Category Archives: Fine Arts in Motion Spring 2020

Metamorphosis: A transformation

The show Metamorphosis is based on a novella written by Franz Kafka first published in 1915. It tells the story of a salesman named Gregor transformed into a huge insect and how he struggled to get used to the new condition. The show was performed at the Parco Theater in Japan, and I watched it through Digital Theatre+ with English subtitles.

Written by Jiaxuan Meng

Gregor transformed into a huge insect
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Metamorphosis: A Unique Story About A Salesman’s Transformation to An Insect

Metamorphosis is a production based on Franz Kafka’s novella. Metamorphosis was performed at the Parco Theater in Tokyo and captured and made available for viewing online through Digital Theatre Plus. Metamorphosis currently has English subtitles supported for international audiences.

Written by Weon Taek Na

Capture 1 of Metamorphosis, available for viewing online at Digital Theatre Plus.
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As You Like It: Online Makeup

As You Like It is a famous comedy by William Shakespeare. It conveys a story portraying love and disguise and was performed at the Royal Shakespear Company’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford pon Avon. The performance was captured and is available to view online on Digital Theatre Plus.

Written By Weon Taek Na

Capture 1 of As You Like It performance, available to view online on Digital Theatre Plus.
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The Strange Story of Metamorphosis

Metamorphosis, a production based on Franz Kafka’s novella, was performed at the Parco Theater in Tokyo and made available with English subtitles through Digital Theatre Plus.

Written by Willa Wu

The adaptation of this production, Steven Berkoff’s, retells the story of a travelling salesman who is somehow transformed into an insect.  Throughout this play, he follows a uniformed style and design and utilizes the actors and actresses in unique and extensive ways.

Gregor Samsa, during his transformation to an insect.

Having never read Kaftka’s novella prior to watching this production, my reaction during most of the play was that it was strange.  The storyline begins with Gregor Samsa giving an extremely direct exposition, explaining exactly who he is, who each of the other actors are, and their situation.  I quite enjoyed this style of storytelling, as I commonly find myself trying to piece together the knowledge during the story rather than already knowing the backstory.  

The element of design within this production was phenomenal.  Berkoff used a very easy to understand minimalistic set of props to progress the story, and the actors were able to use their body language to help the audience understand the implications of the prop placements. Like Cabaret, the actor’s consistent use of props helped me understand the story more easily.  The entire set only consisted of a framed structure and three chairs placed evenly apart across the stage.  In addition, the minimalist structure extended to encompass the number of actors. There were four main actors (Gregor, Greta, and the parents), and the Chief who came around in select scenes.  I appreciated this style, as I felt as if it was more storytelling, which in some cases can be more entertaining to watch.  

A shot of Gregor Samsa during a monologue.

The use of shadows was also important within this play.  With small tweaks in lighting, the actors themselves can look like shadows or the actors can create large shadows behind them.  This can be used to have the actor appear either extremely large or extremely small in comparison to some other object or another actor.  The actors all wore monochromatic clothing, and hence, with the shadows they create, make the entire play fit in further with the minimalistic look.  The only deviation from such is when there is an angry scene, and a red light would cast upon the entire stage.

It was imperative that this production was to be watched online, as it was recorded in Japanese.  However, if I were to somehow be able to watch this in person, it would look less dynamic to me. This is because as a live audience member, you are subjected only to a wide angle view of the entire stage the entire run time.  However, in the style that this production was recorded, there were rotating camera angles that were used and also close ups of the actors. By doing so, it creates a more dynamic flow to the production as angles are always changing.  In my opinion, the experience of watching it online feels more like a movie rather than a play.

The final bows of the performers.

My favorite design element is the use of the clock noises to tell time.  In this play, unlike many other performances we have seen this semester, the actors do not only depend on themselves to create sound.  It was most noticeable when Gregor’s every step once he became an insect was followed by a sound mimicking the sound of an insect. The precision that is required of the actors is incredible and impressive.

