and verve that one might expect from the kind of dance city that we live in.

Why is that?

This is a question Jasper will be asking of you, our dancers, our artistic directors, our dance audiences, our sympathetic artists from other disciplines over the next few months.

Where are we going as a dance center? Are we going anywhere? If we aren't as dynamic as we should be, from where does our stasis come?

In the meantime, we invite you to engage with a dance company touring through our midst that is anything BUT static. JUNK.

Check it out at Harbison Theatre on Friday night.

Here's a little something about Junk.

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~~~

After selling out multiple shows in its first signature season including contemporary dance masters Pilobolus, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is bringing the Philadelphia-based dance troupe, Brian Sanders’ JUNK, to Columbia. The company will perform the show Patio Plastico Plus on October 18 at 7:30 p.m. Note: this engagement is one night only.

Far from traditional, the troupe uses found objects from pogo sticks to plastic jugs to create an onstage world that straddles contemporary dance and theater.

Sanders, formerly of the MOMIX company of dancer-illusionists, is known for creating athletic dance pieces that are in turn intense and moving, then light and comical.

“Last year, audiences LOVED Pilobolus. I did, too!,” says Director of Theatre Operations, Katie Fox. “The athleticism and storytelling held us all transfixed.” She continues, “For some, it was their first experience with live contemporary dance.”

JUNK has been jumping over boundaries, setting a new path in modern dance performance since it was founded in Philadelphia, Pa. in1997. The clever and creative repurposing of found objects presents an array of choreographic obstacles to be used and manipulated. Dancers perform with props as if they were animated partners, presenting technique that is both physically beautiful and witty.

Says Fox, “This show is so clever! Waiting for the preview show to begin in New York, we heard what sounded like ducks quacking backstage. When the dancers emerged, they danced an entire piece with ‘quacking’ two-liter bottles strapped to their feet!”

Patio Plastico Plus is a show of seven pieces performed in two, 40-minute segments with a 15-minute intermission. The segments, illuminated by dazzling light and rhythmic, mood-shifting music, are performed in quick, powerful bursts with little to no pauses.

This performance will leave a smile on the faces of both the new and the experienced dance fan. Tickets for Patio Plastico Plus are $30 and can be purchased at www.HarbisonTheatre.org.

 

Confessions of a Good Man Opens at Harbison, Tarzan + Doctor Dolittle Continue at Town and Workshop

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Walking on Water (WOW) Productions playwrights Tangie Beaty and Donna Johnson have teamed up with author Kevin A. Rasberry to present their brand new production, Confessions of a Good Man.  The show is a prelude of sorts to Rasberry’s book, Evolution of a Good Man, which will be released in 2013 as well. WOW will be returning to the Harbison Theater at Midlands Technical College to bring this show to life for FOUR  nights only! Run  dates are Thursday July 25 - Sunday July 28, and tickets range in price from $20 - $30 (with group rates available.)

Confessions of a Good Man is an inspirational stage play that gives a glance into the mind and struggles of one man. The production tells the tale of three brothers who grew up in the same household, but ended up with three vastly different lives. Each of the brothers takes his own path to try and become like their father, the epitome of a good man. Although the goal seems to elude them all, each of their paths lead to the same place...home. Family secrets, lies and love both bind this family together and keeps them bound. Will a confession free or destroy them?

National Gospel recording artist Blanche McAllister-Dykes, a South Carolina native, will join cast members Kayla Baker, Dana Bufford, Deon Generette, Rod Lorick, Regina Skeeters, and Will Young, IV.   WOW Productions' mission is to inspire, educate, encourage and empower artists and audiences to make communities more conscious and compassionate places. WOW believes in utilizing local and upcoming artists who also share the desire to utilize the performing arts in making a difference in not only their surrounding communities, but nationwide.  For more information about WOW Productions and Confessions of a Good Man please visit www.wowproduction.org or call 803.807.2969.

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Town Theatre meanwhile continues its run of Tarzan the Stage Musical, based on the animated Disney film, which was in turn based on the classic novel by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

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Tarzan’s adventure begins when a shipwreck leaves him orphaned on the shores of West Africa. This helpless baby is taken under the protection of a gorilla tribe and becomes part of their family. Growing into a great hunter and leader, Tarzan is much-loved by his ape mother, Kala, but yearns for acceptance from his ape father, Kerchak. When he eventually encounters his first human – Jane Porter, a curious young explorer – both of their worlds are transformed forever. Despite challenges, foes and differences, Jane and Tarzan find that together they can overcome all odds. This unlikely love story, full of adventure and songs by Grammy winner and rock icon Phil Collins promises touch your heart, while thrilling you as Tarzan literally swings over the heads of the audience and onto the stage.

