In a school as large as Columbia, it is rare that any event features students from across undergraduate and graduate schools. CU Live: Talent Showcase, hosted by the Office of University Life Events Council, however, managed to produce a wide cross section of students in Miller Theatre on Wednesday night.
The performers and their featured acts were similarly diverse. Serena Lin, Journalism, combined classical and modern Chinese dance in a unique fusion dance; Fatima Koli, Data Science Institute ’19, spoke about her heartbreak, as she had been robbed of her connections with her native country India.
Other performances included stand-up comedy by graduate students Nelson Lin, SEAS ’19, and Teddy Corcoran, SIPA ’19. For his act, Corcoran made up a chance encounter with University President Lee Bollinger and recited a play that he “received” from Bollinger during this encounter. The audience was not always responsive, but both comedians made an effort to engage and entertain—Corcoran even appeared in a bathrobe. In between many of the acts, Roar-ee came out to give out raffle prizes, including Amazon gift cards and a pair of Bose headphones.
The two standout acts of the night were a spoken word recitation by Nestor Almeida, Law ’20, and a vocal performance by Livy Tang, CC ’18, at the conclusion of the show. Almeida kept the room silently awaiting every word as he recited an original poem about a dream about the father he never knew. Tang, joking at the beginning of her show that she was only allowed to perform because of her talented accompanist, blew the room away with her emotionally charged and expressive voice.
While the talent show showcased both student talent and a diverse student body, the master of ceremonies, Mitchell Schneider, GS, ironically often blundered into the zone of cultural insensitivity. When confronted with names that deviated even slightly from the traditional English canon, Schneider continuously mispronounced or forgot them.
It seemed to start off as an honest mistake, but after several repetitions of the same slip-ups, he tried to turn it into a joke. Unfortunately, it was a joke that the audience could only laugh at awkwardly and with little enthusiasm.
Despite the mishaps of the master of ceremonies, however, the enthusiastic cast of performers made the show an overall success. At the end of the show, as the performers all came out for a last ovation, the audience applauded genuinely and appreciatively. And for the lucky few, there were prizes waiting outside the door.