by Jeffrey Day
Something I forgot to mention earlier with all the talk of death — there’s a lot of spring and rebirth on stage at the festival as well. And weather-wise this may be the most beautiful opening weekend I’ve experienced.
But I wasn’t out in it much. I was inside and most of that time in new venues for the festival. The first was the early 20th century home of the Charleston Library Society where the “Conversations” series is being held. Not all that old by Charleston standards, it has that charming shabbiness for which the city was once famous. Yes there’s still grit and grime, but there are also many places like Rack Room Shoes and the Dunkin’ Donuts on King and the TD Arena on Meeting, the last of these serving as a venue while the Gaillard Auditorium is being rebuilt. Looks OK outside, but boy is it ugly and soul-less inside. And finding the correct seat seems to be giving audiences and ushers headaches.
Saturday afternoon it has plenty of soul with the dance company Compagnie Kafig. I’ll not say much about their overall performance right now, but found something other groups have done that’s worth talking about. That’s doing something magical with almost nothing, which they did with plastic cups and raincoats. Tristan Sturrock did all sorts of wonderful things with a toy helicopter. At that first Conversations, one of the puppeteers from A Midsummer Night’s Dream turned his bottle of water into a living, breathing creature. The guys at the Marion Square Farmers Market can do something incredible with a couple of simple things — shrimp and grits.
If you have the right ingredients and know how to use them, it works.