Photo: Heather Boone
The 2011 International Night was an evening of upbeat music, dramatic dancing, theatrics and even some romance. The theme for International Night, which took place on Saturday, Jan. 29, in Sheslow Auditorium, was “Memoirs of the World” and centered around a skit about a man named Chuck Lee who suffers from amnesia after a car accident.
As Chuck is recovering from the incident, he dreams about memories from his childhood and slowly gains his memory back. These “dreams” are performances put on by international students which depict a part of their culture.
“I hope that people will appreciate our cultures more,” said International Student Association President Earl Lee. “Our performances are examples of how we are raised at home.”
International Night is an annual event organized by the International Student Association. The night was opened by Ian Wong playing “Falling Slowly” on the piano.
“I didn’t practice at all before the event because I was asked to perform last minute. I didn’t decide till I got on stage that I wanted to play ‘Falling Slowly,’” said Wong.
The night continued with two traditional Chinese dances, the second being the Lion Dance, in which performers mimic a lion’s movements in a lion costume. This performance portrayed Chuck’s childhood memory of attending the Chinese New Year festival in Shanghai City, China.
Following the Lion Dance was a tango, an illustration of Chuck’s high school memory in which he won Prom King.
A Korean pop song followed the tango. The program then continued with Sam Hoonsuwan playing the ‘khim’ a Thai musical instrument, accompanied by Shayaparan Raman playing the piano. Together, they play renditions of Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” and Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are.”
“I’ve never performed a Lady Gaga song before,” said Raman. “I loved it.”
After Hoonsuwan and Raman finished, there was a classical Indian and a Bollywood dance, in which the students were dressed in vibrant traditional costumes. This depicted Chuck’s adult memory of visiting India and meeting Raj, his close friend and also the doctor who saved his life, for the first time.
Next was an African dance, portraying Chuck’s memory of the 2010 World Cup Final, where he met Sarah, his fiancé, whom he doesn’t remember.
Following the World Cup was a Jamaican dance, which portrayed Chuck’s memory of going on vacation in Jamaica, where his car accident occured. The student performances were concluded with salsa dancing and opera singing.
“The purpose of International Night is to showcase cultures represented at Drake and encourage individuals to appreciate the diverse background of our students, faculty and staff,” said Lee.
As the skit about Chuck Lee ends, he remembers Sarah and rushes to Milan where she is managing a fashion show. After all the international students put on a fashion show depicting the traditional garments of several countries, Chuck runs on stage and proposes to Sarah.
After observing songs and dances representing the countries of the international students, those who attended the event traveled to Parents Hall in Upper Olmsted to enjoy a reception featuring ethnic dishes. The menu included sushi, biryani, indomie goring, coconut chicken, beef fricassee, tamales and much more. Much of the food was cooked by Drake international students, while other dishes were catered from local restaurants.
“There are so many different nationalities at Drake and we can all find ways to represent our countries,” said performer Ye-Ji Hwang, still dressed from the fashion show in a hanbok, the national costume of Korea.