Girls Rock Roulette 2017 - by Bria Barton

... some bigger girls are getting their chance to shine.

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An ensemble of rocker chicks is strumming, drumming and singing their way to New Brookland Tavern on Sept. 23 to show off what it means to have girl power.

 

Girls Rock Columbia is hosting Rock Roulette 2017, a fundraising event that goes toward funding their Girls Rock Camp and year-round programming.

 

Although Girls Rock strives to teach their younger members the splendors of music and self-confidence, on this night, some bigger girls are getting their chance to shine.

 

“At Girls Rock Camp, we always remind our campers that their most powerful instrument is their voice. It's really important to us that our adult volunteers and supporters have opportunities to use their voices just like our campers,” Jess Oliver, Girls Rock Columbia executive director, says. “We lead by example, so it's good to be able to empathize during camp week when we are asking them to do something that might be intimidating. This is a great opportunity for volunteers who might want to work on building up their confidence in front of an audience because they will have their band mates up there with them for support.”

 

Last month, the Girls Rock ladies were each assigned a band in preparation for Rock Roulette 2017. Over the last couple of weeks, their task has been to practice their instruments and compose at least one original song with their respective band members.

 

“I am most excited about the people who have never played an instrument. One of my band members is playing keyboard for the first time, and she showed up to rehearsal absolutely glowing,” Oliver says. “It helps me remember that, yeah, we are largely a summer camp for youth, but it's really important to empower each other too. We adults doubt ourselves sometimes and feel small and powerless too, so it's important to take the opportunity to do something brave and remember, ‘Oh yeah... I ROCK!’”

 

Those participating in Rock Roulette 2017 are also individually raising money for Girls Rock through their own Razoo links, which they have posted on their social media. Oliver encourages people to donate because every dollar goes “directly to Girls Rock Columbia's future programming.”

 

Oliver believes that the public should come out and support Rock Roulette 2017 because it might just be that inspirational push a person needs in order to step out of their comfort zone. Additionally, she says, “[Rock Roulette is] bound to be a fun and energetic night of community and positivity” and that the audience can expect to see “a lot of really big smiles.”

 

“I'm also really happy that we have some community members participating in Rock Roulette who have never volunteered with us,” Oliver says. “We want to continue to grow, and this is one way we can keep making connections.”

 

Rock Roulette 2017 begins at 8PM. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased at http://www.ticketfly.com/event/1559008. They will also be available at the door.

The Dance Season Starts (with Gamecocks Athletics) by Susan Lenz

Fall is my favorite time of year! It's a seasonal thing. The local dance scene gets kicked off and college football swings into action. The only thing better would be an event featuring both. 

Guess what? It's going to happen on September 23rd during the Gamecock vs. the LouisianaTech Bulldog halftime show. This summer, athletic band director Cormac Cannon teamed up with USC dance company director Susan Anderson to stage "Dancing with the Stars." Dance majors with partner basketball great A'ja Wilson, WIS weatherman Tim Miller, student body president Alex Lordo, and Anya Martin (the men's basketball coach's better half).  All involved have been practicing long hours.

Unfortunately, the Gamecock team will be in their locker room during the show. They'd be good dance critics.  Sixteen members took Susan Anderson's Dance Appreciation course over the summer. A'ja Wilson took it during her freshman year. At the University of South Carolina (like the mission of Jasper Magazine), interdisciplinary approaches are fundamental. That's team spirit!

So ... a-one-and-a-two and a Go Cocks!  Dance your heart out this season.

Later this week I'll be posting my impressions of Columbia Classical Ballet's first "Studio Series." It will be my first, real review. My hopes for the season are to initiate critical conversation about the experience of seeing dance performances as well as to inform the public of upcoming local dance events.

Susan Lenz is a full time, professional studio artist in Columbia, South Carolina. Her studio is located at Mouse House, Inc. at 2123 Park Street where she has both a studio for 3D sculptural and installation work and a separate fiber art studio. Susan's work has been juried into numerous national and international exhibits, featured in solo shows all over the United States, and shown on television and in print. She has been awarded six full scholarship art residencies and several "Best of Show" ribbons. She also serves as Jasper's Dance Editor. 

PHOTO Exhibit at 701 Whaley Promotes Conversations about RACE: Black & White Opens October 2nd

PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT PROMOTES CONVERSATIONS ABOUT RACE: BLACK & WHITE AT 701 WHALEY OPENS OCTOBER 2

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Even before Black & White opens, it will have already achieved part of its goal—to promote frank, intimate conversations about race and to act as a tool for discovering more about people in the community. The resulting 20 black and white photographs will be shown at the hallway: community art space at 701 Whaley, October 2 through December 10. A reception will be held October 8th from 3pm-5pm at 701 Whaley in the Granby Room. Drinks and food will be provided along with a performance by Indigo Soul, led by Terrance Henderson.

The portrait exhibit was created by photographers Dalvin Spann, who is a 36-year-old Black man, and Lee Ann Kornegay, a 57-year-old white woman. They envisioned it as a project that would challenge both themselves, as artists, and ultimately the viewers of their work. The two artists were hoping to learn new things about their subjects and talk about what it feels like to be Black or white in today's world. Each agreed to photograph 10 people of a different color.

Kornegay began taking photos when her mother gave her a Canon camera back in 1977. She works frequently in video and has made numerous documentaries about such topics as West Africa, the landmark civil rights case Briggs vs Elliott, and even 701 Whaley, where the exhibit is being held. Spann first started taking photos as a way to show samples of his visual art, then became a serious student of black and white film photography in college. He is a co-founder of Izms of Art, a collective of black artists.

Black & White developed from the desire to gain and promote a better understanding of people of different colors. The artists hope the exhibit will serve as a tool for moving race relations forward and in a positive direction by something as simple as getting to know each other. “For me,” says Spann, “Black & White is a representation of people who use their art form, profession, and life to cross over the boundaries of color. True passion of what inspires you should have no bearing on color, race or walks of life.”

REVIEW: Barbecue at Trustus Theatre - Frank Thompson

“There’s a face that we wear in the cold light of day.
  It’s society’s mask, it’s society’s way,

  But the truth is that it’s all a façade…”

 

-Jekyll And Hyde: The Musical

 

   When Frank Wildhorn penned the above lyrics for his adaptation of the classic tale of The Strange Case Of Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde over two decades ago, he probably didn’t anticipate them being used in the introduction of a review for a yet-to-be-written play about a family staging an intervention, but the song has been stuck in my head since seeing Friday night’s performance of Robert O’Hara’s Barbecue. As usual, Trustus Theatre has selected a multi-layered, thoughtful, and well-crafted piece of work to open the 2017-2018 season. It also happens to be hilariously funny at times, especially early on, as we are introduced to a series of social misfits gathering for a cookout/confrontation in hopes of persuading the meth-addicted Barbara (Christine Hellman and Devin Anderson) to get the help she desperately needs. Known also as “Zippity-Doo”, Barbara is the loosest cannon on a full deck; her would-be rescuers each have substance and/or personal issues, and the family is a nigh-stereotypical dysfunctional, lower-middle-class bunch.

