I will never forget my ecstasy when in sixth grade I was cast as Hermia in Heathwood Hall’s middle school adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. My close friend Beth McCarthy was cast as Helena, and an assortment of our other friends and classmates made up the rest of the cast. Seventh grader Larkin Bogan was cast as Nick Bottom, the enthusiastic weaver who famously has his head transformed into that of an ass by the mischievous fairy, Puck. Bottom then plays the star-crossed lover Pyramus in a play within the play performed toward the end of the last act.
Our opening performance had gone without a hitch (despite my mortification at having a line that forced me to say “breast” in public), and Larkin was on his knees in Act V, giving Bottom’s dramatic death monologue as Pyramus kills himself for love, when the audience was abruptly snatched out of ancient Greece. “Would Katie Jones please come to the ECLC?” bellowed the loudspeaker mounted on the auditorium wall. “Your mother is here to pick you up. Katie Jones, please come to the ECLC.”
Larkin did not miss a beat. He froze during the entire announcement, his eyes fixed upward on the dagger pointed ominously towards his chest in one hand, his other hand thrust out in romantic appeal to his tragic plight. He then continued his monologue as if nothing had happened and finished by collapsing on Thisbe’s bloodstained veil. I think everyone in the auditorium that night knew that a star was in the making.
It therefore comes as no surprise that Larkin is now a successful actor on Broadway, currently cast for the role of Boq in Wicked. He is featured in this month’s “Made in Cola Town” on page 48, and I know you will enjoy learning more about his journey to success under stage lights.
Also this month, you may notice that we are continuing our series on South Carolina’s state symbols, which we started in the January/February issue with Oliver Hartner’s fascinating history on our state flag. Read about yellow jessamine on page 26, our beautiful and fragrant state flower, and stay tuned for more on South Carolina’s official symbols throughout this year — who knew that we had an official state snack?
We hope you enjoy these articles as well as the many others featuring unique aspects of Columbia that make us glad to call it home.