Alternating in the role of Young Tarzan is Luke Melnyk (The Music Man) and Jadon Stanek (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) with newcomer Liberty Broussard and Caroline Quinn (Annie) alternating as Young Terk. Parker Byun (Miss Saigon, The Music Man) plays the grown Tarzan, with Town newcomer Celeste Morris as his leading lady, Jane Porter. The influence of parental guidance pervades the show in ape form with Kala, portrayed by Laurel Posey (Guys & Dolls) and Kerchak, taken by Scott Stepp (Annie Get Your Gun, The Odd Couple), and in human form with Professor Porter, played by Frank Thompson (White Christmas, Harvey). And what is a Disney tale without a scoundrel or two? Creating strife from the-get go is Kristy O’Keefe (Joseph…) as the leopard and Chad Forrister (The 39 Steps) as the conniving Clayton, a nefarious hunter. On the opposite end of the mischief spectrum is the feisty adult Terk played by Jackie Rowe (Peter Pan.)

Photo by David Barber. — with Parker Byun and Celeste Morris.

Director/Choreographer for this production is Shannon Willis Scruggs; the Scenic Designer/Technical Director is Danny Harrington; and the Costumer is Lori Stepp. Don’t miss this opportunity to see Tarzan come to life on Town's stage, with only four shows remaining: Thursday July 25- Sunday, July 28. Curtain is at 7:30 pm, and 3 pm on the fimal Sunday matinee. Tickets are $15-25. Call the box office at 803-799-2510, or for more information visit www.towntheatre.com.

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Workshop Theatre meanwhile continues its production of the family-friendly musical Doctor Dolittle , with book, music and lyrics by Leslie Bricusse, and based on the classic film.  This is a tale about the adventures of a doctor who learns to speak to animals, and who takes a journey from the small English village of Puddleby-on-the-Marsh to the far corners of the world. In the beginning, Doctor Dolittle is wrongly accused of murder and the animals and his friends rally together to prove his innocence. Once Dolittle is pronounced innocent, he continues with his search for the Great Pink Sea Snail -- the oldest and wisest of the creatures on earth. This is the classic tale of kindness to animals based on the stories of Hugh Lofting.

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Lee O. Smith (Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka) plays Doctor Dolittle, the wacky, but kind doctor who can talk to animals. He is joined by Kate Huggins (Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella) as Emma, Hans Boeschen (Legally Blonde the Musical, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella) as Matthew Mugg, Liza Hunter (Disney Camp Rock) and Marra Edwards (The Color Purple, Disney Camp Rock) as Polynesia, Doctor Dolittle's parrot, and Workshop newcomer Ben Connelly as Tommy. along with a host of youth actors.

E.G. Heard Engle (Disney's Camp Rock, Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella) directs a talented cast of veteran actors and up-and-coming youth. Music director Daniel Gainey (Disney's Camp Rock, Songs for a New World) helps create a harmonious sound, and choreographer Katie Hilliger (Disney's Camp Rock, Hairspray) brings her energetic style to the dances.  For ticket information, call the box office at 803-799-6551 from noon to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, or visit www.workshoptheatre.com.  Only three performances remain:  Thursday July 25 - Saturday. July 27.

You can read reviews by August Krickel for both Tarzan the Stage Musical and Doctor Dolittle at Onstage Columbia.

 

 

Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde - a Review by Jillian Owens

