Columbia will be hotter than usual the weekend of August 18th when we find ourselves in the direct path of an impending solar eclipse. Word on the street is that the city will be packed with tourists solaires and The Jasper Project wants to help keep them entertained. To that end The Jasper Project presents a three-part program called SYZYGY, with the first two parts of the project kicking off the celebration weekend on Thursday, August 17th with an invitational poetry reading and book launch, followed that evening by the performance of six new 10-minute plays created by some of the states most esteemed playwrights. Ten days later, The Jasper Project will host a panel presentation looking back on the eclipse and its impact on the city, our culture, and how the event itself was processed into art.
SYZYGY: THE POETRY, Thursday, August 17th at 3 pm, Richland Library Auditorium, free. The Jasper Project invited nine of the state’s most elite poets to create new work in response to the concept of eclipse. SC state poet laureate Marjory Wentworth, Charleston poet laureate Marcus Amaker, Columbia poet laureate Ed Madden, Ray McManus, Jennifer Bartell, Cassie Premo Steele, Vera Gomez, Len Lawson, and Glenis Redmond will be on hand to read their original works. In addition, an Open Call Poetry Initiative was sent out for new and emerging poets, adjudicated by Cassie Premo Steele. Two new poets’ work will also be read.
SYZYGY: THE PLAYS, Thursday, August 17th at 7 pm and 10 pm with a free reception honoring the playwrights from 9 – 10 pm, Tapp’s Arts Center, $10 for all six plays. The Jasper Project invited six South Carolina playwrights to each create a 10 minute play with three actors or less but including approximately two and one half minutes of darkness on the theme of eclipse. Jon Tuttle with Cindy Turner, Nicola Waldron, Terry Roueche, Julia Vargas, Leasharn Hopkins, and Chad Henderson are the playwrights. Patrick Kelly is the project manager with Rosalind Graverson as the stage manager.
While some of the playwrights are also directing their own plays (Henderson and Hopkins) additional directors stepped in to manage the remaining plays. Bakari Lebby will direct Tuttle and Turner’s play, One Another, and will feature Akida Lebby, Jason Stokes, and Avery Bateman. Paul Kaufman will direct Roueche’s play, Tweeters, and will feature Eric Bultman, Hunter Boyle, and Tristan Pack. Lindsay Rae Taylor will direct Waldron’s play, Visitation, and will feature Marybeth Gorman Craig, Andrea Coldwell, and Kelsie Hensley. Henderson’s play, June and Reese in the Bunker with Hope, also features Marybeth Gorman Craig, Libby Campbell, and Bill Roberson. Hopkins’ play, E-What?, features Christofher Griffin, Devon Wright, and Pat Yeary. And Vargas’ play, Vistemos a la Abuela, will be directed by Rocio Zalba and will be performed entirely in Spanish, featuring Ysaul Flores, Jose Luis Gallardo, and Johanna Jaimes.
Each of the six plays will be performed at 7 pm and again at 10 pm, with a reception honoring the playwrights from 9 – 10 pm in the Tapp’s lobby. Tickets are $10 at 7 pm and at 10 pm.
A limited edition, bound volume of the nine poems and six plays will be available for purchase to commemorate this historic time in the state’s history and culture.
SYZYGY: THE POSTMORTEM, Sunday, August 27th at 3 pm at Richland Library is a panel presentation led by Jon Tuttle and Ed Madden which will allow artists and patrons to discuss the process of culture becoming art and how effective it may have been.
Syzygy is supported in part by South Carolina Humanities, a not-for-profit organization; inspiring, engaging and enriching South Carolinians with programs on literature, history, culture and heritage. Muddy Ford Press is the sponsor of the commemorative publications.
The Jasper Project is a project-oriented, multidisciplinary arts facilitator serving the greater Columbia and South Carolina communities by providing collaborative arts engineering and providing community-wide arts communication.