There’s a lot wrapped up in simple gestures.
Take, for instance, the act of reading a children’s book aloud. It’s a little thing done frequently by parents, teachers and others, but it can become big in the minds of its target audience — stimulating imagination, expanding knowledge and perspective, demonstrating the power of communal experiences.
Columbia’s NiA theater company reinforces the power of this simple gesture in the latest 1 or 2 performance. In front of Danrelle McCall’s George Washington Carver mural on North Main Street, Darion McCloud gives a wonderful reading of Dinah Johnson’s Black Magic, which lists a variety of things that Black can be. His delivery is performative, but not overpoweringly so, drawing vivid personality out of each successive line.
McCloud is joined by Samuel McWhite, who bookends the performance with beautiful a cappella singing, and lends vocal accompaniment to the reading — sometimes melodic, sometimes rhythmic, sometimes simply embodying the emotion of the line being recited.
The piece is, among other wonderful things, a potent reminder that small actions are often immensely important.
1 or 2 is a socially distanced performance series aimed at keeping Columbians connected with local artists during the COVID-19 pandemic, and allowing those artists to get paid for their work when such opportunities are scant. Free Times remains grateful to our partners in this endeavor — One Columbia, Richland Library and SceneSC — for helping us keep it going.
To check out more 1 or 2 videos, all of which are freely accessible without an online subscription, head to free-times.com/1or2. JORDAN LAWRENCE
(SHOT AND EDITED BY DAVID STRINGER)