(Taken from the Daily Cal)
Best On-Campus Acting Performance: Theatre Rice
It’s hard to believe Theatre Rice has been around for more than a decade. It was founded in 1998 for Asian Americans interested in theatre, a group often sidelined in the media and the performing arts. Since then it has grown to be one of the most engaging, heartfelt and funniest productions on campus. Theatre Rice has two showcases per semester and each showcase is broken into several skits, including an improv piece, a comedy piece, a dramatic piece and sometimes even an experimental piece to boot. Like all theatre groups, the troupe quality varies from showcase to showcase, but Theatre Rice’s performances are guaranteed to engage your emotions through laughter or tears. I’m not a crier, but I teared up during a rendition of “A World Without Memory,” a family drama about the effect of Alzheimer’s.
The production is also willing to take risks. In the most recent showcase, for instance, the experimental troupe successfully used shadow puppetry to portray the initial stages of courtship. In another case, two characters spoke in two different Asian languages—Tagalog and Mandarin—in an experimental skit about communication issues. Lighting and sound also come together impeccably in the showcases, making them visual and auditory experiences as well.
Honorable Mention: jericho!
Editors’ Pick: Theater for Charity
In related news, today was the last day of Berkeley: the MusiCAL’s “domestic tour”. I’m happy to report that each external we did was more exciting than the last (including one particularly epic wardrobe malfunction), and on behalf of the cast I want to thank everyone who came out and supported us and hollered – you guys are the “A” to the “bomb”. Seriously.
Special shout out to Erika, Suny, Sara, and Daniel for being at the REACH! Senior Weekend External! Thanks for joining us in the singing and the dancing! Super special shout out to Anthony, who is our tech person/roadie and eighth member – the fifth (or eighth) Beatle, if you will.
I don’t know if it’s just me (I told my cast about this after our last performance), but I feel it strange and amazing that the piece retained the magic it had since its inception in February. I never wanted to presume but in the back of my mind I always looked at MusiCAL as having a timelessness to it: I thought it had a lot of qualities (or cliches, if you prefer) that some would assume could be a formula for making a great musical but at the same time stood out on its own because of the people who worked on it, the jokes that were used, and the fun the cast had in making/performing it.
It’s strange that it’s over because it doesn’t feel like it is. The cast itself still works with each other: some of us are performing together in this coming Theatre Rice Showcase (more on that later) and at future externals. Some people are talking about the possibility of doing the MusiCAL for future with a replacements for unavailable cast (a possibility, but we’ll see?). I just woke up from a dream involving MusiCAL as a movie a la Rent.
Okay, that last one will probably not happen. But you don’t stop believing, right?
So, for now, it’s time to say “goodbye” to Berkeley: the MusiCAL – it was a fun ride from the beginning all the way to the end, and I’m glad that I got to be there with the MusiCAL comedy troupe for the whole of it. And who knows – maybe Berkeley: the MusiCAL will be back for its “comeback tour”. In the meantime, you are welcome to watch our Midsemester performance at http://tinyurl.com/calmusical
Now come see our showcase for the semester, Theatre Rice: Lucky You!
Comedy Troupe directed by Jacek Wnuk, Yue Tu, & Varun Rajan
Adaptations Troupedirected by Dash Kwiat
“The Job” Piece directed by Jim Chin & Katherine Maslyn
Improv Troupe directed by Thomas Tan & Anthony Cheung
Tech & Transitions directed by Jeff Uchida & Jerry Lee
And a musical performance by the amazing S. Lynn Hong!
If it’s of any interest, Post-MusiCAL Anthony, Jessica, Yoko, and I are performing some awesome long-form improv together with Thomas Tan, Daniel Bessonov, Amanda Owyoung, and Joseph Yeh! Katherine Maslyn is co-directing a really cool (I can’t spoil it for you) piece with Jim Chin called “The Job” (as seen above)! Jack Wang is in a really epic Comedy Troupe! Lainey Segura is Jasmine Rice for the hit multi-grain winning band RICE GIRLS! And Paul Huang shaved his head bald.
So please come check out us at Theatre Rice: Lucky Me and say hi! We hope to see you there.