Monthly Archives: October 2019

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.

Gem of the Ocean

The August Wilson classic hits the stage of Krannter Center for the Performing Arts

A picture of the ticket for the play

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.

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Gem of the Ocean

By Rachel Yao

Gem of the Ocean is a play that combines both acting and dancing to tell a story that takes place in the early 1900s in Pittsburgh.

A picture of my ticket with the stage setup in the background, taken before the play began.
The stage before the play began, portraying an old house.

As I entered the theater and walked to my seat, I analyzed the stage set up. The cool, dim lights gave the house a cold feeling. The house was empty and the background was a picture of snowy mountains. The wooden walls or borders were of an ashy dark wood, which made the house seem warn down and old. Once the play began, the lights inside the house lit up, creating a warm and rusty environment. The characters in the play wore a variety of outfits. Women wore blouses with long skirts that reached their ankles. Some men wore white shirts similar to tuxedo shirts, long pants with suspenders, long trench coats, and hats. Others, like the sheriff, wore a suit to portray wealth.

One character I found interesting was Citizen Barlow. The other characters have mentioned a man who stole a bucket of nails multiple times, and no one knew who it was. However, when talking to Aunt Ester, Citizen confesses by pulling out a bucket of nails from his bag. In the beginning of the play, we see Citizen desperately trying to get money and did not take responsibility for his actions. Yet, throughout the first part of the play, we see Citizen’s character development. He confessed what he kept to himself, listened to Aunt Ester’s advice, and began to seek for a better life.

A photo of outside Colwell Playhouse I took before entering the theater.

Link for more information on Gem of the Ocean: https://krannertcenter.com/events/gem-ocean

Noche de Baile Latino

By: Jessica Moreno (MAKEUP EVENT)

The sight when you walked in.

On Saturday October 12, 2019; Krannert Center had an amazing event called Latin Dance Night that was co-sponsored by La Casa Cultural Latina. This event was truly amazing; it was very diverse and and you would see things you would never imagine. They played many different genres of music such as merengue, salsa, cumbia, bachata, banda, etc. It was a very fun and relaxing experience after such a busy and stressful week.

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SPEAK…with Intimacy to a Family

Written by Raymond Diaz

[MAKE-UP EVENT] The night began in the Espresso Royale Cafe of the Krannert Art Museum. Organized and moderated by Shaya Robinson, the event for the night was an open mic, where people were allowed to come up and share their artistic creations and express themselves with the audience. The host, Shaya Robinson, has been doing this for over 5 years so it came as no surprise the amount of people that showed and the intimacy that flowed throughout the room.

https://kam.illinois.edu/event/speak-café-4

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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

The Way We Move Can set The tone of How we Feel the World Surrounding Us. 💃🏾

Written By Bria Thurman

Feel the grass under your feet and move with it

Jennifer Monson dance was a way to connect yourself to the earth around you. As humans sometime we need to move and stand up and get all of the feelings from the day out of our system. I am not going to lie I thought the whole experience was going to be weird but in truth, it was extremely interesting an entertaining for myself. I enjoy being in artistic space and enjoy the movement I feel I need to be in.

Jennifer Monson is pictured here explaining to us that her art is based in nature.

We initially started outside, I believe her purpose for this was to find a connection with the world around us. Something I have been noticing for the past couple of weeks is how people find themselves so uncomfortable because the only comfort they have is on their phones. It is what they know and understand. Sometimes, it feels good to experience the world around us and that is something Jennifer Monson insisted on. Through some of the research I did, I found she wanted to quit dance and become a park ranger. I could understand how that could have been her passion, specifically when she brought up how she watched Whales migrate.

I Believe this was when we were facing north.

While we were outside she had asked us three questions that stood out to me: 1) What direction is home for you? 2) Where is North? 3) What is one thing you can here from far away and what is one thing you can here up close? For the first question, I for one moment faced toward my dorm but I suppose any place I can living a feel comfortable in is my home. The second question I was not really sure where to go, so I just watched how everyone else moved. The third question was kind of hard because the sounds I heard from far away began to grow further and the sound I heard from up close I was not really sure if how close by it was. For the third question she asked us to go toward the sound we heard nearby and I didn’t move too far because I had no idea where the sound was.

I am not sure what is happening here but photo creds to Dr. Collins

After this, we walked back inside and walked into the Women of Architecture exhibit and we sat on the floor -which I am not a fan of- and she had asked us to grab a partner. My partner for the evening was Dr.Robinson. Monson had asked one partner to close their eyes and do whatever motion while the other partner witnessed. I am kind of an awkward person who can easily become uncomfortable but in the three minutes, I forgot where I was and forgot anyone was witnessing me. I kind of enjoyed it. We switched roles with our partner and Dr. Robinson said she had also forgotten my presence.

El Sombrero by Barabra Rossi

Jennifer had then asked us to explore a painting and kind of move with it. We had chosen EL Sombrero by Barabra Rossi. The painting was interesting however I did not really move with it I kind of just watched. I think this is one of the most attractive but confusing paintings in the section we were in. Making sure to move your eyes is important when understanding any physical object. I do not believe an interpretive dance number is required but making sure to not just look but to see.

Overall I genuinely enjoyed myself. It sometimes is fun to take a moment and analyze art which makes FAA 110 a really fun class. 🖼

Spirit of “Dance”

Written by Nicole Miao

Although this workshop was titled “Dance”, it was more like a journey about our soul. It gave me plenty of time to feel my inner changes and explore the deeper philosophical implications of art.

People gathered outside the KAM

We stopped outside Krannert Art Museum and Ms. Monson requested us to close our eyes and feel which direction is north. Then we each looked for and turned to the direction of our hometown. Ms. Monson let us feel the sounds from a distance or close by, looking for objects that emitted these sounds, and moving in the direction of their movement. In such a quiet environment, I clearly heard the rumble of cars driving across the road, the rustle of wind blowing through the leaves, and the screaming of birds in the sky, which made me feel relaxed and calm down.

A three-minute “Dance” experience

After entering the museum, Ms. Monson took us to a gallery and let us find a partner. Each person had three minutes to close their eyes and do whatever they want. I chose to lie on the ground and stretch my body, which made me feel comfortable because I usually sit to study and my back could not be relaxed.

I was observing an artwork

In the third session, Ms. Monson asked us to choose one from different activities and work with our partner. My partner and I wanted to observe and draw the life cycle of the material of a work of art. We chose a painting, and I thought about where the oil paint came from. I painted the process I imagined on paper to share with others.

Drawing by me and my partner

This workshop was so unique that I couldn’t find a similar event. I was very grateful for this special experience, which taught me a new way of feeling art.

Expression with Creation, and Vice Versa

Written by Raymond Diaz

The evening began with a brief meeting in the lobby of Krannert Art Museum. Here we met with who KAM would be hosting for the night, Jennifer Monson. The event would be a dance workshop that we the audience would be taking part in. It served as an interactive experience that included using our senses to clear our minds and connect with our surroundings, using our bodies to demonstrate how we felt, and then analyzing the art work and creating our own response using drawings or a form of dance to express what it meant to us.

https://kam.illinois.edu/event/dance-workshop-jennifer-monson-movement-means-experience-art—move-seesee-move

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