RHYTHMIC ROUNDUP: The “Fafali: Music and Dance from Ghana” class, joined by two guest musicians, performed their end-of-semester show on Sunday.
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TO DATE, OR NOT TO DATE: In “Don’t Catch Feelings,” two college students struggle through an awkward conversation while the pair’s inner voices offer advice.
FAMILY MEETING: A married couple in “Projections” fights over how to react to their child’s changing gender identity while their child listens quietly nearby.
The concert started with a loud cry of poetry from Faith Conant as she beat on the lead drum, prompting the rest of the group to join in on their instruments. Playing on drums and other percussion instruments in a semi-circle were the students from Conant’s “Fafali: Music and Dance from Ghana” class, joined by a few special guests. As the first piece, “Gahu” went on, beats reverberated off the walls of the hall, filling the whole room with powerful, intense rhythms.
During a discussion of Elizabeth Murray’s “Duck Foot” on Wednesday night, participants analyzed and dissected the piece. In the middle of the discussion, an eight-year old girl raised her hand. With a clear voice, she asked the speaker, “What is it?” Noting her question, the speaker, an assistant professor of music at Framingham State University, Christian Gentry Ph.D. ’12, opened the subject to discussion: what exactly is “Duck Foot”?
SOUNDS OF ART: Christian Gentry Ph.D. ’12 spoke about Elizabeth Murray’s “Duck Foot,” looking at the piece in a musical context.
The lights went up on a restaurant scene. Using overly exaggerated, hilarious facial expressions, Yael Platt ’17 asked Michelle Wexler ’15, the annoyed hostess, if she could have a table for one. The audience began to laugh. Next, Dennis Hermida-Gonzalez ’16 walked into the resturant with a dog. Wexler asked him to leave the dog outside, but Hermida-Gonzalez replied that his dog was his “emotional support companion.” This same scenario went on, using other animals such as a gorilla and an elephant. At the end of the sketch, Deesha Patel ’16 walked in with Rodrigo Granados ’18. Wexler said that the restaurant didn’t allow any support animals anymore. To end the scene, Patel delivered punch line, “That’s my boyfriend.”
The music, colorful costumes and overflowing energy of MELA 2014 could be felt before stepping into a packed Levin Ballroom on Saturday night. MELA, which means “celebration” in Sanskrit, is an annual student-run cultural show.
HIPS DON’T LIE: One of the dances that the Brandeis Belly Dance Ensemble performed was an Egyptian saidi style of belly dance.
STRIKE A POSE: Models in the fashion show blended cultural dresses and modern-day outfits.
NEWCOMERS: One of the first dances of the show, the freshman dance’s energy and enthusiasm gave the start of the show an upbeat tone.
B-NAT: The Bharatanatyam dancers’ (B-nats for short) complex footwork mesmerized the audience as the copper bells wrapped around their ankles added to the music.
Entering South Campus commons, I saw two rings of chairs in the center of what I would soon learn was the stage. The actors, dressed in the chic wardrobes of well-off 30-somethings, meandered from chair to chair, introducing themselves to the audience, entertaining those around me and making me a little uncomfortable.
WHAT IS IN A PAINTING?: From left to right, Sege (Dylan Hoffman ’18), Marc (Raphael Stigliano ’18) and Yvan (Max Moran ’17) played three friends engrossed in a discussion about a piece of art.
Tucked away in the corner of the stage sat a plain brown desk. With the houselights up, an actor in a dark brown suit calmly wrote at the desk as the audience filtered in. People slowly took stock of his presence, but the actor kept his eyes trained on his writing and did not acknowledge the audience. As the house lights dimmed, the play began; the man at the desk (Jose Castellanos ’18) introduced himself as the narrator and established the structure of the play.
This semester’s director-in-residence, Hafiz Karmali, worked with Brandeis undergraduate students on his version of Jean-Claude Carriere and Peter Brook’s production of The Conference of the Birds. From the various elements incorporated into the production, Karmali demonstrated an impeccable sense of space and actor and audience connection. The performance’s creative set included levels and dimension and musical interpretations that captures the audience’s emotions.
RISKY BUSINESS: A father (Jose Castellanos ’18) (left) hands condoms to his son (Riely Allen ’18) to prepare him for his first encounter with a prostitute.
A ROSE BY ANY OTHER NAME: Rebecca Myers ’18, playing the Nightingale, was one of the actors who sang in the performance.
A BURST OF COLOR: The production’s creative sets and inventive costumes helped the dancers and actors capture the crowd’s attention.
FLY AWAY: The Hoopoe bird (Samantha LeVangie ’15) tried to convince others to come with her on a journey to find the legendary Simorgh to be their king.