Tag Archives: Performance

“Tiger” at KAM

By Rachel Yao

Deke Weaver performs his 5th Unreliable Bestiary project, which is about the Tiger, at the Krannert Art Museum on November 7th.

A photo of the stage before the performance with a tiger’s head projected in the background.
Two handouts given out to the audience before the performance began.

Throughout the play, Deke Weaver tells his story about the tiger using various methods. First, he portrays different characters as the story moves along. He plays a tour guide, portrayed by wearing a leather hat; he plays a intellect who lives in India, portrayed by wearing glasses and having an soft accented voice; he plays another character whom searches for tigers by wearing crushed garbage as armory and protection. By playing various characters in his performance, Weaver tells his story in an interesting and amusing way. Each character had moments in the spotlight that showcased they significance.

In addition to playing multiple characters, Weaver includes a “powerpoint” in the background of a mix of videos and photos to help tell his story. The photos and videos help establish setting, like in the deep forests searching for tiger, or on the plane waiting to land. The videos in between speeches also tell interesting stories and provide important facts and information. For example, one video explained how the tiger is used as a mascot for many, many companies, such as Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes cereal and Exxon gas. And, how the tiger population is vanishing. These factual videos really impacted me the most because it really shows how vulnerable these animals are, and how we humans are destroying or environment and ecosystems.

The beginning of the performance, with Deke Weaver on the left and a picture of the earth in the background.

In the performance, themes of journey and home emerged. The idea of journey was shown through the steps along the way, from being at home to traveling across the world to searching in forests for tigers. The way Weaver told his story made it seem as if we were on the journey with him, learning new pieces of information and exploring new regions of earth.

Link for more information on “Tiger”: https://kam.illinois.edu/event/tiger-performance-no-5-unreliable-bestiary

You Like Jazz?

The crowd was buzzing for Wynton Marsalis’  jazz performance.

written by:Allison Spillane

An excited crowd floods the entrance to Foellinger!

Jazz music makes me think of one thing: my late grandfather. I hear a band play and I can practically feel the wind on my face as we sit with our family out by the river. To me, jazz and big band music will always hold a fond place in my heart, and this experience outdid itself in that department. Wynton Marsalis and his ensemble members each brought so much to this performance in their own ways, creating one amazing performance. All the better to share with friends.

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Wynton Marsalis at KCPA

Written by Ashleigh Cox

The orchestra just before intermission

The Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra performed at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and it was an absolute delight to see and hear! The performance featured individual performers as well as the entire ensemble and played a wonderful blend of fast-paced, energetic songs and slower pieces.

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JAZZ IT UP

Written by: Benjamin Tan

Totally memorized and jazzed up by the Wynton Marsalis performance.

Wynton Marsalis Ticket to a Great Night of Jazz!

I really love how they incorporate both solo and group showcase in the performance. It is absolutely sensational when they played their pieces. It was really a huge chemistry among the entire jazz how everyone will pull back right on the dot to showcase each solo from every jazz performer.

For the solo piece, each solo is approximately a minute long!! It is really amazing how they are able to remember each note that is played and also the emotions they put in as they played their instruments.

Saxophone Solo Performance

For the jazz band, they are extremely tight. Especially with a super-fast tempo and not having a conductor to coordinate everyone, it is truly phenomenal.

With the balance between the solo and group showcase, it really gives so much more flavor in the entire performance. You got a huge variety of performances to watch and you will always be entertained.

Jazz Performers Being Extremely Tight in their Playing

Unfortunately, I did not attend the Chris Botti performance so I cannot do the comparison.

One thing that really stood out for me is how the front row performers have more than 2 instruments to play. What struck me is that during one song they will change it simultaneously from one instrument to others. On top of it all, they play each instrument tremendously well.

By playing so many instruments in that one song, it gives a whole new sound to the piece.

Using an analogy of a cake, the drums and cello is like the base of the cake and then the icing of the cake is all the extra instruments such as the flute and clarinet. Making the whole cake delicious!

Solo performance of the Saxophone (Guy in the middle of the 5 of them)

Another stupendous moment for me will be the guy playing the saxophone. Ooooo he really plays with style, groove and emotions. The way he moves his body as he plays with the saxophone release such an appreciation to the music he is playing. As he grooves by swaying side to side, I myself start to sway side to side with him. I was so connected to his music!

Overall, this jazz performance was absolutely stunning. Definitely recommend others to go and hear their music.

