Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Mohammad’s Radio

I enjoyed the reading much more than I originally thought I would. I mean, how entertaining is it to see a bunch of people just sit there and read the play? Well, I was wrong. Most of the actors brought depth and personality to the characters of the play, depth that is lost when you read the play yourself. The woman who played Alice was phenomenal. She brought the frustration, confusion, and helplessness of Alice’s situation to life, even going as far as to cry during the final scene, which was very powerful. I also loved who played Terry; his voice boomed and echoed with the pervasive bigotry of Gerritsen beach. He commanded the stage. Little Joe, Allie, and Joe were excellent as well. Who I didn’t like so much, though, was Kelly. Granted each actor brought their own interpretation to the characters they played, I didn’t care for Kelly’s character in this reading. She came off as purely recalcitrant, obnoxious, and rude, all seemingly unjustified. She is standoffish from the start. I didn’t imagine Kelly would be this way; I felt Kelly would be more serene, spiritual, and passionate. Overall though, this reading showed how powerful and moving Mohammed’s Radio can be, when performed. I hope to see it staged soon, preferably at Brooklyn! Something else I really liked was the Q&A at the end, where the playwright answered all of our burning questions. I loved how he provided insight into the making of the play and what he intended to mean with each character. This added even another layer of depth. I feel that Mohammed’s Radio is going to be an excellent show.

November 24, 2013   No Comments


Seeing the ballet was so cool! I had already been to one when I went to France, a production of Don Quixote outside of the Musee Matisse in Nice. That was awesome, so I was excited to see ABT, one of the best dance companies. I was definitely not disappointed. The dancers were graceful, swift, and almost poetic. I think seeing this production in particular was nice for someone like me who isn’t too well acquainted with ballet; the three different pieces kept my attention. Of the three, I didn’t have a favorite. I thought the story of the second was hard to follow, though I loved the dancing of the son, and the dramatized emotions of the dancers. The first one was classic ballet, which is always easy (for me) to appreciate. The coordinations of the couples in the first ballet were superb; everyone was miraculously exactly where they were supposed to be. The third ballet was awesome as well. I liked the set and the costumes; they were both simple. Besides the two lead ballerinas wearing red, all the other dancers were in red and gray leotards; red in the front, gray in the back. This allowed the dancers to play with the colors, spinning the ballerinas in such a way as to create a checkerboard pattern between red and gray. Though this third piece lacked a story, it was still great. Overall, I really enjoyed ABT and would go again.

November 15, 2013   No Comments

Tosca at the Met

Last night I had the pleasure of seeing Puccini’s Tosca at the Met with my family. Going into it, I knew the opera’s reputation as being one of the finest of its breed, and I knew the major arias, like Vissi d’Arte. All of this prior information, however, did not prepare me for the magnificence that was Tosca. The protagonist, Floria Tosca, is a singer and infamously jealous lover. Her boyfriend, Mario Cavaradossi, is a painter. The basic plot of the opera is that the evil Baron Scarpia gives Tosca an ultimatum: Succumb to my lust, or have your lover Cavaradossi hanged. Feigning agreement, Tosca stabs Scarpia as he goes to embrace her. Mario is killed by what is supposed to be a mock execution, and Tosca commits suicide, as not to be caught for the murder of Scarpia.

What amazed me most about this opera was not just the impeccability of the music, but the complexity of Tosca as a character. She is kind, passionate, and gentle, but at the same time, jealous and fierce. She overcomes her docile nature for the sake of the love she shares with Mario; she slays the Baron to save him. The commitment Tosca has to Mario is beautiful and inspiring, as is this opera as a whole, despite its grim ending. It was so engrossing and enchanting, that even though you could predict the sequence of events after the Baron’s ultimatum, it was still surprising and emotionally debilitating to see the story end in such tragedy. Needless to say, Tosca exceeded by expectations and manipulated my emotions completely.

November 7, 2013   1 Comment

Memorializing 9/11 & Vietnam

    The 9/11 memorial was incredible. The rushing water, the omnipresence of the victims’ names, the imperceivable depth of the falls; the memorial was unforgettable. As you tour the perimeter of the pools you are engulfed in memory, empathy, and pride. Seeing the grandeur of Freedom Tower and the healed wound that was ground zero made me feel ridiculously in touch with American pride; to see how we bounce back after such tragedy was truly inspiring. However, upon seeing first-hand the kind of destruction and loss terrorism causes, I felt angry. I didn’t and still don’t know how to deal with those feelings; the feelings of fear, vulnerability, desire for vengeance. I suppose George Bush felt the same way, and that’s how we ended up in Iraq. I believe memorializing such a horrific event in this refined, simplistic, elegant fashion can help heal the collective scar that 9/11 has left. It shows that we can overcome any obstacle, no matter how daunting. Seeing the rise of the new World Trade Center proves that while our buildings may have been broken, our spirit never was.

     The Vietnam memorial was different, but no less powerful. This memorial incorporated letters from soldiers no older than I am; this hit a melancholic note for many of us there. The weather mimicked these feelings, as dark clouds rolled overhead, a violent wind propelling them. This was accompanied by tiny raindrops that hit the pavement like tears. I imagine on a spring day this memorial must feel different, but in the atmosphere we saw it, it seemed despondent, sad, and in all its disrepair, almost lost. In many ways, that’s what Vietnam was: a generation of lost boys, fighting fruitlessly and without cause, but nonetheless, gallantly. While the memorial may seem detached and far away, Vietnam is still very much alive in the hearts and minds of the American people. The policy and events surrounding Vietnam will always haunt us, regardless if we did not live through it. We will never forget the travesty that was the Vietnam War.

November 7, 2013   No Comments

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

I was a little apprehensive about seeing an opera in English, though I had already seen a few others. I wasn’t apprehensive for my own experience, but for the experience of my classmates. I wasn’t sure if I liked the idea of an English opera being my classmates’ only exposure to opera, if they hadn’t seen any others. I was pleasantly surprised, however. Despite the opera’s lack of hummable arias, it was still  good. The humor was refreshing and the show was engaging. I love going to the Met because of their elaborate sets and costumes, and this production was no different. The set made you feel as if you were in a dream, constantly reminding you of the opera’s unreality. This dreamy quality gave the show dimension. I really liked the adaptation, it did the original play justice. The hijinks of the fairies were as funny as intended, and the love triangles just as bewildering. While I don’t think my grandpa would be as fond of the opera as I am, I still think this show was a good introduction to opera in general. I do hope maybe we can go to one more, though. Maybe one in Italian or French, to show the musical differences between an English opera and an Italian opera. Overall, it was a really nice night. Puck reminded me of Luke, so that was cool too.

October 18, 2013   No Comments