Kreativity Diversity Troupe, a student-run theater troupe, prepared all semester for their spring showcase – and the team’s hard work paid off Wednesday at The Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.
The show, entitled “As the Curtains Close,” combined short scenes, dances, improv and audience interactions while exploring a wide range of topics and emotions. The entire show was written and produced by the students in Kreativity.
The troupe’s preparations for the show typically happen during their general body meeting, according to Rio Gutierrez, a sophomore public health science major and Kreativity member. Kreativity rehearsed each scene at different times and separately, Gutierrez said.
“We didn’t really see all of it together until tech week,” Gutierrez said.
The theme of Wednesday’s show was “performance and legacy,” according to Gutierrez. The troupe paid homage to former members and sketches from past performances and explored what it means to leave a legacy.
The show began with each member of the troupe frozen as one by one they came to life in jerking movements set to a creepy version of “Pop Goes the Weasel” – a stark contrast to the comedy sketch that followed. The show ended in a similar fashion, with each of the players going back into their starting positions as if they were windup toys only played with for a short time.
“My favorite part of the show is the opening and closing because we did all work on it together to figure out what we wanted to do with it and how to make it connect to our theme,” Gutierrez said.
There was a healthy balance of vignettes and performance styles, interspersed with transition music that cleverly related to the previous scene. For example, some players did an improv exercise where they had to clap to a different rhythm along to the same beat. After that piece, the production crew fittingly played “Cups” by Anna Kendrick from the Pitch Perfect movies.One of the funniest moments from the show was the alphabet improv. Audience members suggested scenarios and each player had to begin their lines with the next letter of the alphabet, which showcased just how talented these students are at what they love to do. It was clear that each person on stage was passionate about their performance.
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Though parts of the show were reminiscent of comedy and variety shows such as Saturday Night Live – especially during their medieval-fantasy-themed “Weekend Update” – it wasn’t all fun and games. As the show went on, the scenes became increasingly personal and dramatic.
The impressive dance segments included interpretive dancing set to voice-overs vivid stories that explored issues of autonomy and exerting control over others.
The lighting was simple but effective, and the tech crew executed it well, especially during a particular scene involving a majority of the players which seemed to be a parody of documentary-style reality television shows. Occasionally the lights dimmed and a spotlight turned on for the actors to break off from their dialogue and say an aside directly to the audience. The troupe intentionally broke the fourth wall many times during the show.
Kreativity’s “As the Curtains Close” was comedic while being insightful and reflective. A few sketches provided social commentary on various issues, such as religious trauma, mental health and discovering a sense of belonging.
Kreativity’s goal as a club is to provide safe spaces for people who belong to minority groups to amplify their voices, express themselves through performance and create a strong community.
For senior electrical engineering major Divine Omeh, Kreativity has provided an outlet to express herself and a supportive community.
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“When I had some roadblocks, especially with people in my piece, they’re able to help me and give me suggestions,” Omeh said. “That made everything come together.”
Kreativity members can be involved in every stage of their production. For example, Omeh directed and acted in one of her own sketches. She wrote the script, recorded the audio, choreographed the movements and worked with the tech crew to pull it off.
If there is one thing to keep in mind when you see a Kreativity Diversity Troupe show, it would be to expect the unexpected.