Tag: Peter Keough ’20
Beasts Explores Time and Tension
by The Cowl Editor on February 27, 2020
TDF Performs Original Student-Written Play
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Co-Editor
Upon entering the John Bowab Studio Theatre on Feb. 13-16, viewers were met with a scene that could be described as calamitous. The room was covered in overturned furniture with chairs, tables, lamps, and more lying around in complete disarray. Even more of this debris was suspended from the ceiling, appearing as if it had started to rain down but had become frozen in time before crashing to the ground.
Designed by Trevor Elliott, the set for Beasts captured what seemed to be one of the play’s main themes: the moments of tension before things go completely and utterly wrong. The play, directed by John Garrity of Providence College’s Theatre, Dance, and Film Department, is an original work penned by Thomas Edwards ‘20.
A theatre major, Edwards had been working on this piece since 2014, when he drafted the initial script as a sophomore in high school. Recognizing his requirement to complete a capstone piece for his major, Edwards spent his four years at PC workshopping Beasts with professors, peers, and others. This process was truly extensive, as Edwards stated, “Throughout this past summer and fall…I was making edits; anywhere from a line here and there to wholesale rewrites of scenes.” While his work may have begun years ago, it continued to evolve until it was performed.
This long-term commitment is more than evident in the final product. With a runtime of about two hours and a range of complex characters and themes, Beasts is a multifaceted and holistic piece with a lot to say. Throughout its runtime, characters experience both internal and external challenges, varying from marital demise to facing one’s own demons. The play also jumps between time periods, as omniscient watchers named “Left Samael” and “Right Samael” (played by Katie Vennard ‘22 and Carolyn Bradley ‘22, respectively) travel between 1945 and 1948 to observe the choices made by the leading character Jason Anderson (portrayed by Tim Brown ’20).
By bouncing back and forth between these time periods, as well as allowing the actors to rearrange the chaotic set, Beasts makes sure to convey the aforementioned tension throughout. Each scene feels as if it is adding stress to something that is destined to break. The mounting troubles of the characters only grow more tense and worrisome as their stories continue, while the audience waits with bated breath for something to finally snap.
As can be expected, this snap does occur. Acted, staged, and written in impressive fashion, the most extreme moments in Beasts each carry a weight that continues the plot and elicit gut-wrenching emotion from the audience. These moments allow the audience some relief from the tension that had been building throughout, but also double-down on the unsettling themes of the play. By serving this dual function, the most emotionally-potent scenes become intregral to the play’s success.
As an entire piece of artistic output, Beasts is truly full-bodied. With layered characters, introspective themes, and a gripping story, Edwards created something that truly reflects the years of work that he put into it.
Writer vs. Writer: Is Christmas Music Before Thanksgiving Acceptable?
by The Cowl Editor on November 21, 2019
Arts & Entertainment
by: Madison Palmieri ’22 A&E Staff
Now that Halloween has come and gone, attention has immediately shifted to the upcoming holiday season. Already, stores are advertising special deals, Starbucks and Dunkin’ cups are shades of red and green, and Christmas music is returning to the radio.
While it is understandable to protest the apparent neglect of Thanksgiving that this phenomenon entails, those eager to celebrate the most wonderful time of the year should not have to wait until Black Friday to listen to festive tunes.
For some, Christmas music can be enjoyable year-round. Haley Gervino ‘22 says that she generally does not listen to holiday tunes before Thanksgiving, but “Happy Holidays” by NSYNC and “Mistletoe” by Justin Bieber are acceptable all the time.
Others only begin to listen to festive music after Halloween, but do so in moderation. “My playlists have started shuffling in some Christmas music, and I don’t mind,” says Megan Puthota ‘22. “I think that as long as you listen to it in moderation before Thanksgiving, there’s no harm in enjoying it.”
This view appears to be common among listeners. A November 2018 Spotify article, “Is It Too Early For Christmas Music?” stated, “According to holiday streaming in 2017, most countries see the first surge in listening around November 1…The United States and Canada wait until November 13 to start.”
