Written by Weon Taek Na
As I searched for a last course to fill my general education requirement, I wanted the course to be special. I wanted a course that I gave me a hands on experience outside of the typical engineering courses that I took. A close friend of mine suggested FAA 110 as such a course, and I am so glad that she did. FAA 110 became the favorite class that I took at University of Illinois. I had very little knowledge nor experience in arts and I was able to enjoy the amazing performances and museums that were held at our university.
The first performance that I attended in this semester was The Butterfly Lovers, performed by the Shanghai Ballet. It was also the first ballet performance that I ever got to see. The most unique aspect of a ballet performance was that there was no words spoken during the performance. Despite this, the ballet was able to convey its artistic meanings through the elegant performance of the dancers in tandem with the beautiful music.
The second performance that I got a chance to attend as a part of this course was Step Afrika!: Drumfolk. The performance was held in the Krannert Art Performance Center. The performance was portrayed through eye-keeping dancing in tandem with strong music that kept the energy of the performance at the highest. Furthermore, the performance sometimes included the audience into the acts, keeping the tension high. The performance told the story of unfair treatment to the African American community and their continuous fight to the injustice.
Somi, or Laura Kabasomi, took the first musical performance of the semester. The performance was focused on the story of a single person, Somi, despite her being accompanied by her band. Her songs spoke of her African heritage and her personal experiences throughout her life. She sang beautifully and powerfully. The performance done by Somi was my favorite of the semester.
Anna Deveare Smith and Julia Wolfe spoke at the CultureTalk at Krannert Center for Performing Arts. Anna was an accomplished playwright and actress and Julia was a renown composer. Both were also well-known educators in the artist community. At University of Illinois, a unique event called the CultureTalk is held periodically. During the CultureTalk, a Q&A session about arts and its relation to society occurs. Anna and Julia with the amazing moderator, Lisa Gaye Dixon, gave the CultureTalk covering topics ranging from the emotions, to the experience they gain as they create their field of art. Anna and Julia, not only answered pre-written questions from Lisa, but furthermore individual questions from the audience. Overall, it was a great talk by amazing artists!
Cabaret was a performance filled with funny and relatable characters and jokes that hit throughout the showtime. The narrator’s presence also shined throughout the performance. The show’s amazing stage setup and site transition further perfected the show’s delivery.
Unlike traditional dramas, As You Like It was filled with contemporary comedy elements which enrich the experience of the performance. With witty contemporary comedy enriching the strong performance given by the actors and actresses, the play, As You Like It, was a sensational play to watch. As You Like It is available online at'Digital Theatre Plus.'
Metamorphosis was a unique and different performance from traditional plays. The storyline was differentiated itself from the start and the cast successfully portrayed the emotions with little help from the props or costumes. Another unique element of Metamorphosis was the use of clock noises during the story. The clock noises although superficial represented time itself. Metamorphosis is available online at'Digital Theatre Plus.
The Container is a thoughtful play that tells a story about five poor refugees hiding in a container of a truck while smuggling goods to England. The Container’s powerful story, in tandem with great acting, was able to ask much of the social problems we still are facing today such as illegal immigrants, gender inequality and social class. I highly recommend The Container as a performance to watch and contemplate about under these stressful times. The play is available for view on Digital Theatre.
Through FAA 110, I was able to experience valuable performances that I could not have experienced in any other classes. I got to watch live ballet, dances and songs. Personally FAA 110 was one of the most charitable experiences I got to experience in college. I plan on attending various live performances in the future in my own time and recommend FAA 110 to anyone who is looking for unique experience at our university, especially engineering majors who do not get to experience these kind of performances anywhere else. I am especially thankful to Dr. Collins and Dr. Robinson for the valuable experiences that I got to experience and making the course so much more enjoyable.