Is it possible to gain serenity by isolating and removing all that is evil and full of rage from our minds?  This is the question Dr. Henry Jekyll seeks to answer in Chapin Theatre Company’s production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.  After much experimentation and late hours in his laboratory, Jekyll creates a concoction that transforms him from his kind-natured bookish self into a raging violent monster who calls himself Mr. Hyde.  In Jeffrey Hatcher’s adaptation of the famous novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, the lines of good and evil fade to grey.  In the beginning of his experiments, Dr. Jekyll remembers his alter-ego’s activities, but gradually he begins to “black out” for days at a time; as Hyde terrorizes London with violence, depravity, and murder.  Jekyll, through the testimony of his friends and colleagues is acutely aware of the dangerous and deadly extent of Hyde’s actions, but continues with his experiments regardless.  Hyde, on the other hand, becomes a sympathetic anti-hero.   Born with a rage he can’t control, we see surprising moments of tenderness to Elizabeth, a young chambermaid who falls in love with him.  He laments being unable to lament his cruel nature, and does all he can to defend himself from Jekyll’s threats to destroy him. This production of what could be a deeply moving exploration into the darkest corners of man’s soul doesn’t entirely work.  I applaud a small community theatre for attempting such a difficult production, but several elements of the show came off as hokey and/or unpolished.  Some of this is due to the challenging nature of the script.  Relying heavily on an ensemble cast, most of the actors end up playing a different aspect of Mr. Hyde -- a device that isn’t very effective, as it doesn’t really contribute to the story.   The constant “filling in the gaps” of the story by aside narrations and journal readings wouldn’t be so annoying if they weren’t so plentiful, often halting and killing any suspense that might have otherwise built up.  George Dinsmore’s performance of Dr. Henry Jekyll becomes much more powerful in the second half of this production, as we begin to actually see his inner turmoil and guilt for what he has done.  Nathan Dawson pulls of multiple roles, including the “main” Hyde well, although his Hyde is teeters on the edge of becoming a caricature, with a voice that is distractingly Tom Waits-ish.  The lack of erotic tension in the scenes between Hyde and Elizabeth (played by Emily Meadows) made their intense relationship seem quite unlikely.

This isn’t to say this production is without merit -  far from it.  The ensemble cast pulls off their rapidly-changing characters well,  changing their voices, postures, and mannerisms seamlessly and impressively.  Somehow a scene where one of the characters (played by David Reed) oversees an autopsy of the character he played in the previous scene doesn’t seem at all strange or out of place.  While the individually ever-rotating Mr. Hydes aren’t very effective, the scenes where they converge together to torment Dr. Jekyll are downright chilling.  

The set is stark, raw, and adaptive – perfect for this production.  The music plays a major part in creating this show’s haunting mood.  A few costume changes would have been helpful in establishing character changes, but became unnecessary, due to the strength of the cast’s ability to change so effortlessly and distinctly from role to role.

Chapin Theatre Company is making bold strides in moving away from being just another community theatre.  While they haven’t reached the caliber of other theatre companies in the Columbia area yet, they are well on their wayDespite its flaws, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde will make a great addition to your Halloween season.

~ Jillian Owens

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the Robert Louis Stevenson novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, runs Oct. 19-Nov. 3, 2012 at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, 7300 College St., Irmo, SC 29063. Visit www.chapintheatre.org for information on specific performance dates and reservations.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Dinsmore - a guest blog, or two

Extract from the Journal of Dr. Henry Jekyll...  As 1882 draws to a close, I find myself returned to my home in London.  The two years I spent abroad studying alternative medicines in the Amazon Basin have proven quite fruitful.  Some of the tinctures and extracts that were introduced to me by the natives are rather potent.  They provide me with a previously unimagined freedom of thought and conscience.  I can’t help but believe that I am on the cusp of something monumental.  After numerous successes, I felt it was time to move my tests from the field, as it were, to the real world where I may see more accurate results of my work in real-life environs.

No longer shall I be tortured by the darkness that hides in the deepest recesses of my mind, hinting and prodding and begging for release. I am a civilized man of the modern era, who need not be burdened by such desires.  Today marks the first substantive step of my journey toward peace of mind.  I have successfully separated my more base ambitions from my intellectual designs, thus allowing me a sense of serenity that heretofore was simply not possible.  For now, while I am able to detach these two… “streams of consciousness,” for lack of better terminology, I still seek a method to strip away the unwanted “stream” and discard it.

Naturally, my labors must be kept confidential until they can be more fully evaluated, especially from Sir Danvers Carew.  As Chief Surgeon, he holds considerable sway with the Board of Governors, and he already seeks to undermine me at every turn.  But I am hesitant to share this work even with my closest friends and colleagues.  While Dr. Lanyon is a lifelong friend, he has a tendency to strictly adhere to accepted methodologies, and my experiments are outside those standard channels.

Aside from all of my achievements to date, one thing gives me pause.  I feel as if my work is being observed by someone else; as if I am being watched.  Almost as if there was someone in the room with me, but I have shared my research with no one.  Perhaps this is simply a side effect of the treatment, yet it gnaws at me....

Today I rid myself of my inner beast!

 

 Extract from the Journal of George Dinsmore...

