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"Last Stop Chapin," September 5-20, Chapin Theatre Company, 240-8544.
"Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike," September 12-27, Trustus Side Door Theatre, 254-9732.
"Five Guys Named Moe," September 18-21, Workshop Theatre, 799-6551.
"Oklahoma," September 19 - October 11, Town Theatre, 799-2510.
"The Legends of Country Music Show," September 19-28, On Stage Productions, 351-6751.
"Grease," September 26 - October 12, Village Square Theatre, 359-1436.
"The Foreigner: Dinner Theatre," September 28-29, Ritz Theatre of Newberry, 924-7158.
"The Shape of Things," October 16-26, Sumter Little theatre, 775-2150.
"The Other Place," October 17 - November 1, Trustus Side Door Theatre, 254-9732.
"The Dining Room," November 6-9, Workshop Theatre, 799-6551.
"Cheaper By the Dozen," November 7-16, Village Square Theatre, 359-1436.
"Much Ado About Nothing," November 8-17, Ritz Theatre of Newberry, 924-7158.
"White Christmas," November 14 - December 7, Town Theatre, 799-2510.
"A Christmas Carol," November 21 - December 20, Trustus Theatre, 254-9732.
Press Releases for Current Shows
Camden Community Theatre
Center Stage Youth Theatre
Chapin Theatre Company
Columbia Children's Theatre
On Stage Productions
Ritz Theatre of Newberry
SC Shakespeare Company
Stage 5 Theatre
Sumter Little Theatre
Village Square Theatre
Trustus Theatre's Ambitious “The Velvet Weapon” Falls A Bit Short
Review by James Harley
The annual Trustus Playwrights’ Festival is always a
hit-or-miss proposition, with the theatre courageously taking risks in order to
live up to its mission of bringing cutting edge work to
“The Velvet Weapon” is a combination of philosophy and farce,
a comedy that is intended to draw parallels between the peaceful Velvet
The concept is intellectually ambitious, but its manifestation leans toward gratuitous silliness. Not that the farcical nature is bad, it simply loses its impact on an average audience based on two essential problems. First, to fully appreciate the metaphorical nature of the events on stage, one must be reasonably knowledgeable of the actual Velvet Revolution, an event not deeply embedded in the American psyche. In other words, full enjoyment requires some research before seeing the show. Secondly, a huge percentage of the humor is of the “inside joke” variety relating specifically to the theatre community. The backstage drama, divas, and production issues may hilariously appeal to those with theatre experience, but in many cases go right over the heads of the audience, garnering a few chuckles at best. The result of these limitations is that the production loses much of its philosophical value and becomes full-on farce.
As for the physical implementation of the farce, the cast does a fairly good job in carrying their characters over the top. G. Scott Wild is appropriately flamboyant as Monsiuer Le Directeur, and Hunter Boyle is solid, adept and luminous as the egomaniacal actor Pavel, whose choices were interesting. Scott Herr as Winston puts forth a confident front while still capturing the essence of an inexperienced dreamer, while Libby Campbell-Turner embodies the playwright’s overbearing mother. Katrina Blanding and Katie Mixon battle it out as competing actresses seeking as much attention as they can find, and John Edward Ford adds a touch of realism as the grumpy stage manager.
While all of the above have clearly chiseled roles which
they maintain throughout, it is actually the “ensemble” performers – Raia Jane
Hirsch and John Taylor Kearns – who steal the show, with Hirsch playing five
distinct characters while
On the technical side, the location of the action within a theatre requires a stage within a stage, a challenge not quite adequately met by designer Jimmy Wall. While aesthetically acceptable, the jutting nature of the onstage stage creates significant sight-line problems for those seated in the left side of the house in the first few rows. If you do reserve tickets, be sure to take this into account and request seating in other areas.
Though there’s plenty of fun and humor simply within the over the top characters’ behavior and in the bits of audience participation, those most likely to enjoy “The Velvet Weapon” are knowledgeable history buffs and theatre practitioners. It simply isn’t a show for everyone. Also, be aware that it runs a bit long (about 2.5 hours) and contains extended near-nudity (bra and panties).
“The Velvet Weapon” runs through August 16 at Trustus
A review of “The Velvet Weapon” by Jasper magazine Literary Arts Editor Ed Madden is also available at the Jasper Blog site.
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