Indeed, Christmas music is often enjoyed beyond the holiday season, and so long as listeners take care not to forget the importance of Thanksgiving and do not immediately rush from Halloween to Christmas, there should be no reason why they should have to wait to listen to festive tunes.
by: Peter Keough ’20 A&E Co-Editor
Only a few weeks out from Halloween, the annual swell of Christmas cheer has already begun to overtake the national consciousness. Christmas music plays in stores, elf-filled commercials for sales fill advertising slots during primetime television, and festive lights and trees already adorn many residences.
For some, this is a welcome change, as they desire to begin celebrating the Christmas season as early as possible. However, some reports claim that this premature celebration of the holiday can actually have negative psychological effects on individuals.
In a 2017 report from CBS News, clinical psychologist Linda Blair established a link between repetitious Christmas music and high levels of holiday-related stress. She claimed, “[H]earing a Christmas song can spark thoughts of all the things you have to do before the holiday, like shopping, party planning, and traveling.” Essentially, listening to an overwhelming amount of this kind of music could do more unintentional harm than good.
Couple this with stations that are already playing this kind of music, such as New York’s 106.7 Lite FM and St. Louis’ 102.5 KEZK, and you get a recipe for a potentially high-stress public. With a more extensive time period dedicated to this music, and only a limited amount of songs, stations like these may contribute to these kinds of unhealthy mental effects.
Taking factors like this into account, maybe it is best to dedicate less time to Christmas music on radio stations nationwide. This is not meant as a slight against Christmas, but instead as a safeguard that could lead to a healthier and more enjoyable holiday season for all.
Let’s Rant: Surprise Guests
by The Cowl Editor on November 14, 2019
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Co-Editor
Both on concert tours and at music festivals, it is becoming increasingly popular for artists and organizers to bring out unannounced guests to perform their own music. Whether it be Kanye West joining Chance the Rapper on stage or Harry Styles performing with Kacey Musgraves, this move has become commonplace in live performances.
Following this trend, Tyler, the Creator included a mystery guest in the lineup at his Camp Flog Gnaw music festival this past weekend. Teased months in advance, speculation around this mysterious artist was popular amongst festival attendees. The Los Angeles Times reported that many fans hoped the slot was reserved for Frank Ocean, basing their presumptions on his affiliation with the festival’s organizers as well as his teasing of new music.
When the mystery guest ended up being singer-rapper Drake, his appearance was met with a largely negative reaction. The crowd began booing the artist, causing him to cut his set short after only performing six songs. Ultimately, the festivalgoers were upset with the surprise, as it was not the artist they had hoped for.
Both Drake and Tyler, the Creator shared responses to this incident on social media. While Tyler, the Creator addressed the embarrassment he felt on Twitter, Drake poked fun with a post on Instagram, his caption stating, “Plot twist…just signed a 10 year residency at Camp Flog Gnaw sorry kids see you EVERY SINGLE YEAR till you are 30.”
Following this occurrence, there is much debate about if the fans’ disappointment was justifiable or not. While some may have been disappointed with Drake’s appearance when they were expecting Ocean, did this give them the right to boo the artist off stage? The concept of a surprise artist is that, as stated in the name, they are meant to surprise the audience. Just because the featured artist may not be who fans expected, they were still getting a performance by an extremely popular rapper. This makes their boos seem somewhat excessive and unwarranted, and one would hope that this kind of reaction does not become as common as the inclusion of surprise guests themselves.
From the Archives: Red Hearse Album Reflection
by The Cowl Editor on October 31, 2019
Arts & Entertainment
Learning About Love and Collaboration in Music
by: Peter Keough ’20 A&E Co-Editor
In today’s music industry, collaborations are often saddled with large expectations and surrounded by excitement. Whether fans are waiting for the next DJ Khaled-produced album of star-saturated hits or enjoying Ed Sheeran’s newest album No.6 Collaborations Project, the coming together of artists to create songs cooperatively is undoubtedly a popular phenomenon. Due to the aforementioned expectations, however, the process of making these kinds of projects can become complicated and muddled, all in the pursuit of making the perfect song.
