Threshold has home for fall theater season

Pamela Galle, Mark Mixson and Mary DeMartino of Threshold Repertory Theatre stand in front of the company’s new location on Society Street.

Provided

“Untitled” from the Passage on the Underground Railroad Series by Stephen Marc, an image from the exhibit closing this week at the Gibbes Musuem of Art.

Mark Mixson obviously is a believer in Tennessee Williams' famous quote: "Make voyages! Attempt them! There's nothing else."

The leading founder of the new Threshold Repertory Theatre, Mixson was advised many times that it was crazy to start another theater in Charleston.

"I was told there were too many theaters in the area anyway," Mixson recalls.

The attorney, actor and director, however, was determined to follow his dream and "make voyages."

Although acting and directing are closest to his heart, he has a demanding day job. After several years as a city attorney in New York, he was named a senior counsel and full-time trial attorney for the city of New York in 1999.

"I really enjoyed using my theatrical skills in the courtroom," says the College of Charleston graduate, who, in the early 1980s, undertook the demanding role of Alan Strang in Peter Shaffer's drama "Equus" as the inaugural production of the then-new Simons Center for the Arts.

"Whether directing or acting, I was involved in every facet of theater at the College of Charleston," Mixson says.

He left Charleston in 1986 for the Big Apple, where he directed and performed in off-Off-Broadway shows before enrolling in law school.

Ten years ago, he and his family moved back to the Lowcountry, where he practices law with offices in Summerville and Hollywood.

He also plunged into the Charleston theater community again, playing Salieri in "Amadeus" at the Footlight Players, and Bobby Gould in "Speed-the-Plow" at the Village Playhouse.

In the fall of 2009, Mixson was asked to direct "The Miracle Worker" at Footlight Players, where he met actress Pam Galle and stage manager Mary DeMartino.

"Mary De Martino was experienced in all technical aspects of production; she and Mark worked very well together as a solid professional team," says Galle.

Galle says she realized Mark's dream was to start his own theater company because she had accomplished the same thing while living in Charlotte.

So Threshold was founded in September as a nonprofit, says Mixson. One goal is to keep ticket prices low so that more people can enjoy theater, she says.

Threshold's initial three plays were performed in various borrowed spaces, but now the days of borrowing spaces are over.

"We've finally found a home," says Galle. "It's at 84 1/2 Society St., and we have signed the lease with The Beach Company. But the building needs a great deal of work on it, which takes time and money."

She says an anonymous donor is helping with expenses. They plan to be ready by fall.

The Threshold Repertory Theatre will start its 2011-12 season Oct. 20 with "The Crucible," a play by Arthur Miller that dramatizes the Salem witch trials that took place in the province of Massachusetts Bay during 1692 and 1693.

For more information, go to http://thresholdrepertorytheatre.org/season.

Art brings comfort

After the death of her 18-year-old son, artist Ellen Bass turned to painting to focus on positive things.

Bass says her exhibition of oil paintings, titled "Reflections," represents "the dramatic use of light and dark, bringing to mind the shimmering effect of water as seen from a boat."

Her artwork has been displayed at museums statewide and is in the Oncology Specialists of Charlotte collection.

Having published a devotional book, "In a Garden," Bass explains, "In it, I use my paintings to show how the Scriptures apply to the gardens of our lives."

"Reflections" will be on view through July 31 at the Charleston Artist Guild Gallery, 160 East Bay St.

Underground Railroad

If you haven't seen it yet, Stephen Marc's photographs and digital montages of freedom seekers on the Underground Railroad runs through Friday at the Gibbes Museum of Art.

Marc combines contemporary images with historic documents and artifacts to create richly layered objects that bring the past into the present. It's worth a look.

The Gibbes Museum, 135 Meeting Street, is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, and 1-5 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults, $7 for seniors, students and military; $5 for children ages 6-12.

Admission is free for members and children under 6.

Reach Dottie Ashley at dottieashey@gmail.com.