 

   It would be impossible to adequately review the performance without revealing a few spoilers, so if you want to go in completely blind, stop reading now and take my word that Barbecue is well worth your time and money.

 

   If you’re still reading, I promise not to give away all of the surprises, but to avoid confusion, I’ll go ahead and say that each role is double-cast, with one family entirely African-American, the other entirely white. The two families are identically named and costumed, with only minor (or so it seems) differences between them. Both Barbaras are addicts, and the set-up for the intervention, etc., utilizes almost identical dialogue, with a few cultural colloquialisms and stylistic choices unique to each group. The first act alternates scenes between the groups, with a fairly close-to-real-time overlap until a big reveal at the end of the first act, at which point we realize that we’re watching a reality show onstage. (The TV series Intervention is actually mentioned several times). But which “reality” is real? Over drinks at intermission, several friends and I guessed what would happen as well as what was going on. We were all incorrect, which illustrates the artistry of the playwright in avoiding the obvious in a play populated by what seem at first to be two-dimensional characters.

   The show opens with a laugh-riot, profanity-laden, monologue by Christopher Cockrell as Barbara’s n’ere-do-well brother, James T., who wants nothing to do with any of it, yet is forced to set up for the party alone. Having seen Cockrell mostly in dramatic, serious roles, I was most impressed with his flawless comedic timing, as well as his ability to convincingly play a lowbrow redneck. It’s always enjoyable to see familiar faces in roles outside their personal norm, and Cockrell’s James T. is just that. Matching Cockrell’s stage presence and skill, Kendrick J. Lyles appears as the black James T., who, while slightly more laid-back, is the same scruffy, beer-swilling schlub as his white counterpart. One has a mullet, the other dreadlocks, but they’re both reluctant, unimpressed with the plan, and would rather be anywhere else.

 

   Krista Forster and LaTrell Brennan share the role of Barbara’s sister, Marie, who has plenty of her own secrets. As with Cockrell and Lyles, both performers manage to create the same character with just enough differences to keep things interesting. While each Marie is self-serving and hypocritical, Forster’s is a bit more aggressive somehow, with Brennan’s interpretation bringing out a slightly softer side. Rather than being a distraction, this adds another layer to the almost-but-not-quite-identical nature of the two families. One gets the idea that Marie is following fairly closely in Barbara’s footsteps, which is supported by slight differences in the two Barbaras that mirror the personality of each Marie. Kudos to director Ilene Fins for weaving such subtleties into the parallel universes.

   Trustus mainstay Elena Martinez-Vidal plays the white incarnation of Aldean, a chain-smoking opioid addict who is battling breast cancer. With her edgy, crass, and selfish nature, Aldean could easily be the most-disliked of this crew of undesirables, but Martinez-Vidal brings a raffish lovability to the role. She’s the cranky old aunt or neighbor lady whose nastiness is somehow endearing. Her counterpart, Mahogany Collins, is just flat-out hateful, with hilarious results. In the hands of a less skilled actress, this approach could have fallen flat, but Collins brings such sincerity to Aldean, you can’t help cracking up at her most venomous lines. This was my first time seeing her onstage, and I certainly hope it won’t be the last.

   Two more familiar faces on the Trustus stage, Dewey Scott-Wiley and Marilyn Matheus, provide what semblance of stability the family has in Lillie Anne, the harried organizer and driving force behind the intervention. It goes without saying that each of these seasoned pros turns in a solid, well-developed performance, but as an added layer to an already complex set of circumstances, the two Lillie Annes also helped define each family. Each has seen tragedy and loss, but seemingly from different directions. With Scott-Wiley’s Lillie Anne, there’s a slightly frantic quality which suggests a family in decline, while Matheus’ solid, no-nonsense Lillie Anne has the aura of someone who has pulled herself up beyond her beginnings. The script does not address the issue, but the performances suggest one person who is desperately trying to fix something broken, while the other is calmly determined not to let things get any worse.

   And of Barbara, herself? Well, that’s where things get complicated, and (SPOILER ALERT!!!!) once we discover that Hellman’s is the actual Barbara, the story splits open, and we see Anderson in her true identity: a successful singer who plans to conquer Hollywood by bringing Barbara’s story to life onscreen. (While in rehab, Barbara wrote a best-selling book about her experiences). In one of the show’s strongest scenes, the two play a game of cat-and-mouse over identity and reality, with Barbara claiming to have made up the entire story, which doesn’t seem to matter at all to the singer, who has her eyes on the Oscars and nothing else. Without giving away too much, I’ll just say that everything from race to sexual identity is addressed in the scene, with the overwhelming message being that reality is subjective and what you see isn’t always what you get. By the end of the scene, the two have merged in a way, and the audience is left wondering how many layers of deception and fakery just occurred, and if a “real” Barbara has faded into a pastiche of lies and re-writes. Hellman and Anderson manage to create just enough doubt about…well, almost everything. Watching their interaction and the game of one-upsmanship literally had me on the edge of my seat and figuratively doubting my sanity as each “revealed” something that may or may not have been true.

      By the end, all is made clear, but the path takes several more twists along the way, dropping in one or two more revelations that tie the two worlds together. The final moment of the show (which I won’t reveal) brought laughter from some, gasps from others, and a whispered-but-distinct “daaaaaaaamn” from someone in the row behind me. For a script which addresses and bases itself on relativism and skewed perspective, I can think of no better reaction. Barbecue is a fresh, thought-provoking, mind-twisting, funny, vulgar, and intelligent piece of theatre, with a strong cast and ambiguous storyline that leaves you scratching your head a little. It’s a perfect show for Trustus, and Artistic Director Chad Henderson is clearly committed to continuing the theatre’s goal of bringing new works of high quality to the stage. His opening night welcome to the audience included a tribute to his mentor, the late Jim Thigpen, whom I have no doubt would have taken great pride in Barbecue.

 

Frank Thompson is a graduate of The University of Alabama and Cumberland School of Law, who has made his home in Columbia since 2010. He has performed, taught classes, and/or directed with several local theatres, and co-writes a column for "The Good Life" blog for Goodwill Industries, along with his wife, Laurel Posey. His essay, 'Que, was featured in the 2014 edition of Fall Lines by Muddy Ford Press.

 

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A Review is Just One Person's Opinion: The Pavilion at Full Circle Productions

 

 

There is nothing in my training that qualifies me to be a theatre reviewer. My first two degrees are in Sociology and I almost have a PhD in History, which is similar to almost being pregnant or almost winning the lottery. But when our reviewer bailed on us at the last minute Tuesday night and it was too late to turn in tickets to see Full Circle’s production of The Pavilion at USC’s Lab theatre, I decided to take their seats and accept the challenge of giving one person’s feedback on their experience as an audience member at a play.  As a frequent theatre-goer to stages in New York and London and a rabid theatre-goer to stages local, the reality is that I’m probably no more or less qualified than most of you reading this piece.  And it can be argued that a review is just one person’s opinion, at worst or at best.

