Fumbling With History: American Spoila

American Spolia gashes itself out into space like an inverse wound. It spans an unbent and unwavering 140 feet across Libe Slope’s midsection, resting, at its highest, westernmost point, several feet above my head. At each end it terminates bluntly and abruptly. Its thin metal beams are sparse and rudimentary, almost purely utilitarian. Numbering about a dozen, they support, as if extollingly, an imbricated miscellany of wooden panels, each one of its own faded hue.


Artist Profile: Caroline O’Donnell

If you walk around the Cornell campus at this time of the year, you might be surprised by what you find. The Cornell Council for the Arts 2016 Biennial has just started around campus and one of the most capturing installations is the urchin. It is an enormous white structure in the middle of the Arts Quad. You can’t really tell what it is until you start getting closer. That’s when you see the spikes.

Karl Gregory as Jason/Tyrone

Puppet Masters: Hand to God at the Kitchen Theatre

The Kitchen Theatre’s production of Hand to God would seem to be a very pure, if a little preachy, production if one were to just look at the set. Stuffed animals and toys are placed in bins next to a bookcase full of picture books, the theatre’s walls are covered in posters with messages about Jesus, and a colorful banner hangs above. But as soon as a skinny gray puppet pops up from behind a pulpit-like stage and starts cursing at the audience and ranting about the devil, it becomes clear that this is a very different kind of play. After this introduction, the play opens to a church in Cypress, Texas where Margery (Erica Steinhagen), recently widowed, leads three teenagers in sewing puppets for a church puppet show. The teens, rebellious Timothy (Michael Patrick Trimm), snarky yet compassionate Jessica (Montana Lampert Hoover) and Margery’s bashful son Jason (Karl Gregory) constantly bicker.


Art You’re a Part of: Polyphony at the John Hartell Gallery

Underneath the Sibley dome, adjacent to the College of Architecture, Art and Planning Dean’s Office, is Polyphony. It is an interactive art installation designed by Liu (Leo) Jingyang ’15, Shining (Christina) Sun ’17 and Yue Gu ’16 — all current or former architecture students. To say that the project sounds interesting — “an interactive audio-visual installation that generates a simultaneous feedback loop between performance, image and sound” — is to say little about the installation. Yet, how does it actually look, sound and perform? The first time I entered the John Hartell Gallery (where Polyphony is installed), I sensed that something was wrong.

Lego's Architecture Studio product.

Kindergarten to Architecture School: Homo Ludens at the Bibliowicz Family Gallery

I guess I’m still feeling the grip of summer on my mind — I find myself taking spontaneous visits to exhibits, laying on the grass to bask in the sun and procrastinating until stupidly late times. And with the new school year reliably starting off in a daze, I (unsurprisingly) forgot to re-read the description of Homo Ludens: The Architecture of Play online before heading over. When I made my way to the Bibliowicz Family Gallery where the exhibit is located, I was surprised to find the brightly-lit space full of the classic children’s playthings: wooden building blocks, miniature buildings and Legos. Of course, it makes perfect sense — the title Homo Ludens, Latin for “playing man,” is indicative. Jenga, Legos, a wooden block set for a Prairie House and alphabet blocks are arranged in a colorful menagerie that invokes déjà vu of one of those classic childhoods filled with dollhouses and toy trains.


Preview: Spring Awakening at Risley Theatre

When I first heard about Spring Awakening, I thought of benign, sunny meadows full of blossoming flowers with some schoolchildren skipping through. Little did I know that the play is about schoolchildren’s sexual blossoming rather than their cavorting in a blooming field of flowers. I might have been far off, but the surprise made seeing the Risley Theatre production of Spring Awakening even more enjoyable. The rock musical is based on a book by Steven Sater, who also wrote the lyrics to accompany the play’s music. Set in Germany in 1891, Spring Awakening’s story is that of a group of teenagers in the midst of puberty.

Lily Waldron as Hannah Jarvis and William Champion as Bernard Nightingale.

Beautiful Knowledge: Arcadia at Ithaca College

Arts & Entertainment writers Emily Kling and Jesse Weissman discuss Ithaca College Theatre Arts’ production of Tom Stoppard’s 1993 play Arcadia. Arcadia played at Ithaca College’s Hoerner Theatre from April 26 to May 1 and was directed by Ithaca College professor Greg Bostwick. Jesse Weissman: Before we start discussing the play itself, I want to note just how nice the Main Stage Theatre at Ithaca College is! It is a pretty impressive venue and feels like a real Broadway theatre. Emily Kling: Agreed!

Melodramatics Theater Company’s West Side Story at Schwartz

This past weekend, a few hundred lucky people had the privilege of seeing something truly special at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts. I, like most people, had heard of West Side Story but had never seen it. I had hopes of being treated to an entertaining production, something a little more fun and high energy than the highbrow, somewhat pretentious theater you would usually encounter at the Schwartz. (Full disclosure: I adore that type of theatre.) But I knew that this was not an official Cornell-sponsored production, but rather a largely student run and conceived show, with students from both Cornell and Ithaca College coming together as part of Melodramatics Theatre Company to present their vision. Add in the fact that these students had but a short two months to bring this classic production from conception to the stage and, needless to say, I was not expecting anything too grandiose.

high school musical

A Conversation With High School Musical Composer, David Lawrence

David Lawrence is a film and television composer, songwriter and producer whose score and song credits include the American Pie films, the High School Musical series, and the forthcoming HBO documentary, Becoming Mike Nichols. The Sun spoke with Lawrence in anticipation of his visit this Friday about movie music, the process of scoring and Frank Sinatra. The Sun: There are so many people who write music to be a pop hit or for the radio.  Was it your goal to write television theme music or soundtrack music? David Lawrence: I went to conservatory in New York.

Ithaca Ballet Presents The Firebird

On Saturday, April 23 at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., Ithaca Ballet presented the spring installment of their 2015-2016 performance series at The State Theatre. The show began with The Firebird and after intermission were two shorter pieces titled “Boyceball” and “Bolero.” The combination of a longer, story ballet and contemporary choreography made for a versatile production with something for everyone. The Firebird is a ballet remarkable for its music, composed by the legendary Igor Stravinsky. The score is mystical, dramatic at the right times, and often erratic — fitting, as the ballet is about a magical bird. The plot of the ballet is tweaked depending on which company is performing it, but Ithaca Ballet’s version stays true to original versions, for the most part.