PREVIEW: Finlay Park welcomes back SCSC with The Merry Wives of Windsor – By Alivia Seely  

Libby Campbell-Turner and Becky Hunter with Hunter Boyle - photo by Rob Sprankle
Libby Campbell-Turner and Becky Hunter with Hunter Boyle – photo by Rob Sprankle

 

“Better three hours too soon than a minute too late.”

 

The words of William Shakespeare are not always as clear in their meanings as audience members would like them to be. Yet, that does not stop the talented individuals from The South Carolina Shakespeare Company from taking that difficult language from folio, to the stage.

 

Sharing the beautiful, historic language with audiences across Columbia, the SC Shakespeare Company will be gracing the Finlay Park stage for a two weekend production of The Merry Wives of Windsor.

 

The Merry Wives of Windsor is a story that chronicles the life of Sir John Falstaff, played by Hunter Boyle. Falstaff is an outrageous man. He is a retired bacchanal with vulgar wit and multiple schemes of seduction, as he plans to dazzle the hearts of Mistress Ford and Mistress Page, played by Libby Campbell-Turner and Becky Hunter. Yet, it does not take long before the two ladies and Ford’s husband Master Ford, to figure out why Falstaff is set on reeking havoc in Windsor.

“He is a very suspicious and jealous husband. I think that he is someone that always thinks that someone is up to something. So when all of this stuff with Falstaff starts happening, my character Master Ford very easily and rapidly buys the fact that his wife is cheating. He then sets out to discover if that is true,” says Scott Blanks, managing director for the South Carolina Shakespeare Company, and will be playing the role of Master Ford.

 

This production is directed by Linda Khoury, artistic director and co-founder of the company. Other notable characters are: Robert Shallow, played by Chris Cook, Dr. Caius, played by Tracy Steele, Master Page, played by Jason Sprankle, Mistress Quickly, played by Sara Blanks, Anne Page, played by Katie Mixon and Parson Evens, played by David Reed.

“It is captivating, energetic, and is a humorous take on marriage, miscommunication, and forgiveness. The wild and bawdy characters along with the fast-moving story full of mischief and trickery will keep the audience riveted,” says Khoury.

 

The outdoor performance environment is no stranger to these company members. Finlay Park has been home to numerous SCSC performances in the past. The only thing that will be keeping them out of the park is inclement weather.

“I really enjoy the outdoor environment. I think audiences enjoy the outdoor environment. I can tell your first hand it is a really great experience for an audience member; however, it is really rather difficult for actors and actresses,” says Blanks.

 

Although there are moments of scandal and humorous revenge, Khoury encourages the entire family to come out and enjoy the show.

 

The South Carolina Shakespeare Company is one of the most popular professional theatre
companies and producers of classical theatre in South Carolina. Since its founding in 1992, the company has sought to bring language, art, and history to the community in order to foster the arts culture.

 

The show opens Saturday April 23 at 8:00 p.m. in Finlay Park, and will run again April 27-30 at 8:00 p.m. For more information about the show visit www.shakespeareSC.org.

 

 

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On Prince. And Hunter Boyle. A Message from Cindi.

2011 MusiCares Person Of The Year Tribute To Barbra Streisand - Concert

I was dreamin’ when I wrote this
Forgive me if it goes astray — P.

Hunter Boyle is not a particularly good friend of mine. In fact, I don’t know much about him. I don’t know his favorite films or foods. I wouldn’t know where to find him on a Monday morning, like I would most of my friends. I don’t even know how old he is or where he grew up. That said, Hunter Boyle is one of the most important people in my life, and I love him. I genuinely love him and if we ever lost him I would be devastated.

I met Hunter a long time before he met me. I don’t remember exactly when but I know it was decades ago and he was on the stage at Trustus Theatre. I’m not a fan girl or a sycophant, but I never imagined that I’d ever meet Hunter back then, like I never imagined that I’d meet the amazing Paul Kaufmann. When I saw the Kathy and Mo Show and immediately memorized lines that still make me laugh at this very moment, I never imagined that I would meet and come to know Elena Martinez-Vidal and Dewey Scott-Wiley.

