Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Category — Drama

Luz Review

On Thursday, October 4th we went to see the play Luz at La Mama Theater. At first I was a little skeptical about the play because it said on the website that it was an experimental play. I immediately thought about a random assortment of events that I wouldn’t understand because it was a director’s idea of an “experimental play.” However, I was glad to find out that I could actually follow the events in the play.

What I liked the most was the role of the actors in the play. The concept of one actor having multiple roles during the play at first seemed strange to me. I thought it wouldn’t work and roles would clash with each other. To my surprise, the roles flowed throughout the play. The director/writer did an excellent job of distributing the roles among the actors so that none of them would clash.

The story of Luz was also very interesting. The subject of rape is a sensitive topic that is affecting people worldwide. I like how the story ended up with the lawyer saying her own story of how she was raped. It showed that no matter what situation or social status you’re in there’s a chance that you can be raped, which is an idea that we all should realize.

October 22, 2012   No Comments


Overall I give this play 4 out of 5 stars.

The Actors. There was an uneven spread of talent between the actors. The head of the law firm underwent a lot of character development in a short time an had to show many sides of himself, which he did skillfully. Luz herself was very convincing, especially when she screamed at her interrogator, and she did an accurate Guatemalan accent (my neighbors had a Guatemalan nanny). Alexandra played the part of a normally reserved person who is emotionally involved very well, sounding exactly like my introverted friend when she tells over a sad story- not all people are dramatic in their sadness, which was one of the main criticisms I heard about her and that I consider unfair. The Haitian woman had a lot of difficult physical acting to do, like dragging her friend out from under he table, giving birth, and dying, which she made appear realistic. Jesus/Alexandra’s coworker played his parts in a very one-dimensional way. The environmental activist/Haitian policeman was more convincing as an activist than as policeman, because his yelling didn’t have force behind it, but as an activist he was sort of bland with no sense of the “why” that all characters in a story need. Alexandra’s first case was also sort of “blah” as an actor.

The Plot. I found it overstuffed, like the playwright was trying to address too many issues in too short a time. The connection between the 2 stories was weak at best. If you think of it as 2 separate plays, one about rape and one about soulless corporations destroying the world through pollution, then it starts to make more sense.

The Scenery. Very good. The background of paperwork worked beautifully for the Guatemala City dump and for the law firm, because both of these environments are very cluttered. The boxes added a perception of depth by seeming to extend backwards forever, and help to illustrate how much work goes into getting just one person into this country.The table centered the stage and worked well with every scene. The white rug under the table also helped with focusing on the sage and gave the lighting something to bounce off of. The lighting added to the mood of whatever was going on.

The Puppet. A dramatic and original idea. It also brought out the symbolism of birds, which is mentioned throughout the play, so it kind of tied things together a little bit.

October 21, 2012   No Comments

A Thursday Night in the City

I was struck by a number of photos in the apartheid exhibit at the International Center of Photography two weeks ago. I felt they really captured the essence of a rather tumultuous movement in history and were successful in depicting its progression (or in some cases, regression) over time. The photo I chose to describe was taken by Margaret Bourke-White in 1950, and its caption read “Carpenter Phillip Mbhele wearing “We Don’t Want Passes” tag.” It is of a single black man whose mouth is wide open, with a double chin framing its round shape. His eyebrows are furrowed, nostrils are flared, and eyes appear slightly squinted as he looks out toward the left of the frame. He has a thin mustache, but no hair on his head. There are gaps in his teeth of the top row, and about 4 teeth are visible in the bottom row. His shoulders are at an angle, with the right shoulder slightly behind the left one. He is wearing a button-down shirt with a vertically-knit sweater on top, as well as a light grey suit jacket with a dark grid-like pattern. On the left side of this jacket, there is a slightly bent piece of paper that almost appears to be stapled on; it reads, “We Don’t Want Passes.” The letters are all capitalized, with the word “passes” bigger and bolder than the other ones. The viewer is able to see all of the man’s upper-right arm, but the frame cuts off his left one at the shoulder. The bottom of the frame also ends about halfway down the man’s torso. The background appears to be a grey, cloudy sky and is only visible in the top half of the photo. Finally, one of the most important details of this photo is the angle at which it was taken. The viewer is looking up at the man, indicating that the photographer was way below his eye level, possibly even at ground level. This certainly gives the man a sense of authority and conviction as he passionately speaks out against the injustice of the time.


