As I searched for a last course to fill my general education requirement, I wanted the course to be special. I wanted a course that I gave me a hands on experience outside of the typical engineering courses that I took. A close friend of mine suggested FAA 110 as such a course, and I am so glad that she did. FAA 110 became the favorite class that I took at University of Illinois. I had very little knowledge nor experience in arts and I was able to enjoy the amazing performances and museums that were held at our university.
I never thought that I would find a class as fun and enlightening as this one. I had taken a theater class my freshman year and absolutely hated it to the point where my love for theater had plummeted. This class helped resurrect it and brought it to twice the intensity. I got to feel the excitement of looking forward to the day of the shows. I realized I love the whole experience of being in a performing center. I got to see the beauty of the building itself, the passion the performers have, the shared emotions in the audience, and I got to learn more about different cultures as well!
I am extremely grateful that I was able to be in this class. I was able to reunite with my love for the arts in full force. It was amazing to have a performance to look forward to every single week and I am going to continue going to performances at Krannert more often because I have realized how healing it is to experience art and how much it has helped me deal with stress this semester. I was disappointed that I was not able to enjoy this class to its full capacity due to COVID-19…I was really looking forward to the remaining performances. However, I am still extremely happy with the experiences I took from the first half of the semester and I also really enjoyed the Digital performances and I am also happy that I now know that a website like that exists so I can enjoy more performances online this summer if I want to.
The Container is a production that is filmed by Digital Theatre inside a shipping container at the Young Vic Theatre. This production tells the story of a group of refugees that are getting transported in the back of a truck’s shipping container through Europe to London where they want to ask for asylum.
By Elena Grantcharski
My first impression is that I really enjoyed this production and I was super impressed by how it was both a short film and a play at the same time. According to the Digital Theatre + website where I watched this production, there was an audience of 28 inside the shipping container with the actors. I found this really impressive because 1) they were able to hide the audience perfectly inside that small container while also basically filming an entire film, 2) the actors were able to act so well in just one take with the presence of a live audience in that tiny space with them. I have never seen such a production before so I think it was really creative and I hope more productions are made in the future this way. I think having the audience inside the container was also a great way to make them feel more immersed in the production.
Metamorphosis is a play that is adapted from a novel by Franz Kafka. It was adapted by Steven Berkoff who also directed the production that I watched on Digital Theatre +. This version was performed by the Parco Theatre in Tokyo, Japan.
By Elena Grantcharski
The plot is about a salesman named Gregor who works very hard every day to support his family. From the very first scene, we learn that his job is very strict. He has to take a 5am train to work because if he is late he will be fired. On the next day, Gregor turns into an insect. He can hear his family trying to wake him up, he can understand them, but he cannot do anything to reply because he literally became an insect. The actor’s use of the body here was really impressive. He did not wear a costume of an insect. Instead, he contorted his body and made bug-like motions which were very effective in creeping me out but also impressed me on actually how much he looked at a bug at some points. While he struggles with his new reality, his boss comes to his home and interrogates his parents and sister on his absence, showing how absorbed Gregor’s life was by his job.
The Tempest is widely known as one of Shakespeare’s plays. It is a story where magic is one of the main elements.I watched a production of Shakespeare’s world renowned production of the Tempest on the Digital Theatre + website. This play was performed live by the Royal Shakespeare Company with the help of Intel and the Imaginarium Studios.
By Elena Grantcharski
I will start off by being honest and saying that I generally am not a huge Shakespeare fan. I respect and appreciate his work but I have never been interested in the Shakespeare works that I have read in high school. His writing style is generally not for me. However, something I really do love is magic. I have never read or watched The Tempest and I was surprised by how much I actually liked it. I really enjoyed the magic aspect of the play. The play is about Prospero, an older man with magical powers and a very beautiful daughter.
I had never read or seen Romeo and Juliet but I knew the overall plot. It is one of the most famous plays ever so basically everyone has heard of it. Today, I had the chance to watch it on Digital Theatre. This version of the play was 2 hours and 51 minutes long. Although it was a long play, it held my attention the whole time. (make-up)
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
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.
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.
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!
Cabaret was performed at the Tryon Festival Theatre in Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on March 5. The actors were students of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Their excellent acting, set-making and music made the performance perfect.
Written by Aejin Shin
The setting for the musical “Cabaret” is the Kit Kat Club in Berlin in the 1930s. This was a period of great historical importance and confusion. The performance vividly shows the suffering of ordinary citizens -including American novelist Cliff and his roommate Sally- because of the change in a country’s political ideology and confusion. It showed a part of ordinary life through historical events and some sensitive topics such as eroticism, sex and homosexuality. It begins with an American writer named Cliff traveling to Germany to get the inspiration that he needed to write his novel.
In Cabaret, music helps to deliver the characters’ messages. This is
definitely a kind of musical, so it’s meaningless to discuss the show without
music. However, Cabaret’s music is quite different from the usual musicals’
composition. Ordinary musicals play romantic songs that contrast with miserable
plots, making audiences forget about the difficulties of reality. However, most
of the songs played in the performance do not make the audience forget the
miserable reality, but make them feel more afraid of the Nazism. For example, with
the ending song, ‘Farewell’, one can fully guess that Cabaret’s audience is no
longer ordinary public but Nazi party members.
Overall, the songs played during the show are typical jazz and swing in the 1920s and 30s. Also, the characters sing about what they want – love, a beautiful future, and their own beliefs. Every character wants different things, but the energy they emit in an unstable, dangerous, finite life touched me so much. I like the music because it was quite emotional, so it sets the mood, and I can understand what the characters feeling through the music. Also, the music was catchy. So, I could sing it after the performance ended.
This set shows Berlin at that time very effectively. Two structures rotated and showed new backgrounds. These rotations made a variety of sets, including nightclubs, housing complexes, trains, apartments and fruit shops. This allowed the transition between scenes to be natural.
The performance was a combination of funny and sexual comedies and
exaggerated expressions. Complex set designs and perfect music allow the audience
to focus more on the performance. This performance was more on the love story between
people in 1920s and 30s and their lives rather than the big history like WW1
and Nazis, and it makes the performance more interesting. I would like to
recommend this performance to everyone!
Cabaret, a world renowned Broadway musical, was performed at the Tryon Festival Theatre in Krannert Center for the Performing Arts this last Friday. The cast of the play Cabaret set out to give the audience a thrilling yet unique experience through perfect performance, further enhanced by amazing music and set pieces.