But life changed for me. Like for a lot of us, the older I got the harder it became to blow off and block out how fucked up the world is. I had to make adjustments. Apply filters and make priorities. So I made a decision that if I were going to be able to get through this thing called life, rather than calling up that shrink in Beverly Hills, Dr. Everything’ll Be Alright, I would have to prioritize what to me presented as the most essential parts of existence. For me, there are three things: love, nature, and art. Pure and unconditional love, expressed through my relationship with my spouse and family; the dependability, consistency, and resoluteness of nature; and art, some of which is only meaningful in its expression of fancy or beauty, but is nonetheless important, but most of which is the outpouring of such personal authentic resolution and reconciliation of life’s issues and events – loss, pain, frustration, emptiness, confusion, the struggle to continue, overwhelming joy and love – that there are times when it almost paralyzes the spirit with its purity of sentiment.

You know these times.

A dancer ends her performance and you realize you haven’t exhaled for far too long.

A play ends and only then are you aware that tears are dripping down your face.

You look at a photograph and feel like you’ve seen a ghost, and though nothing is evidently there, you cannot shake the feeling and return time and again to peer at and into the same photo.

Or with a painting, you stare at it and examine it from all distances and angles, and you spend moments, or sometimes a lifetime, trying to hear the story it is telling.

A band is playing and the music possesses you and it seems as if you cannot control how the bass and rhythm move through your body, so you dance. You move and shake, and you dance, disregarding any sense of humility.

Or, and this really gets me, a vocalist holds a note at the end of a song and you feel as if your heart is going to burst right out of your chest as she does it – I mean, you feel the actual sensation of your chest having expanded to such a degree that the muscles hurt with a sweet and exhilarating pain.

Along with love and nature, these feelings, these experiences and my privilege of witnessing these testimonies are my crutches. They prop me up and keep me going. And, as was just resolved at a conversation at the Whig, crutches don’t have to symbolize weakness; they can also signify humanity.

Prince died yesterday and he has broken our hearts in having done so.

Social media is filled with expressions of grief and exaltation; stories of songs and concerts and rites of passage. He was so many things to so many of us. For me, Prince was my instant drug—with the first notes of so many songs setting off a physical reaction that reduced (expanded?) me to a convulsing, quivering spazmoid of a middle-aged lady vomiting out the inner workings of my soul. My soul! I stopped caring what people thought about this a long time ago because, well, fuck them if they didn’t get that it was Prince and he was talking to me. When the song would end I’d go back to my slightly more decorous life and my day, my world, would always be better for having heard it, no matter how much my paroxysms embarrassed the people around me. Prince was and always will be my crutch.

His song has ended, but his songs will never end.

Very few of us ever met Prince. We didn’t know his favorite foods or films or what he might be doing on a Monday morning. But he was one of the most important people in our lives, and we loved him. Now that he is gone, we are devastated.

But we’re still here.

So, I’m writing this to the artists who are still here with us, the artists like Prince who aren’t Prince, but are part of his tribe, his family of artists, the mere mortals who may never step onto the same stages from which Prince ruled our worlds but still suffer and hunger and try to make sense for the rest of us, just like Prince did – the Hunter Boyles and Paul Kaufmanns and Deweys and Elenas, and the Mariclare Mirandas and Stephen Chesleys and the Daniel Machados, and the Michaela Pilar Browns, the Bonnies and Chads and Eds. You may never know who we are, but you are our crutches, too. You prop us up and keep us going alone in a world so cold. You bring a value to our lives not unlike that of the Purple One. And for that we should all celebrate.

Thank you to Prince, and thank you to all the artists out there, unknown and known. Life is just a party – so, let’s get nuts.

-CB

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5 Questions w/ Kara Gunter About Artista Vista

Jasper Visual Arts Editor Kara Gunter is one of the artists showing her work at tonight’s Artista Vista. We asked her to give us a little preview of what she has in the works.

kara head lamps 1

 

JASPER:  What are we going to be seeing from you at Artista Vista this year and where and when will we be seeing it?

