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Blak Images mixes culture and entertainment

Observer Scene | Monday, November 7, 2005

Saturday, the Black Cultural Arts Council (BCAC) staged its annual variety show, Blak Images. Held in Washington Hall, the show celebrated the splendor and variety of black culture through poetry, singing, as well as dancing.

A Notre Dame inspired version of R. Kelly’s 12-part hip-hopera, “Trapped in the Closet,” was the driving force of the program. Between the various acts, actors Joyce Randall and Andrew Right staged adapted scenes of the talked about saga in which a wife finds out her husband is sleeping with a male churchgoer.

Dubbed as “Trapped in the Dorm Room,” the two main characters, Katie and Bruce Leroy, try to spend an intimate evening together watching a movie. However, LaFawnduh, Katie’s roommate interrupts the two and tries to make the moves on Leroy. After successfully getting rid of LaFawnduh, Katie and Leroy fall asleep and break parietals. In a hilarious moment, Katie’s RA, after being tipped off by LaFawnduh, finds Leroy hiding in a wardrobe, keeping in line with the fact that Notre Dame students do not have closets.

The RA questions Bruce LeRoy in a manner that suggests that the two had a previous relationship. Katie pulls out a gun and demands to know how the RA and Leroy know each other so well. The twist to the story reveals that the two are adopted brother and sister.

Towards the end of the series of skits, the RA finds a used Trojanz condom, which received one of the biggest audience reactions. Finally, LaFawnduh reveals she planted the contraceptive because she is in love with Katie.

Confusing? Yes. Amusing? Quite so.

Ultimately, the scenes captured all the drama and emotion of Kelly’s production with Deanna Colvin doing a commendable job as both narrator and Kelly stand-in. The scenes also kept the packed house at bay between set changes. It also covered the fact that there was no emcee.

Harmonia, a group consisting of 12 Caucasian females delivered the evening’s first performance. The singing group serenaded the audience with their acappela rendition of Annie Lennox’s “Walking on Broken Glass.” As the group’s name suggests, the harmonies were beautiful, but the rendition seemed to lose the soulfulness of Lennox’s version.

Senior Price Lowe presented a touching piece entitled “Powerful Beyond Measure.” The reading was an excerpt from Nelson Mandela’s 1994 Inaugural Speech, which encouraged listeners to recognize their intrinsic value as human beings.

Troop ND, an all-girl dance troupe presented a set called “Take it to the Floor.” The hip-hop inspired set was a far cry from what the audience saw a year ago from the group. They seemed to be more precise in their movements, but that could have been because they were limited to three minutes for their set.

The surprise of the evening may have been the Notre Dame/Saint Mary’s Irish Dance Team. As the last act of the first half of the show they tapped to Trick Daddy’s “Sugar.” The dance was clearly a melding of cultures that worked well judging by the audience’s reaction.

The second half of the show assumed a much more serious tone as BCAC took the opportunity to honor the recently deceased Rosa Parks. Many audience members in attendance may not have known the entire story surrounding Parks heroic stand, and, thus, the reading served as education and inspiration.

Two poets, Casey Stanton and Kellie Middleton, presented poems that questioned today’s culture. They invited the audience to “stand for something” and at the same time recognize the importance of the moment.

The final performers were the First Class Ladies Step Team. Always the showstopper, the group did not disappoint. They received a standing ovation for their set.

Overall, Blak Images presented a mix of entertainment and more serious issues using the “Trapped in a Closet” to drive the show forward.