As an incoming intern for UCI Illuminations this spring, I thought I would share some of my favorite moments and events that I got to experience while I lived on campus. You may be wondering: What is UCI Illuminations? UCI Illuminations is an initiative to connect all students of all different backgrounds to the creative arts offered on campus. Illuminations includes writers, dance performances, music and any other type of creative art you can think of. As a lover of the arts, I highly encourage you to check out some of the awesome events throughout this upcoming quarter and in the future. During the pandemic, Illuminations is offering events remotely for the time being. So without further ado, I present to you my highlights!
[bf_image id="m9c3nr7mnn52mbg6fhwqsf"] Aubergine
I was fortunate enough to see Aubergine at the South Coast Repertory in Costa Mesa. This play directed by Julia Cho was amazing and very heartfelt. It told the story of a Korean American named Ray who had a strained relationship with his ailing father. The actors really captured the raw emotion of the struggles their characters were experiencing. Many of the themes that were prevalent resonated with the Asian American Stories course I took with Dr. Lee during that time such as family sacrifices, transgenerational trauma and language barriers. I definitely still think about this production as it left a lasting impact on me after witnessing such talent.
Poetry Reading with U.S Poet Laureate Dr. Natasha Trethewey
As a rising poet during my second at UCI, I was delighted to hear that one of the poets I read was actually coming to UCI. Poetry is a unique language for me to express my thoughts and experiences all down on paper. I was inspired when Dr. Trethewey read excerpts of her poetry collection, Monument: Poems New and Selected. The passion and carefully crafted lines resonated with me. I was inspired to write even more of my creative ideas and had the honor of briefly meeting Dr. Trethewey. I remember her encouraging me to take opportunities to grow as a writer and explained how she became a U.S. Poet Laureate. This event definitely changed my life as it catapulted me to pursue poetry further and refine my craft to what it has become today.
[bf_image id="crszhpxb5hq7tnqj4s7zkx6t"] Othello
This was a readaptation of the classic Shakespeare play with a modern twist at the Noise Within Theater. I had been reading Othello for my Shakespeare class and seeing the play come to life was spectacular. I liked how the play was updated to current times, yet it still kept the eloquent charm of Shakespeare’s language. There were many references that even the older crowd enjoyed. As one of my favorite Shakespeare plays, I’m glad I was able to enjoy this refreshing performance.
Festival Ballet Theater: The Firebird
This ballet performance captivated me from the very beginning. The music, the presence of the setting and the beautiful dancers moved me to tears. I have an avid appreciation for the art of dance and this was one of my first ballet performances that I actually was able to see. I honestly am grateful for Illuminations for inviting such talent to UCI. I believe dance performances often go unnoticed and I highly recommend supporting your local arts programs in your area when possible.
Overall, I am truly grateful to have an opportunity to work with Dr. Lupton and the Illuminations team this coming spring. Stay tuned with upcoming events by checking out the UCI Illuminations website here: https://illuminations.uci.edu/about/index.html