Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts
Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts - Natalia Wiater and Hannah Kressel
The annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts, held from April 27 to 30, was home to exhibits and performances from more than 300 Brandeis students and alumni, and was free and open to the public. This year’s theme was sustainability, and with the help of the Brandeis Sustainability Fund, the Festival made use of solar power and post-consumer waste paper and provided a vegetarian food truck during Super Sunday, as eating meat increases greenhouse gas emissions. The Festival showcased a variety of music, dance, film and artwork throughout the weekend, all by artists who “engage with ideas that contribute to a sustainable world, or use sustainable methods or materials,” as per the Festival’s website. Works varied from theater productions reimagining traditional plays to sculptures made out of found objects. Whether sustainable material was used in the creative of the art or sustainability was the main theme of the work, this year’s Festival of the Arts was a bright way to enjoy the spring while staying environmentally conscious.
‘hamletmachine’ shocks and excites - Emily Blumenthal
Just as Horatio’s (Dan Souza ’19) blindness makes him unable to see, the audience is also blind to any one interpretation or explanation for the events portrayed in Heiner Muller’s play “hamletmachine.”
The production, directed by Dylan Hoffman ’18 and featuring a score by Abram Foster ’19, was a strange and confusing mashup of Shakespeare and revolutionary ideals. The play had no cohesive plot but was rather a number of monologues which were loosely connected by their themes of revolution and rebirth.
In one scene, Ophelia (Becca Myers ‘18) appears to have been raped and begins her monologue by saying that she never again wants to be touched by another man. She is tormented by the horror of being violated and wants to take back the world she gave birth to. Ophelia could be representing Mother Nature, as she wants to give birth to a new world that is not violated by the industry and climate change which is destroying her.
In another monologue, we see Hamlet (Raphael Stigliano ’18) moving around the stage menacingly with the ensemble (Emma Cyr ’19 and Sophia Massidda ’20) following his every move. Though the ensemble copies Hamlet, they move around the stage in a crouched position, as if they are animals.
Though this sequence could have many interpretations, one is that the ensemble symbolizes the masses following a Communist dictator unquestioningly, like animals.
Throughout the show, Horatio bears witness to all of the events occurring, first completely blind, and later with the new eyes that he eventually receives.
Initially, he is focused only on his own torment, but he then becomes an outside witness to the pain of others, which only hurts him further. He repeatedly cries out in pain, because, even when he can see, he cannot stop the horrors of the world.
The three wayward sisters - Emily See
Wayward took part in the Festival of the Arts this weekend as a fantastic performance. Performed in Merrick Theater in Spingold on both Friday and Sunday at 7 p.m., Wayward was directed by Ayelet Schrek ’17 and made possible due to a grant from the Office of the Arts. Having a unique take on the story of “Macbeth” and the three wayward sisters, Wayward was written over span of three years by Schrek. The performance consisted of three amazing performers who walked barefoot throughout the duration of the night, creating complete silence so voices could be heard to the full extent.
The performance started with Yiqian (Alex) Wu ’19, Roopa Boodhun ’18 and Joanna Murphy ’17 walking out on stage and moving around in a way that flowed together. It could be a little confusing to follow if you did not pay close attention at first due to the old English; however, if you looked into any of the performers’ eyes, you could see how intune they were with their characters. Every part of the performance added to the understanding of the story. For example, when the lights went dark, you could still see a pattern of shadows created from the webs of lighting structures above. This created an intense feeling of suspense and curiosity as the audience tried to discover what would happen next. In the second half of the performance, there was a brief mention on how “language has power” and that “we are creatures of association.” This touched on the use of “black” in the play and tried to express the power of language.
It was then followed with the three performers writing #BLM all over their cauldron. These types of incorporations into the performance made it unique to the story’s approach. Overall, the performance was very strong in delivery, and you could tell there was a lot of work that went into it. The hard work definitely paid off.
Jammin' out at SCRAM jam - Izzy Lockesmith
At 8 p.m., Brandeis students began to gather on and around the Light of Reason for a night of music, performance and, of course, delicious food. Hosted by the Student Committee for the Rose Art Museum, SCRAM Jam is an annual event in the Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. In line with the event’s theme of sustainability, SCRAM members stood around ready to provide information about environmentally focused artists. Three food trucks parked on the sidelines, serving those in attendance as the performers prepped for a great show. People sat comfortably under rows of lights eating cupcakes, dumplings and scrumptious fried Lebanese goodies while the band Atlas Lab played fun, but relaxed, music. The main singer’s hauntingly beautiful voice rang out into the night, accompanied by her bandmates’ sweet guitar and piano. People couldn’t help but dance as Atlas Lab finished their set with a bang. The Boston Hoop Troop followed with a magical show as talented hula hoopers lined up under the lights in sequins and mesh, spinning their colorfully lit hoops until the colors blurred. Loud electro swing music set the pace as the performers threw their hoops skillfully under the night sky.
Yet again, people couldn’t help but join in and dance. The night finished quietly as people finished their food, caught up with friends, conversed with the performers and got one last beer from the garden.
—Editor’s Note: The editor of the Arts section, Hannah Kressel ’20, is a member of SCRAM.
Grafitti cube highlights untraditional art - Michelle Banayan
The graffiti box, perched inconspicuously in Fellows Garden, has garnered attention as an interactive installation during the annual Leonard Bernstein Festival of the Creative Arts. Initially introduced in April 2016 as part of Latin American and Latino Studies (LALS) Graffiti/Youth Culture Week, the graffiti box has come back for a second year to communicate the versatility of graffiti as an artistic form. Though paint will only be supplied for a few sessions, students are free to express themselves on the walls of the graffiti box for all of campus to see.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Madi Samus '17 directed Wayward. It was actually directed by Ayelet Schrek '17.