KARA GUNTER: I have installed a work in the Lady St. tunnel in the Vista of six hanging, cocoon-like figures.  All are a deep blue, human in form, with a light in each head that will glow brighter as the sun sets.  The pieces are cast from a live model, and layered over with paper and adhesive.  I call them Head Lamps.  Artista Vista opens Thursday the 21st, and continues through the weekend.

kara head lamps 2

JASPER:  How does this fit into your ongoing body of work?

KARA:  My work is always about Self, but specifically, I have been thinking a lot about the corporeality of the human body.  I have dealt with a lot of nebulous health problems throughout my life –nothing life-threatening, but disruptive, and at times, scary– I come out on the other end having learned something about myself, and who I want to be in this world.  I always try to transform these times of suffering into some sort of evolution or integration of bigger feelings and ideas.  The cocoon is a recurring symbol for me and obviously speaks of rebirth, of change, and personal and spiritual growth.  I chose the tunnel to install in, as it is literally a passage from darkness into light.  Great things happen in the dark—sleep, dreaming, healing, gestation, change, but it can also be a lonely and frustrating experience, and one in which waiting is the only course of action.

I’m also turning 40 this year, and having had the experience these past months of helping my father through a cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment, I feel as though I’ve “leveled up” as an adult, albeit, reluctantly.  So, that evolution has also been on my mind—what awaits my post-40 self?  I’m thinking it’s an intellectual shift that’s occurring, and that’s referenced in the glowing heads.  Even though my body may not be as hearty as I wish, I feel as though I’m operating with the clearest, strongest, most creative mind I’ve ever had, and there’s something very rewarding about that.  There’s also a bit of an inquiry posed to the viewer—will you come with me?  In an era when emotions are ruling us (as seen in our social-political stances), I wonder if it’s not time to leave those childish things behind and let our intellect guide us from darkness.  Time to grow up, in some respects!

kara head lamps 3

JASPER:  Is there a relationship between your Artista Vista work and the work you’re showing at Artfields next week, and can you talk briefly about the similarities or differences?

KARA:  There is definitely a similarity between the work I’m showing at Artfields and Artista Vista.  Stylistically, they are a bit different, but they both utilize the human figure, and both speak to the fragility of the human body.  Rising In Falling, the installation at Artfields is more pointedly about death and dying.  Those figures are in a freefall, but can also appear to be floating gently by paper parasols, so perhaps they are floating instead of plummeting.  I leave the interpretation up to the viewer, and the viewers’ own associations with the process of living or dying.  I wanted to depict the inevitability of the cycle of death and rebirth, and the dependency of life on death itself.  The bottom figure in the installation is holding a skull, and out of it pours flowers and fruits.

kara head lamps 4

JASPER:  What are the challenges of installing art in a tunnel?

KARA:  Working out a way to hang the figures in the tunnel was a bit of a challenge, and I had to revamp my original vision several times.  There are large niches in the wall where it seems as if the mortar has crumbled away from the bricks over time, and because I didn’t want to put bolt holes in the stone or mortar, it became apparent this was the only way to hang the forms.  The overall installation was dictated by these niches, and I really had no idea what the layout was going to be until installation.

The wind blows pretty swiftly through the tunnel, and I was worried about this until I saw the figures swaying in the wind.  I really like this unexpected development as it brings life to the figures, and at the same time, a loneliness and eeriness.

I’m always a bit nervous about public installations.  There is something about art being outside of the gallery setting, that the viewer feels more inclined to interact with the work. That’s not always a bad thing, and I suppose it can be a bit confusing because some works are meant to be interacted with.  Because my work is often made of more fragile things (like paper), I sometimes find it all a bit nerve-wracking!

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JASPER:  Finally, what else are you excited about seeing at Artista vista this year?

KARA:  Michaela Pilar Brown has curated this year’s installations, and I’m very excited to see what the other artists she’s chosen will be doing.  I’ve been so busy with my work, I have no idea what to expect from everyone else, and I really look forward to the surprise!

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