When I learned that Chapin Theater Company was performing Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, I admit I was not initially excited. Drink a potion, become a monster. It seems like everyone has taken a stab at the idea, including Sylvester and Tweety’s Hyde and Go Tweet.  Only Dickens’ A Christmas Carol is more overdone. But I read the script, which is a new adaption by Jeffrey Hatcher.  And I’m glad I did.  This isn’t the story of a good man and the evil monster inside of him.  It is a story about people in general, and the journey of self-discovery we all go through, although most people’s deep dark secrets are expressed with fewer physical manifestations

Before I even started learning lines, I started taking my own emotional inventory, looking back on my own experiences for specific emotions that Jekyll goes through: terror, self-loathing, hubris, etc.  Some were easy to draw on. Some were harder. And some I thought I didn’t possess -- at first.  But they were all there. It’s surprising what you can find inside if you’re honest with yourself.

As everyone knows, Jekyll and the Hydes’ personalities overlap as the show progresses. So, preparing for that wasn’t a case of two actors deciding something arbitrary like, “Hey, let’s both have a limp.” There are four Hydes (played by Jeff Sigley, David Reed, Nathan Dawson, and Kathy Sykes) who have their own distinct traits.  Jekyll starts as an individual, and gradually takes on some part of each Hyde. And if we don’t see each Hyde somewhere in Jekyll’s demeanor, then we have no reason to believe they are the same person.

It has been an incredible challenge for me because let’s face it, most -- not all, but most -- of my stage work has been comedy.  I had to remind myself not to “find the funny” as director Glenn Farr puts it whether intentionally or not. But harder, was to show Jekyll’s human journey, not as a candlestick, rock star, or New Jersey con man, but as a real person with whom audiences could sympathize and relate.

So did I succeed?  Well, I admit I’ve always been a little nervous before every performance, but this one is different.  Dr. Jekyll is way outside my comfort zone, and there is more of “me” in this character than I’m accustomed to sharing.  But I am surrounded by fantastic talent onstage and off, and I feel like I have grown leaps and bounds as an actor, so from a personal standpoint it is already a success.  I guess I’ll find out if other people agree when we open this Friday and audiences get their first look at the finished product.

 

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde: The “Musical” I Swore I’d Never Direct - a guest blog by Glenn Farr

When I began directing local live theatre five years ago, I intuitively knew where my strengths lay: helming casts of four to 12 players in boxed set productions, no matter whether they be comedies or dramas. After all, those were the types of shows I most enjoyed being in – plays that allowed even a supporting actor to actually have time to develop a character and present it without being interrupted by a sudden song or choreographed routine involving almost everyone else in the cast. Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy musicals when they are well done, and in Columbia, now that we’ve reached a point when many who populate them have had the luxury of singing and dancing lessons, many such productions are actually quite good. For my part, in my 20s, when I lived in Newberry, SC, I so much wanted to be a part of musicals that I secretly studied with a retired voice professor who had been something of a legend during his days on the faculty of Newberry College. After a year, he had whipped me into good enough shape to score the lead in a production of Man of La Mancha. In the years since, I’ve had the opportunity to play and sing roles ranging from Cinderella’s Prince in Into the Woods and Scrooge to Professor Bhaer in Little Women: the Musical and perhaps the role for which I was best suited, Captain Hook in Peter Pan.

Nevertheless, that quarter century of performing in musicals taught me some things I knew I would not want to deal with as a director. First of all, you don’t really control the complete vision of the story you’re telling. You share it with a musical director and a choreographer. And the older I get, the more I find I want to tell the entire story myself, thank you very much. You also share casting decisions. I knew I’d never want to be in the position of casting an inadequate actress because she happened to be a superb singer, or not being able to cast a superior actress who happened to have two left feet.

Musicals are also logistically complex. No lights up and lights down on two acts with perhaps a maximum of two scenes per act. Instead, many lighting and set changes that must be coordinated with music and large numbers of bodies entering and exiting the stage. I feel a brain cramp coming on just thinking about it.

And finally, after having been in a fair number of musicals, I knew the kinds of egos they often attract, often some of the most “special” among those of us who enjoy stagecraft, many of whom have set up housekeeping at the very center of the Universe. Did I really want to deal with nursing egos to ensure the actors attached to them would give the performance they should? Could I ever develop the diplomacy such action might require?

I really didn’t know.

