You Better Shape Up! Maddie Hammond talks about playing Sandy in “Grease,” opening this Friday, Sept. 26, at the Village Square Theatre

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Grease at Village Square Theatre is going to be  like no other show that you have ever seen before. Get ready to take a trip back to the 1950’s and see all the characters you love…Danny, Sandy, the Pink Ladies, the T-Birds, and even Eugene.  It all begins September 26thand will run through October 12th!

Maddie Hammond
Maddie Hammond

My hope is that it will just as awesome to see the show, as it is to be in it. For me, having the opportunity to play the role of Sandy is the most incredible experience in my 11 years of theatre.  It has been such a blast working with the amazingly talented cast and crew that put their whole hearts into every single rehearsal.  I am beyond thankful for this opportunity to portray Sandy, and I hope to make my directors very proud of the masterpiece that they are creating.    I started as “Little Indian Girl #2” in Annie Get Your Gun at Village Square Theatre eleven years ago, and I was bitten by the theatre bug immediately. I was playing soccer at the time when I did my first show, and I soon realized that I had a decision to make. Would I stick with the sport I had been playing for years with the girls I had been friends with for years?   Or would I risk it all, and pursue theatre wholeheartedly?  The decision was easy.   Theatre had stolen my heart, and my theatre career began.   Over the course of 11 years, I have somehow managed to be in 28 productions at Village Square Theatre, Town Theatre, and Workshop Theatre combined.   I am greatly humbled when I look back and think of all the memories I have made, all the people I have met, and all the knowledge I have acquired regarding theatre and life in general.  Theatre has helped me achieve self-discipline, flexibility, confidence, and an all around positive outlook on life that has helped me tremendously over the years.

 

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Not only have I had the great privilege of performing on the Village Square Theatre stage, but Ms. Debra Leopard has so graciously allowed me to be an assistant teacher with the fall and spring acting classes as well as the summer workshop located at the theatre.

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All of these wonderful experiences have lead to the auditions for Grease, and what an exciting time that was and still is! With every great show there are challenges, but with the intelligent direction of our director Becky Croft, and our insanely talented musical director Stephanie Nelson, we are able to perfect these iconic scenes. All thanks goes to them for bringing this amazing show to life through our characters and outstanding music. I look so forward to the curtain opening on September 26th.

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At the start of this new season, patrons will have the opportunity to see that Village Square Theatre has undergone some renovations that have given the theatre a whole new look and feel. We have just recently gotten brand new seats in the theatre, new carpet, paint, and bathroom and dressing room upgrades.  Also, this season will be Mrs. Barbara Bise’s 30th season at Village Square Theatre, and what a blessing she is to all of us. We treasure her deeply and are very grateful for everything that she has done for us over the time she has spent at VST. We have a lot to celebrate, and be thankful for, this year at VST, and I am so thrilled to be a part of it.

~ Maddie Hammond

For more information on tickets, visit http://www.villagesquaretheatre.com/.  Show dates and times are:

Friday, September 26- 7:30 pm
Saturday, September 27- 7:30 pm
Sunday, September 28- 3:00 pm
Friday, October 3- 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 4- 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 5- 3:00 pm
Friday, October 10- 7:30 pm
Saturday, October 11- 7:30 pm
Sunday, October 12- 3:00 pm

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“Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike” at Trustus – a review by Jillian Owens

Trustus Theatre turns 30 this season, and I can’t decide if this should make them or me  feel old.  As a Gen Y-er, they’ve done pretty well for themselves.  They have consistently pushed the envelope and made Columbia’s theatre audiences be a bit more daring.  They’ve survived tough financial times and have managed to thrive and expand — both their physical space and their programming.  It’s all enough to makes this Millennial/Gen Y gal wonder what the heck she’s been doing with her life all these years…but I don’t care to think on that.

I’ll think instead upon Trustus Theatre’s 30th season opener, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike, the Tony Award-winning farce (for Best Play) by Christopher Durang.  I’m not the only one feeling old.  The play opens with Vanya (Glenn Rawls) — a middle-aged man who’s out of the closet, but never manages to leave the house — and his equally reclusive celibate adopted sister, Sonia (Dewy Scott-Wiley).  They’ve spent a great part of their adult lives taking care of their ailing Chekhov-loving parents (hence their names), and haven’t known what to do with themselves since they died.  Their days pass slowly, punctuated with bickering and gazing out at the blue heron that frequents their pond from their sitting room.  Their only visitor is their housekeeper, Cassandra (Ellen Rodillo-Fowler) who greets them daily with some terrifically plagiarized premonitions (“BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH!”), and has a hankering for voodoo.

(l-r) Glenn Rawls, Dewey Scott-Wiley, Vicky Saye Henderson, Jimmy Wall - PROMO PHOTOS BY Jonathan Sharpe
(l-r) Glenn Rawls, Dewey Scott-Wiley, Vicky Saye Henderson, Jimmy Wall – photo by Jonathan Sharpe

Their drab existence is in sharp contrast to that of their glamorous (though not as glamorous as she used to be) movie star sister, Masha (Vicky Saye Henderson.)  She’s been footing the bill for her siblings’ extended adolescence.  When Masha pays an unexpected visit to her family home to attend an influential neighbor’s costume party with her 20-something half-wit boy toy Spike (Jimmy Wall), tensions rise and long-stifled grievances are aired.  And when Spike starts flirting with a lovely young neighbor by the name of Nina (Stephanie Walden), you can probably guess there’s going to be trouble.

Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is funny and clever, but not great amounts of either.  Director Jim O’Connor brings out the farcical elements of this play with plenty of campy moments and over-the-top embodiment of the characters by the actors, but it starts to feel tiresome by the end of the first act.  The pacing feels slow.  Durang’s script is rich with Chekhov (among other) references that are at first amusing, but once again, start to get old.  Durang has been funnier than this, and he’s been more touching than this.  The script just isn’t what it could be.

bbbThankfully, this production features some of Trustus’ best talents.  Henderson’s Masha is just as narcissistic, overly-competitive, and selfish as she can be, but there are moments where one can’t help but feel genuine pity for her insecurity.  Scott-Wiley and Rawls play off each other well as Sonia and Vanya.  Sonia runs the gamut of human emotions from profound depression to hysteria, and does a spot-on Maggie Smith impression to get out of feeling awkward at a party.  Vanya is definitely the gentler and more mild-mannered of the two, and is perhaps the most sympathetic character in the play.  Spike and Nina are fairly one-dimensional characters, and I found them both to be sort of annoying.  There isn’t much nuance to be found in either of these roles, but as an audience member, I wish Wall and Walden could have eked some out somehow.  Rodillo-Fowler thrived in her absurd role and earned the most laughs with the fewest lines as Cassandra.

While the vast majority of this play is a nutty comedy of (really terrible) manners, there is a thoughtful theme about it all, as tacked-on as it may be to the end of the second act.  Vanya begins to reminisce about the past, not resentfully as we’ve become accustomed to until now, but wistfully.  His musings become a rant, and then almost a call to action best captured in this moment:

“Now, now there’s Twitter and e-mail and Facebook and cable and satellite, and the movies and tv shows are all worthless, and we don’t even watch the same worthless things together, it’s all separate.  And our lives are… disconnected.”

It should feel hokey, but it doesn’t.  Perhaps it’s Rawls’ beautiful and heartfelt delivery.  Perhaps it’s just how this speech stands in stark contrast to the sillier lighter fare of the rest of the show.  But the catharsis that occurs as a result of this feels wonderfully genuine.   And that’s where Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike surprised me.

If you’re in the mood for something ridiculous that features some of Columbia’s best comedic talent, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike will certainly do.  I look forward to seeing all that Trustus has to offer in this landmark season.

~ Jillian Owens

 

 

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Goya’s Los Caprichos etchings come to Lake City – opening September 20th

The Sleep of Reason Produced Monsters
The Sleep of Reason Produced Monsters – Francisco Goya

 

Francisco Goya’s Los Caprichos etchings, one of the most influential graphic series in the history of Western art, will be presented at the Jones-Carter Gallery in Lake City, South Carolina from Saturday, September 20, 2014 through Saturday, January 3, 2015.  This exhibition features a superb first edition of the complete set of 80 etchings, which by tradition was one of the four sets acquired directly from Goya in 1799 by the duke of Osuna. It then came into the hands of Pedro Fernández Durán, of the house of the marquis of Perales, the greatest Spanish collector of the 19th century and a major donor to the Prado. His collector’s mark appears on all 80 prints of this set.  The exhibition includes an essay contributed by Robert Flynn Johnson, Curator in Charge, Achenbach Foundation for Graphic Arts, Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco.

Other works by Goya are also included in the exhibition for instructive comparison including a few later edition prints from Los Caprichos and examples from each of Goya’s other major graphic series: Los Desastres de la Guerra, Los Proverbios, and La Tauromaquia; and his early etchings after Velasquez. Additionally, to demonstrate the broad influence of Los Caprichos, the exhibition includes a 1920′s drawing after Los Caprichos plate 51, “Se Repulen,” by Edward Hagedorn, as well as eight etchings by contemporary artist, Enrique Chagoya, entitled, “Return to the Caprichos.”

In his original essay for the exhibition, Robert Flynn Johnson takes a fresh approach to Los Caprichos. Johnson has also undertaken an enlightening comparison between three contemporary interpretive manuscripts on the etchings—the “Prado,” the “Ayala,” and the “Madrid Biblioteca Nacional,” adding his own illuminating observations to each of the eighty plates. Additionally, Johnson ‘fast-forwards’ from Goya’s major opus to contemporary relevance in the work of two artists working in the 20th century—Edward Hagedorn and Enrique Chagoya.

Enigmatic and controversial, Goya’s Los Caprichos were published in 1799 at a time of social repression and economic crisis in Spain. Influenced by Enlightenment thinking, the painter set out to analyze the human condition and denounce social abuses and superstitions. Los Caprichos was his passionate declaration that the chains of social backwardness had to be broken if humanity was to advance. The series attests to the artist’s political liberalism and his revulsion towards ignorance and intellectual oppression; at the same time it mirrors Goya’s ambivalence toward authority and the church.

Los Caprichos deals with themes such as the Spanish Inquisition, the abuses of the church and the nobility, witchcraft, child rearing, avarice, and the frivolity of young women. The subhuman cast of Los Caprichos includes goblins, monks, procuresses, prostitutes, witches, animals acting like human fools, and aristocrats; these personages populate the world on the margins of reason, where no clear boundaries distinguish reality from fantasy.

 

 

The Jones-Carter Gallery is open Tuesday through Friday from 10AM to 6PM and Saturday from 11AM to 5PM.  Admission is FREE.  Large groups are encouraged to call ahead.  On September 20, the gallery will be open from 10AM to 8PM.  Guided tours will be available for school groups 6th grade through 12th grade.  Please call the gallery at 843-374-1505 for additional information.

 

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