I decided to end my college career exploring what only the University of Illinois could provide: an experience exploring the culture and arts of the University’s feature facilities like the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Spurlock Museum. I lamented being cut short of the fun times I was having, but I am happy I got to take part. Dr. Collins and Dr. Robinson provided a course that broadened my horizons, taking me to performances I may not have otherwise. This stayed true into the pandemic as I was directed to online performances to compliment my education. My classmates were friendly and fun. My brief encounters with them are ones I treasure immensely and some of what I miss the most in this isolation we all suffer through today.
Thank you once again for visiting my blog! Sadly, this will be the final iteration in what has been quite the saga of entertainment. Over the semester, I had the privilege to view eight completely unique performances that have broadened my perspectives on not only art, but also how to approach novel cultures.
Although I had an incredible experience over this past semester, I am incredibly disappointed that it was brutally cut short by our current pandemic. Thankfully, we were able to get a solid start to the semester with such incredible performances as Somi and Anna Deavere Smith. Both performances gave such incredible insights into emotions, thoughts, and experiences of cultures all over the world. In closing the in person semester, my favorite performance, was the fantastic Cabaret. I have always been a fan of musicals and cabaret is the first that I actually got to see in person, so it will always carry meaning to me.
The heart wrenching end of the in-person semester destroyed just about every normalcy in our lives, but, thanks to Digital Theatre+, I could at least continue my genre-hopping expedition from home. The first performance, The Container, highlights the struggles faced by refugees headed toward England in a gripping, single-set performance. Another single-set performance, Metamorphosis, challenges traditional asian values in which the parents completely depend on their eldest son. This is all changed when the poor young man transforms into a human-sized dung beetle. The final event of the semester was Macbeth. Shakespeare’s timeless classic was incredible, even online. Macbeth hosted some of the best acting I have ever seen.
I had such a great time this semester, and I want to thank my two professors for making this all possible. Dr. Collins and Professor Robinson have been nothing short of amazing throughout this whole journey. I want to deeply thank them and anyone else taking their time to read my posts for being such incredibles guides and partners in this experience.
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.
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.
In Tom Wright’s production of The Container presented outside the Young Vic Theater presents an experience novel and uncapturable on the screen. By the end, the viewer is left with a futile outlook on human relations.
The Container, by Clare Bayley, tells the story of a group of asylum seekers being smuggled across Europe, to England, in a shipping container. The performance took place outside the Young Vic Theatre in a real shipping container. I viewed the performance via Digial Theatre Plus (though seeing it live in the container would have been much cooler).
Written By: Zackarya Faci
The performance recounts the hardships of five refugees as they are smuggled across Europe. They discuss their backgrounds, visions of what England will be like, and even get on each others nerves. They fight over what little food and water they have–thinking one is more deserving based on the struggles they have lived through in the past. Though it makes sense that they would be so easily agitated, since they are confined together in such a small space.
The Merchant of Venice is Polly Findlay’s adaptation of the play written by William Shakespeare. The performance took place in Stratford-upon-Avon, but I watched the performance online through Digital Theatre Plus. The play is a complex tale of money, greed, and prejudice; Antonio, an antisemitic, takes out a loan from the Jew Shylock, which he cannot afford to repay.
Written By: Zackarya Faci
The first thing to note is the language used throughout the performance. It is reminiscent of 16th-century English and stays true to the language used in the original play. While it required more attention to fully grasp what the actors were saying, it was still understandable and enjoyable. One thing that veered from the original play is the costume choice. A much more modern dress was used–which I believe made this play more enjoyable and feel like a newly created work. Also, the contrast of how the actors dressed and spoke added a unique and memorable element.
Hello and welcome back to my blog! This week, I used the UIUC digital theater to enjoy the classic Shakespearean masterpiece, Macbeth. In this Liverpool 2011 rendition, actor David Morrissey delivers a wondrous performance that was worthy of his role as Macbeth. Throughout the production, Morrissey’s gripping performance allows Shakespeare’s incredible storytelling to manifest.
Additionally, the set and atmosphere by Francis O’Connor provide the initial construction of the dark and somewhat haunting mood of the show. It was particularly interesting how rapid the transition was from Macbeth’s desolate battlefield to Duncan’s war-room. O’Connor, using nothing but lighting changes and a singular square table, convinced the audience of a complete and dramatic set shift.
Thank you once again for stopping by! Unfortunately, this will likely be my final event blog for the semester. I have had such an amazing time discovering novel and interesting theatrical art forms with each and every one of you this semester.
Link to performance: https://www-digitaltheatreplus-com.proxy2.library.illinois.edu/education/collections/digital-theatre/macbeth