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12 posts categorized "Culture"


Anticodes performance

By Alex Genty-Waksberg, Pomona College

November 23, 2013

    Last night I went to a performance at the National Theater called Anticodes. The production was put on by the company Laterna Magika and was based on a book of visual poetry written by Vaclav Havel. I had no idea about the play until my friend on the program, Nikki, recommended that I go with her. Being constantly flooded with everything film and in need of a theatrical fix, I enthusiastically agreed. In addition, I had just finished reading Havel’s collection of short plays as well as a collection of letters that he wrote his wife while imprisoned, a particular enlightening read.

    We arrived in a sizable theater with very comfortable seats, so I was already sold. I wasn’t sure whether there would be an English translation or not, but Nikki had told me it would be fine. As it was, there was very little to translate. The theater piece was a collection of music and dance sequences, while using interactive technology. This is a terrible description, but it’s difficult to describe exactly what the performance entailed. The main performer sat at his desk and typed on a typewriter for much of the play. The typewriter was hooked up to a large screen on stage, which showed the letters he was typing, while dancers moved to the beat of the typewriter. At another point, the main performer walked across the stage as letters fell down the screen. The falling letters would stop at the man’s umbrella, as though it were really raining letters. The performance definitely loses something in translation- the main point is that I highly recommend seeing this performance for yourself.

    I became lost in the play and remembered why I loved theater so much. The stage was so alive, so vibrant, and we as an audience were members of the performance as well. Sounds of the ocean surrounded me as the main performer looked at the screen in front of him, one filled with the waves of the ocean. At that moment, I assume everyone in the audience was thinking something different, most people’s minds were probably just wandering to whatever the waves caused them to think to. There’s something fantastic about that.

    The coolest part of the performance actually happened after it was over. For forty or so minutes after the performance, the main performer took the audience through the technology used in the show. He let audience members use the interactive screen and type on the typewriter, which was hooked up to the screen. He explained that some of the performance was made possible with an infrared camera, which he could not demonstrate because the lights had to be specifically setup (the umbrella sequence was done with the camera).

    Nikki pointed out what a great treat it was to see the “man behind the curtain” after the performance, saying that she preferred art that wasn’t pretentious, but rather that which is accessible. I couldn’t agree more. The show very well could have been a pretentious piece put on to make everyone feel stupider, but they did no such thing. They allowed the audience in on all of the secrets and, because of this, enriched the whole experience. I’d love to check out more performances that come out of Laterna Magika. This may be a strong word, but I was dazzled by what I saw on stage, even if I had no idea what to interpret from it. I suppose that’s when art is really successful. When it’s enjoyable enough that there’s no need to “get” it.  Instead, you can just be engulfed in it, like among the waves of the ocean.


Fall 2013, Issue II


The Fall 2013 Film Studies semester is half way through and we are back with some updates on what CIEE students accomplished thus far.

Some of you may have read about their academic overnight trip to Bohemia in a student blog, but we want to make sure that the others won't miss it:

CIEE Academic Overnight trip to Bohemia

The weekend of October 4-6th, Film Studies students went to the Bohemia region to attend Písek International Student Film Festival and enjoy a nice hike to Castle Kašperk. We believe that pictures are often better than words, so now you will be able see for yourselves how much fun they had. Laurel Schwartz (Scripps College) was kind enough to share her videoblog with us:


CIEE Halloween party

On Wednesday, October 30th, CIEE Study Center Prague organized their first Halloween party. All Prague programs were invited and Czech buddies helped with the organization. And the evening was a blast - best student and Czech buddy Halloween costume was announced (and awarded), everyone got a chance to taste various kinds of trick or treat candy, jack 'o' lanterns made by students during the interest group activity decorated the premises and everyone had fun!


Flat buddy organized activities

Flat buddies planned some more cool immersive activities since you got our last newsletter! Students are always excited for cooking lessons, art & film festivals and exhibitions, but one of the most interesting events was probably a tour of Prague given by local homeless men, Karim and Emil (see the picture below) which is organized by Pragulic Organization. Seeing the city through their eyes was truly interesting for all students.


photo courtesy of Chelsea Steeb

CIEE Open mic night (all CIEE Prague programs get-together)

On Tuesday, November 12th, students from all three CIEE programs (FS, CES, CNMJ) enjoyed a get-together event with CIEE staff and buddies: the legendary OPEN MIC NIGHT! Participation was amazing (more than 70 people came) and we had 9 outstanding performances + free karaoke at the end. There was a good variety of performances, so we enjoyed singing, musical instruments playing, poetry and even folklore dance! One of the best performers was Edan Laniado from the Film Studies program who played the piano and sang few of his own songs. 


Screenwriting track pitch

We have reached the second half of the semester, so on Wednesday, November 13th, FS Academic Advisor Mary invited FAMU screenwriting professors Jan Fleischer and Pavel Jech and directing professor Asmara Marek to the Screenwriting track pitch. CIEE FS Program coordinator and Production track students also joined this event. Nicole, Alex, Jamie, and Edan introduced their screenplays and received some useful feedback on how to make their characters livelier, along with other various tips for improvement. All stories pitched were quite interesting and FAMU mentors seemed happy with students' progress. We can't wait for the final screenplay presentations on the final day - it still remains to be decided whether authors introduce their screenplays or ask actors to rehearse a couple of their dialogues (and learn how to direct them in the meantime).


Production track: preproduction

Students enrolled in the Production track have also been busy lately. The last two weeks were dedicated to locations scouting, casting, meetings with mentors and production managers and other preparations. Friday and Saturday, November 15-16, were dedicated to the camera orientation when students got their hands on the 16mm film equipment. And on Sunday, they started making their 7-10' films - so let's keep our fingers crossed for them!


photo courtesy of EJ Kennelly