As You Like It (Makeup)

As You Like It, is one of Shakespeare’s famous pastoral comedies of love and disguise, and it was captured by Digital Theatre live at Royal Shakespear Company’s temporary space, the Courtyard Theatre, in Stratford pon Avon. You can enjoy and watch it online by Digital Theatre +

Written By Bingchen Li

The main story of As You Like It is that Sir Rowland de Bois had 3 sons and he wanted his elder son to take care of his young brothers after his death. But his elder son Olive did not follow his father’s will, instead, he treated his brothers rudely and restricted his brother Orlando’s education and freedom. Olive arranged a wresting battle between Orlando and the royal wrestler Charles to let Olive leave him without taking any heritage. Duke Frederick has usurped the duchy and exiled his older brother, Duke Senior. Because Duke Senior’s daughter Rosalind had a good relationship with Celia, Duke Frederick’s daughter, she could still live in the court. During the battel, Rosalind fell in love with Orlando and try to skip from the court. After lots of suffering, at the end of the show, they all find their love.

Duke and his courtiers formed in a square (Screenshot from As You Like It)
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As You Like It: Online Makeup

William Shakespeare’s As You Like It is a romantic play that started the trope of a woman disguised as a man. His playful play explored the dynamics between multiple couples through friendship, compromise, and love. Performed at the RSC’s Courtyard Theatre in Stratford upon Avon but watched online by yours truly, this play was a joy to watch and you can experience it too on Digital Theatre Plus.

Creative Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Courtyard_Theatre_Stratford_upon_Avon.jpg

Written by Grace Chen

Although these performances are recorded online, the feeling of a live play is still present In the show. The camera work makes up for the lack of connection between the performer and audience in an in-person play. The closeups allow the viewers behind the screen to have a better understanding of what the actor is trying to convey.  In fact, I liked this aspect of watching a recording the most since there have been many times where I’ve sat far away from the stage and have had trouble seeing what the actor’s facial expressions are.

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DRUM TAO : passionate movement

There was DRUM TAO performance at Tryon Festival Theatre on Wednesday, March 11. The performers were from Japan, and their impressive performance using “Wadaiko-drums”, Japanese flutes and harps made the performance perfect.

Written by Aejin Shin

People waiting for the start of the performance

Composition

The template said, ‘DRUM TAO was awarded several prizes including Outstanding Cultural Contribution form Oita prefecture’. In addition, in February 2016, their off-Broadway show in New York ended up with a great success. After watching the performance, I thought they deserved the awards. They played drums of various sizes, ranging from small handy ones to big ones which performers can even ride on. Also, the way the drums were played was brilliant. Standing between the drums, people played multiple drums of various sizes together. In addition, their movements were so in sync with each other and well-organized that I felt it was a masterpiece performance.

A ticket

Interesting element

Their performance had two distinct factors which differentiate them from any other performance. The first was that the performers tried to communicate with the audience. They skillfully bought out applause and responses from the audience. They put their hands on their ears and made a listening gesture again and again until the audience gives them back a round of applause. Also, through catered performance pieces that Americans can relate such Michael Jackson’s Moonwalk dancing in between performance, the American audience could relate to the performance more.

Secondly, the performance was full of humors. With all the lights off, the performers wore fluorescent yellow-colored clothes and presented techniques that made them looked like one person teleporting around the stage. It also drew laughter from the audience by making intentional mistakes and putting in humor elements from time to time.

A booklet

The performance was a combination of traditional Japanese instruments and modern choreography. Performers created performances that can be enjoyed by anyone regardless of one’s age and gender by utilizing humors and eye-catching performance. I would like to recommend this performance to everyone!

Drum Tao; Impressive Feats and Amazing Performance

On Wednesday, March 11, 2020, at 7:30 pm the Drum Tao group performed at the Tryon Festival Theater. A total of 14 performers showed off their drumming skills, acrobatic finesse, and other talents in their dazzling show.

By: Daniel Plata

Before The Start of the Show at the Tryon Festival Theater
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Cabaret: A Challenge

Krannert’s presentation of Cabaret offered a deeply challenging and condemning performance of the dangers of apathy.

Stresemann, a man I knew as a champion of the Republic that would eventually fall to dictatorship…alongside other historical facts to remind us there was a world moving along outside the rise of fascism.
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