Vicky Saye Henderson Offers Improv Event Based on The Stone Necklace

Vicky Saye Henderson Jasper: You're involved with One Book, One Community's 2016 selection, The Stone Necklace by Carla Damron, in a couple ways, right? I know you created the audio version of the book - what was that like?

VSH: Partnering with the USC Press team, Carla, and Ron Whitten at the SC State Library has been incredibly rewarding and a great joy. I feel so fortunate to have been invited to participate. This was a completely different way of exploring a narrative for me compared to simply reading a novel or preparing text for stage. It challenged me to prepare differently and stay in touch with the tempo, tone, and pulse of the story and its characters.

Jasper: Was this the first book you've recorded?

VSH: Yes, this was the first audio book I've done. In preparing for the audition taping, I asked the Richland Library staff to assist me in pulling some award-winning high quality audio books, I took them home and studied them. I noted and considered what seemed distinctive regarding the narrator's choices for voicing the text, and employed some of those things in both my audition and ultimately our recording of the book. Luckily, those things seemed to work!

Jasper: Tell us about the process. How long did it take?

VSH: A week before we started recording, I met with Carla to talk about the book, its characters, her writing process, and more. We then began recording in mid-October.Typically, we would record for 2-3 hours a session twice a week. Ron Whitten (recording director) and I found that we made for a great team. His years of experience and knowledge got me quickly acquainted to this new medium, and our intuitive combined ear for keeping the quality consistent kept us on target. We logged over 40 hours in the recording studio. Jonathan, Carla and other key staff came by during sessions to listen in and were consulted during our process. It was a highly collaborative experience.

Jasper: Have any of your friends or family listened to your recording and, if so, what did they have to say about it?

VSH: Yes, Jim Dukes listened to some early parts of the first few chapters. What he said was interesting to me---that he could very distinctly see in his mind's eye all the colors and textures of the story in ways that just reading a book had not afforded him in the past.

Jasper: Is it something you'd like to do again?

VSH: Absolutely! I loved doing it. I really like the team of people I've come to know, I grew as a performing artist, and I found and added a totally new means of being a storyteller.

Jasper: Now, can you tell us about the improv event you'll be conducting for The Stone Necklace on Tuesday, February 11th at 7 pm at Tapp's Arts Center?

VSH: I've heard it said that two ways we can create more empathy in our lives are to read more novels and take an improv class. This event combines both elements! We will be "walking through the halls" of this book and exploring its story lines, characters and settings (the book is set in Columbia, SC) via interactive improvisation techniques. It's not about performance, but rather about becoming co-explorers of story using Carla's existing elements as prompts. A whole new way to appreciate an author's work.

Jasper: How can the public be involved in this and what do they need to do to prepare?

VSH: There's nothing to bring or do to prepare for the event. Come with a curious spirit and willing heart to learn about the book, engage your creativity, see things from a new perspective, and apply your own point of view.

Jasper: How would we benefit from participating?

VSH: It will be a new and more intimate way to meet a story and its creator. People will get to know one another in the room, and hopefully learn a little about the highly versatile medium of improv as a tool for discovery and collaboration.

Jasper: Do we need to have read the book first?

VSH: No prior reading is necessary. An overview of the story will be given and excerpts from the novel will be read.

Jasper: Finally, what's your favorite thing about (or part of) the book The Stone Necklace?

VSH: The two things I appreciate most about this book is the keen, intuitive and seamless way Carla weaves the stories of these seemingly different people into a common tapestry, and her choice to set it in Columbia, SC. I became very emotionally invested in the characters very quickly (especially one character, Joe), grew to appreciate their individual and combined roads of healing, and saw my city through a new lens.

 


 

Vicky Saye Henderson is a performer and teaching artist, whose projects include live stage, film, TV, voice-overs and cabaret. On staff at Trustus Theatre, she serves as Director of Education and Professional Development.  She is also a member of Trustus' residential performing ensemble, appearing most recently in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. She is the recipient of the SC Arts Commission's 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship in Acting and was named the 2013 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre. She received her improv training in Orlando, FL (KVG Studios) and is co-director of Trustus' Improv and Sketch Comedy master track Apprentice Company program. Vicky recently provided vocal narration for USC Press' audiobook of Carla Damron's novel, The Stone Necklace. 

 

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION:

Come and be introduced to Carla Damron's new novel, The Stone Necklace, in a highly active way! Trustus Theatre Ensemble member and Director of Education, Vicky Saye Henderson will use the versatile medium of improvisation to explore the novel's narrative, its characters and setting, the author's process in fun, unexpected and non-traditional ways using readings, music, audience interaction and more.

The Stone Necklace Sparks Multidisciplinary Arts Events

Damron_cover.indd  

In celebration of the 2016 One Book, One Community selection, The Stone Necklace by Carla Damron (USC Press, 2016) a number of multi-disciplinary arts events are planned to more fully enjoy the community reading experience, including a three-person photography exhibit opening on Thursday, February 4th with a panel presentation by the participating photographers. In the weeks to come additional programs involving theatre arts and music, all inspired by a reading of The Stone Necklace, are also planned.