This kind of perfectionist attitude is exactly what Red Hearse sought to avoid on their self-titled debut project, Red Hearse. Comprised of singer/songwriter/producer/multi-instrumentalist Jack Antonoff of fun. and Bleachers fame, Grammy-winning and Top Dawg Entertainment-affiliated producer Sounwave, and singer-songwriter Sam Dew, Red Hearse was formed more out of coincidence than intention.
In an Instagram post from June 26, Antonoff wrote about the simplistic approach the group took to creating music. Speaking on himself, Sounwave, and Dew, he stated, “We’d meet ever[y] once in a while in California at the studio. We don’t think much about what we are gonna do, we just make a plan to meet.” Continuing on, he claimed, “[S]omething that we loved came from the three of us in that room…Red Hearse is the sound of the 3 of us in a room. I love that about these songs.” Antonoff’s main point in this post was to describe how, through the simple act of getting these three artists in a room together, they were able to produce something cohesive and noteworthy.
Although Sam Dew, Jack Antonoff, and Sounwave come from disparate musical backgrounds, their expertise in songwriting, instrumentation, and producing respectively come together to create a cohesive sound.
“Half Love,” the first track off of Red Hearse, sets the tone for the rest of the project. Heavy bass synths, no doubt a product of Sounwave’s experience with the likes of Kendrick Lamar, outline the catchy chorus of Dew, “Cause everybody’s playin’ it loose, but / What if we were real with it? / ‘Cause honestly / I’m just too good for that half love / Now that you’ve been feelin’ it too / Ah, admit the truth / Never gonna love another like you.”
The group replicates this formula throughout the rest of the album to reinvent the typical R&B sound while pushing the theme of love to the forefront. On “You Make It Easy,” Antonoff reflects on the effects of being in love, singing, “Now I’ll never want another / You left a mark that just can’t come off / Now I’ll never want another / Never learn my lesson.”
Although the lyrics sound cliché, they actually paint a sophisticated picture of love. Antonoff and company look at love through the past, present, and future. It is a complicated phenomenon which gives life when it is received but also haunts when it is unrequited. Like Antonoff and Dew sing in “Everybody Wants You,” “Feels like I’ve been burnin’ up on the coldest day, uh, mm / Feels like I’m comin’ up on a perfect moment, take a moment / But you don’t ‘cause you don’t want it, uh / ‘Cause everybody wants you.”
Yet the beauty of this album’s story lies in the resilience of the protagonist. In the standout “Born to Bleed,” Antonoff and Dew sing, “You can cut me, doesn’t matter / All the better / I was born to bleed / You can’t do too much damage / I can manage all the same to me / ‘Cause I’m a healer / That can bring me back to life.”
Overall, Red Hearse is a collaborative experiment about an extremely personal experience. Each artist uses their own sound to bring light to the ups and downs of love. In its own way, the album demonstrates the power of coming together to talk through struggle but also the ability of individuals to practice self-care.
Burgers, Beers, and Dune-Buggies
by The Cowl Editor on October 24, 2019
The Abbey Reinvents Itself With Renovations, Menu Changes
by Patrick Fuller ’21, Peter Keough ’20 A&E Co-Editors
A desert adventure company in Fountain Hills, AZ and the Providence burger bar The Abbey have one thing in common: the owners. Michelle and Jay Hoff own Desert Dog Adventure Tours, a company which rents out jeeps, hummers, buggies, and dirt bikes to tourists looking to explore the arid Arizona desert. At the same time, they oversee The Abbey, going on twenty years of ownership together.
