by Jenna Schiferl
In astronomy, syzygy is the alignment of three celestial objects. The origins of the word date back to as early as Ancient Greece, where the word suzugos meant ‘yoked’ and ‘paired.’
As part of the upcoming total solar eclipse celebrations in Columbia, The Jasper Project is launching a three-part series featuring South Carolina’s top poets, playwrights, directors, and actors. SYZYGY will kick off on Thursday, Aug. 17 with a poetry invitational and book release at the newly renovated Richland County Public Library Auditorium. Later that day will begin the SYZYGY: THE PLAYS. Six local playwrights were asked to create a 10-minute piece with three actors or less. The only other requirement was that each performance includes two and a half minutes of “darkness” to continue in the theme of the solar eclipse. Finally, the project will conclude with SYZYGY: POSTMORTEM, a panel discussion and reflection led by playwright Jon Tuttle and Columbia Poet Laureate Ed Madden. The discussion will delve into topics such as the processes of culture transitioning to art and its effectiveness.
University of South Carolina graduate Bakari Lebby will direct Jon Tuttle and Cindy Turner’s drama, One Another.
Jasper executive and editor-in-chief Cindi Boiter approached Lebby to direct the play, who was immediately on board.
According to Lebby, One Another is incredibly relevant to the current political climate.
“One Another is about trust and privilege. I believe it is a very timely piece,” Lebby says. “I'm excited for people to view this piece and contemplate its relevance to this country and them personally.”
Although the play is limited to 10 minutes, Lebby and his team are working to create a fully developed and cohesive storyline.
“We're working hard to flesh out a full true story,” Lebby says.
The three actors featured in the play are Akida Lebby, Jason Stokes, and Avery Bateman. Lebby emphasized the impressive cast when asked why individuals should be interested in seeing the play.
“We have veteran Trustus Company members and my little brother, so I think it's worth seeing their artistic prowess,” he says. “I'm very stoked and thankful for this opportunity, and I hope we keep pushing the boundaries of theatre, art, and the culture of Columbia.”
Ultimately, the night will be one with themes of alignment, synchronization, and of course – darkness.
SYZYGY: The Solar Eclipse Plays will be performed at 7 pm and 10 pm on Thursday, August 17th with a reception honoring the artists at 9 pm. Tickets are $10 and are available at https://www.tappsartscenter.com/