Arts in New York City: Baruch College, Fall 2008, Professor Roslyn Bernstein
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Category — Yuriy

Dr. Atomic Bombs

War, tragedy, catastrophe, massacre, bomb, horror, radiation poisoning. These are just a few words that we can associate with the end of World War II and the dropping of the first atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Each one of these words evokes many negative emotions and may even bring some to tears considering the magnitude of destruction that this event caused. As viewers went to watch Dr. Atomic, an opera depicting the Manhattan Project itself, they expected to get the sense of these feelings: to put themselves at the scene and to experience what the scientists experienced. Unfortunately, due to sub-par voices, an overly simplistic story line, and a dissatisfying ending, this opera did not evoke much empathy or feeling. [Read more →]

November 19, 2008   Comments Off on Dr. Atomic Bombs

Francine Prose

Who is Francine Prose? This was the question that many people hoped would be answered when the president of the PEN American Center came to Baruch College. Although many of the attendees already knew of this distinguished author and read several of her books, and others were just curious to see what this event had to offer, everyone wanted to hear what Prose had to say. During a short reception before the actual reading, Prose spoke personally to whoever had the guts to approach her, and later answered questions from the guests. Listening to Prose speak, and hearing what others had to say about her, it is safe to say that she is a devoted and brilliant writer, as well as an open-minded and easy-going person with a great sense of humor. [Read more →]

November 12, 2008   1 Comment

Waltz With Bashir

We have all seen the horrific events that take place at the front lines during times of war. They have been depicted in countless films and documentaries about World War II and the holocaust, Vietnam, the Iraq War. No amount of movie productions can ever let us relive every story of every bloody conflict that our own human race has caused. Nonetheless, stories of war allow us to learn of our past mistakes as a people and show us the true flaws of mankind. In his new animated film, Waltz With Bashir, Ari Folman documents his experiences in the first Lebanese War and the 1982 massacre at Sabra and Shatila. Through artfully unique animation, intense research, and beautiful music, Folman creates a tragic and emotionally intense film. [Read more →]

November 3, 2008   Comments Off on Waltz With Bashir

South Pacific

It was over fifty years ago that James Michener wrote Tales of the South Pacific. It was fifty years ago that Michener’s play was first made into a movie. And now, Richard Pearce directs his own version of the critically acclaimed novel. Pearce’s musical adaptation of the book and Rodgers and Hammerstein’s play is impeccable. A wonderful cast, beautiful music, and a stunning setting, come together to create a great film portraying the hardships and tensions of life at war and away from home. [Read more →]

October 17, 2008   Comments Off on South Pacific

Irena’s Vow

We have all heard Anne Frank’s famously tragic story, and Dan Gordon’s Irena’s Vow is just another “Anne Frank” story. It is a story based on a very serious matter, the heroic efforts of Christians putting their own life at stake to save the lives of Jews. I never lose interest in reading various accounts of this sad part of our history, and the text of Irena’s Vow was indeed a wonderful chronicle of Irene Gut Opdyke’s account of her role during the holocaust. However, the performance was just sub-par.
First and foremost, Michael Parva’s casting was not very accurate. Even so much as the main role of Irena, being played by highly esteemed Tovah Feldshuh, was not acted out at its best. Although Feldshuh’s techniques of sharp breathe intakes and quivering lips definitely added to the emotions that the play was supposed to convey, it just was not strong enough. [Read more →]

October 17, 2008   Comments Off on Irena’s Vow

In Conflict

Portraying a passionate subject about a passionate war, “In Conflict” puts the Iraq War into perspective in this Off-Broadway production. Yvonne Latty, the brains behind this play, captures the personal accounts of seventeen soldiers who serve or have served in the war, and brings them to the public. There is much confusion and hidden information from the American people about the war. People do not know what to believe anymore. Are we winning? Are we losing? Are we doing the right thing? With its wonderful script, casting and setting, “In Conflict” succeeds at conveying the ambiguities of the war and exposing them to the public eye.
As the play starts off, images of the American flag can be seen on the stage and on the flat- screens around it. Truly, a sense of patriotism is evoked in the audience. A group of seventeen soldiers enters the scene, and throughout the two hours of the play, we listen to each of their accounts of their role in the Iraq War. As involved or not involved in politics and international affairs as you may be, the stories grip your interest immediately. A combination of deeply emotional and sad stories and ones that are courageous and uplifting create a great balance which really gives the play a good flow. In addition to the scripting, the music during the acts sets the mood as well. [Read more →]

October 17, 2008   Comments Off on In Conflict

Elementary Experience

How can we be sure that we will succeed in the future? What is the right course of action? Nobody can see into the future, and no one has the perfect answer. However, most people have the general idea that they must put their children through school in order to be educated parts of our society. When my parents enrolled me into PS 200, they put me into a special program called the Globe Program. This was for bilingual Russian children, most of whom just recently immigrated to the United States. My parents’ decision to enroll me into this program has had a tremendous impact on my life.
Throughout our twelve years in elementary school, junior high school, and high school, we come across many teachers, the majority of whom we probably were either indifferent to or we disliked. However, there is usually that one teacher whom you actually appreciated, and one, who you realize several years later, made a big impact on your future.
I had the privilege of being taught by such a teacher for four years of my life at PS 200. My class stuck together for all six years at PS 200 as a part of the Globe Program for bilingual students. Mrs. Maceczek was a Russian teacher who prepared us for the rigors that awaited us in junior high school and even high school. Compared to the other students in the school, we were handling much more complex material and learning it at a faster pace. Also, as an addition to the city requirements, we learned Russian language and literature. Discipline was also heavily enforced. I remember times when I would not like going to school because I would get a lot of homework and we would get reprimanded for fooling around. At some points during the year, schoolwork was actually becoming difficult to stay on track with.
Besides being adept at math and English, Mrs. Maceczek believed in the importance of cultural education from a very young age. She often took us on trips to theatres and ballets. I remember watching Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker” ballet, listening to Beethoven’s “Symphony No.9”, and producing our own shows based on popular Broadway musicals.
Although a rigorous curriculum was certainly a focal point of the program, one of the most important aspects of Globe was that the class stuck together for all five years of elementary school. With the exception of one or two students who were either kicked out for poor performance or moved to a different borough, all of the students stayed together. To this day, I am a friend with some of the people from that graduation class. I met my best friend in the first grade of that school, and we later went on to Brooklyn Technical High School, and now we are both attending Baruch. There are other people whom I still keep in touch with. I feel like this program has helped me form and solidify tight friendships that I otherwise would not have been able to shape.
Now that I am a freshman at Baruch, I understand that those three years with Mrs. Maceczek in the Globe Program were what make school so much easier for me now. I see students around me suffering; trying to get all of their homework done, completing assignments, and trying not to fail exams. I believe that it was Mrs. Maceczek who instilled a sense of diligence, perseverance, and the desire to succeed in me and my fellow students, which will help me, achieve my goals in my adult life.

October 3, 2008   3 Comments