While one might think the distance affects the owners’ connection to The Abbey, Michelle Hoff emphasized over the phone how The Abbey has made “a little name for itself” through the years. Halfway across the country, she bonds with Desert Dog customers over the intimate burger bar on Admiral Street in Providence, RI.
Perhaps The Abbey makes such an impression due to its comfortable, welcoming atmosphere, an element of the restaurant which manager Katie Hawksley successfully improved with recent renovations. She explained how the week of July 4, 2019 gave The Abbey an opportunity to reinvent its ambiance, exchanging clunky individual tables for high rise bar tops. This seating change, along with new sports memorabilia and beer advertisements lining the main wall, created a social environment for customers to mingle over a drink.
Yet the interior of the restaurant was not the only thing updated. New food menus bearing bright red and black text fit the restaurant logo’s artistic style. Clean new burger menus replaced the worn-down laminated booklets of old. Hawksley has even committed to letting patrons know which beers are currently on draft, as well as which ones are coming soon in a new section of the drink menu.
Regardless of the changes, Hawksley maintains strong relationships with the local community. The Abbey has hosted Providence College hockey radio shows since 2002. Beyond this continued bond, The Abbey always welcomes PC’s various faculty, staff, and students.
Hawksley’s commitment to local vendors and breweries is most inspiring. The restaurant offers craft beers from Smug Brewing Company in Pawtucket (Short and Stout vanilla chai stout), Foolproof Brewing Company in Pawtucket, Newport Craft Brewing, Proclamation Ale Company in Warwick (Tendril New England IPA), and Beer on Earth in Providence (Mental Math session IPA) among others. Hawksley gushed over All The Way Up, a raspberry blueberry sour beer from Mast Landing Brewing Company in Maine.
This commitment to local sourcing also extends to much of the food offered. Hawksley pointed out various menu items like pretzel-wrapped pickles and peppers made by local group Twisted Pickle Company, as well as a beef stew that includes a local stout worked into the broth.
Familiar favorite appetizers like the beer battered mozzarella sticks and bacon aki!!!, a twist on traditional chicken teriyaki, continue to shine. The steakhouse flatbread, topped with bacon, mozzarella cheese, tenderloin tips, arugula, and balsamic drizzle is a sophisticated alternative for those not ready to dive into The Roadhouse, a 12-ounce burger topped with Wisconsin Gruyére cheese, bacon, onion rings, caramelized onions, and garlic mayonnaise on a grilled onion roll.
These dishes, amongst many others, continue to demonstrate The Abbey’s dedication to the greater Providence community. Even with a revamped interior and fresh new menu items, The Abbey continues to be a staple of community-sourced cuisine for the local area.
Shared Introspection: Kevin Abstract’s Album ARIZONA BABY
by The Cowl Editor on May 2, 2019
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
When dreaming of making it big, it would be normal to assume that achieving fame would solve all of one’s problems. For rapper and pioneering member of the BROCKHAMPTON collective Kevin Abstract, born Clifford Ian Simpson, this was certainly a mindset he maintained during his early career. He thought that if he was able to gain a following and make a name for himself, everything would be okay. On his new solo album, ARIZONA BABY, he wants to make it clear that, unfortunately, this was not the case for him.
His first solo work since 2016’s American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story, ARIZONA BABY strips back much of the upbeat and brash energy that Abstract has brought to a lot of BROCKHAMPTON’s output in recent years. In a tweet from April 16, Abstract claimed he was releasing his own individual work because “some s**t is too personal / self indulgent to put on a group album.” Instead of feeling as if the listener is meant to be on a dance floor or jumping around in a mosh pit, the songs on this album make one feel as if they are sitting alongside Abstract, listening to him tell his own story.