Jazzed up my night

Written by: Laura Chong

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra with Wynton Marsalis made my night so much better.

The jazz orchestra

Another first experience checked: attending an orchestra performance. I must say, this really blew my mind! As someone who played a trombone in the school band, it made me appreciate the performance 10 times because they are so crazy talented!

It was really interesting that the performance incorporated both ensemble playing and solo showcases. I find myself being more engrossed in the performance as I am so excited to hear the next solo showcase to immerse myself in the beauty of the sound created by the instrument.

It also brought more depth and personality to the whole performance as each instrument gave a different “feel” to the music piece that was performed. The group dynamics was amazing! I felt that they respected each other’s talent and gave them each their own time to shine. At the same time, the ensemble playing demonstrated their amazing teamwork and how each and every one of them has a part to play to bring to life their music. It was certainly a heartwarming performance and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

A moment that stood out for me was when they started playing a happy birthday song for one of their orchestra players at the end. They played a version of the song that was jazzy and it made me really happy. It was also really cool that they did this surprise for their friend. Everyone in the audience sang and clapped along to the song! To me, it felt like the whole theater was performing a special song together. It must be a very special moment for the birthday guy too to have everyone celebrating his birthday together.

An Ocean’s Worth of Talent

The Krannert Center takes the audience through the journey of August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean.

written by Allison Spillane

The ticket in!!!!

August Wilson is a heavy-hitter when it comes to play writing, so I was very interested to see one in person. Almost all of my experience with theater has been contemporary plays, so seeing something rooted in a little more history was exciting. Furthermore, this rendition of Gem of the Ocean featured one of Allen’s beloved RA’s! With all of this expectation, I was surprised with how this show still impressed me. Every aspect of it was so well thought out in a way that made for an astounding cohesive show. 

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What a GEM!

Written by: Benjamin Tan

This article is for August Wilson’s Gem of the Ocean

The stage setup from this performance was phenomenal. When I enter the theatre, the setup was already being displayed for the audience to admire. I myself was very amazed by all the intricate details of the setup.

The rustic wood panels at the side and the long dark wood tiles bring out that warm homely feeling. All the props that were used from the chairs, lamps, windows, doors, drawers, and potteries all aided in bringing the audience back to the past of the 1900s.

GEM of the Ocean Stage Setup

The costume also aided in the same way. The gents were wearing tuxedos, vests and a top hat and the ladies were wearing long printed skirts up to their waist and wearing a bandana over their head.

The one prop that was very significant was the paper boat. The entire performance was building on that paper boat. It brought everyone on a journey to the unknown, creating such anticipation to the audience of what is gonna happen next.

Actors’ fine costume for the performance

One character that I would like to describe will be Caesar. The main villain of the show. He was a man of his principles which were two things. Family is everything and standing on what is written on the law.

He believes that whoever abides in the law, is deemed worthy and whoever does not shall be punishes. With this narrow mindset, Caesar shot Black Mary’s good friend just because the friend hurt his right leg causing him to limp.

Caesar was so saturated and consumed by the law that his own conscience was totally gone! He did not feel any remorse of what he has done. This led to his own sister, Black Mary telling him straight to his face that she does not know him anymore.

This superb character really taught me that not everything should go by the book but there has to be a balance between abiding of the law and holding on to your conscience.

Caesar making his stand that everything got to be by the book.

The City of Bones scene was STUPENDOUS. Even before they step into the scene, they are already in character behind the door, shaking vigorously their wrists and ankles. The energy that they put in every move that they made had so much gust and momentum and as they synchronize the tribe beat with their “bones”. I love the props that they use such as red ribbons to symbolize fire and the wooden sticks to add a stronger sound to the beat. It depicted them to be souls being revived from their skeleton giving an eerie feeling which was exactly what was needed for that scene.

The Souls of the Skeleton being Summoned during the City of Bones

This entire performance really brought me back the past to experience, understand and feel how it was like in the African American community in the 1900s.

Imagination (INC) Showcase

By Rachel Yao

Makeup Event

Imagination Dance Crew hosts their semesterly Imagination Showcase, featuring groups like K-Project, Truth and Beauty, Storytellers, Dance 2xs, Velocity Dance Team, and more on October 12th, 2019 at Lincoln Hall Theater.

K-Project group photo after the Imagination Showcase ended.
TNB (Truth and Beauty) group photo after Imagination Showcase.

