Lots of fun stuff is going on this week as we enter the most artistic month of the year. If you love the arts, May is the month to be in Charleston.
It starts off at 8 p.m. Thursday with a benefit called “The Banana Monologues SPLITS for Off-Broadway” at Theatre 99. Local comedy fans know “The Banana Monologues,” a popular creation of local artists John Brennan, Mary Cimino and Jason C. Cooper.
The “Monologues” is a sexy comedy inspired by a true love story about a man, a woman and his “banana,” Sergeant Johnson. When the layers of the relationship are peeled back, Gus Weiderman tries to split from his girlfriend, Alexis (a way-out-of-his-league woman), but the sergeant stands firm. You get the drift.
The show has been hugely popular since its debut at Piccolo Spoleto in 2007, and now it is getting a shot at off-Broadway in New York in June.
To help with the production costs, the Theatre 99 folks are holding a benefit that will include such popular fixtures as Improv Jam; Sketch Comedy by The Bottom Line; a sketch from Men are From Goose Creek, Women are from Savannah; a sketch from Fox Hole Feng Shui; Big Dictionary; Doppelganger; and Stand Up Comedy.
For those of you new to the comedy scene, Theatre 99 has been a hotbed of the hippest, funniest people in town for years, and their shows are guaranteed to tickle some funny bones.
Tickets are $10, and all the proceeds from this benefit will help defray the off-Broadway run’s production costs. The off-Broadway production will begin performances starting June 13 at the Acorn Theatre (Theatre Row), 410 West 42nd St.
More funny stuff
As if launching an off-Broadway show isn’t enough, the folks at Theatre 99 are supporting the next generation of comedians.
More than 40 high school theater students from around the state will converge Saturday on the Charleston County School of the Arts in North Charleston to take part in the third annual South Carolina High School Improv Tournament.
The South Carolina Theatre Association, Fighting Gnomes and Theatre 99 are sponsoring this double-elimination tournament that is part of the North Charleston Arts Festival.
Ten budding comedic acting students per high school are assigned to three- or four-member teams with students from other South Carolina high schools. These interschool teams have a prior coaching session under a Theatre 99 company member.
The tournament runs noon-3:30 p.m. in the School of the Arts Black Box Theatre. It will be judged by local Charleston theater professionals and conclude with awards and recognitions. Best of all, it’s free and open to the public. The theater is at 5109-B W. Enterprise St. in North Charleston.
Partying in the street
The Gibbes Museum of Art will be partying with the best of Charleston 7:30-10 p.m. Thursday right in front of the grand old building.
This is the fourth year for the party, and guests may enjoy culinary delights from Charleston chefs, an open bar and dancing in the middle of Meeting Street. Also, guests will be the first to see the new exhibition, “People’s Choice: A Community-Curated Exhibition.”
Participating restaurants include Charleston Grill, Circa 1886, Cypress, FIG, The Glass Onion, The Grocery, Hank’s Seafood, The Macintosh/Oak Steakhouse, and McCrady’s. If that list doesn’t make you hungry, then you’ve been missing out on Charleston’s finest dining.
Tickets are $100 for museum members and $135 for others. All guests must be 21, and the event will be held rain or shine. The Gibbes is at 135 Meeting St.
Wide Angle Lunch
On Thursday, another of the Charleston Library Society’s Wide Angle Lunches will feature David H. and Reba W. Williams, donors of the largest private collection of American fine art prints to the National Gallery of Art. They will talk about their new occupations in “Prints: Fact and Fiction.”
If you have never been to one of these lunches, they are a lot of fun. They take an hour, and the speakers come from a range of disciplines. It’s a great way to feed your mind, soul and body. Tickets are $20 for CLS members, $25 for nonmembers; lunch (and child care) is included. The lunch starts at 12:30 p.m. The society is at 164 King St. Call 723-9912 for tickets.
The blues have it
Ever wonder why the South Carolina state flag is deep blue? It’s a nod to indigo, one of the first export crops in the new Colony.
The Charleston Museum is presenting a new exhibition, “Indigo: Natural Blue Dye in the Lowcountry,” that runs through Sept. 2 in its Historic Textiles Gallery. This small, focused exhibit will explore a brief history of the cultivation and production of indigo, Eliza Lucas Pinckney’s important role, and its curious dyeing procedure, along with examples of indigo-dyed textiles. Drawn from the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries, these include clothing and household goods that are examples of vatted indigo dyeing, “china blue” printing and blue “penciling.”
Because of its range of blue color and lightfastness, indigo was easily the most popular natural blue dye for many centuries. Before the advent of synthetic dyes in 1856, all yarn and fabric was dyed with natural dyestuffs.
Indigo is a legume grown in many parts of the world, but it did not thrive in Europe. So obtaining high-quality, affordable indigo was a challenge for Europeans and their colonists until Pinckney, carrying out her absent father’s instructions and with the benefit of a slave labor force, succeeded in making this area a prime cultivator of indigo. It became a rich cash crop, second only to rice.
Visit www.charleston museum.org or call 722-2996.
Reach Stephanie Harvin at 937-5557, email@example.com or sharvin101 on Facebook.