I went into the performance full of support for the newly organized Full Circle Productions, and left feeling the same way. Full Circle Productions is a small theatre troupe made up of many highly respected theatre professionals who are committed to providing exceptional theatre that challenges audiences with both the content and the execution of the art form. Issues of social justice are high on their list of priorities. Full Circle Productions also offers the kind of art experience that many of us thrive on – boutique, intimate, ephemeral. The kind of event that sometimes gives you chills because you know neither you nor anyone else in the room with you will ever experience the specific exchange of energy you are all experiencing at that moment in time. We don’t need fancy props or costumes or dozens of people on the stage for this; all we need is talent, sincerity, openness, and a moment in time. Kudos and thank you to Full Circle Productions for adding another opportunity for these experiences to Columbia’s theatre repertoire.

The Pavilion, written by Craig Wright, was nominated for a Pulitzer in 2005, but it didn’t win despite the very real chops Wright brings to his endeavor having written, in addition to several other plays, a number of award-winning episodes of Lost and Six Feet Under for television. Wright is a seminary graduate and his writing reveals a fascination with the kind of cosmic questions about the meaning and purpose of life and the existence of the universe that can leave one anything from amused to maddened.

The three characters in The Pavilion are charged with conveying to the audience that the pavilion in which they exist for this short night that is their 20th high school reunion is symbolic of time. The pavilion is scheduled to be demolished immediately after their reunion, leading us to understand that time is fleeting. A mistake was made 20 years earlier and the main duo of characters played by Lindsay Rae Taylor and Andrew Schwartz as Kari and Peter respectively, (Jennifer Moody Sanchez plays the narrator), ultimately debate whether we can reverse time with our actions and apologies and better plans. It is a contemplative play with difficult questions and while it does belabor the one point of their contention, it’s not difficult to translate that situation to any number of additional life quandaries.

Schwartz and Taylor provide really lovely performances. Schwartz is believably earnest in his desire and appears to be at peace with his mistakes and where life has taken him, recognizing the value of asking for a second chance but willing to take no for an answer. Taylor is genuinely miserable throughout the first act and when, in the second act, we think she may see a way out of her misery, the habits of twenty years make their ties known. But, yes, Taylor allows us to see the young woman full of hope and dreams that Kari once was.

Sanchez was saddled with an incredibly difficult part, or parts, to play, risking the chance of becoming annoying as she played the parts as they were written. Her character required the kind of virtuosic performance that I can see very few people being able to pull off without flaw. Someone like Mark Rylance comes to mind and, even still, the part just seems treacherous in that the character repeatedly interrupts the action of the others by pretending to blow some kind of cosmic dust on the action in a god-like fashion. Added to that, Sanchez plays a number of other parts for seconds here and there without benefit of a true costume change due to the timing of the script and the only way for her to make the audience discern the difference between Pudge and Denise and Angie and Carla and Kent and more is through somewhat exaggerated character traits and a variety of accents we are surprised to find in the small town of Pine City, Minnesota. Kudos to Sanchez for taking on such a tough challenge.

Production designer Nate Terracio gives us exactly what we need to know we are at a special event, but no more, which is a testament to the beauty of simplicity in design and, especially in South Carolina where, due to the lack of structural support for the arts, doing more with less is always to be applauded. And Robert Richmond, director of The Pavilion as well as director of USC’s department of theatre and dance and director of Theatre South Carolina, is the seed of this and many important pieces of theatrical art in Columbia and should be applauded, too, for his contributions to our theatre culture as well as for having faith in us as an audience to grow and appreciate new ways of seeing old stories and an earnest desire for the new.

 

The Pavilion runs at the Lab Theatre on Wheat Street through November 2nd and tickets are only $10 at the door.

- Cindi Boiter is the editor of Jasper Magazine and executive director of The Jasper Project.

 

Patrick Kelly - Project Director for SYZYGY: The Plays

Columbia has a sneaky-good arts scene and many people are only beginning to realize that. – Patrick Kelly

 

As curtain time for SYZYGY: The Plays approaches, The Jasper Project would like to shine some light on the person responsible for making this all come together – Patrick Kelly, who has served as Project Director over the past several months, overseeing selecting directors, planning all the details of sound and lighting and rehearsal and staging, and answering to almost three dozen theatre artists embarking on a brand new arts adventure.

We are incredibly indebted to Patrick for lending us his expertise and thought you might like to know a bit more about the guy who is bringing it all together.

 ~~

Jasper: Tell us briefly about how you got from Columbia to Chicago to NYC, and back to Columbia.

 

Patrick: After I finished undergrad at USC, I knew I wanted to pursue a career in theatre. I had several friends living in Chicago and knew the city had a large, proud theatre community. I took a quick trip there to check it out and loved it - it seemed much more accessible and welcoming than New York, and the Chicago theatre scene is focused on the ensemble - groups of like-minded people working together towards a shared vision. I spent four years acting, directing, interning, and training, and I’d recommend Chicago to anyone looking to immerse themselves in making theatre. While I was there, I was wanting to take the next step - to get a Master’s degree and the training I needed to make the most of a career in theatre - so I began applying to graduate schools. After a few years of trying, I was accepted into the NYU Graduate Acting Program. After school, I booked some regional work and struggled in the acting biz, but I continued to work on projects with my classmates, teachers, and friends. I always knew that I wanted to return to the southeast at some point and make theatre in places that didn’t have access to the arts in the way people in big cities do. I was looking for a way into teaching and an opportunity to teach at the college level in Columbia came up. I needed the experience, so I looked at the life I had in the city and thought about the life I knew I wanted. I thought, “Why wait?” and jumped on the job.

 

Jasper:  And what exactly are you doing now?

Patrick: I taught Theatre Appreciation for the last year and immersed myself in the theatre scene here in Columbia. I was invited to rejoin the company at Trustus Theatre and now I’m on staff at the theatre, serving as Production Manager. I’m also the General Manager of Lula Drake Wine Parlour.

 

Jasper: What shows have you been involved in since coming back to Columbia -- and what is on the horizon?

Patrick: I’ve appeared as an actor in last year’s Trustus Playwrights’ Festival winner Anatomy of a Hug and in this year’s production of Some Girl(s) at Workshop Theatre, and I directed this year’s production of Hand to God at Trustus. Up next, I’m directing next summer’s production of Boy About Ten at Trustus and I’ll continue writing for and performing with the Mothers - Trustus’s resident sketch and improv comedy troupe.


 

Jasper: What prompted you to take the position of Project Director for the Jasper Project's SYZYGY project?

Patrick: I’m passionate about new work for the stage, and about celebrating local artists and performers. Since this project features both, it was a no-brainer for me. I’m thrilled to facilitate the premiere of these plays and for so many local theatre artists to be seen.

 

Jasper: What have been your biggest challenges?

Patrick: Fitting the right people to the right project. Meeting the needs of 24 different people. Scheduling and running tech rehearsals for six projects in one day.

 

Jasper: Biggest rewards?

