Arts & Culture, Campus

First Open Mic of 2016 Brings New Talent to the Stage

Last Sunday marked the first Open Mic Night of 2016 at King’s Academy. Held in the Gallery, the performances came in all variations: poems, dances, rap, stand-up comedy, music and song—including some tasteless lyrics about a certain slain gorilla.

It was Sam Bachelor whose performance made the audience laugh before the song even began. While playing his guitar, Sam sang about how sad he was about Harambe’s death and how we all missed him so much. (One of the key lines: “I wish they took the mother’s life instead of yours.”) Throughout the song, Sam tried his best to look sad and depressed over the loss of Harambe, to which the audience reacted with bursts of laughter.

A more personal yet still comedic performance was Hashim Khalayleh’s personal short narratives about stupidity, describing the stupid things he did and saw during the breaks of Eid. The comedy routine began with Hashim carrying his bean bag through the hallway of his home as he wonders, “What’s in the bean bag?” And like a curious and enthusiastic seven-year-old, he rips open the bean bag and all the beads fall out. He then describes his cousin who licked his lips like a stalker and asked Hashim in an excited manner to give him Eid money. This was the part of the night when the audience in the Gallery laughed most.

Hashim had actually practiced on me the night before the performance. The big comedian knocks on my door after check in; I open it and he politely asks me if I can listen to his performance. During and after his performance I pointed out a few areas for improvement, like the clarity of the story and the organization of his descriptions of the events. But the most prominent improvement in his performance in the Gallery was his confidence.

“Practice makes Perfect” is what came to mind when I watched the first performance of the newly formed K-pop group Kanafeh Club with choreography by April Lin, Zhilin Yuan, Xu Huang, and Qingyi Lou. The group also has a Facebook page where they will post their future choreographies, and they mentioned they might even perform in a festival in Amman. As a newly formed group, their first performance was impressive, despite a few lapses in timing. Another problem was that the volume of the music wasn’t loud enough, making the choreography awkward as the audience was able to hear feet tapping on the floor. On the other hand, dancer Mohammad Alqudah took the audience by surprise, showing his slick moves on the dance floor to a high-volume, high-energy soundtrack.

There were a lot of song covers and musical pieces, most notably “My Heart Will Go On” from the 1995 blockbuster Titanic. The performance started off with Kareem Fanous ’20 on the violin as Nadine Jarrar ’20 made a dramatic entrance walking down the spiral stairs of the Gallery as she sang. Tiamike Dudley then decided to take on the challenge of rapping “Imaginary Places” by Busdriver at a remarkable rate of 320 words per minute.

The most serious, emotional, and personal performances of the night were the poems, many of which addressed racism, human rights, religious tolerance, war, and Palestine. Hadeel Al-Shawwa recited an inspirational poem about rising up from the ashes of despair to fight back once again against the challenges you face. Zaid Amarat ’19 also read an interesting poem consisting of a conversation in Arabic between a Bedouin and a tourist on nationalism, with English sprinkled in.

This Open Mic was a great start to the school year and will hopefully open doors for talented new students willing to give a shot at Open Mic, creating rising stars.