REVIEW: No Safety Net Student Kickoff Party

My companion and I arrived at the event 30 minutes early, as there was advertised free food 30 minutes before the performances began. I commend them on the choice to provide Jerusalem Garden, as this is a delicious caterer and the food was accommodating for different dietary restrictions (unless you hate all vegetables). While the space was not exactly ideal (there were almost no places to sit), we waited patiently for 30 minutes for the performances to begin.

It was not an issue that the Canterbury House is a small venue, because the crowd was small as well and got smaller as the performances continued. This might have been a good thing, because the performances got stranger and more unique as the night went on. However, I did not enjoy sitting on the floor for 2 hours, not counting the fact that most people actually stood for most of the evening, which I am sure was uncomfortable. Fortunately, the performances were interesting enough that it was bearable to not have seating for the audience.

The first performance was an improv group, The Midnight Book Club. They were very funny, taking a suggestion from the crowd and rolling with it, as well as doing continuous scenes that circled back around each other in ways that kept the audience’s attention. Their performance went by quickly, as it was well executed and purposeful. The second performance was a young woman who rapped, made her own beats, and sang. I did not enjoy this performance as much as I liked Midnight Book club, perhaps because I enjoy improv more than rap music, but also because I did not find her to be particularly talented. However, I could appreciate her rhythmic style and lyrics, even though her overall performance was not to my taste. The third performance was spoken word poetry by a man in gorgeous eyeliner. His poems were sad, and full of gorgeous hyperbole and symbolism. He spoke very fast, however, making it hard to hear every detail, and I wish I had been given a copy of the poems to look at more closely so I could understand all of the deep insights he was making. The final performance was definitely the most eccentric one of the night. The group was advertised as an improv music group, so I assumed it might be a little bit jazzy, or something similar that would round out the evening quite nicely. Instead, I was met with a cacophony of sounds that I would definitely not define as music. This group all played instruments, but they were not playing them together. When the saxophone player started wailing and making crying noises through the mouth of her saxophone, I knew that the group was much too interpretive for me. At a point or two, they seemed to all come together slightly and play as a group, but most of the time I was just confused as to what the mood, goal, or sound the group was trying to produce. It was certainly a performance I will not forget anytime soon.  Maybe that was their goal!

Overall, I do think it is very refreshing to watch small student groups perform when I usually only watch full out, professional shows. While the evening’s entertainment may not have been exactly what I had expected, I certainly am glad I went, at least for an interesting story to tell other people.

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