Patrick: Watching the birth of six brand-new works for the stage. Getting to employ so many artists at once.

 

Jasper: What do you think the audiences are going to be most surprised by when they see these plays?

Patrick: I think audiences will be most surprised with the diversity of voices represented not only in the writing but also on the stage performing it. Columbia has a sneaky-good arts scene and many people are only beginning to realize that.

 

Jasper: Why should people show up?

Patrick: It’s not every day you get to see six brand-new plays in one sitting.

 

Jasper: What else would you like to add?

Patrick: This is the beginning. Theatres are producing more and more new work and Columbia is catching the wave. Trustus Theatre will have three new works in this season alone. Expect to see more productions of new plays by local and regional playwrights. People want to see their stories and their issues reflected in their art and entertainment. Art makers are listening.

~~

SYZYGY: The Plays

Thursday, August 17th at 7 and 10 pm

Tapp's Arts Center

$10

For tickets to SYZYGY: The Plays visit https://www.tappsartscenter.com/event/syzygy-the-solar-eclipse-plays/

~~


Patrick Michael Kelly is a theatre artist and educator. Patrick holds a BA in Theatre from the University of South Carolina and an MFA in Acting from the Graduate Acting Program at NYU/Tisch School of the Arts. He also trained at the South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, The Second City, Victory Gardens Theatre, and Trustus Theatre. Patrick has performed and directed at theaters in New York, Chicago, and along the East Coast including La MaMa E.T.C., Virginia Stage Company, WNEP Theater, Arundel Barn Playhouse, Workshop Theatre of South Carolina, and Trustus Theatre. Patrick is a proud member of Actors' Equity and a company member at Trustus Theatre, where he also serves on staff as Production Manager. 

Playwright Cindy Turner Interviews Fellow SYZYGY Playwright Chad Henderson

"...We deserve to tell our own stories here in this city." - Chad Henderson

Chad Henderson wrote and directs Reese and June with Hope in a Bunker for SYZYGY: The Plays

Chad Henderson wrote and directs Reese and June with Hope in a Bunker for SYZYGY: The Plays

Artistic director for Trustus Theater, Chad Henderson has spent most of his theater career in the role of director, but for this Thursday's SYZYGY: THE PLAYS event, he is also a playwright.   His play, "June and Reese in the Bunker with Hope," will be one of six 10-minute plays performed at Tapps Art Center in Columbia.  Performance times for the six-play performances are 7:00p.m. and 10:00p.m on August 17; admission is $10.  Each of the plays anticipates and celebrates next week's solar eclipse by incorporating two and a half minutes of darkness in the plot.
 

Henderson has a bit of fun with the complications of his dual roles in the performance.  "Every time I've written something, I've directed it.  It's not a distrust of my work in other storyteller's hands, but...what self-respecting director wants to direct a play by an amateur named 'Chad Henderson'?  It's just not a name that screams 'literary.'"  In all seriousness, Chad greatly admires the solitary work of playwrights that then becomes highly collaborative work for theater artists.  "I'm thankful that I was asked to be part of this project as a writer.  Believe me, it was incredibly intimidating and made me approach theatre from a new jettison."  

Henderson overheard the first "rumblings" of the SYZYGY project while enjoying drinks at The Whig with Jasper's Cindi Boiter, whose brain child SYZYGY is.  Thinking it sounded fun to write a play containing a 2.5 minute period of darkness, he responded with thanks and commitment to participate. At first, he didn't know where to start.  In his younger days, Henderson wrote lots of scripts for movies, including a middle school slasher flick and a high school rom-com.  His most recent foray into writing was a musical theater adaptation of the concept album Constance, by Daniel Machado and The Restoration.  (A fully staged version will appear at Trustus in Spring 2018.)  With the SYZYGY play, however, he felt as if he would never get started, despite a looming deadline "barreling down the tracks at a tremendous pace."  Abruptly, he recognized the spark of an idea when he heard a news story about people making preparations for a nuclear attack.  

What audiences will see Thursday is his play about three people who have been stuck for four days in a bunker following a nuclear attack on Seattle.  Reese and June, a married couple who have enjoyed several decades of matrimony, are joined in the small space by their new neighbor, Hope.  "I actually wrote the play with three actors in mind," two of whom Henderson has worked with in prior performances over the years.  Bill Roberson, who incidentally has the line "Is there no decency?" in the film, The Patriot, will be playing Reece.  Playing his wife, June, will be Libby Campbell;  Henderson has been a huge fan of hers since he saw her perform Violet in August: Osage County.  Hope will be played by an actress whom Henderson has had a "huge director-crush" on since their days at USC, even pushing props around on stage just so he could see Marybeth Gorman Craig rehearse. Henderson says they all hit the ground running hard.  "We're laughing a lot, which is a good sign.  Having fun is a first step to a successful performance."  Henderson acknowledges that these three actors are experienced, which makes working with them a breeze. "I can't believe I was able to actually get them to sign on!  Lucky writer, lucky director, lucky guy."

When asked what he's most excited about, Henderson said, "I'm excited to watch audiences experience a story that I've written rather than interpreted."  He's also excited to see what other writers, director, and casts have created.  "The opportunity for people to experience theater is an incredibly healthy thing for Columbia.  My dream is that Columbia theater-fans will seek more and more original work--we deserve to tell our own stories here in this city."
 