While this puts Abstract at the forefront of each and every song on the work, it certainly does not leave him working on his own on ARIZONA BABY. Produced by himself, Jack Antonoff, and BROCKHAMPTON’s Romil Hemnani and Jabari Manwa, much of the album was conceived and carried out in the company of familiar friends. It also boasts features from BROCKHAMPTON members Joba and bearface, as well as Antonoff, Ryan Beatty, and up-and-coming artist Dominic Fike. With this collection of producers, performers, and friends, Abstract was able to piece together a truly individualistic and distinct work.
The manner in which this work was released was also of great interest to fans of Abstract’s work. Instead of releasing the complete 11-track-long work all at once, Abstract decided to release it in smaller EPs over the course of a three week period between April 11 and April 25. These EPs, entitled ARIZONA baby and Ghettobaby, were each accompanied by a music video as well as the promise of more music in the near future. Following the release of the full album on April 25, Abstract staged what could be called a performance art piece as well. Entitled “#THE1999,” he livestreamed himself walking on a treadmill outside of his childhood home in Corpus Christi, Texas for 10 straight hours while fans and supporters came to interact with him.
Each of these EPs, art pieces, and the album as a whole contain one continuous theme that runs as a thread throughout. This is the choice of Kevin Abstract to bare his psyche and thoughts to the world through the release of ARIZONA BABY. With this project, he was able to create something extremely intimate, and provided the world with the luxury of being able to listen to it and hear what he has to say. Fame has not provided Kevin Abstract with a solution to all of his problems, but it has given him a following with which he can share himself.
Not So Private Lives: TDF’s Take on Moon Over Buffalo
by The Cowl Editor on April 11, 2019
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
Some works created for the theater are meant to evoke deep and personal feelings, ranging from sadness, to longing, to passion. Others may be meant to foster some sort of awe or spectacle in the viewer’s mind. And others, well, are meant to evoke gut-busting laughter. The Providence College Department of Theatre, Dance, and Film’s current production of Ken Ludwig’s Moon Over Buffalo, without question, falls firmly into the last of those categories.
Based on the 1995 comic work created by playwright Ludwig, PC’s production of Moon Over Buffalo, directed by Brett Epstein, is certainly a comedic force. Based in 1953 in Buffalo, New York, the story follows aging performers George and Charlotte Hay as they put on shows at their local repertory theater, The Erlanger. Played by Thomas Edwards ’20 and Julia DiBari ’19, the story highlights this duo’s dysfunctional relationship and their acting careers. Besides this married couple, the rest of the cast is comprised of their daughter Rosalind/Roz (Aisling Sheahan ’19), Roz’s fiancé Howard (Ryan Worrell ’22), elderly mother Ethel (Caprial Harris ’19), stagehand Paul (Steven Sawan ’20), actress Eileen (Halle Pratt ’22), and wealthy lawyer Richard (William Oser ’19). All together, this cast of characters interacts in ways that would make even the most humorless audience member chuckle.
Much of the play develops through different varieties of chaos, as the characters experience confusion, mistaken identities, drunkenness, betrayal, and much more. It is a wonderful blend of setups, punchlines, running gags, and situational comedy that all comes together to form one smart, wacky plot. The cast pulls this off seamlessly, shifting from drunken monologues to physical gags and more with ease.
While much of Moon Over Buffalo is meant to make the audience cackle in their seats, there is another aspect to the plot that adds a somewhat introspective layer to the production as a whole. Not only does the show follow the antics of a theatre troupe, but the staging also presents these characters in the green room of their very theater. These choices, along with many dialogues and jokes on the topic of acting and life in the theater, create a meta layer to Moon Over Buffalo. Much of the issues that drive the characters’ motivations stem from their life in theater, as they either want to break free from it or hold on to it with all they have.
This reflective facet of the production works in tandem with the sharp comedic motif that drives it, as the viewer is able to crack up one minute and think about the subtle implications of some of the jokes the next. Neither outshines the other; instead, each of these driving aspects works in unison through the superb acting of the student performers and creates a production that is bright and entertaining. The cast will be putting on three more performances of the show at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 as well as Sunday, April 14 at 2 p.m. Tickets are on sale online and at the Smith Center ticket office for anyone interested in a humor-filled spectacle.
