Vadis Quo, an enthralling evening of music, film and dance
The Major Music Production proves a major creative success.
It was advertised as LAU’s Major Music Production, but last night’s performance of Vadis Quo presented not only the talents of LAU’s musically gifted students and their mentor, Assistant Professor Martin Loyato, but it also incorporated interior design, film and dance.
A delight for the senses, Vadis Quo’s opening night was staged at Irwin Hall on the Beirut campus. Many of those who attended said they would be back again for the second and final performance this evening. “The use of the screens on stage and the link between the videos and the dancing were very nice. There were so many details, I want to come back for another look,” said AUB student Zeina Jreissati.
Fourteen distinct but complementary musical pieces written by Loyato were performed by 11 musicians and complemented by the moves of nine dancers. The musicians performed live backstage, projected individually to the audience via eight screens placed either side of the purpose-built stage, while the dancers moved across the sideways prism structure that took five days to build.
“The concept and creativity were wonderful. It was great to see LAU embrace technology in this way,” said communication arts graduate Rayan Shehab after the show. Adding to the drama of the music and dance, films were projected across the back and four gradually encroaching walls of the stage.
“I was involved in the major production as a student here and it was a wonderful learning experience,” added Shehab. “It’s what makes LAU unique, the opportunities students have to work with high-caliber professionals on exciting and new projects.”
Current student Karl Bou Rjeily, who performed on his electric guitar, agrees. “Martin was very engaging, always asking for our input and giving us creative freedom during our solo pieces. The whole experience is so cool. How many people can say they’ve performed live on stage through a TV screen?”
Bou Rjeily’s electric guitar was among a variety of instruments, each of which added flavor to the diverse genres of music performed throughout the forty-minute show. While Loyato himself played the trumpet, flugelhorn and flute, his students played the violin, nay, oud, bass and electric guitar, accompanied by four vocalists who sang and read poetry in both Arabic and English.
“I loved the creative mix between eastern and western culture in the music,” enthused senior student Farah Khodour after the concert. The cultural mix extended to the footage included in the films projected across the stage – with scenes from American newscasts juxtaposing footage taken at recent Beirut protests. Visual displays also included advertisements, monochrome films, animated graphics and manipulated frames, some to jarring effect.
The multi-disciplinary performance, led by the powerful music, aimed to draw attention to the role of media and its negative impact on today’s society. The message, encapsulated in the closing frame on which a bar code was accompanied by the words ‘brain wash’ was straightforward and easily understood. The beauty was in the execution, which was both creative and engaging, leaving the audience thoroughly enthralled and entertained.
Don’t miss your last chance to watch the show this evening from 7 p.m. at Irwin Hall. The ticket booth outside the auditorium will open at 6 p.m.