As for the actual eclipse, once the SYZYGY project is finished, Henderson said he has not yet had time to listen to Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon" in preparation, nor will he likely have a chance before Monday. "Total bummer."   He is, however, researching whether he can watch the eclipse through a magnifying glass--with approved promotional glasses that came free with his Catawba beer, of course.

~~~~

CINDY TURNER is a resident of Lancaster, SC, where she is a veteran high school English teacher. Although she has been a theater patron all her life, her play, One Another, written with Jon Tuttle, is her first play.

 

 

Lindsay Rae Taylor Directs Futuristic SYZYGY Play VISITATION by Nicola Waldron

On Aug. 17, the Jasper Project will debut six plays in honor of the much-anticipated total solar eclipse that will grace Columbia skies. One play in particular, Visitation by Nicola Waldron, will transport the audience to future times and provide social commentary on the ongoing struggles of today and tomorrow.

 

The director of Visitation, Lindsay Rae Taylor, is a New York University alumna and current second-year MFA Directing Candidate in the Theatre Department at the University of South Carolina.

 

“I believe that Nicola has written an incredibly important and thought-provoking play. I am inspired with what she created from the idea of the eclipse—a happening that is rarely witnessed,” Taylor says. “I love how she uses the eclipse to note the passage of time and the change that is possible in our world before, after, and during such a unique event.”

 

Taylor describes Visitation as a timely piece that is set in South Carolina during May 2078. The play centers on the story of a mother fighting for a better life for her daughter—away from a misogynistic regime.

 

“The characters witness a solar eclipse and reveal to us what has happened in our world since our 2017 eclipse,” Taylor says. “It addresses the state of our nation and the possible repercussions should we continue on our current trajectory—specifically the effect it could have on women in our society.”

 

Visitation is set to feature some familiar faces from the pool of theatrical talent in SC. Marybeth Gorman Craig holds an MFA in Acting from the University of South Carolina and continues to act regionally while also teaching, directing, and performing at USC. She plays Mother in Visitation.

 

Kelsie Hensley recently graduated from USC’s Theatre Department where she was a featured actor in last year’s season. She plays Grace.

 

Dr. Andrea Coldwell is an Associate Professor of English from Coker College as well a veteran actor of Coker’s main stage productions. She plays The Custodian.

           

“We have a real powerhouse group of ladies in our rehearsal room, and it has been invigorating watching Nicola’s words come to life,” Taylor says. “When I had my initial meeting with Nicola, I felt we were kindred spirits, and I feel that energy among all of the women involved.”

 

Taylor says she loves that Syzygy marries art with science and encourages audience members to find perspective in thinking of one’s own place in the universe. Although she looks forward to the performance, Taylor anticipates speaking with individuals afterwards to learn how the play’s various messages and interpretations resonate.

 

“The piece has an ambiguity that I find thrilling. Nicola’s idea is frightening and relevant, and the poetry of her language is served from the extraordinary voices of this cast,” Taylor says. “It has been an enlightening journey and we are so excited to share this story with an audience.”

By Bria Barton

Tickets are at -- https://www.tappsartscenter.com/event/syzygy-the-solar-eclipse-plays/

Tickets are at -- https://www.tappsartscenter.com/event/syzygy-the-solar-eclipse-plays/

Rocio Zalba Directs Julia Vargas' SYZYGY Play Visitemos a la Abuela - Performed Entirely in Spanish by Palmetto Luna's La Tropa

“This collaboration and inclusivity reminds us that art has no borders,” -- Rocio Zalba, director, Visitemos a la Abuela

 

Thursday, August 17th six ten-minute plays will be shown at Tapp’s Art Center each with approximately two and a half minutes of darkness to commemorate the total solar eclipse that will darken Columbia for the same amount of time on August 21st.

 

The Jasper Project invited six playwrights to create one of the unique plays to be performed at 7pm and 10pm with a free reception honoring the playwrights from 9-10pm.

 

Director Rocio Zalba will be directing the play Vistemos a la Abuela written by Julia Vargas. The play will be performed completely in Spanish by theatre troupe La Tropa including Lucy Jaimes, Ysaul Flores, and José Luis Gallardo. Zalba is a Spanish instructor at USC.

 

Zalba got involved in the Syzygy event when Ivan Segura of Palmetto Luna, a non-profit organization that works to create awareness of Latino art and culture in South Carolina, asked if she could direct the play.

 

“This collaboration and inclusivity reminds us that art has no borders,” says Zalba. 

 

The characters comprise a family which the play focuses on. La Abuela is played by Jaimes. The father and son of the Grandmother, Pedro, is played by Flores. And the son of the father, Daniel is played by Gallardo.

 

“The play is about the human disconnection that occurs when we make technology the only means in which we connect to others,” says Zalba. “This is demonstrated through the discord that occurs within different generations in a family unit.”

 

Because of the themes of family and connection in the play, the audience can relate to the play regardless of their knowledge of Spanish.

 

The need to connect with others is universal,” says Zalba.

 

Zalba is most excited about directing the two minutes and forty-one seconds of darkness in the play.

 

“Since our play is in Spanish and our audience may be mainly composed of English speakers, we had to figure out a way to communicate with our audience what is happening on stage without much dialogue,” says Zalba.

 

A limited edition, bound volume of the nine poems and six plays will be available for purchase to commemorate this historic time in the state’s history and culture.

 

Tickets to see the six plays are $10 at 7pm and 10pm on August 17th at Tapp’s Art Center.

by Karie Grace Duncan

Bakari Lebby Directs Jon Tuttle & Cindy Turner's SYZYGY Play, One Another

Bakari (Kari) Lebby - photo by Singing Fox Creatives

Bakari (Kari) Lebby - photo by Singing Fox Creatives

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/

Playwright Jon Tuttle  

Playwright Jon Tuttle

 

SYZYGY Director Paul Kaufmann Writes About Directing Terry Roueche's TWEETERS for The Jasper Project

Paul Kaufmann directs TWEETERS by Terry Roueche for SYZYGY: The Plays Thursday, August 17th at 7 and 10 PM  

Paul Kaufmann directs TWEETERS by Terry Roueche for SYZYGY: The Plays Thursday, August 17th at 7 and 10 PM

 

I got involved in Syzygy because Patrick Kelly emailed to ask me.  I immediately jumped on board.  I think the production of new plays is vital to making a more complete theater scene in Columbia.  Trustus's Playwrights Festival, which has been happening now for many years, has paved the way.  I have always believed that event should be expanded to include readings and stagings of other new works.   

 

Tweeters is, at least in part, about looking for something, someone, anyone to follow.  It's a short, funny take on the seriously disturbing use of social media by our country's leader. [Playwright] Terry Roueche has hidden some real commentary in what seems, on the surface, to be a short farce.  So I'd say it's a satire.

 

I have three extraordinary actors in my show.  Hunter Boyle plays Murdock, Eric Bultman is Fisher, and Tristan Pack plays Jones. This cast of three boast two actors who have earned MFA degrees (Boyle and Bultman). Pack is an excellent young actor who grew up performing in Sumter and who has done several plays in Columbia and at USC.  He's also a contractor to my company and has worked as an actor for me in Montana and elsewhere. Their chemistry as a trio is exciting.

 

We've had such a fun time exploring the levels and depths of this short piece. The brevity of the play has allowed us to run it more times than usual in each rehearsal, which really helps develop rhythm, comedy, and pace. I'm very happy with the work the actors have put into it.  We still have a few more rehearsals scheduled before Thursday.

 

I'm most eager to see how these actors will respond to having an audience and to see the audience's reaction to this Absurdist comedy. This type of play really speaks to the difficulty of finding the appropriate way to react to the political and social craziness of these times -- what other real choice to we have except to acknowledge the breakdown of dialogue, the lack of clear and controlled communication and the fear that permeates our current culture?  Yes, all that in ten minutes!

 

I want people to come so they can see local teams of theater people creating new work.  In and of itself, that's reason enough to attend The Syzygy Plays.  And no matter what one's taste in entertainment may be, I think these ten minute plays are a great way to see and sample work by dedicated artists.  I've not seen or read any of the other pieces, but I'm sure it will be an evening of varied and stimulating shows.

 

 

Paul Kaufmann is a Columbia-based stage and film actor, writer, voiceover artist, acting coach, visual artist and director. Directing credits include The Magical Medical Radio Hour, which he also wrote, funded in part by the Duke Endowment and Ho for the Holidays (also written by Kaufmann), The Testament of Mary and Season’s Greetings for Trustus Theatre. Most recently, he appeared in Trustus Theatre’s production of Hand to God as Pastor Greg.  In November/December 2016, he played The Actor in FUSIONS by Nic Ularu at LaMaMa Experimental Theater Club in New York, his fourth role there after The Cherry Orchard Sequel (NY Times Critics’ Pick), The System and Hieronymus (title role), all for Mr. Ularu’s UniArt Productions. Internationally, he’s performed in Wales and Romania with UniArt, in Australia with The Salvage Company and in Sicily with Florida State University. Recent Trustus credits include dialect coaching Grey Gardens and acting in Peter and the Starcatcher (Black Stache), Marie Antoinette (Revolutionary) and The Restoration’s Constance (Reverend Harper.) Other favorite shows there include: Assassins, Next to Normal, Dirty Blonde, I Am My Own Wife, August: Osage County, Side Man, Spinning Into Butter, Touch, Gross Indecency, The Last Night of Ballyhoo, Santaland Diaries, When Pigs Fly and The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told. Theatre South Carolina: King Lear, The Real Thing, The Illusion and The Country Wife. Pacific Performance Project/East: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Mizu No Eki. Co-founder of HIT SEND Studio Theater with Marybeth Gorman. A founding company member of SC Shakespeare Company, he’s proud to have played Iago opposite his late best friend Greg Leevy’s Othello among other roles. He’s proud to have provided voiceovers for several productions at Columbia Marionette Theatre, including Snow White and The Wizard of Oz, in which he plays Scarecrow, Tin Man, Cowardly Lion and the Flying Monkeys.  He also does voiceover work for radio stations across the US. Film/television/web series: Preacher Feature, The Girl from Carolina, Season 2: God Bless New Dixie, Third Reel, Junk Palace and Campfire Tales. Paul is founder of a company that contracts actors utilized in scenario-based training for the FBI and other federal and state agencies across the country. He is a proud former student of Jim Thigpen, his life-changing high school theater teacher.

Tickets are available at Tapp's Arts Center https://www.tappsartscenter.com/event/syzygy-the-solar-eclipse-plays/

Tickets are available at Tapp's Arts Center

https://www.tappsartscenter.com/event/syzygy-the-solar-eclipse-plays/

Cassie Premo Steele Talks with Syzygy Poetry Open Call Winners Ann Humphries & Maggie Olszewski

 

Interview with Ann Humphries and Maggie Olszewski

 

Jasper asked Cassie Premo Steele, who adjudicated the Syzygy New Voices of the Eclipse poetry contest for new and emerging writers, to talk to the winners about their poetry and processes.

 

Maggie Olszewski, whose poem, “The Nature of Shadow,” was chosen as the contest winner, was born in Columbia, South Carolina, and she is 16 years old. She has been writing ever since the age of 6, when she wrote her first piece—a Harry Potter fanfiction. This year she is attending South Carolina Governor's School for the Arts and Humanities, where she will further pursue her craft.

 

Ann Humphries is also from Columbia, where she studied poetry with Nikky Finney and Ed Madden at USC. Her poem, “An Eclipse and A Butcher,” was chosen as the honorable mention in the contest. She has also earned Ultimate Outsider status for visiting all 47 state parks — as the only blind person to finish. She has a guide dog and tree named in her honor.

