Despite pouring rain and occasional bouts of thunder, a sizable audience took shelter under the tent on O’Neill quad for the Cultural Showcase Friday night.
The event began with The Identity Project, a play written and performed by Boston College students and co-directed by Maurice Parent and Dawn M. Simmons. Set in a hospital waiting room, the play explored different facets of identity and how they affect our lives. The actors were seated in chairs lined up across the stage. When it was each actor’s turn to share their story, they rose and addressed the audience.
The accounts were deeply personal confessions that addressed individuals’ struggles with racism, sexual orientation, and gender. A disturbingly peppy infomercial interrupted the stories, offering a product called “Ambighumanty” that promised to erase the features that distinguish people from one another, such as disabilities and accents. The narrative traveled down to the morgue of the hospital, where the corpses recounted their deaths. One woman died when her misogynistic circus partner refused to catch her, while another was killed by her neighbors in a racist attack. The play’s innovative format helped make familiar themes feel fresh.
Next up was the hip-hop dance team Uprising, which performed a love-themed routine that was debuted at Showdown earlier this semester. The other two dance teams that performed—Masti and Vida de Intensa Pasión (VIP)—followed suit, also performing their Showdown routines.
Romantic love, friendship, and self-love were all conveyed throughout the Uprising piece. Dancers paired up in a coy, flirty segment set to Trevor Wesley’s “Chivalry is Dead” that drew excited cheers from the audience. The tone grew darker, as the team created the illusion of mirrors. Dancers mimicked each other’s movements on either side of empty frames to Billie Eilish’s somber “idontwannabeyouanymore.”
Graceful string music accompanied a traditional Chinese fan dance performance. The dancers, lit by a striking red background, wore flowing crimson dresses and held delicate white fabric fans, which they fluttered and waved in time to the music. They glided across the stage in ballet shoes, their dresses accentuating their elegant movements.
Fernando Lujan, CSOM ’20, shared his heritage with the audience through a series of works, entitled “Memories of Mexico.” He began with a performance of Beethoven’s “Für Elise” on an electric keyboard before sharing an original slam poem that explored his Mexican heritage on both a personal and national level. He then performed a rendition of “Remember Me” from the animated film Coco, assuring the audience that “It’s OK to cry” before strumming the first guitar chords.
Masti took the stage for a Scooby Doo-themed routine. The fusion of Bollywood dance with the classic cartoon was an unexpected choice, but Masti pulled it off with the help of illustrative costumes and audio clips. The team exuded infectious energy, jumping, wielding batons, and slamming wooden percussion instruments in time to the music.
VIP finished off the night with a saucy routine also inspired by the film Coco. The team began with traditional partner dancing before the ladies of the team, decked out in Day of the Dead masks, took the stage to Bad Bunny’s “La Romana.” The men joined them wearing skeleton-emblazoned shirts as the music switched to Cardi B’s “I Like It,” an apt song choice for a group that blends traditional Latin dance with more modern, hip-hop inspired moves. The routine came to a close with a dramatic drop into the splits.
Featured Image by Ikram Ali / Heights Editor