by Nick Smith
While the big Spoleto shows are getting plenty of attention, there are plenty of good productions in the Piccolo festival too. Most of them are shorter, sharper, cheaper and have more local connections than the big headline-grabbers.
At the Chapel Theatre, Under the Lights is usually a satisfying way to catch new material by budding playwrights. Each year the College of Charleston presents 10 original short plays as part of its Stelle di Domani series. The quality of the writing, acting, and directing is usually very high, and the plays are short enough that a dud doesn't bog down the whole show. Sam McCalla (Lone Star) directs five pieces; Matthew Giedraitis, best known as an actor in Charleston, directs the other five.
At the Footlight Players Theatre, the touring chamber ensemble QuinTango is returning with its sultry hybrid of dance, narration, and live music. This year the company is incorporating more multimedia into their production, courtesy of local company Sunhead Projects. QuinTango has performed at the White House, the Kennedy Center, and the Smithsonian, and I'm glad that they have chosen to return to Piccolo on more than one occasion. This classy quintet can be relied upon to mount a stirring show for anyone in the thrall of the Eternal Dance between Man and Woman.
I'm also hearing good things about Discretion, a play directed by talented local Mark Mixson. This study of adultery features hard-working Charleston actors Pamela Nichols Galle, Mark Landis, and Boogie Dabney. Judging by their past work and the solid B they got from our reviewer, it should be worth a look.