Stagediving, Sweat, and Support
by The Cowl Editor on April 4, 2019
Mom Jeans and Company Bring Life to The Met
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
“It’s kind of weird that there hasn’t been any stagediving yet, right? First person to stage dive gets a free t-shirt!” These were the first words spoken by Kory Gregory, lead singer of the alternative/punk band Prince Daddy & The Hyena as he took the stage late on Friday, March 29. Less than five minutes later, the crowd at a Pawtucket music venue, The Met, was jumping, moshing, and bouncing all over the stage and dance floor.
This sort of semi-organized chaos is perhaps the most accurate way to describe the night as a whole, as it persisted through each of the four separate sets performed by the bands hosted. From the first set by the Montclair, New Jersey-band, Hit Like A Girl, through the dance-filled performance by the Michigan-bred band, Mover Shaker, not one member of the crowd opted to stand still. This energy built and built throughout the night, culminating with the headlining set by Berkeley, California’s Mom Jeans.
None of the bands lacked energy either, as each ripped through their sets with passion and flair to spare. Hit Like A Girl fervently screamed their lyrics into the crowd, while Mover Shaker strutted and spun their way around the stage, shredding impassioned guitar solos and swelling synthesized grooves. The members of Prince Daddy & The Hyena, besides having one of the more interesting band names in today’s music landscape, built on each other’s energy and provided fans with the perfect soundtrack to their crowd surfing and stagediving.
When the headliners finally took the stage, Mom Jeans’ lead singer Eric Butler spoke about the show and the tour as a whole, focusing mainly on the people around him. He spoke not only about his gratitude for the fans, but also for the other bands who embarked on tour with Mom Jeans, and “how f*****g cool it is to actually be on tour with your best friends.” This kinship between the bands was evident throughout the show, as members of supporting bands often stood towards the back of the stage and sang along with whichever band was performing at the time.
This often ventured past backstage support, as members of these bands would run on and off stage to sing choruses, rip guitar solos, or even play the trombone. It was often difficult to figure out where one band ended and the next began, and this made the sets that much more special and entertaining for all.
The clear support of each of the bands towards each other and the crowd of fans was exemplified not only in their shared stage presence, but also in the promotion of a charity founded by the members of Hit Like A Girl. Called “No More Dysphoria,” this nonprofit seeks to assist transgender and genderqueer individuals with their difficult and expensive transitions. Each band made sure to promote this nonprofit, and in doing so showed not only their concern for one another, but for often-marginalized members of our society who could use the recognition and support.
By the end of the show, the audience was left with sore limbs, ringing ears, and smiles on their faces. But throughout all of the lively and raucous performances, one thing was abundantly clear: these bands were more than grateful to be performing with each other and for their audience, who was extremely happy to have them there.
Stepping Into the Spotlight
by The Cowl Editor on March 7, 2019
Producer and Composer Ludwig Göransson’s Winning Season
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
Having a name like Ludwig in the music industry is a predetermined invitation for comparison. Sharing this nomenclature with one of the most recognized composers of all time, Ludwig van Beethoven, leaves any other artist with rather large shoes to fill. However, with multiple Grammy and Oscar award wins over the past few weeks, 34-year-old composer and producer, Ludwig Göransson, is certainly making a name for himself.
Born in Sweden, Göransson attended the University of Southern California in the mid-2000s to study film and television scoring. It was during his college years that he made two of the most important connections that would later influence his career. Göransson forged friendships with both Donald Glover, known as Childish Gambino, and fellow USC student, Ryan Coogler.
Göransson’s work with Glover helped kick-start his musical career, as he worked closely with the musician to help write and produce almost all of his early work. This includes Gambino’s 2010 debut album, Camp, 2013 follow-up Because the Internet, and 2016’s critically acclaimed Awaken, My Love! It was his work on this most recent album that earned Göransson his first Grammy nominations.
