Tag Archives: Comedy

Comedian and Storyteller: Anna Deavere Smith

Anna Deavere Smith held a story telling event that lasted approximately an hour followed by questions from the audience who were intrigued with her work. In her performance she was able to express themes that involve issues in America. This event was held on Tuesday February 18th, 2020 in the Colwell Playhouse at the Krannert Art Center.

Written by: Lydia Amezcua Ramirez

A picture of the author/story teller, Anna Deavere Smith

Creative Expression

Anna Deavere Smith’s theater performance was unique in the way that she took interviews to perform real people. By this I mean that she had taken the time to sit down with people, have them share the story they wanted to convey to her, took their story, and performed it in a way that brought laughter to the audience yet still conveyed a specific theme. At the beginning of each new theme she told the audience what the title of each story that she would present would be. This is how I could tell that she presented a new person, based on the different titles. Also, at the end of each story she would say thank you and the audience would clap.

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Performance

Another thing to note about her performance was that she was dressed in a simplistic manner and the set was also set up that way. This is important because she was still able to indicate character without any extra garments to wear. All she needed to present her characters were her use of voice and body gestures. For each new theme she presented she would use a different type of voice to depict that character. As for body gestures, she would also keep it simple and use body movements that indicated the character she was in.

A picture of the stage, showing how simplistic the set up was
This picture depicts the simplicity of the wardrobe worn by Anna Deavere Smith

Stories Told

In her performance, Anna D. Smith was able to represent different aspects of the American past through interview in the way that she selected her themes. The people that she interviewed had a specific theme to share which she wanted to convey surroudning issues of community, character, and diversity in America from the past. For example, she had portrayed a character of a reverend during the civil rights movement. Her themes relate to the present due to the issues that occurred back then in which can still be seen today but less problematic as they were back then.

The way that this performance is different from the news or documentary films is that those are matters of factual detail and given events with names and dates. In Anna Smith’s performance she used theater to convey her characters through acting without giving away the names of the persons she interviewed for the stories. This was a creative performance on her part, especially when she was able to have the audience constantly laughing.

Eric Andre Leaves Little to the Imagination

A blurry Andre on stage at the Canopy Club Saturday, September 28th.

Eric Andre his entire audience captivated and wanting more at Canopy Club with his visionary humor.

Written by Catherine Webber

As part of his Legalize Everything tour, and as an act of the Pygmalion Festival, comedian Eric Andre played at Canopy Club this past Saturday to a crowd of very enthusiastic fans, and these fans were not disappointed. Once I saw that Andre would be part of the Pygmalion Festival I quickly texted my brother to see if he would make the journey from Chicago to join me in the crowd, and he very eagerly told me that he would and couldn’t wait. Andre is known for his off the wall and oftentimes absurd talk show on Adult Swim, and this stand up was definitely reminiscent of the farcical show.

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Andersson Dancers And Violinists

By: Jeffery Berry

A page from the Andersson Dance And Scottish Ensemble Program

As I watched the dancers and violinist perform on stage of the Colwell Playhouse, all I could think was, “What is going on?” However, not in a negative tone but out of curiosity. I was intrigued at how unorthodox this performance was. It was certainly something I have never seen before, and I gladly admit that I enjoyed it.

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The Curious Incident

The creative play on a young man’s eventful life and how he molds his perspective about who he is and what he can do.

The Colwell playhouse hosted the play “The Curios Incident Of The Dog At Nighttime”

This play was more than a play. It was an experience. It drags you into the life of an unordinary 15 year old young man from Europe. He is extremely smart, yet, others he encounter in the play would probably say too smart for his own good. However, through his expanding curiosity, the play allows you to be a part of his mind as he goes on a journey to answer his many questions about why life is the way it is.

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Amazing lights of comedy

Written by Sihan Wang

Tonight I went to the Krannert center and watched the play “A funny thing happened on the way to the forum”, as I went into the theater and started to take pictures, a staff member nicely told me that they don’t allow taking pictures during the show, I realized that maybe my movement was too big, so I took the picture of the program notes and the tickets.

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Comedy at the Krannert Center

A hilarious musical comedy at the Krannert Center

Written by Bill Xun

Taken by Bill Xun

This week the class went to see A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum in the Colwell Playhouse at the Krannert Center. I had an absolute blast watching this musical comedy. Everything came together perfectly — the set, the actors, and the music .It was two hours of nonstop comedy, and I enjoyed watching every second of it.

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A Marvelously Entertaining Night in the Theater

A evening filled with beautiful voices, acting, and belly laughing.

Written by Emily Reeter

I really enjoyed the performance this last Thursday.  I went in without any expectations because it had been years since I had the opportunity to attend a theater event.  When I first arrived I was mesmerized with all the different decorations, lights, and stage settings. The crowds continued to pour into the theater and you could feel the excitement through the immense chattering.  It was extremely lively and vibrant.  I couldn’t wait for the production to begin so I could see it all come to life. Continue reading

“Something For Everyone…A Comedy Tonight!”