Nevertheless, my first directing job was Chapin Theatre Company’s A Murder Is Announced, an Agatha Christie mystery. They took a chance on me as a new director and I did everything I knew how to make sure my efforts – and the show itself – would succeed. I broke the script into French scenes, organized a rehearsal schedule that prevented actors from waiting in the wings for their scenes to begin, assembled a strong cast (with a few people playing against type), and staged a show that was well received by the theatre’s patron base. I did find myself massaging an ego or two, but nothing that compared to what I had experienced by being in musicals.

I directed a second show for Chapin, and in short order, one for Workshop, ultimately also being offered a directing opportunity at Village Square in Lexington. In a few short years, I had directed eight productions with varying degrees of success, but among all of them, there was nary a musical.

Until Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Let me be clear, the production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde Chapin Theatre Company is staging at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College is not a musical. When it was announced as part of the current season, many in the community confused it with Jekyll & Hyde, the actual musical by Frank Wildhorn, Leslie Bricusse and Steve Cudin. It’s not that show.

This Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is a non-musical play adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson. It was commissioned by the Arizona State Theatre in 2008 and has since become fairly popular among local theatres throughout the country.

It’s easy to see why. The show retains the essential elements of the Stevenson story, but introduces a modern sensibility in that there are four incarnations of Mr. Hyde (one of whom is a very sexy woman) and treats Dr. Jekyll’s metamorphosis into the various Hydes as something of a personality disorder triggered by experimentation with drugs. It is also economical to produce, in that there is no fixed set and uses one rolling door and a few pieces of furniture to define spaces. And, it employs only eight actors, some of whom play up to five or six distinct characters, each, with no significant costume changes.

On paper, the show looks simple. It’s just a black box staging and reinterpretation of a classic horror tale, right?

Ah, but just as Dr. Jekyll morphs into Mr. Hyde, this production began showing signs of trying to transform itself into a sort of musical in its own right.

First, it is structured so that the rolling door moves from scene to scene to define space as the characters move from London streets to Jekyll’s home to a London medical college to a slum room where Hyde lives to a police morgue to a local park and back again. Quick scene changes that must be executed flawlessly so that music and lighting match and actors don’t stumble over themselves getting to where they need to be, with the correct props in hand at the right moments – that sounds an awfully lot like a musical to me. I found as I pre-blocked the show (it is my habit to work out blocking in my head, writing it down in the script, before the first rehearsal with actors) that I had to view this show as if it were a musical. The play has a shifting foundation and its own fuzzy logic as one scene melts into another and an actor who was one character in the first scene becomes someone entirely different in the next. I know I’ve seen musicals that operated on a similar premise.

Enthusiasm about this project began to build as soon as it was announced and I subsequently learned that J.S. Lee, who was already on board as the sound designer, is also a composer. He expressed interest in creating an original ambient score for the production. He let me hear a sample of his work and I immediately saw an opportunity to make this production even more special by enhancing its scenes with original music.

In addition, the lighting designer was eager to develop an atmospheric lighting plot that would give the story the dark moods it requires while still enhancing the actors’ work on stage. Lighting is one area of stagecraft in which my knowledge is limited, and during discussions with lighting designer Matt Pound, I found my contributions to be limited to utterances such as, “Make the cyc glow red here,” or, “Make this look really dark and creepy.”

Finally, we decided to take advantage of some of the unique technical capabilities of the Harbison Theatre, which is only two years old. It can actually be used as a movie theatre due to its retractable screen mounted near the proscenium. We decided to create a video opening credits sequence that will be accompanied by an “overture” composed by J.S. Lee.

As I look at the elements we’ve added to what arguably could have been a very simple show, I see that about the only thing keeping it from being a true musical is song lyrics and choreography for the actors. Otherwise, compared to other shows I’ve directed, it’s evolved into a technical beast requiring a degree of conceptual thinking from me that, at times, has threatened to wrap my brain around a fence post.

Still, I would not trade the experience. As I write this, we are a few days from our first technical rehearsal and a few more days further from our opening night. We have yet to add the music and lighting, along with the video opening sequence, that we’ve spent the past six months developing and I have no idea how well the parts will assemble into a whole. Yet, I have faith it will be impressive.

What I do know is that the actors are ready. This project attracted some of the Midlands’ most talented, if sometimes underrated, performers. David Reed and Nathan Dawson are masters of accent and character shifts; George Dinsmore moves far beyond the physical comedy for which he is known as he offers a portrait of a good, but haunted man who fears he is losing his grip on reality. Kathy Sykes makes her female version of Mr. Hyde a true vamp and Emily Meadows brings a gentle, realistic energy to her role of the chambermaid who falls for the ultimate bad boy, Edward Hyde. Jeff Sigley has grown significantly as he brings to life the paternal attorney who tries to help Jekyll as his world falls apart and Teresa McWilliams and Dennis Kacsur support the main cast as they engender a number of small supporting roles. And nowhere among them is an out-of-control ego residing at the center of the universe.

