Creative open mic ‘Cafe Noir’ features talented acts


Kameron Schmid

Native American studies major and improvisational actor Jonathon Milby had multiple audience members in tears of laughter with his 15-minute improv set.

Kameron Schmid and Kameron Schmid

With performances in multiple styles, including song, poetry, improvisation and acting, Theater Arts Club’s first “Cafe Noir” of the semester, which took place on Nov. 4, was a fun way for the artistically inclined to practice their craft in a front of a live crowd of about two dozen students and faculty.

“Cafe Noir is basically an open mic, where we give anybody who wants to perform a platform, whether it be music, singing, dancing, acting, comedy, or anything,” said Cody Alexander, club president.

Alexander explained that Cafe Noir was made to offer students a “safe and creative environment” for ARC performers to show their stuff.

Juliana Nassr, who handles public relations for the club, said, “It’s basically about helping people feel great about their talent and be able to show it.”

The audience turnout and performances were “amazing,” according to Alexander.

There were thirteen acts in total, including readings of both poetry and short fiction writing, singing, instrumental music, and acting, both scripted and unscripted.

Art New Media student Mary-Ann Myers told a Native American folktale about the origin of the flute, while playing a handcrafted flute.

“It was a great insight into their culture,” said Raven B. Jones, a theatre arts major.

Jones also performed twice through the night, first singing a duet from the broadway musical “Chicago,” with her partner, Wylisha Walton. Jones later read a monologue as well.

ARC Native American studies major and improv actor Jonathan Milby had some attendees in tears of laughter with his one-man improv set, based in a Japanese tea garden that turned out to be an elaborate ruse intended to trap mountaineers.

Los Rios Student Trustee Omba Kipuke played two piano pieces, and referred to his play as “wordless poetry,” in reference to previous poets who preceded him.

Kipuke’s first piece was his own, and his second was “Bella’s Lullaby,” from the Twilight film series, originally composed by Carter Burwell, which Kipuke called “the most beautiful piece of music I have ever heard played on a piano.”

Nassr was enthusiastic about the creativity shown by the participants.

“I liked that so many of the pieces were original and came from the students themselves,” said Nassr.

Pastries and drinks were free at Cafe Noir, but donations were accepted to help fund the upcoming Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, a yearly gathering of collegiate actors and theater technicians that features competitions, workshops, and social gatherings.

ARC’s theater program is a member of district seven of the KCACTF organization, which will be meeting during the spring semester in Ellensburg, Was., and hosted by Central Washington University.

Donations to TAC will go to funding ARC’s actors trip to Washington and their stay there. Most attendees from ARC will be there to compete for the Irene Ryan scholarship, for which multiple actors from ARC’s theater productions have been nominated.

“They have to travel, and these are college students, so they need the money,” said Alexander.

Profits from concessions sales at ARC theater events also go towards KCACTF funding.