Tag Archives: FAA 110

Final Reflection of FAA 110

By Daniel Holley

FAA 110 was one of the most interesting classes I’ve taken in my time at college. Since my time here at university is ending soon, I appreciated the opportunity to get a better idea of the artistic capabilities this campus has. I enjoyed the ability to learn more about our facilities at the art museum and performance centers. I hadn’t been to the art museum or most of the theaters of the performance center before, so it was nice to explore and learn about the people and resources that makes them function. We also watched many diverse live performances this semester, from joyful ballets to intense plays. It is incredible to see how different productions make use of the same stage for their own purposes.

My ticket to the Shanghai Ballet’s performance

The Shanghai Ballet’s performance of The Butterfly Lovers was the first ballet I’ve witnessed, and I was more impressed that I predicted. The dancers moved elegantly across the stage, perfectly in rhythm to the music and each other’s actions. Although it was at times difficult to understand the story they were trying to tell, their athleticism and humor kept me entertained.

The cast of Step Afrika! wraps up their performance

Step Afrika!’s performance of Drumfolk was my favorite performance this semester. The high energy music and dancing paired with the cultural and historical significance really spoke to me. The performers did their best to include the audience in some of their musical acts as well, further raising the energy in the room.

Somi’s band plays

This musical performance by Laura Kabasomi, or Somi, was our first production focused on the story of a single person. Although Somi was accompanied by her band, the stories she told and songs she sang spoke mostly of her own experiences with race and her African heritage. Her performance was filled with emotion that was clearly straight from her heart.

Anna finishes her performance to a standing ovation

Getting through the Day by Anna Deveare Smith was the first performance this semester that did not have a musical focus, but instead relied on impersonations and spoken stories. Anna’s ability to capture the essence of characters both known and unknown to the audience was incredible, and the way she wove humor and more serious tones into her performance was impressive as well.

My program for this performance of the Cabaret

The Cabaret was one of the more humorous performances I have seen so far. The characters were relatable and engaging, and no opportunity for a joke was missed throughout the play. I was especially impressed by the narrator, who had an amazing sense of stage presence.

The following performances were viewed using the website Digital Theatre+.

Mirai Moriyama plays Gregor in Metamorphosis -Digital Theatre Plus

Metamorphosis was a bizarre, radical shift from what we had seen so far in this class. The humor was scarce, and the characters were faced with impossible ethical dilemmas throughout. Nonetheless, Mirai Moriyama’s performance as Gregor was the best display of acting I had seen in any performance this semester. He was able to conjure a visceral feeling in me with only his body and its movements, needing no help from prosthetics or costume changes.

The colorful stage and costumes of Virago-Man Dem -Krannert Center

The most impressive feat of Virago-Man Dem was its masterful use of vibrant colors. During this performance, the cast changed between costumes that varied greatly in appearance, and the screen behind them displayed colorful murals and silhouettes that helped tell the mood and story behind the play. Visually, this was one of my favorite spectacles this semester.

The Businessman observes his reluctant companions -Digital Theatre Plus

The Container was undoubtedly the most bold and intense production I have seen this semester. The plot was based on real situations people still struggle through today, and it didn’t hold back in showing the seriousness and dangers of immigration. The most interesting part of this performance for me was the stage: having the audience mere inches from the cast, trapped inside the dark container with them makes this quite an uncomfortable play to sit through.

In conclusion, this class has helped me gain appreciation for various types of performances. Without FAA 110, I may have never seen a live ballet or spoken word performance. After being exposed to these different styles, I am happy to say that I enjoyed them much more than I predicted. Although my time here on campus is soon ending, I plan on attending live performances more often when I have the opportunity to. I’m thankful to the teachers and students who have led the discussions on these topics, and helped me learn more about the history and efforts of the people who make these productions possible.

The Final Blog: A Semester in Review

Written By: Zackarya Faci

Let me start off by saying this has been the most enjoyable course I have taken in all my four years here at the university. I was able to explore the arts and earn a new appreciation for them–something engineering students don’t often find themselves doing. I looked forward to coming to class, since we were always either doing a cool activity or taking an interesting tour, and spend my evenings in the Krannert Center. Sadly, we were not able to spend the entire semester together due to COVID-19, but I was still able to explore beautiful performances online through Digital Theatre+. Here’s a recap of the performances seen throughout the semester:

The Butterfly Lovers

The first performance we saw as a class was The Shanghai Ballet performing “The Butterfly Lovers” at the start of the Chinese New Year. I had never seen a ballet prior and was half-expecting to be bored by the event. However, that was definitely not the case. I was enamored by how well they were able to tell a story without ever saying a single word. The skillful movements and intentional lighting were enough to convey the exact emotions felt onstage.

Drumfolk

The next performance, by Step Afrika!, I enjoyed even more. They brought history to life with the their percussive talents. With a simple stage and intriguing costume design, it was easy to focus on what the performers wanted us to see.

