Sarah Cohen, Staff Writer of The Current
“Each and every performance was unique. Everyone in the room is so talented and being an audience member was an enjoyable experience,” said Brookdale chemistry major, Catherine Rinaldi.
“But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done,” quoted Brookdale creative writing major Mark Berck in his monologue derived from the 2006 Rocky Balboa movie.
“This monologue means a great deal to me, and it reminds me of the importance of a supportive environment like the one we share in the Theater Club. We are continuously learning as a group and becoming better artists without the weight of judgment.”
Berck received a standing ovation for his performance.
Berck is one of 25 Theater Club members that attended the Nov. 15 meeting, an Open Mic session held in the Performing Arts Center. At 11:30 a.m., the floor opened up to a variety of performers including original songwriters, pianists, cover artists, stand-up comedians, storytellers and actors.
Every single act was followed with a roar of applause, generating smiles and feedback throughout the entire room.
For the final act, Theater Club president Aliza Liranzo gathered the attention of audience members with a powerhouse performance of “Burn,” a song taken from the original cast of Hamilton on Broadway. “This is one of my favorite musical songs to perform,” Liranzo said before cueing the music. “The song has my name in it so it’s always fun to sing.”
“I love how we play games and experiment with improv. It is much more fun than sitting down for a long period of time and analyzing scripts as we would if we were in a classroom environment,” said Brookdale music major Sophia Hudek. “It is something new and exciting every single Thursday.” Hudek is one of two singers that debuted an original song about her personal experience with heartbreak during the Open Mic session.
“It’s OK to be nervous. This is a safe and supportive environment. There is no tolerance for bullying in this room. We aren’t in high school anymore. Mean people are not welcome here,” said Liranzo. “I love getting to help people meet new friends, further explore their interests in theater, and make friends along the way. What could be better than that?”
A great sum of Theater Club activities revolve around improvisational experimentation. This is a methodical approach to showcasing one’s individual artistic expression and taste. It requires actors to embody different characters without the help of a script in hand. Improvisational games are intended to be unique each and every time they are played.
A popular activity amongst the actors is an activity based off of the television show, Shark Tank. Participating club members are split up into small groups and within that group are required to come up with an original idea for a play, musical or television show. These ideas are then pitched to the judge panel. The judge panel consists of the Theater Club executive board, led by president Liranzo.
An additional game that receives an influx of participation during Theater Club meetings is an activity called “Freeze.” Groups of two to three actors are given the opportunity to improvise a scene in front of an audience. When an audience member yells “Freeze!” the performing actors are then obligated to pause from continuing the scenario they created. The audience member is then allowed to replace an actor of their choosing and carry out a made-up scene of their own.
The Brookdale Theater Club regularly meets every Thursday at 11:30am in the Performing Arts Center.
For more information about Theater Club and the performing arts program at Brookdale, visit https://www.brookdalecc.edu/pac