Set against the backdrop of contemporary Columbia, South Carolina, The Stone Necklace braids together the stories of a grieving widow, a struggling nurse, a young mother, and a homeless madman, reminding us of the empowering and surprising ways in which our lives touch one another and through which, together, we recover from even the greatest of losses. Bestselling and award-winning author Mary Alice Monroe praises The Stone Necklace as “a celebration of the transformative power of shared experiences and of the connections that bind us.”

 

Cemetery by Thomas Hammond

 

Off Page – Photography: Artists Respond to The Stone Necklace will open on the Tapp’s Arts Center on Thursday, February 4th as part of the First Thursday celebration of Columbia arts. Columbia photographers Thomas Hammond, Robert Coffey, and Kristine Hartvigsen, having read advanced copies of the novel, will show the work they created in response. A brief panel presentation discussing the exhibit will take place at 7 pm in the Fountain Room downstairs at Tapp’s. https://www.facebook.com/events/542294492601031/. Free.

 

Vicky Saye Henderson

 

Off Page – On Stage: Imrov with Vicky Saye Henderson will take place on Thursday, February 11th at 7 pm in the Skyline Room of Tapp’s Arts Center.  In a program created by local theatre artist and educator Vicky Saye Henderson based in part on Damron’s novel, Henderson will lead an improvisation workshop and demonstration. https://www.facebook.com/events/1188116441213546/.  Free.

 

Cully Salehi and Todd Mathis

Off Page – Music: A Musical Response to The Stone Necklace featuring original work created by Todd Mathis and Cully Salehi in response to the novel The Stone Necklace will take place on Saturday, February 20th at 7 pm at the Deckle Edge Literary Festival Saturday Night Reception at Main Street Agape. Tickets available via Brown Paper Tickets.

The above events are presented via a partnership between One Book, One Columbia, One Columbia for Arts and History, Jasper Magazine, The University of South Carolina Press, and Richland Library.

About the Artists

 

South Carolinian Carla Damron is a fiction writer, clinical social worker, and author of the Caleb Knowles mystery novels Keeping Silent, Spider Blue, and Death in Zooville in which she explores addiction, homelessness, and other social issues. Her short stories have appeared in Fall Lines, Six Minute Magazine, Melusine, In Posse Review,and other journals. Named the 2014 South Carolina Social Worker of the Year, Damron holds an M.F.A. in creative writing from Queens University and a master's degree in social work from the University of South Carolina.

Thomas Hammond is a freelance photojournalist from Columbia, South Carolina specializing in human interest, political, and cultural stories from the heart of the American South to the Middle East and wherever else the road takes him. In 2015, he won a South Carolina Press Association award for his work documenting the war and humanitarian crisis in and around Syria. More recently, he's covered local stories such as the removal of the Confederate flag, the devastation of the recent floods, and the evolution of the local music scene.

Born in San Francisco, California, Kristine Hartvigsen earned a bachelor’s degree in education and completed graduate studies in journalism at the University of South Carolina. She began her journalism career in the mid-1980s at The State and The Columbia Record newspapers. She is a past editor of South Carolina Business and Lake Murray-Columbia magazines as well as a past associate editor of Jasper magazine. Her photography has been published in:  Sandlapper, South Carolina Business Monthly, Lake Murray-Columbia, Columbia Business Monthly, and Jasper magazines; in The State, the Free-Times, the Myrtle Beach Sun News, Lowcountry Life, and the Georgetown Times newspapers; as well as in print and online publications of the South Carolina Chamber of Commerce, The Nature Conservancy of South Carolina, and the South Carolina Education Association. In 2012, Muddy Ford Press published her first poetry collection, To the Wren Nesting.

Vicky Saye Henderson is a performer and teaching artist, whose projects include live stage, film, TV, voice-overs and cabaret. On staff at Trustus Theatre, she serves as Director of Education and Professional Development.  She is also a member of Trustus' residential performing ensemble, appearing most recently in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical. She is the recipient of the SC Arts Commission's 2015 Individual Artist Fellowship in Acting and was named the 2013 Jasper Artist of the Year in Theatre. She received her improv training in Orlando, FL (KVG Studios) and is co-director of Trustus' Improv and Sketch Comedy master track Apprentice Company program. Vicky recently provided vocal narration for USC Press' audiobook of Carla Damron's novel, The Stone Necklace. 

For the past 15 years, Todd Mathis has been a solid fixture of the South Carolina music scene, and well beyond, playing in a number of groups from the indie soul of Betty Sneetch to the Brit-tinged rock of Boxing Day (Universal/Republic), fronting the alt-country turned rock of American Gun, crafting the soundscapes of Interruptions of the Mind, and releasing a few solo albums along the way.

Cully Salehi, a graduate of North Carolina School of the Arts, began her journey in music as an orchestral violist. After eight years of classical playing she began exploring the worlds of improvisation, jazz, and rock. Since contributing viola and keys to North Carolina Indie rock group Silver Hill Mine, she has performed several seasons with Columbia Community Orchestra and Lake Murray Symphony Orchestra. She currently enjoys playing local venues, growing in her own songwriting, and collaborating on recording projects at Jangly Records.