Although these nominations did not secure a win, it would only be two years later that Göransson would begin to garner more than nominations and acclaim. Through his college friendship with Coogler, Göransson was given the chance to begin scoring films which caught the attention of the public. His scores for Coogler’s films Fruitvale Station, Creed, and Creed II began to popularize Göransson in the scoring world.
It was not until this past year, however, that Göransson’s worlds of composition and producing collided on some of the biggest critical stages in Hollywood. His score for Coogler’s cultural phenomenon Black Panther earned him nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Grammys for Best Original Score and Best Score Soundtrack for Visual Media. This time, Göransson’s work netted him not only nominations, but also wins, as he took home the Oscar and Grammy in these categories.
At the same time, Göransson’s production on Childish Gambino’s omnipresent cultural zeitgeist track, “This Is America,” earned the pair Grammy nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year. Winning in each of these categories, Göransson only continued to build on his victorious run this awards season.
When interviewed by Rodney Carmichael of NPR, Göransson was asked about what exactly is garnering his public recognition now as opposed to during his earlier work. He responded by claiming, “We’re not doing anything different than we did 10 years ago…We’re still doing the same thing. People are just listening to it in a different way.” Göransson is simply continuing to work as he always has, bringing his creativity and skill to the projects he works on. In doing so, Göransson is effectively solidifying himself as a talent across mediums and as a name to look out for in the future of film and music.
Dueling Pianos: A Barroom Trend Comes to McPhail’s
by The Cowl Editor on February 28, 2019
by Peter Keough ’20 A&E Staff
During a weekend reserved for togetherness and celebration of bonds between Providence College students, families, and alumni, the last thing one would expect to bring people together is any kind of duel. However, on the night of Friday, February 22, a certain type of duel unified the College in PC’s own bar, McPhail’s. This duel, of course, did not feature any sort of weaponry or physical combat. Instead, each member was equipped with their voice, a sense of humor, and a piano.
As part of the weekend’s festivities, PC sponsored a Dueling Pianos event for all who were gathered on campus for the weekend. With each of their red and black pianos set up side-by-side on the stage in McPhail’s, the two participants immediately fostered interaction with the crowd. Stating that their show ran on the requests of the public, they slyly added, “Hopefully nothing slow or sad, though” with a smile. This established the performers’ sense of humor, which they implemented throughout their performance in order to connect with the crowd.
The two talented pianists exercised their range during the entire duration of the show, accommodating as many requests as accurately as they could. This set list ran the gamut of genres, including anything from classic rock, contemporary alternative, country, hip-hop, rap, and more. Songs such as “Great Balls of Fire,” “Radioactive,” “Just a Friend,” and plenty of Billy Joel tunes made appearances during the set.
Each performance included both teamwork between the two pianists, as well as a personal spin added to the song in order to make it more entertaining for the crowd. Not only did this personal stamp entail some improvisation and altered lyrics during songs, but also occasional costumes and assistance from other parties. Whether this meant a convincing Elton John hat and glasses for a rendition of “Crocodile Rock,” or the assistance of a crowd member on the tambourine, the two performers were certainly comfortable getting creative with their work.
The inclusion of this type of show during this weekend at PC was successful on multiple levels. For one, this sort of entertainment has been rising in popularity in bars around the country. Bringing it into McPhail’s for a night was guaranteed to engage and please any crowd that attended, from students, to parents, and alumni.
The other level that this performance worked well on, though, has more to do with the theme of the Alumni & Family Weekend. Ultimately, PC uses this weekend as an opportunity to gather the extended Friar Family on campus and celebrate the bonds that the school is able to create and foster. By including a Dueling Pianos performance, which makes collective participation and community central aspects of its show, PC was able to effectively highlight these bonds that it is able to create. Whether a student, parent, sibling, or alum, every guest at this event sang along with the performers. In doing so, the Friar Family had a lot of fun.