Friday, August 24, 2012

Summertime and the Living is Easy

It looks like our summer weather will end early this year.  We're already experiencing evening lows in the 70s and daytime highs in the 80s.  A welcome relief for many.  But the real topic of today's blog is the origin of the phrase in the title.  Many readers will recognize it as a song written by George and Ira Gershwin for their operetta "Porgy and Bess."  Before there was this masterpiece, there was the novel, "Porgy," written by local author DuBose Heyward in the early 20th century.  It is a delightful story of love, murder, mayhem, tragedy, and a time when the living wasn't so easy for most Charlestonians - and not just those who were African-American.  Most older Charlestonians will tell you that today it is hard to imagine just how poor this city - and its people were - not just during the Great Depression but for the first half of the 20th century.  Many homeowners were "too poor to paint and too proud to whitewash."  Recently I was thrilled to have the opportunity to revisit those earlier times through the performance of "Porgy and Bess" at the Dock Street Theater.  Performed by local non-professional actors and singers, this was an absolutely enthralling rendition of this timeless tale!  To my knowledge, it was only the third time in Charleston's history that it has been performed in the Holy City, and these local artists certainly did it right!  Kudos to the Footlight Players for a splendid performance.  Please give us an encore during the next Spoleto Festival.

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