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Written By: Fatimah Ibidunni

If this class keeps going at this rate, I am going to go to every theater production that the Krannert Center for Performing Arts puts on because… WOW. Click below to read more about the amazing performance at Krannert this Thursday. Continue reading

Emma Pool is Cooler with a Camera

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A headshot of myself

Stand by! The semester flew by and I’m now reflecting on all of my work for Journalism 215. I have to say, I was pretty intimidated coming into this class. I was handed a large, fancy camera and assigned projects. It was awkward at first using the camera out in public because it was so large and people were wondering what I was doing. However, I soon grew confident and was more comfortable shooting throughout the rest of the semester.

Fleur de lis marquee light

Fleur de lis marquee light

For my first project I took different pictures and video footage around my sorority house. I tested wide, medium, tight shot pictures. For video, I tested zooming in and out, and panning left and right.

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Colorful feather boas

Each assignment because progressively more challenging by adding another layer. The second assignment included stills with and without audio. Since I wasn’t sure how the audio would come out with the recorder, I used my phone as well. I used my camera around the Party City in Champaign because I thought the vibrant colors and fun items would make for an interesting photo essay. Looking back, I would have liked to record someone checking out because I think that would have been good sound.

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Stretching before a workout

Assignment 3 was fun to shoot because I chose to shoot fast moving content. My friend was willing to let me shoot her working out at CRCE and she was very excited to see the final project. The story was someone leaves to go work out and finishes up with recovering. Knowing what I know now, I would have liked to film more high intensity workout, such as, running, biking, or stair climbing. This would have varied the video more and would have given the project more movement with the workout theme. The big challenge was filming on the move and I noticed some of my shots were shaky. I realize I should have used the tripod to get more still shots. I also started to become more comfortable taking the camera out in public because CRCE was very busy and it was a little awkward to film.

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Spicy Clamato improv troupe

The audio package assignment was something I had never done before. I was nervous about editing because it’s fairly easy to record interviews but to put it all together and then add my voice was a little daunting. I figured out it was fairly easy to record everything separately and then put it together on Adobe. I found it easier to just record on my phone because I was able to play it back out loud right away. My advice would be to make sure you are in a quiet space when doing your interviews. Sometimes the background sound overpowers the subject you are interviewing and it is distracting to the listener. Also, make sure you check your interview after you record it to make sure your subject is loud enough. One thing I noticed was that I sometimes responded to the interviewee by vocally agreeing with them. However, this sounded off in the interview so I had to make sure I was silent. I noticed the volume was not consistent during the whole package once I put it all together. That is something I would have tried to fix early on had I known. I also loved my subject because Improv is a passion of mine so it was a fun subject to work with.

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Illini Union Recycling Bin

The thing I would have liked to be done different was doing the How To video before the full package. I thought doing the full package incorporated everything all too soon. I was really proud of my full package because I was finally able to put everything I’ve learned all together. I had to go out and get numerous interviews and get them on camera. It was fun to play around with the editing and making sure everything flowed. I enjoyed my subject and it was fulfilling to see the whole project come together at the end. After watching the final product I noticed some changes I could have made. I should have cut to my subject when I was introducing them rather than showing pictures. I also interviewed someone outside which was difficult because it was very windy that day and it overpowered the interviewee. Check out my full package here.

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The Second City improvisational comedy enterprise

My How To video was a lot of fun. I had a really fun subject and I added humor to the video. It was also interesting to add in the cartoon drawing.
The biggest trouble I encountered was controlling the volume. It was difficult to make some clips quieter while the other clips had normal volume.

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Courtesy of Google Images

The final project proved to be the most difficult. I enjoyed the group aspect of it. We were able to work together and bounce ideas off of each other. Especially, since the final project had so many components, we were able to split up the work to focus on our own part. Our idea was to have a news cast and incorporate every project in one video. We used the green screen but ran into trouble when we were putting the video together. The library worker filmed awkwardly and the sound was quiet on one angle of the video and incorporated two people in the shot when just one was speaking. We resulted to plan B and used the second angled shot of us that was closer up but it still posed similar problems. Although it didn’t quite work out to how we would have liked, we were glad we made the effort to use the green screen. Looking back, we wish we would have followed more of a specific storyline. With All Things Bikes, we hit core subjects but it just didn’t flow once we put it all together. We think with more time, it would have turned out cleaner. My group used Weebly, which was fairly easy to use and we were all able to work on it at once. If we could do the project again, I think we would have liked to have split up the projects rather than put it all together to make one news cast. Check out our final project on YouTube here and our website on Weebly here.

Overall, I enjoyed picking subjects that I was passionate about so I was able stay engaged and put forth all my best effort. In the real world, I won’t always be able to pick my own topics so now is the time to learn while also working with subjects I love. I learned so much from this class. I learned to use Adobe for editing footage as well as different ways to use the camera. These are all useful lessons that I will take with me as I move forward in my journalism career in the future.

Reporting one last time from Off the Shelf and Online, I’m Emma Pool.