By Jiaxuan Meng
I had a very fruitful semester with Dr. Collins, Dr. Robinson, and my fellow classmates. This class gave me a lot of great opportunities to see a wide range of performances and artists in Krannert Center and Spurlock Museum. It made me widen my horizons and stimulate my curiosity and creativity in modern society with different forms of arts.
The first performance: The Ballet
The first performance I went with my FAA class is “The Butterfly Lovers” which is ballet performance in Krannert performed by Shanghai Ballet. It is a Chinese tragic love story of a pair of lovers, Liang and Zhu, who fell in love with each other but forced to separate. I was deeply impressed and moved.
The Shanghai Ballet, which is one of the world’s preeminent ballet companies, brought this legend of the Chinese love story to the international stage.
Step Afrika is one of the performance I enjoyed the most. It was an amazing performance! With the strong passion, high-energy, and creativity of performers, audiences had an incredibly amazing experience. They invited audiences to fully enjoy and participate in the performance through a devised process with the cast and great interaction.
Drum fork explores the event in history that forever transformed African American life and culture. They expressed and interpreted the strong spirits of resistance, resilience, and reclamation.
Somi’s Jazz Night
Somi’s performance was outstanding and inspiring because it was not just a solo Jazz concert, she was actually telling her storing, giving the audience inspiration with great interaction and collaboration with her band team.
Through the whole event, she was not only singing but also had a lot of conversation and deep communication with audiences to tell her story of being an immigrant kid. She shared some very touching and emotional moments of her family and her life.
A story night with Anna Deavere Smith
Anna Deavere Smith, an educator, an actress, and a storyteller, gave a unique performance on Feb. 18th, 2020. This is a new and creative form of theatre, by performing portrayals of people she has listened to and interviewed, demonstrated what she calls the “complex identities of America”.
Through the one-hour event, Anna Deavere Smith created a unique form of performance. She brought audiences portrayals and stories of different people she has been interviewed across the country for decades, “recreating diversity of emotions and points of view on controversial issues”.
Cabaret – The last performance
The last in-person performance I went during this semester is Cabaret which is a famous Broadway musical.
I was fascinated by the show at the very beginning mainly because of the happy and energetic music and funny lyrics of the songs. “Wilkommen! Bienvenue! Welcome!”
There was an orchestra on the left side of the stage with spotlights on the players. The music played a significant role in interpreting the time and place of the story and the desires and emotions of different characters at different times. In the beginning, the energetic and funny music helped establish a normal cabaret environment.
Due to the coronavirus outbreak, we were not able to go performance in-person. I watched several performance online through Digital Theatre which brought me a different experience of arts through online platform.
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.
What I like most about this play are the performers’ body language and their facial expressions. They used their hands, feet and other body parties to simulate various scenes, such as waking up, eating and getting dressed.
The Tempest: Liberation and Exhilaration
This is an all-female version of The Tempest starring Harriet Walter as Prospero was directed by Phyllida Lloyd, captivating reimagining explores themes of freedom and justice in a women prison.
The Tempest takes place in a women’s prison, which is a thrilling Trilogy that Shakespeare originally wrote for men. Harriet Walter who played Prospero proves a moving metaphor also presented with a comprehensive education program in the juvenile justice system and underserved young women.
It is a very refreshing version of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”. Deeply impressed and enjoyed watching, and I would like to recommend it to my friends.
Funny Girl (make-up event)
Funny Girl is an American biographic musical based on the life and career of Broadway, film star and comedienne Fanny Brice, directed by Michael Mayer, starring Olivier Awards-winner Sheridan Smith who is known as “an unforgettable star”.
Funny Girl was captured by Digital Theatre live at Manchesters’ Palace Theatre. It was recorded by Digital Theatre during the final weeks of this Theatre run.
I like this performance very much not only because of those excellent performers. I like the genre of the play, a musical comedy which made me laugh a lot when I was watching. It has amazing music which helped the audiences fully immersed in the environment and follows the pace of the play. I enjoyed the songs in the play, such as “People”, “Don’t Rain on My Parade”. and those wonderful songs made the play an incredibly great event.
At the end of the semester, I really want to say thanks to Dr. Collins, Dr. Robinson, and my classmates. I had a great time with them and this class brought me a lot of happy moments and inspirations! 🙂