Somi

Somi is a Jazz musician who performed some songs from her recent album. I never really listened to Jazz music before, so I am glad I attended this performance. Somi’s songs were so soothing yet powerful all at the same time. She also sang about some issues that were important to me.

Anna Deavere Smith

Seeing Smith perform was a bit of a curve ball to me. I was not sure what to expect when heading to this performance. It was not like any of the other performances we have seen; this was a one-woman show. She recreated interviews she conducted and did so with a lot of emotion. While being funny, yet serious, her impersonations of her interviewees sold the show.

Cabaret

The night of Unofficial the class attended Cabaret–which was very fitting. Cabaret was a comedic, scandalous musical set in 1930s Germany. Many scenes were risqué, but honestly it was refreshing to see a performance that was more adult-oriented. This was also the first performance I’ve seen that had subtitles above the stage–something I found very interesting.

The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice was the first performance I viewed online after in-person classes were postponed. It was a witty comedy that touched upon some serious topics. I read the play in high school so it was nice to revisit it and see how the performance compared to simply reading the play.

The Container

The Container was a very unique performance. Being performed in a shipping container with low light really set the mood for the entire performance. The choice to perform in a shipping container was ingenious, and I wish I could have been there to see it performed live. The story was already compelling and sincere as is, but being there in person would have been a whole new level of immersion.

Metamorphosis

The final performance I viewed this semester was Metamorphosis. This was definitely a wacky one. The movements by the performers were flamboyant and exaggerated–fitting with the peculiar story. The performance was also in Japanese, so I had to follow along with subtitles. Metamorphosis opened my mind to watch other forms of media that may not be in a language I understand.

Closing Thoughts

A sincere thank you goes out to Dr. Collins and Prof. Robinson. I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect from this class, but I took away more than I could have ever asked for. They always had so much energy and never failed to brighten up my day. They also helped us explore the arts in ways a typical class could never. Thank you for helping me explore performances I probably would have never seen on my own. Thank you for making my final semester a great one! 🙂

Final Reflection of One Amazing Semester

Written by Zeying Lang

FAA 110 is one of the most inspiring classes I have ever taken. It lets me experience different types of arts and allows me to explore the possibilities of artworks and exhibitions. I still remembered that we took a tour in Krannert Center, and that’s the first time that I actually realize how amazing Krannert Center is. I learned how much preparation work needs to be done before a show is presented on the stage. And I also learned the different purposes and design concepts in each performance hall, and the story behind the establishments of Krannert Center. So many performances are happening each day here. It is a bridge that connects the artists and people who love arts from all around the world to share their thoughts of arts. 😊

Shanghai Ballet: Butterfly Lovers 

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Photo by Zeying Lang
Photo by Zeying Lang

The first performance we watched together this semester is the Ballet dance from Shanghai that tells an ancient love tragedy in China. It was absolutely a fantastic experience since I know this story when I was only a child. I was amazed by how they used their body movements to express their feelings and tell the story to the audience who are not familiar with the story. The ending scene: the transfer from human to butterflies was imposing and a little bit romanticism.  

Step-Africa!

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Photo by Zeying Lang
Photo by Zeying Lang

This is the first time for me to watch a performance that used body percussions as the beats. When the performers and dancers show the audience how to clap and make the moves with them, the audience could also be involved in this show. What impressed me the most in this performance is the passion conveyed by the dancer’s body movements. The dancing crew has incredible cooperation, and their moves are synchronizing. The sound they generate is their beats, and the drum in the show is a symbol of freedom.

Somi 

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Photo by Zeying Lang
Photo by Zeying Lang

Somi was born and raised in Champaign, Illinois. After she becomes an outstanding artist and musician, she comes back to her hometown, and share her thoughts and philosophies of life with people. Her music is unique, and her arts could inspire people. She unites her own stories and feelings in her music, and her art not only relaxes the audience but also brings inspiration to the audience. I really appreciate the thoughts she shared. I remembered that it was a hard school day for me, but the voice and music of Somi really made me feel relaxed and relived.

Anna Deavere Smith 

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Photo by Zeying Lang

I had an exam that day, so I went to the Talk with Anna Deavere Smith and Julia Wolfe. Anna Deavere Smith said she’s been caring about the hunger problems of children, and she believes that more attention should be given to the children and the new generations. She shared her experience of how she entered the media business and how she dealt with the challenges she met in her career. It was absolutely an inspiration from her about how young artists should face the rapid changes in the current world, and how they could impact the world positively by using the strength of art. As an experienced artist in media, she encourages young artists to express their opinions about politics, and she says, “every significant change starts with a small step.” 