Before the showcase, each performance group were given tech time for 10 minutes, where they could rehearse their set and positions while the backstage crew can rehearse lighting on and off stage. I was in two groups: K-Project and Truth and Beauty (TNB). For both groups, we spent tech time marking positions and running through the entire set once. Walking up to the stage to rehearse gave me a sudden surge of energy; I was both excited and nervous.

An hour goes by, and a cast meeting was held an hour before the show. We all sat in the seats of the auditorium and the Imagination Dance Crew board members gave a speech. Shortly afterwards, we were all sent to the green room. Since TNB was the first group to perform, we spent our remaining minutes looking over the dance.

TNB looking over their set in the green room after rehearsal, waiting to perform on stage.

Five minutes before the show begins, we were called to wait backstage behind the curtains. I began to feel a bit anxious and worried. What if I mess up? What if I forget positions? We waited and waited, until the audience lights began to dim and the two MC’s walked on stage with their microphones. The lights dimmed once again, and we quickly got on stage. The stage lit up and music started playing. Before I know it, the set was over. After resting in the green room, we left for the auditorium to watch the other groups perform.

The Cheese Bois having fun on stage during the showcase.
Dance 2xs performing on stage.

Later, I was called back for K-project. After performing once, I was not as nervous for this performance. While waiting backstage to perform, we all gave reminders and words of encouragement. Once again, the performance ran smoothly and we returned back to the audience to watch the rest of the show.

Imagination Dance Crew performing as the last and final set for the showcase.

Though I have been dancing for quite some time, this was my first time performing at the Imagination Showcase. It was both a fun and nerve-racking experience. What I enjoyed most was not only performing on stage, but also being able to see all the talented dance groups showcase their work. I was amazed at each performance and definitely couldn’t wait for the next showcase in the spring!

To watch TNB’s performance: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kbB7LSKAd_s&fbclid=IwAR0divvGq3V2cLauFRUap6ctTQGX4BnR2IjImyG6ktYRZU0oJzRGc31gXO0

Immersive “Home” Experience

Written by Nicole Miao

The story of “Home” began with two small lights, a wooden frame and two plastic sheets.

When a man in casual clothes came to the stage directly from the auditorium instead of the background, I thought he was a staff at first. When he assembled the materials into a wall and changed the scene into a small bed and a door, I realized that he was an actor. There were many different people in and out of the door, such as women, boys, and elderly. Not too long after that, several decorators appeared, converting the scene into a larger house and starting to carry furniture inside. I could gradually distinguish the kitchen, living room, bathroom, study and bedroom.

Until the last piece of furniture was moved in, the hostess walked into the house with flowers, and a complete “home” appeared. The new day began with a simulation of sunshine through the venetian blinds on the second floor window and realistic barking. From getting up and washing, dressing up, and carrying the packages out, the actors presented us with different lives of different roles. The elderly did housework, the child went to school and adults went to work. This reminded me of my own life. Before I entered the college, every day after I get up, my mother drove me school and then came back to do housework. My dad had to work every day, occasionally going on a business trip. People in a home methodically handled their own life.

The actors celebrated the graduation of “students”

The most amazing thing that shocked me was in the second part. Actors began to interact with the audience actively. The little boy stepped down and invited us to taste the olives (I tasted one, but it was sour). The other actors let the audience stand and put the string of lights on the top of the head. They also invited many audience, including several of my friends, to come to the stage and participate in the party and celebrate the birthday. I was still thinking about the logic of plot just before this part, such as what the meaning is when actors entered and exited from the door at the beginning. But when the audience cheered, I felt that the logic of the story was no longer so important. Now I am part of the story, and I am also completing this story about Home.

The audience and actors sang and danced together on the stage

I was immersed in the performance until the end. It turned out that interacting with the audience is the most direct way to get audience into the situation. I could not refuse this kind of interaction, which was a wonderful experience I have never had before.

Actor’s curtain call

If you want to learn more about Home by Geoff Sobelle, visit this website: https://krannertcenter.com/events/home-geoff-sobelle

‘Home’ Away From Home

Written by Ashleigh Cox

In Colwell Playhouse at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Geoff Sobelle’s Home captivated the audience on Friday night. The play brought together theater, illusions, and some impressive engineering for the set that was used. The performance pressed the audience to consider the true meaning of a home as we watched the lives of several characters play out in one space.

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