Family Travel 2012

Nichole Livengood



Harbison Theatre brings stories to life

Posted 9/15/2012 1:31:00 PM

Remember when you were a kid and all it took was a good sturdy stick to create an elaborate scenario of pirates and maidens? Well, that wonder and excitement of childhood is coming to Harbison Theatre at Midlands Technical College in Irmo for Story Squad: “Once Upon a Time” Remixed on Saturday, Sept. 22, at 2 p.m.

Columbia storyteller Darian McCloud has done numerous productions around Columbia at libraries and schools, but when Katie Fox came to him and offered up the full technical sound and light capability of the new state of the art Harbison Theatre, he went to work and imagined one heck of a production.

Story Squad opens the inaugural season for the new 400-seat performing arts theater and is one of three Family Series shows that will run between September 2012 and May 2013.

Fox says the family shows aren’t just geared to hold a child’s attention. The Family Series aims to bring in the quality of shows that adults would hope to find at the theater.

Darion McCloud is the captain of the Story Squad, with James Robinson on percussion, The Dubber and Marcus Thomas on guitar, and Eboni Raimm and Katrina Garvin on vocals. For an hour, the audience will be swept away by three stories and a host of rhymes and music performed by the troupe, but don’t expect to be a passive bystander at this show. The storytellers, musicians and artists weave the audience into the narrative, too.

In Because of Lozo Brown, a boy expounds on the worst imagined traits of his new neighbor, who must, after all, be a big scary bully. He finds his assumptions are quite the contrary and discovers that things in life are not always as you think they might be.

The story called Fireflies was specifically written to utilize the lighting effects of Harbison Theatre. There are no actors, only lights and music. In the story, a lonely little firefly flashes his light, hoping to find a friend, Fox explains. His “voice” is designated by a single musical note. As he finds a friend, and more friends and then a community, one note turns into an orchestra of notes and through the magic of light and sound, the bugs all travel out the door together on to their next adventure.

“When you get old, you put expectations and rules onto a narrative, but children aren’t like that yet. You can still tell stories with shadows and song and it reminds parents when they thought like that, too,” Fox says. She hopes families will go home and gather up all of the flashlights in the house and make up their own firefly story when they leave.

The Creation Poem by James Weldon Johnson brings the production home. The Story Squad’s very cool retelling of the traditional Christian creation story backed with light, sound, verse, and a few theatrical tricks will definitely leave you mesmerized.

Along with Story Squad and the rest of the Family Series, Harbison Theatre is also bringing international touring shows and the best performing arts acts from the Midlands to their stage this season. From Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Squonk Opera to the S.C. Philharmonic and the Southeast Family Puppet Slam, there is something on the calendar for everyone in your family.

Tickets for Story Squad are $9 and $10 and can be bought here. There are group rates available for 10 or more, and season packages for the Family Series for $27.

They are also giving away a Family 4-Pack to Story Squad so be sure to enter on the Harbison Theatre website. Join Harbison Theatre on Facebook and on Twitter at @HarbisonTheatre to stay in the loop because Story Squad might be hitting the road with this show and coming to a town near you.