Written by: César Díaz Blanco
A radically different course could not be less than a life changing experience. FAA 110 has spiced up my first semester from a STEM-full schedule to an agenda with few, but impactful, events filled with creativity and expression. In this final blog I say goodbye to this course in the best way possible: remembering all the great moments it gave me.
I remember seeing in the first weeks of school buses advertising the Ellnora Festival and in some point even the Alma Mater with a guitar. I didn’t understand why it was given so many ads and time, until I saw Buddy Guy perform at the Tryon Festival Theatre. The show was more than music. It constantly became a theatrical scene in which Buddy gave life to his guitar and battled with it in every possible way: he would poke it with a drumstick or even scrub the strings against his suit. His master on the guitar left me craving for the following events.
Chris Botti was the second artist I saw perform at the KCPA. However, this time there was a twist to it. He played the trumpet and had other amazing artists supporting him and in plenty of moments, taking the protagonist role. I still remember the passion the drummer displayed. To this day I still remember he could play whatever he wanted with whatever means: some mallets, drumsticks, or even his hands. The best I got from this performance was his skill to unite all the wonderful artists while playing a breathtaking trumpet.
After, two events full of music it was time to turn into theatre. HOME by Geoff Sobelle, nonetheless, was more than theatre. It had choreographies full of meaning and precision, versatile scenography, matching music and sounds. The synergy of this play made it transcend its own script and include all the theatre in a celebration. Towards the end, bookshelves, the sink, the stairs, and the bathroom started to fail and what minutes ago was a home for the dozens of people in the party became a cold place signaled by the appearance of the workers.
KCPA had gave us enough experiences for now, it was the moment for the Krannert Art Museum to shine. Jeniffer Monson’s workshop made us understand her work on biology and dance through interactive experiences. The sense of direction and localization were key in animals and had changed in humans with the rise of smartphones. She taught us that we could choose our own direction without having to appeal to technology. By seeing myself in the paintings, I related myself to them in a more thorough way than the other times I had been to the KAM.
From the previous intimate experience, we moved onto the biggest room in the KCPA, the Foellinger Great Hall. The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis performance stood out to me more than others because of its classic approach. The artists had their own spot and rarely, or never, spoke aloud; and, while this may be a downside for some people, in my case it helped me on creating my own thoughts around it. I had a rush of ideas whenever the drummer had its solo performance or when the whole orchestra came to a climax. This haste of creativity led me to the idea of a library whose center was a place for musicians to practice and perform together; and around them desks, couches, computers, and more resources for students and faculty to utilize.
KAM’s Galleries have been my favorite rooms for these events. Being surrounded by the art of others while witnessing the artist’s performance provides the best experience possible. The Bridge #2.2 act was a part of the series Sudden Sound, mainly starred by improv performances. The event really struck me as I didn’t expect it to flow in the way it did. In my experience the “chaos” that arises from having artists from different backgrounds and make them perform freely ultimately finishes in a synergic experience in which chaos creates beauty, just as life. However, as I said in my blog, I believe that the roles were not equal and that causes a predominant perspective rather than an enriching experience.
Coincidentally, the last performance was about forgetting or trying to remember; just as I try to remember the events for this semester. The Nature of Forgetting play had a perfect mix of energetic and joyful remembrances and crude present. The play had a versatility that continues to impress me, even though more than a month has passed. The use of the scenography and lightning to convey different painful and joyful events of the protagonist’s life is the highlight of this play.
The experiences that this course gave me changed my perspective of what a any course could do. I’d like to thank Prof. Robinson and Prof. Collins for making this class an accessible experience and for always motivating us to express our thoughts.