The second half of our evening was spent at the performance of Luz at LaMama Theater. Overall, I thought the play was well done; it conveyed a very serious and relevant message that the violation of human rights is rampant around the world. The victims, however, are essentially silenced and ashamed to tell their stories as the rest of us simply turn a blind eye, refusing to acknowledge and thereby act upon this injustice. I felt this was reflected in the set, there being a large and rather obvious mountain of disorganized paper in the center contrasted with the orderly file boxes on the sides. I also enjoyed the playwright’s juxtaposition of stories; I believe she was successful in weaving them together in such a way as to reflect off of, rather than take away from, one another. It would have been less interesting (at least in my opinion) had she chose to focus on any of the stories individually. Overall, it was a rather enjoyable Thursday evening in the city 🙂

October 16, 2012   No Comments

Review of the play Luz

Two Thursdays ago I was able to see the play Luz Catherine Filloux. The play portrays the social issues present in developing countries. A major social issue the play highlights is the struggle of women in poor families. The play portrays three women that were victims of rape. The two main characters are Luz and her human rights lawyer, Alexandra. Luz is a young woman that grew up by the garbage dump of Guatemala city with her grandmother. After she began working, Luz was abused by her employer. She kept quiet and was not served justice until Alexandra brought the issue to court.

Overall, the play had a interesting plot and portrayed many important issues facing the world. However, I believe the many story lines made the play hard to follow and somewhat confusing. Also, the side story regarding the businessman and environmentalist was not necessary and did not seem to have a purpose in the play other than present class distinctions. The playwrights purpose in including this story seemed unclear throughout the play. Furthermore, the fact that each actor/actress had multiple roles also made the story line somewhat difficult to follow. However, once the dialogue started it was much easier to identify most of the characters. Despite the confusion, the symbolism of the bird and the symbols of light during a dark time added a great touch to the play.

Overall, the play was interesting and very different from many other plays. The director and producers did a good job on the set as it portrayed both the chaos and the order in society. Furthermore, the actors did a good job in presenting the central idea of the play and making it somewhat realistic.

October 16, 2012   No Comments

ICP Photo/Luz

Lookout Beach Plettenberg Bay 1986 by Gisele Wulfsohn

This photo was taken in a sandy area, most likely a beach, with water and tides in the background. There is a fat white lady probably in her mid 50s to the right of the picture. She has curly black hair and is wearing a small pearl necklace and a checked dress. The dress stops about a hand width above her knees. She has a grimace expression and she seems happy. Her arms are folded in her back. Her right leg is lifted up as if she was walking. She is bare foot.

Behind the white lady is a black lady. She is most likely a domestic worker. She looks sad and is wearing an all white maids outfit. She is holding jewelry, most likely for the white women in front, and tissue in her left hand. Her left hand is raised to her chest area. She has a white necklace and silver bracelets on both her arms. Her left heel is up as if she was walking. She has a plain white bandanna. She is probably in her mid 50s also. She is bare foot.

A black dog is next to the black lady. The dog has his/her tongue out. He/she seems thirsty. There are shadows tot he left of the people and the dog. It must be really sunny when this photo was taken. There are clouds on top of the photograph to the horizon.


I agree with Sauly that the message of rape and the victims affected and clearly shown in the play. Luz is a dramatic play especially the part when Luz screams at the lawyer. I jumped from my seat. There are a lot of boxes in the background with added to the serious tone of the play. It also creates a professional environment even if the boxes were placed in a chaotic fashion. I forgot that in the beginning of the play the announcers said that the subtitles would be above the stage, so when they were speaking Spanish I said to Maheen, “You know Spanish?” I liked the twist at the end, I did not expect the high class lawyer to be a victim of rape. Some parts of the play were confusing due to the same actors playing different characters. Also I could not figure out if it was a dream/flashback or real life.

October 11, 2012   No Comments

We were supposed to post about this right?

Last Thursay I had the pleasure of visiting the International Center of Photography with a friend and my Macaulay classmates (that’s all of you!). On the way to the ICP we met familiar faces from our childhood on 42nd Street (Sesame St and Toy Story represent). There was some interesting imagery at the CP, not all of it PG-rated. I noticed how the so-called ‘candid’ images were much more fascinating than those portraits of influential people that were abundant. I was drawn to the vintage magazines that lay beneath the glass. Most striking was that they lacked the superfluous text that infests most magazine covers today (refer to any edition of Seventeen). The cover usually had just a color portrait, with a reference to some sensational news on page XX. On the lower floor were more photos and also some illustrations. Particularly I am referring to those that were drawn upon pages of New York Times. I was all done and just about ready to leave, when – unbenownst to me – there was actually an assignment to be completed. Whoops! With the last few minutes, I tried to scrounge up the most interesting photo of the lot. It was going to be a challenge, but finally I found something that really caught my eye. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it online. Those of you who’ve seen it, great! Others, try to imagine it through my words.

