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Reasons to Visit Charleston Now

 

Drayton Hall © 2013 Charles & Mary Love

Did you know that Charleston was recently voted the #1 travel destination in the world? This is understandable, given the city’s historical and cultural riches, yet long-time residents wonder, with genuine humility, if they deserve the accolade!

In any case, we’d like to highlight a few attractions that make the Holy City special.

Drayton Hall

Charleston has several beautiful plantation properties in its environs (including Middleton Place, Boone Hall and Drayton Hall). Among our favorites is Drayton Hall. Constructed circa 1738, it’s located on Ashley River Road in the Historic Ashley River Plantation District.

Drayton Hall (draytonhall.org ) is the oldest unrestored plantation house in America that’s still open to the public and one of the nation’s earliest examples of Georgian-Palladian architecture. The never-modernized main house is unfurnished, allowing the beauty of the original architectural details to stand out. Another attraction is the acreage surrounding the house, accented with a reflecting pond, open grassy areas and large oaks. A leisurely morning or afternoon here provides a fascinating glimpse of the lifestyle of a bygone era.

We found a recent visit to the plantation helpful to our research for a documentary film that we’re producing on civil rights. Stay tuned.

 

Spoleto 2013

Don’t’ forget that the 37th Spoleto Festival USA, America’s premier performing arts event, raises its curtain in Charleston on May 24 and runs for over two weeks.

World-class theatre, music, and dance productions, with renowned international performers, fill historic theaters, churches, museums and outdoor spaces all over the city. If you can make time for this cultural extravaganza, book your tickets and room reservations now. For more information, go to spoletousa.org

Pure Theatre

On a recent evening in Charleston, we attended the Pure Theatre’s performance of The Motherf**ker With A Hat, by Stephen Adly Guirgis. It was a rollercoaster ride—provocative, unsettling and confrontational—and has been described as a “high octane verbal cage match about love, fidelity and misplaced haberdashery.” Moving at a blistering pace, we found it humorous, emotionally poignant—and brilliantly entertaining.

This company (puretheatre.org) stages around six or seven plays by contemporary playwrights each season. They are engaging and unforgettable. Their Summer Slam showcases productions not on the regular season schedule.

Pure Theatre co-founders, Sharon Graci and Rodney Lee Rogers, have backgrounds in film and stage as producers, directors, writers and actors. Sharon says, “Our goals are to constantly get better at what we do…and to mine the medium of theatre for all we can in terms of being relevant.”

If you’re visiting Charleston, be sure to check out the upcoming production, The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, an imagining of the night before the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Coming in May is Clybourne Park by Bruce Norris, a Pulitzer Prize-winning satire that explores issues of race and property ownership.

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