MHC Seminar 1, Professor Casey Henry

Category: STEAM Projects (Page 2 of 2)

Family Dynamics and A Doll’s House, Part 2.

A Doll’s House, Part 2, a Broadway play written by Lucas Hnath sets in the John Golden Theatre. The initial presentation of the play for the audiences came from the set design. The square shaped stage allows us to view as if we are looking down into a doll house. However, this isn’t a typical doll house. The emptiness of the stage shows exactly how “empty” and plain the Helmer family is in the play. There are only four chairs, one table stand, and one flower pot; there’s no family portrait, pictures, or feelings of warmth. The Helmer’s home lacks that “family” feeling as a result. Those were just the very first impressions of the play. As the play begins, Nora Helmer comes back home after leaving her family for fifteen years. Although the first encounter between Nora and Anne Marie seems pleasant and nostalgic, the conversations thereafter between Nora and each of the characters were filled with heat, anger, and resentment. Each character told their story following Nora’s abandonment and how that affected their life after. Torvald was heartbroken and felt betrayed; Emmy grew up without maternal love, thinking that her mother passed away; Anne Marie had to choose between her own family and her loyalty towards caring for the Helmer family. This goes to show that one person’s action impacts others in many ways. In A Doll’s House, Part 2, the negative consequences destroyed the family dynamic, while at the same time, conveying a deep message about “family”. The overall sense that I walked out of the play with, was a sense of gratefulness towards my own family, knowing that they’re there.

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STEAM Project: György Ligeti and Micropolyphony


Continuum” for vocals, originally for Harpsichord by György Ligeti


Music is an integral part of culture and society, and a lot can be told about a particular group by the music they listen to. Pop icons such as Lady Gaga, Shakira, and Dua Lipa are all prime examples of basic American musical phenomenon, and yet there is one trait that ties them all together: tonality. Put very briefly, all of their music makes sense because it all falls into a very concise, harmonically sound musical standard called a key signature. However, what happens when an artist decides to ignore tonality altogether and use all twelve notes concurrently?

Enter György Ligeti, a Hungarian born composer who brought a new light to the concept of atonality in music. Instead of ignoring chord structure like his contemporaries, he decided to create his own musical texture called micropolyphony, which embraced ideas of harmony and chords in a fashion similar to polyphony, but still maintained the dissonant styles and structures of other atonal works. Though he insisted that his music was “non-atonal,” it still pioneered a new take on the idea of the limits of musical structure and theory.

My project is more of an introduction to Ligeti than it is a musical analysis of all of his pieces. I will include samples of Ligeti performances and even some live demonstration (via Garageband) of typical chord structures compared to atonal dissonance. My media aspect is my own take on a Ligeti piece, titled “Continuum,” which is brief enough to very simply demonstrate the ways in which Ligeti used micropolyphony to create layered chords that seem to melt into one another.

Celia and Sayra’s Final Project (Late Night TV)

Late night talk shows are structured to have humorous monologues, political commentary, guest interviews, comedy sketches, and musical performances. For my final project, I want to script, act, and shoot my very own late night talk show. The project workload will be split amongst myself and Celia. We both have our own personal favorite late night talk show hosts: I take preference over Trevor Noah whereas she favors Jimmy Fallon. Together, we will take the bits and pieces we like the most from their shows, as well as from other late night talk show hosts stationed in NYC like Stephen Colbert and Seth Meyers, and create our own spinoff late night tv show. Our show will include a monologue performed by Celia, political commentary done by myself, and a skit in which we will go out in the streets of New York and ask random people questions about late night tv.

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