~~~

Cassie: Since this was a contest for new and emerging writers, can you tell us a little about why you entered the contest and how it felt? This might be helpful to others who may be hesitant to submit their work.

 

Maggie: This prompt really hit home for me. As someone who is deeply invested and interested in the science behind the upcoming eclipse, the idea to convey my feelings towards it artistically hadn't occurred to me. It felt great to take the prompt and shape my own thoughts around it. 

 

Ann: I loved this prompt. I became deliciously lost in the research. I spun five poems about the eclipse. 

 

Cassie: Can you say a little about what the process of writing poetry is like for you?

 

Maggie: I usually sit down with a rough idea of where I want to go or end up—often a first line, a theme, or a story. I get my thoughts onto paper and revise in a couple of days.

 

Cassie: When you have a specific assignment, such as you did for this poem about the eclipse, is your writing process different?

 

Maggie: Yes. When I have a specific assignment, I don't wait to revise. I plan the structure of the poem before I start and make sure I have a stronger sense of what I'm trying to accomplish. 

 

Ann: I appreciate deadlines. I played in the research, asked myself what would be a unique perspective. What I especially admired about this contest is its intersection of science, visual art, poetry, even plays, culture, history, and technology. This contest took me to fresh reservoirs of writing.

 

Cassie: What's your sense of the poetry and arts scene in Columbia?

 

Ann: Bursting with life! And Jasper is a nexus for collaboration across the genres. By the way, I searched the country for comparable contests. All I could find were readings and plays in Oregon and Illinois. Good for Jasper! Bravo to the SC Humanities Council.

 

Maggie: I know quite a few actors and artists through my father, but not as many as more established writers might (obviously). From what I can tell, everyone seems to know everyone, and there's an immense amount of collaboration and supportiveness that goes on. It seems like a really cool thing to be a part of. 

 

Cassie: And if you could wave a magic wand and make something happen in the city, what would it be?

 

Ann: Bring back the Book Festival - or fully support Deckle Edge. I savored every morsel, would have pitched a tent. If only we could have clones to attend all the events.  

 

Maggie: Hm. That's a good question. I'd probably clear the city of litter. It's not too bad in my little corner of Columbia, but I've driven through areas that could really do for a cleanup. Maybe we could get all the artists together to clean up the city and make an art project from it!

 

Cassie: I love that idea! Anything else you'd like to share?

 

Ann: I'm becoming a Jasper Guild member.

 

Maggie: And I’m really grateful for this opportunity.

 

