It wasn’t exactly champagne wishes and caviar dreams at last night’s dual party for The Medium and Corella Ballet Castilla Y León, but it was close. Walking amongst the pedestrian masses of King Street, it felt like any other Saturday night. Until I stumbled upon this.
Enter my Brigadoon moment. As that little old lady drummed her way into my heart, I was teleported into a world in which I don’t belong, high society. I entered the gates of the President’s house at the College of Charleston, not sure if I could ever return to normal life again.
There, the grassy courtyard so many undergrads walk past every day had been transformed into a dreamy, candlelit cocktail party. Low hanging rustic candelabra gave it a Spanish feel, while the dimly lit environment hinted at a séance in honor of The Medium. Whether that was the designer’s intention, credit goes to All Occasions. When planning your child’s next séance themed birthday party — think All Occasions.
Incidentally, Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Medium and the aforementioned Brigadoon both had their Broadway debut the same year, in 1947. It must be a sign. That said, neither host David Savard nor Spoleto General Director, Nigel Redden, was entirely confident what year The Medium debuted in Charleston. I still contend it was 1979.
The specialty cocktail, “Southside” featuring Mount Gay rum, lime-flavored simple syrup, and mint, was just going to my head when the crowd began to cheer as mezzo-soprano Barbara Dever entered the room. Dever, The Medium’s Madame Flora, was followed by soprano Jennifer Aylmer who plays Monica and Gregory Mozgala, a.k.a. Toby the mute servant boy. For a mute, he had a lot to say. The super amiable Mozgala was more than happy to chat. “It’s an incredible feeling to have the curtain come up and see 500 people applauding, and that’s before the show has even started!” Wearing a fedora, I followed the tiny Toby around the crowd in search of Director John Pascoe.
“John! John, this lady would like to meet you,” Mozgala called out. The ascoted Pascoe turned around, shook my hand, and said,” I’m sorry I can’t talk. I’m starving,” then abruptly about-faced and made way for the carving station. Can’t blame him. Who can turn down a juicy cut of meat? Few, I tell you, few.
No one needed meat more, however, then the crowd of twig-wristed ballet dancers who next came through the gate. Like a herd of wood nymphs they entered, whispering in their Spanish tongue, overwhelming the party goers.
Just as I overheard one guest saying, “Where is Ángel, I hear he is one hot — oh!” There he was, the Corella Ballet man himself, Ángel Corella, in a summer tan jacket and a smile. His adoring fans swept him into their circle and I could only stand on the sidelines and snap a photo. Shame really, we could have had such beautiful children — my 6 foot frame, his sculpted torso...
Queue the bagpipes; 'twas time for me to go home.