Ever have the hankering to watch someone break a leg?
No, you sadistic soul, I don’t mean watching someone truly fracture their femur. I mean acting. As in getting up on a stage … in front of people … for those people’s enjoyment!
In Charleston, you can watch people break a leg each week in one of the city’s many theaters. If you’re glued to campus, you might try a show by the College of Charleston’s own theatre department , which offers a theatre major specializing in acting and directing, costume design, stage design/technology, and children’s theatre and education. The theatre department supports five producing organizations, including a Shakespeare project, a youth program and the student organization Center Stage, which is responsible for all student productions on campus. For the 2011–12 school year, performances at the Emmett Robinson Theatre include Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra; Almost, Maine by John Cariani; and School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan; as well as Five by Tenn (plays by Tennessee Williams) in the College’s Chapel Theatre.
For those eager to enjoy a nighttime stroll through the city, one can walk a few blocks to the Dock Street Theatre on Church Street, home of Charleston Stage. Dock Street Theatre had its first performance in 1736, and just recently re-opened after a three-year, $19 million restoration. Each year the Dock Street Theatre hosts more than 120 performances, including shows such as Chicago, Avenue Q and Inga Binga.
Nearby on Queen Street is the Footlight Players Theatre, which has been performing community theatre since 1931. Their 80th season kicked off in August with Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific.
For those interested in comedy, Meeting Street’s Theatre 99 is home to improv comedy troupe The Have-Nots! Besides these Charleston funnymen, the theatre hosts the Charleston Comedy Festival and offers improv comedy classes and workshops. Some of America’s top comedians regularly stop in for shows, including Aziz Ansari and Michael Ian Black.
And, of course, any theater buff will savor Charleston’s Spoleto Festival in May and June, as well as the associated art celebrations of Piccolo Spoleto and Piccolo Fringe. In 2011, the Spoleto Festival included performances of The Red Shoes and The Cripple of Inishmaan, while Piccolo Spoleto presented performances of Proof, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Guys and The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, among others.
That’s not all. There’s also PURE Theatre, Robert Ivey Ballet and The Village Playhouse. These drama organizations and more all belong to the theatre alliance THEATRE Charleston.
So whether you’re interested in breaking your own leg or watching others do it instead, you’ll find no shortage of theatres and plays here in the Holy City. The hard part, in fact, is deciding which show to see. Good luck!