No, Chapin Theatre Company’s production of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde is not a musical, but in several key ways, it does feel like one. Nevertheless, it has shown me that I might have to “unswear” that I’ll never direct a genuine musical.

~ Glenn Farr

Glenn Farr has acted, sung and even danced on Midlands stages for nearly 40 years. In the past five years he has directed for Chapin Theatre Company, Workshop Theatre and Village Square Theatre in Lexington.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher from the Robert Louis Stevenson novella Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, runs Oct. 19-Nov. 3, 2012 at the Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College, 7300 College St., Irmo, SC 29063. Visit www.chapintheatre.org for information on specific performance dates and reservations.

 

 

Preview: Pilobolus at the Harbison Theatre by Bonnie Boiter-Jolley

Next weekend, October 12th and 13th, Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College welcomes world-renowned dance company Pilobolus Seven to the Midlands. Founded in 1971 at Dartmouth College, Pilobolus incorporates a uniquely collaborative creative process that defies the typical director, choreographer, dancer hierarchy at their current home in Connecticut.

According to Communications Liaison Jun Kuribayashi, former Dance Captain and eight season veteran of the company, this collaborative process has a great deal to do with the eclectic and continually evolving nature of the company’s repertoire. Kuribayashi has what would be considered in many companies to be atypical training for a professional dancer, but with an athletic background in swimming, soccer, and gymnastics and a BFA in Dance from the University of Kansas, he is in good company. Pilobolus Seven seeks out well-educated and open-minded intellectuals with some life experience to join their ranks, explains Kuribayashi, who was 25 when he joined the company. The company is currently made up of seven dancers; Shawn Fitzgerald Ahern, Benjamin Coalter, Matt Del Rosario, Eriko Jimbo, Jordan Kriston, Jun Kuribayashi, and Nile Russell.

What keeps dancers like ninth season member Kuribayashi interested? As the people in the company evolve, the aesthetic of the movement and choreography evolves as well.  While the choreographer dictates the skeleton of a piece, the physical abilities of the individual dancers determine the meat of the movement and the artistic directors mold the shape and add texture. When asked about the aesthetic of the company, Kuribayashi explains that Pilobolus Seven follows no specific genre or style, but creates around what is amusing and entertaining at the time. “There is no right or wrong, just not right now,” Kuribayashi quips when asked about the creative process. He speaks about the “culture” of each piece and says, “it’s not just about dance…the people are amazing.”

What can we expect to see from a company like this? According to Kuribayashi, the program Pilobolus will perform at Midlands Technical College’s new 400 seat state of the art theatre next weekend will take the audience on a two-hour rollercoaster of two years’ worth of emotions. The five piece bill promises to be eclectic and moving, offering something for everyone.  First on the bill is “Rushes.” Choreographed in 2007, the piece is the first of Pilobolus’ International Collaborators Project, with creators Inbal Pinto, Avshalom Pollak and Pilobolus’ own Co-Artistic Director Robby Barnett.  Following this is “All Is Not Lost,” the live performance component of a 2011 video collaboration with the band OK Go. “Gnomen,” a quartet for men choreographed in 1997 is dedicated to the memory of friend of the company, Jim Blanc, who passed away from AIDS. “Duet,” a dance for two women choreographed in 1992 and revived for the company’s 40th Anniversary is making a rare appearance and deals with themes of love, power, and domination. Closing the program is full-company piece “Megawatt.” Choreographed in 2004 to music by Primus, Radiohead, and Squarepusher, “Megawatt” is a high-intensity piece that displays the full range of physical capabilities of the company.

Pilobolus is named after a phototropic fungus often found on farms, and like the fungus, the company is constantly growing and expanding in new directions. Columbia is extremely fortunate to have Emmy Award, Dance Magazine Award, and Brandeis Award winning company Pilobolus Seven in our midst and I highly encourage anyone, dancer, dance appreciator, or dance novice, to take advantage of the opportunity to see national caliber dance here at home.

~ Bonnie Boiter-Jolley

Showtimes are at 7:30 pm Oct. 12 and 13 at Harbison Theatre at Midland’s Technical College. Ticket prices range from $25-$30 and can be purchased at www.Harbisontheatre.org.