Cassie: Thank you both.

~~~

Jasper thanks Cassie for all her efforts in this project - from adjudicating the open call to participating as a poet in the Syzygy Poetry Invitational.

If YOU'D like to become a member of the Jasper Guild like, Ann (and thank you, Ann!), just click on "Store" at this website's main page.

Look for Ann and Maggie's poems in the Fall 2017 issue of Jasper Magazine.

Join us on Thursday, August 17th at 3 pm in the first floor auditorium of Richland Library to hear Ann, Maggie, Cassie, and a spectacular cast of South Carolina's most elite poets read their poetry in response to the eclipse at SYZYGY: The Poetry (free). Then join us at 7 pm or 10 pm at Tapp's Arts Center for the performance of SYZYGY: The Plays ($10).

 

Cassie Premo Steele is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Earth Joy Writing (2015) and Beautiful Waters (2016).  She has recently completed a novel about mindfulness called The Lessons of Birds and is working on a poetry collection called Tongues in Trees. She works as a writing coach with women from around the world and lives in Columbia with her musician/web developer wife and laughter-inducing daughter. 

Cassie Premo Steele is the author of 14 books of poetry, fiction, and non-fiction, including Earth Joy Writing (2015) and Beautiful Waters (2016).  She has recently completed a novel about mindfulness called The Lessons of Birds and is working on a poetry collection called Tongues in Trees. She works as a writing coach with women from around the world and lives in Columbia with her musician/web developer wife and laughter-inducing daughter. 

Poets Join Panel on Race and Inclusivity in the Columbia Arts Community Thursday Night

Poets Monifa Lemons and Jennifer Bartell to Serve on Jasper Project Panel on Inclusivity Following Preview of Black Super Hero Magic Mama Thursday Night

Also recognized as SelahthePoet, Monifa Lemons began in Columbia, SC in the late 90s. Both Spoken Word Artist and Host at various venues for 18 years, she's now Co-Founder/Director of The Watering Hole Poetry Organization, which creates Harlem Renaissance spaces in the contemporary South. She also facilitates workshops on writing and intentional creation. Her work can be found in The African American Review (July 2016) and African Voices (Winter/Spring 16/17). 

Also recognized as SelahthePoet, Monifa Lemons began in Columbia, SC in the late 90s. Both Spoken Word Artist and Host at various venues for 18 years, she's now Co-Founder/Director of The Watering Hole Poetry Organization, which creates Harlem Renaissance spaces in the contemporary South. She also facilitates workshops on writing and intentional creation. Her work can be found in The African American Review (July 2016) and African Voices (Winter/Spring 16/17). 

  Jennifer Bartell received the MFA in Poetry from USCarolina. Her poetry has been published in Callaloo, PLUCK!, Blackberry: a magazine, decomP, As/Us, Fall Lines, The Raleigh Review, the museum americana, andKakalak, among others. She also has work forthcoming in Scalawag. She is a Callaloo Fellow, The Watering Hole Fellow, and The Teachers Guild Fellow. She teaches at Spring Valley High School in Columbia. (photo credit Lester Boykin)

 

Jennifer Bartell received the MFA in Poetry from USCarolina. Her poetry has been published in CallalooPLUCK!, Blackberry: a magazine, decomP, As/UsFall Lines, The Raleigh Review, the museum americana, andKakalak, among others. She also has work forthcoming in Scalawag. She is a Callaloo Fellow, The Watering Hole Fellow, and The Teachers Guild Fellow. She teaches at Spring Valley High School in Columbia. (photo credit Lester Boykin)

Buy Your Ticket Here - $15 includes reception, art opening, play, and panel and benefits

(regular cost will be $25 for the rest of the play's run)

The Jasper Project  

https://squareup.com/store/the-jasper-project/

Corey Davis and Thomas Washington


Tomorrow night, Thursday, August 3rd, The Jasper Project will present the first east coast preview of the new play Black Super Hero Magic Mama by Inda Craig-Galvan, accompanied by an art exhibit curated by visual artist Cedric Umoja comprised exclusively of art by Black artists from Columbia, SC, and followed by a panel presentation, moderated by poet Joy Priest, addressing the state of inclusivity in the Columbia arts community.

Among the artists exhibiting and participating in the panel are Dogon Krigga, Sarah Macklin, Thomas Washington, Asia Ca, and Corey Davis. Poets Monifa Lemon and Jennifer Bartell and play director Stan Brown will also participate in the panel which will immediately follow the presentation of the play in its entirety.

The Columbia Arts Community Should Look Like the Greater Columbia Community At Large - We will all benefit from a more inclusive community of artists! 

The event starts with a reception for the artists at 6:30, with the play at 7:30 and the panel following the play. Tickets are $15 inclusive, (non-preview tickets will be $25), and are available at www.jasperproject.org. Everything takes place at Trustus Theatre.

We've spent the past few days highlighting the above artists and all they bring to our culture. Today we're focusing on Corey "Roc Bottom" Davis.

 

An ink and pencils maestro, Roc Bottom has garnered praise from hundreds for his stylistic and innovative approach to his craft. His creative works have been featured in The Underwire Magazine with his creator-owned comic, “Lion’s Den Revolution,” the first comic to ever be presented in digital desktop format. Other comics credits include, “Trenchcoats,Cigarettes, and Shotguns” for Conquest Comics, “Queen of Sin” and “Master’s Devils” for Legion Studios, and “803” for 803 Studios. Roc is also a member Truthful Comics, where his titles include, “Order,” “Shadowclub Karma,” and “Jet Boy: Dawn of K.R.O.N.O.S. ,” a comic/animated series. Roc also has his hand in the fashion world as co-owner of One Cloth1ng and his new line, Johnny Rocketz, which features custom shoes and t-shirts.

An ink and pencils maestro, Roc Bottom has garnered praise from hundreds for his stylistic and innovative approach to his craft. His creative works have been featured in The Underwire Online magazine with his creator owned comic, Lion's Den Revolution, the first comic to ever be presented in digital desktop format. Other comics credits include, Trenchcoats,Cigarettes, and Shotguns for Conquest Comics, Queen of Sin and Master’s Devils for Legion Studios, and 803 from 803 Studios. Roc is also a member Truthful Comics where his titles include, Order,  Shadowclub Karma, and Jet Boy: Dawn of K.R.O.N.O.S. , a comic/animated series. Roc also has his hand in the fashion world as co owner of One Cloth1ng and his new line Johnny Rocketz which features custom shoes and t-shirts.

 

Mission Statement: I draw my inspiration from animation pioneers, fashion designers, comic artists, even poets. The key to my works is to “Think outside the Box.” My focus is to not become a carbon copy of what’s already out there. I design t-shirts, I do art on shoes, I co-direct animation, all while writing and drawing comics. With that said, my working knowledge in each of these fields make it easy for me to mix and match these worlds to create an entirely new world of my own, setting myself aside from other artists.

Corey Davis

Thomas Washington

Dogon Krigga

Sarah Macklin

 

Black Super Hero Magic Mama Director Stan Brown to sit on Panel Following Play Preview

USC's Stan Brown directs Black Super Hero Magic Mama

Winner of the Trustus Theatre Playwrights Festival

Preview with gallery opening and panel presentation Thursday, August 3rd

to benefit The Jasper Project

Actor, director, professor - Stan Brown

Actor, director, professor - Stan Brown

As part of our panel presentation on inclusivity in the Columbia arts community on Thursday night we are honored to have Stan Brown. Stan Brown is a Professor in the Department of Theatre and Dance at USC, and is a voice specialist in both the Graduate Professional Actor Training Program and the Undergraduate Actor Training Program, but he is also director of the Trustus Playwright Festival winning play, Black Super Hero Magic Mama, by Inda Craig-Galvan.
 
Stan earned his MFA in Acting from the University of South Carolina in 1989.  While at USC, Stan was named a graduate acting fellow at the Shakespeare theatre in Washington D.C., where he received the core of his classical actor training. 
 