It was titled ‘Sheep Farmer and Son,’ 1983, by Wendy Schwegmann. Basically it was a boy and his father in front of some white house. Details, details. The boy had a gun, a pistol sort of thing, and it was directed at someone or something (hopefully the latter!) outward and to the right of the picture. He was fat, and chubby, and short. So not the most athletic kid on the block. I’m thinking of Piggy here from Lord of the Flies (great book if you haven’t read it). He was also wearing pants. The dad was looking on outward and to the left of the picture (he’s facing the photographer but his body is directed to the left). He’s an ordinary man, except for the fact that he is wearing short shorts! What I mean is he is wearing those ‘boy scout’ shorts that the kids usually wear (remember that white boy with the watch that we discussed in class?) I thought it interesting that the boy had on pants while the fatherly figure was wearing the shorts of childhood. Something like a societal reversal, don’t you think? Something like turning social norms upside down, maybe? Like the end of apartheid, I would say.

After that enlightening visit, we endured the trek down to West 4th, where we caught a showing of Luz at La Mama. I did not really catch on to the one actor=multiple characters thing that was going on. It seemed kind of all over the place, which made it hard to follow. One aspect I thoroughly enjoyed, however, was that little bit with the Carmina Burana. It made me chuckle when they mentioned performing it at Carnegie Hall, an event I personally attended earlier this year where chorus members from my own school were performing. The incorporation of the Roasted Swan (which is a tenor solo and has its own movement) was a welcome addition. My favorite character was the ‘businessman,’ who had the same attitude as one of the guys who appear in Jersey Boys: smooth, fast-talking, and confident.

It was an OK way to spend an evening, I’d say, and I’ll close with these few photos I took during the trip.

Elmo’s excited. Sofia doesn’t look too pleased!

Is there some chemistry between them? Artur laughs and looks on.

Nice to see the Empire State up close. Great view at the top, from what I’m told!

A skyscraper with an interesting facade. I wonder what goes on there?

Saying goodbye to the Empire State Building. See you soon!

October 8, 2012   1 Comment

What lies beyond the rainbow?

This is the view that I saw from my 9th floor balcony in the beautiful neighborhood of Bensonhurst.

Stunning, isn’t it?

I felt the sudden urge to go out and explore the unknown, though nightfall was rapidly approaching. There beyond the bridge, the rainbow beckoned me. I slipped into my Brooks and got out into the cool breeze fast as I could.

Though it wasn’t forecast to rain, the clouds hovered ominously above. A light drizzle moved south as I made my way down Shore Parkway. Before the first bend in the path, I considered the majestic Verrezano Bridge, a familiar landmark and a beacon to guide me.

As I got closer, the bridge grew bigger and bigger. The rain had ceased, yet my journey was just beginning. With an unobstructed view, I stood in awe.

Soon the lights upon the bridge were lit, and I was beside a true spectacle. Meanwhile the sky grew darker and darker as I was passing through the neighborhood of Dyker Heights.

It was now very dark as I approached the bridge, my ally. From beneath this behemoth of a bridge, I wondered whether to continue the journey or to end it prematurely. Naturally, I didn’t want to turn back. A new frontier lay within my reach. I looked on down the long, pitch black road. Above me was my last safe haven. Without a glimmer of doubt, I pushed on, but not before I bid the Verrazano adieu.

I was now in uncharted territory, uninhibited and alone. My confidence began to waver as I got farther and farther away from the bridge everlasting. The road seemed neverending, and I wasn’t sure I would be able to get back. But there was no turning back. I was commited to discover the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yes, I could feel a sense of something far greater than myself. The road took a sharp bend to the north, and as I rounded the corner, a city of gold revealed itself. Yes, a miracle of lights, a city that never sleeps, I saw the skyscrapers of Manhattan.

I was not afraid as I came to the end of the road, the American Veterans Memorial Pier in Bay Ridge. On the one side I saw Lower Manhattan, and on the other side, the Verrezano Bridge. What a view!

September 26, 2012   2 Comments