As an actress, playwright, and professor, Anna Deveare Smith, cares about the issues of how contemporary art confronts the crises that are emerging in the current world. This time, she brought her good friend, Julia Wolfe, a reputed musician and composer, to give this fantastic Culture Talk with the opportunities to communicate with the audience. Together, they talked about how art can be involved in dealing with the world crisis, and what possible changes that art could bring to the world.
Anna Deavere Smith, known chiefly for her unique solo act in which she reenacts interviews that she’s collected from all across the U.S., travelled to the Krannert to share her stories on “Getting Through the Day.” Her act requires nothing but her notes and a microphone, so the stage was set rather simply.
Anna’s compilations of stories guide the performance toward a central theme or idea. In her performance at the Krannert, she used interviews with countless individuals on their various ideals of getting through the day. Between personas, Anna often took time to pause and preface the next interview. Another way to distinguish portions of the show is to pay attention to the expert voice inflections and impersonations.
This incredibly unique performance distinguished itself from traditional documentaries by being a rather interactive show. Anna opened for the audience to participate on multiple occasions, once to allow for the chorus to “Amazing Grace” to ring through the entire auditorium. At the end of the show, she requested that the lights in the audience be turned on as she began a Q and A session right in the theater. This unique level of interaction and mode of storytelling puts all of Smith’s shows in a novel category of performances.
Thank you for returning to blog! I can’t wait to add another to the stack following the march 6th performance of Cabaret, so I hope you find your way back once more!
The Nature of Forgetting is a powerful play about a man’s memory fading with Alzheimer’s and how it appears from his point of view. Theatre Re performed the piece at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on November 12th and it was quite a memorable event!
Gem of the Ocean is a play written by August Wilson that was performed at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts on Thursday night. The characters of Aunt Ester, Black Mary, Citizen, and Eli entertained the audience and the set gave the story an almost eerie mood.
The August Wilson classic hits the stage of Krannter Center for the Performing Arts
Written by Edward Huang
Gem of the Ocean is a production written by renowned American playwright August Wilson. It premiered a while ago, but its name and legacy lives on in those that admire theater today. On a chilly Thursday night, the play made its way to Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
In Colwell Playhouse at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, Geoff Sobelle’s Homecaptivated 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.
As an advertising creative, I was very excited to take FAA 110 and see how Krannert uses their artistic creativity in a multitude of ways. I was not disappointed.
By: Daniel Corry
This course was certainly a bright point of my week. The class itself was always very stress-free and made learning fun rather than a chore, and the shows were a perfect way to unwind for a couple of hours in between other stressful events. This is certainly a class I would recommend to literally any student, regardless of their interests or majors. This class had something for everyone.
I was also pleasantly surprised at the many times I would enter a show with a preconceived notion (sometimes negative) and emerge completely surprised or with a new mindset of that art form. Below I will talk briefly on the shows I saw this semester, as well as link the full write ups on each.
The order of my favorite shows!
Now okay, although my first show was not one I saw at Krannert, I was very lucky to have the opportunity to see TBOM in Nashville, and a smile never left my face from start to finish. It was a real treat! http://otso.h.media.illinois.edu/?p=13634
I was really blown away by this show. The integration of classical music and dance was extremely enjoyable, and the bits of humor slipped in throughout made the show an absolute blast to watch. The time really flew by during this show. http://otso.h.media.illinois.edu/?p=13681
This show was a perfect blend of feminism, history, science, and humor all rolled up into a performance like no other. I really enjoyed being an audience member for this show, and although some of the themes were very science-y or history-y at times, I never once felt lost or bored. It was really a great modern show for the year of 2019. http://otso.h.media.illinois.edu/?p=14140
As someone who has never claimed to like classical music, I was very surprised to have enjoyed every minute I heard this orchestra play. I cannot explain why, or what it was that made me enjoy it, other than I truly felt like I was in the presence of a very talented and driven group of musicians. http://otso.h.media.illinois.edu/?p=13859
I think I simply enjoyed this event so much because, as I say in my longer write up, you could really feel the love for the arts coming from all over the building that night. Everyone who was there, was there for their love of not only Krannert, but more importantly, the arts. http://otso.h.media.illinois.edu/?p=13865
At this show I really enjoyed listening to the quartet, but was rather confused with the dancing that Tai Ji contributed. It seemed sort of disjointed from the music, and did not really elevate the music or experience at all for me. It was still a unique addition though!
This was another example of something I personally did not love, but I am glad I saw anyway. Opera has never been a type of art I have understood or really cared for, and I will admit that it was very nice to see people be passionate about it in a Midwestern school in 2019. However, I was just not as blown away by it as I was by the other performances. http://otso.h.media.illinois.edu/?p=13138
Sadly, this was my least favorite show. It just didn’t seem as polished and as well put together as I had expected. Dance numbers fell flat, the story seemed rushed, and the acting seemed underwhelming. However, there were one or two characters that still lit up the room when they sang or spoke and made the show a pleasant experience. http://otso.h.media.illinois.edu/?p=14168
Overall, I had an absolute blast getting to grow my knowledge of theater, and experience so many different ways that the arts uses their creativity. I am very thankful for the opportunity to take this class and will not forget the fun times I had at many of these shows.
Throw all your previous notions of broadway out the window before watching this amazingly unique musical written by the creators of Southpark.
By: Daniel Corry
First of all, let me give you all a tip when buying broadway tickets, that I just learned this week. If you are willing to risk some slight disappointment, and live relatively close to a theater, DO NOT buy your tickets ahead of time. Those tickets end up cost twice or three times the price. Go about an hour before the show, and ask for “Rush Tickets”. These are the tickets that have yet tp be sold, that the theater practically gives away, just to fill seats. We paid only $40 each to see this show, with seats that we were very pleased with! Now, onto the show!
I must admit, I had some previous knowledge about the show, so I thought I knew what to expect, and I still ended up being wrong. As I said, the subject matter is all about the Mormon faith, and it is written by the two men (who happen to be atheist) who wrote the very raunchy “Southpark” show. So let me be clear, if you have a lighter sense of humor or are easily offended, I would NOT recommend this show, regardless of your religion. It’s humor is very dark and crude and makes light of some third world country problems that certainly are not for everyone.
That being said, this show really was fantastic. The choreography was CLEAN and very well rehearsed. The characters were very fun and each so different that I was invested in all of them. The story was fun, and as someone who knew little about the Mormon faith, was appreciative at the (semi) educational aspect of their beliefs.
The music was also outstanding, with many of the songs getting stuck in my head even a few weeks later. “Hello”, “You and Me”, “Turn It Off” and “I Believe” were all songs that painted a smile on my face from start to0 finish, and had some theatrical surprises that made me “Ooh” and “Ahh” like I was watching fireworks. I was really pleasantly surprised at the musical talent in this show.
Overall, for the price we paid, the seats we got, and the audience I went with (my Mother), I had an unforgettable night of outstanding music, hilarious (while crude) humor, and just unbridled fun for a few hours. If you can stomach it, or just know that your humor (and morals) will be slightly challenged, I highly suggest that you go!
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.