Stan began his work in university teaching at the University of Warwick in  Coventry England where he taught acting and was a post graduate researcher in Contemporary Shakespearean Performance (exploring concepts, interpretation and development in director Peter Brook's body of work, with the Royal Shakespeare Company, as intentional artistic responses to relevant social, political, and cultural realities).  
 
In the UK Stan was invited to work with the Voice Department at the RSC by Cicely Berry, RSC Director of Voice.  This training and experience initiated Stan's ongoing explorations into perceptions and impacts of 'culture' on voice and speech training for the actor.  He maintains an active professional relationship with the RSC's voice department and, specifically, Ms. Berry's work in voice.
 
Apart from his work as a teacher, voice/dialect coach and director Stan has worked as a professional actor both here in the US and in the United Kingdom in theatre, film, television and radio for 30 years.  Some of his credits include featured roles on NBC's Homicide: Life On the Street, and recurring roles on In the Heat of the Night and the critically acclaimed I’ll Fly Away.  In film, Stan co-starred in Robby Benson's Modern Love and appeared opposite Calista Flockhart, Matthew Perry, Dave Chapelle, and Christine Baranski in the cult film, Getting IN, the directorial debut of Doug Liman (Director of Swingers, Bourne Identity, Mr & Mrs Smith).

Brown also played the title role in the 2015 film, the Bespoke Tailoring of Mister Bellamy, for which he won Best Actor in a Short Drama at the 2016 Breckinridge Film Festival.

Tickets https://squareup.com/store/the-jasper-project/item/black-super-hero-magic-mama-jasper-preview-night

Featuring Cedric Umoja - Curator for Thursday Night's Exhibit and Panel

Visual Artist Cedric Umoja

Visual Artist Cedric Umoja

On Thursday, August 3rd, The Jasper Project will present the first east coast preview of the new play Black Super Hero Magic Mama by Inda Craig-Galvan, accompanied by an art exhibit curated by visual artist Cedric Umoja comprised exclusively of art by Black artists from Columbia, SC, and followed by a panel presentation, moderated by poet Joy Priest, addressing the state of inclusivity in the Columbia arts community.

Among the artists exhibiting and participating in the panel are Dogon Krigga, Henry H. Henderson, Sarah Macklin, Thomas Washington, Asia Ca, and Corey Davis. Poets Monifa Lemon and Jennifer Bartell and play director Stan Brown will also participate in the panel which will immediately follow the presentation of the play in its entirety.

The event starts with a reception for the artists at 6:30, with the play at 7:30 and the panel following the play. Tickets are $15 inclusive, (non-preview tickets will be $25), and are available at www.jasperproject.org. Everything takes place at Trustus Theatre.

Over the next few days we’ll be highlighting the work of some of these exciting artists whose work you’ll get to see on Thursday night. Today we’re featuring Cedric Umoja who curated the exhibit and invited panelists.

Cedric Umoja was born in San Francisco, California, but is based out of Columbia, South Carolina. He has been influenced by the likes of Dondi White, Sam Keith, Max Beckmann, Amedeo Modigliani, Rammellezee, Ernie Barnes, Sun Ra and Hans Hoffman. The elements of Graffuturism, Neo- Expressionism, Afro- Surrealism, Comic sequential art, Japanese manga and Afrofuturism have played a role in his artistic development and can also be found in his work.

Cedric Umoja developed his style under the instruction of Tony Cacalano, a Yale MFA and veteran Fine artist, whose own teachers included Jack Tworkov, one of the founders of the now Famed New York school.

 

Artist Sarah Macklin Shows Her Work Thursday Night at the East Coast Preview Premiere of Black Super Hero Magic Mama

The Jasper Project presents the preview of Black Super Hero Magic Mama, along with an art exhibit curating by visual artist Cedric Umoja containing art exclusively by artists of color.

There will be a reception honoring the artists at 6:30, followed by Inda Galvin-Craig's play in its entirety at 7:30, and a panel presentation following the play which addresses issues surrounding the forging of a more diverse and inclusive arts community in Columbia, SC.

On Thursday, August 3rd, The Jasper Project will present the first east coast preview of the new play Black Super Hero Magic Mama by Inda Craig-Galvan, accompanied by an art exhibit curated by visual artist Cedric Umoja comprised exclusively of art by Black artists from Columbia, SC, and followed by a panel presentation, moderated by poet Joy Priest, addressing the state of inclusivity in the Columbia arts community.

Among the artists exhibiting and participating in the panel are Dogon Krigga, Henry H. Henderson, Sarah Macklin, Thomas Washington, Asia Ca, and Corey Davis. Poets Monifa Lemon and Jennifer Bartell will also participate in the panel which will immediately follow the presentation of the play in its entirety.

The event starts with a reception for the artists at 6:30, with the play at 7:30 and the panel following the play. Tickets are $15 inclusive, (non-preview tickets will be $25), and are available at www.jasperproject.org. Everything takes place at Trustus Theatre.

Over the next few days we’ll be highlighting the work of some of these exciting artists whose work you’ll get to see on Thursday night.

Artist Sarah A. Macklin says she primarily works with pencil and ink but she’s “trying to do this whole digital thing.” Looks to us like she’s doing pretty well! Check out Sarah’s work below and see more of her art Thursday night at this very special event.

Macklin also has her own Youtube channel where she she demonstrates her work -- find her at https://www.facebook.com/pg/SarahMacklinartist/videos/ and check out how she achieved the color for layering the skin tones in the piece above. "Misty Knight" is based on the outfit from the end of Luke Cage.

Dogon Krigga this Thursday as part of Black Super Hero Magic Mama Arts Event

Multi-discipline Arts Event Picks up Conversation About Inclusivity in the Columbia Arts Community - play preview, arts opening, panel presentation

On Thursday, August 3rd, The Jasper Project will present the first east coast preview of the new play Black Super Hero Magic Mama by Inda Craig-Galvan, accompanied by an art exhibit curated by visual artist Cedric Umoja comprised exclusively of art by Black artists from Columbia, SC, and followed by a panel presentation, moderated by poet Joy Priest, addressing the state of inclusivity in the Columbia arts community.

Among the artists exhibiting and participating in the panel are Dogon Krigga, Henry H. Henderson, Sarah Macklin, Thomas Washington, Asia Ca, and Corey Davis. Poets Monifa Lemon and Jennifer Bartell will also participate in the panel which will immediately follow the presentation of the play in its entirety.

The event starts with a reception for the artists at 6:30, with the play at 7:30 and the panel following the play. Tickets are $15 inclusive, (non-preview tickets will be $25), and are available atwww.jasperproject.org. Everything takes place at Trustus Theatre.

Over the next few days we’ll be highlighting the work of some of these exciting artists whose work you’ll get to see on Thursday night.

Dogon Krigga is an Afrofuturist who also works in Pineal Porn and Collage.

His bio reads as follows:

From humble beginnings - the college dropout turned entrepreneur, Dogon Krigga, began making digital art with a distinct purpose. As a self-trained artist, Krigga set out to provide unique and original designs for independent businesses and recording artists. Seeking an outlet to further express his ideas, he founded Makrigga Media in 2011 as a creative entity to address the public and share ideas in a visual format. The visionary aspect of his creations are an amalgamation of culture and esoteric reference. He utilizes his particular sense of synesthesia to transmute sound into an image that invokes a sense of wonder and reflection on the human being’s cosmic, aboriginal, and omni-dimensional nature. Raising humanity's vibrations through visual art is the purpose.