Romeo and Juliet

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Photo by Zeying Lang

Due to the impact of COVID-19, all university classes have transformed into online sessions. Though many of the events got canceled, it is lucky that we could still enjoy high quality shows from home on the University’s media library. The reason I chose Romeo and Juliet as my first virtual performance is that we watched the Butterfly Lovers at the beginning of the semester, and some may say that it is the eastern world version of “Romeo and Juliet.” This version that I chose is also quite different from the classic version of Romeo and Juliet: it is modified to happen in the current society. The transition from traditional to modern is exciting. Some designs are made on the costumes of the characters to show their personalities. The surprise of this show is that the modern version adds a little humor in this play.

The Container 

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Photo by Zeying Lang
Photo by Zeying Lang

This event brings me a new understanding of how shows could be made. Everything happens in one scene: a container. All the background and stories are conveyed to the audience by the talks among characters. At the end of the show, I realized that the audience, photographers, and actors are all in this container. The audience could watch the actors’ performances in person, and I couldn’t help thinking about how cool that could be!

The Metamorphosis

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Photo by Zeying Lang

Adapted from Franz Kafka’s novella, the story tells the tale of how a salesman is transformed into an insect, and how his families change their attitudes towards him before and after the transform. One word I could use to describe this show is delicate. There are only a few simple props and scene sets on the stage, and it is tough to show the transition from a man to an insect. However, the excellent Japanese actors used their exaggerated facial expressions and body movements to convince the audience and bring the audience into this story. The man who played the salesman is really a great artist.

The Nutcracker 

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Photo by Zeying Lang
Photo by Zeying Lang

I’ve watched several versions of The Nutcracker, but the one presented by the Royal ballet from the British is the best one I’ve seen. I love how fancy the scenes are set, and each detail of the props and the costumes are perfect. The skills of the ballet dancers are startling. My favorite scene is when the prince takes Marie to the Candy Kingdom, all the toys start dancing to welcome them. All these toys are alive, and many of them are exotic. Chinese tea, hot chocolate, coffee from Arabia, candy canes and mother ginger, and etc. The solos and duets are definitely eye-catching. As this is the last event of this semester, I chose the same types of art as the first event of the semester to make a sweet end. 

Thank you! FAA110! 🌹

A Great Course, A Great Semester

Written by: Yushan Guo

Time flies. It feels incredible that another semester is about to end. Although lots of unexpected things happened, it was still a great semester overall. And FAA 110 was one of the main factors that made this semester “great”. I remember I registered this course simply for a general education course. However, this is such a great course that brought me much more than just having a few credits.

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Farewell to FAA110

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.

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Cheers to a Fun Semester!

By Willa Wu

Reflecting back on the classes I have taken from freshman year until graduation, it amuses me that the two most impactful classes I have taken throughout my college experience were two that I decided to take on a whim, not for the extra credit hours or any major requirement. FAA 110, one of such classes, has forced me to sit back and spend time appreciating the creativity in the arts, which I have very rarely done due only focusing on STEM subjects most of my life.

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So hard to say goodbye!

By Bingchen Li

FAA is the best class I have ever taken! I really enjoy our in-class discussion and wonderful performances at Krannert Center. By taking this class, my understanding of art is deepened and this class opens my eyes that I experienced different cultures through those fantastic performances. Although we canceled 2 performances due to the COVID-19, the online performances provide a good experience to me and it is no exaggeration to say those performances are the lighthouse for me during the bored self-isolation at home.

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The Container

A film the whole world can relate to.

Written by Jackie Dominguez

It’s crazy that I truly believe that most of the world right now can relate to the film The Container. To be afraid, aggravated, hungry, and uncertain. This time in our live will be marked as history, where many feel terrified just like the immigrants from The Container.

The world right now is being contained by practicing social distancing in our homes. We are being forced to be uncomfortable and to be surrounded by people we may not even want to be around with. This film is very strong into drawing you in on what the characters are feeling to truly understand what it is like to be afraid, lost, and uncertain.

Just like in the film and in our current lives, there isn’t much we have control on. However, the one thing we can is our mindsets and the relationships we choose to have with the people around us. The Containers, sends out the message that we have to work with the little that we have even if it means sacrificing things and taking the risk.

Metamorphosis: Salesman Turned Insect

Metamorphosis is Steven Berkoff’s adaptation of Franz Kafka’s novella, which tells the tale of a travelling salesman who is transformed into an insect. The performance took place in the Parco Theater in Tokyo and was made available through Digital Theatre Plus.

Written By: Zackarya Faci

The first thing that struck me about Metamorphosis is that it was performed in Japanese. The video was accompanied by English subtitles which undoubtedly helped me understand what was going on through the performance. This is the beauty of digital performances; we are able to enjoy works that we might not otherwise comprehend in person. The performance opened with Gregor Samsa elucidating who he was and giving background about the other characters. This is atypical from other performances, and it seemed like he will be narrating the story instead of acting in it.

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