REVIEW: Arab Xpressions

When my friend and I arrived at the venue, over an hour before the show started and still minutes before the doors opened, we were surprised to see a long line already waiting for us. As we waited to be let into the theater to claim our seats, those around us mingled and greeted each other like old friends, immediately establishing a comfortable atmosphere.  My friend and I delighted in the fact that the event had not one, not two, but three separate geo-filters for snapchat devoted to it. By the time the show was about to begin, the theater was absolutely packed, almost every seat on the ground floor was filled.  

Finally, the show began and our three hosts for the night walked onto stage.  The show was divided into two parts with a 15 minute long intermission in between.  Each part had a good mix of performances and other various short segments, such as some vocal performances, quite a few different energetic Dabke dances, and several short, humorous video clips that were played between segments.  I also was impressed by the mix of tones they were able to balance throughout the night.  There were several touching spoken word pieces about the struggles of being Arab in America, but immediately following it would be lively dance performance.  

While all of the performances were enjoyable, there was a couple segments that particularly stood out to me.  The first one was a video clip in which the Arab Student Association asked various students on the Diag basic questions, like if they could name 5 Arab countries or name a single friendly Arab character in American media.  Only one student out of those interviewed could accurately name 5 separate countries, and everyone was stumped by the second question, revealing some real issues we have with representation in media.  The other segment that particularly stood out to me was a fashion show, where students modeled the fashions of various Arab countries.  

Overall it was a wonderful night, and I applaud the Arab Student Association for making everything run so smoothly.  I can’t wait to attend Arab Xpressions 2018!  The event was just one of the many events planned for this Arab Heritage month, you can check out the full schedule here! 

REVIEW: The Importance of Being Ernest

Every single male role was played by a female, and the most imposing female role was played by a male. Such was Rude Mechanical’s original conception of “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Oscar Wilde’s classic play published in 1895.

The play is all about relationships. Algernon, played by Cailean Robinson, and Jack, played by Mason Van Gieson, discuss romance and courtship. Both men develop a facade as they pursue two different women, and they build up a tower of lies until it all comes crashing down at the end in perfectly absurd Wilde-like fashion.

Although the play was supposedly changed to have its setting in the 1950’s, I didn’t notice much of a difference from Wilde’s original conception. Perhaps I just don’t know enough about English social history. Either way, the decision to switch genders was brilliant.

I didn’t realize how well the play would go with women in the shoes of men. Every role was well-acted, from Algernon’s well-timed poses as he recited Wildean witticisms, to Lady Bracknell’s diva pose every time he/she entered the stage.

Also losing his/her pants
Also losing his/her pants

Some of the one-liners were especially ironic, given the change of gender, such as when Algernon tells Jack:

“My dear fellow, the truth isn’t quite the sort of thing one tells to a nice, sweet, refined girl. What extraordinary ideas you have about the way to behave to a woman!”

Or this rendition’s focus on the actors fondling their own and each others’ genitalia right in front of the audience (see above picture).

The set design was tasteful without being too imposing. Each act, from Algernon’s flat in London to the drawing-room of the Manor House in the country, had plenty of eye candy and props that the actors were free to interact with at will. There were some scenes where I couldn’t tell if the actions were rehearsed, or if they were entirely ad-libbed. My favorite example of this was in the Garden, where Cecily (in pink) grabs a flower pot and makes some raunchy gyrations with it.


The only drawback of the play wasn’t because of the acting or directing, but due to Oscar Wilde himself. Say what you will about the man, but you have to admit that he likes his sensational plots. The first act goes out in all different directions, and the second act seems to tread out without telling the audience where its going. It isn’t until the very end of the third act that the play pulls itself together and makes sense of things.  Luckily, Rude Mechanicals made the journey worth it.

PREVIEW: Cadence Dance Company

Cadence Dance Company

This Saturday, student dance company Cadence will present a creative and exciting evening length performance. A lyrical and modern group, the pieces will reflect those styles of dance. Co-presidents Annie Markey and Elyse Brogdon have been working for months to prepare for this evening. In collaboration with their 12 other teammates, the company has created ten pieces to perform this weekend. The dancers will be joined by opening student groups Rhythm Tap Ensemble, Salto, Dance2XS. With the last group, Cadence will be performing a joint piece. The  choreography is all original work by students and will showcase a range of styles including tap, ballet, lyrical, modern, and hip hop- all on one stage.

Cadence is an entirely student sponsored organization that has been on campus for almost eight years. The dancers come from all parts of the university, auditioning every fall and practicing all year to create one evening length performance. Co-prez Annie Markey said, “The great thing about Cadence is that its kind of like a coop. The group style changes each year depending on whose in the company. Technique level has increased so much in the past few years and we have a lot of beautiful dancers now. I’m excited for younger dancers to have more of a role and a voice next year after I graduate.”

Cadence performs at Saturday January 26th at  7 pm in the Lydia Mendelssohn Theater of The League. Tickets are $7 at the door or $5 presale. Email Annie at for tickets. Or, even better, go for free if you pick up a Passport Voucher with you MCard at the LSA building. Can’t pass that up.