Tag Archives: theatre

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.

What an amazing ride into the City of Bones!

Written by: Laura Chong

August Wilson’s Gem of the ocean was a phenomenal performance!

This is my first ever theatre play experience and I must say I am very wow-ed by it! Even though the show was long, it ended off with a huge bang! It was truly a memorable first theatre experience and I wish to attend more theatre plays from thereon.

The scenery and props immediately told me that the setting of the play will be in somebody’s home. To elaborate, the costumes indicated that the time is somewhere in the past. The gents were wearing tux and vests which are really formal, coupled with a hat. The ladies were wearing headpieces and long dresses with lots of prints. The paper boat gave me the impression that the play will be a mystical journey and set the mood and theme to be an exciting one.

If I could choose one character to describe their role in the play, it would be Aunt Ester. She is an important character in the play who holds power as the soul washer. She seems to be an important figure who is well respected by everyone. This could be seen in the way everybody greets her when they enter the house. Everyone was always ready to make sure she is comfortable by washing her feet, settling her down in the sofa. She also instructs Mary to do certain chores, in which she obeys. She plays a huge part in the play and story by assisting Citizen Barlow to travel to the City of Bones to restore the spiritual balance of troubled individuals, especially so since Citizen Barlow caused an innocent death by stealing the can of nails.

Aunt Ester travelling to the City of Souls with Citizen Barlow.

The City of Bones scene was SPECTACULAR. A very essential part of the scene was the dancers. I could feel the intensity and their dedication to playing the role well and it fit into the theme of the play so well and brought a strong visual of what souls were to look like. It was a little eerie but that was the point of the dance and their movements. I really enjoyed the props that the dancers were using such as red ribbons and wooden sticks as it brought more dimension to the play.

City of Bones scene

This play transported myself to a mystical world while showing what the African American community in 1904 was like. I could feel myself being transported with them into the City of Bones and what a ride it was!

Whiff of Talent in the Air [makeup event]

Written by: Laura Chong

Global Talent Show – Illinois Homecoming was an eyeopening experience.

Marie Joe Noon, the last performer of the night really blew us off

This is the first-ever Homecoming talent show, performed by international students. There were 13 performers and they presented the different cultures and their art wonderfully. Through this talent show, I have increased my understanding of the different countries through their selection of songs and performing piece.

Diana Bikbaeva sang a beautiful russian poem song

Most of the performer chose a song from their country and there was a clear difference in the melody, rhythm and style of the songs. I could also feel their emotions as they sang the songs that reminded them of home. It was truly a touching and memorable moment.

To me, it takes a lot of courage to perform in front of a crowd and no matter the decisions of the judges, I felt that they are all winners. As for relationship with the audience, there is certainly that element for certain performances.

Magic performance by Alejandro Diaz

For example, the magic performance by Alejandro Diaz was very interactive. He used the projector as a prop to bring his magic closer to the audience. As for the singers, they used the mic as a prop to bring their voice closer to us.

Overall, it was an exciting experience which showcased many talents, such as yo-yo, beat-boxing, singing, dance and magic. I expected a more formal event performed by professionals, but these people on stage were genuinely just wanting to showcase their culture and talent. There were emotions in the theater and I left the theater with a warm feeling in my heart.

Home by Geoff Sobelle

By Rachel Yao

Geoff Sobelle’s “Home” showcases a mix of music and theatre while building a house from scratch at Colwell Playhouse in KCPA on September 27th, 2019.

A mix of actors and audience members on stage in the house built during the play.

“Home” starts off with a man wondering around on stage, picking up lanterns, and building a small wall out of wood and plastic sheets. As the play goes on, more characters start appearing, including the construction workers who quickly built a house in front of our very eyes. There was a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, living room, and office within the house. Room decor, like pictures and vases, and furniture, like couches and desks, decorated the home while the residents unpacked. The stage quickly transformed into a warm home with ambient noises, wind blowing, leaves ruffling, and dog barking, mixed with realistic lighting that portrayed day and night.

Beginning of the play, where the man builds a wall made of wood and plastic sheets.

As the story unfolds, we see the daily life of each resident, from waking up to doing chores to arguing with each other. Seeing each resident live their own lives made me think and reflect on my own experiences at home. The play made me think about my morning routine and hectic schedules that I follow on a daily basis back at home and in my dorm at university. At the end of the play, the residents one by one began packing their belongings and moving out. This act made me think about the time I was moving from Minnesota to California, and then moving to university in Illinois. As a result, I could sympathize with the actors as they portrayed their lives.

Actors and audience members performing a scene where the residents were packing up to move out.

To my surprise, the actors also interacted with the audience throughout the play, whether it was offering food and drinks, asking for people to stand and hold strings of lights, singing happy birthday, or bringing them on stage to be part of the act. It made the audience feel cheerful, as if they were also a part of or invited to the party. I thought this strengthened the connection between the audience and the actors to create a lasting impression and to sympathize with them by drawing more of the audience’s attention to the scene.

Audience members standing to hold up strings of lights to be hung from the balcony.
Actors and audience members in a scene after a party where they mourn over a death.

More info on “Home” by Geoff Sobelle: https://krannertcenter.com/events/home-geoff-sobelle

The Curious Incident of The Dog In The Night-time

A unique and contemporary play for modern theater

By: Aditya Kashyap

The beautiful set design

This week’s performance was The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, a play based on Mark Haddon’s novel and directed by one of our own professors, Dr. Latrelle Bright.

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A Funny Thing Happened Indeed

Written By: Nora Guerrero
There’s a certain type of vibe that fills the atmosphere when you’re sitting in a theatre, waiting for the play to begin. A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is one to watch. The anticipation of the lights dimming, and the music beginning, is all very exciting. After a long week of classes, decompressing at a play Thursday night was not how I imagined my night to go, but I am so glad it did.

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Assignment 3 Reflection Koshy

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I took video of the rehearsals of a play titled Waiting for Godot produced by a campus theatre organization called Penny Dreadful Players. I had to capture footage for this assignment without remotely getting in the way of a busy production crew during rehearsals for the play. This meant that I was always getting out of the way of someone moving props or setting up lights, sometimes interrupting my shot. I feel like this was a good experience because it might continue to come in handy to practice getting my shots and leaving without really getting in the way of anyone at a given scene. I also managed to get an interview with a cast member to include into my video. Learning to add lower third titles, adjusting audio levels when using different clips, how to select only audio or only video from a selection on premier Pro are all useful lessons I learnt through this assignment.

Assignment 3 Video Essay: Koshy

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Preparing for Play.

The theatre group Penny Dreadful Players presents Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett, a dark comedy going to be presented at the Stock Pavillion, UIUC on 18 and 19 September 2015.

You can find additional details to the event here.

I was at rehearsal for the show as they went into their final week of practice before the show went up this weekend. You can find the video essay here.

Latin American on the Big Screen

Last week, my friend told me she had to go to the Latin American Film Festival as a part of her Spanish class and asked if I’d like to join. Immediately, my story-alert senses went off; since the Art Theatre is a unique setting filled with unique people, I thought this would be a great opportunity for my Natural Sound piece. Although it went rather smoothly, the event was definitely not as exciting or well attended as I would’ve hoped for my story’s sake. I also wish that I would have taken some more tight shots throughout.

Overall, though, I think my end product encapsulated the atmosphere and experience of the Latin American Film Festival. Check out my video here.