Zachary Charles Gatland III, a freshman physics and astronomy double major, heard his name, signifying his cue to take the stage.
His heartbeat hastened, with nervousness and excitement creating a collision of emotions.
The spotlight hit him, audience members watching and waiting. Left with no other choice, he steadied his breathing, grabbed the mic and began.
Kreativity Diversity Troupe held an open mic night at the Cafritz Foundation Theater at The Clarice Friday. Students from all walks of life showcased their talents, where singers, poets, comedians and tap dancers performed on stage to a crowd of more than 30.
Gatland amuses audience members with original stand-up comedy. (Trey Sherman/Bloc Reporter)
Founded in 1995, Kreativity is an all inclusive diverse university performing arts troupe, filled with members who write, direct, produce and perform unique and original work. The troupe presents at least one open mic per semester as well as a “big show,” a performance that features a compilation of original pieces by kreative members.
Tiziano D’Affuso, a senior theater major and troupe member, said he looks forward to the open mics because it allows those who aren’t a part of the group to showcase their talent.
“It’s a safe space to just come and do what you do best – or even what you don’t do best – and get feedback,” D’Affuso said.
Che Shabazz performs an energetic tap dance routine. (Trey Sherman/Bloc Reporter)
The event gives audience members the opportunity to interact with the performers – dancing, singing and joking alongside them. It also allows attendants to perform on the spot if they are feeling particularly inspired.
“When [the audience] first start laughing, you get more comfortable,” Gatland said. “You’re like, ‘All right, I can do this,’ and it gets easier.”
Gatland said this was his first performance at the open-minded venue, where he was able to showcase his comedy routine without being censored.
“I first got into stand up over the last year,“ Gatland said. “I did [stand-up] at my high school talent show, but, because of censorship, I wasn’t able to perform all my material.”
Sam Elmore plays some tunes on his guitar. (Trey Sherman/Bloc Reporter)
This year, the troupe is gaining more traction.
“I went to the last Kreativity event and this was definitely a better turnout,” journalism freshman Emily Forcillo said. “It was good to see more people come out to support it.”
Being “kreative,” redefines the word “diversity.”
“Diversity – we don’t look at it just based on race, but also culture, skill performance, and talent,” junior theater major and a Kreativity member Avery Collins said. “We like to diversify among a lot of things.”
Daisy-Nelly Nji is a junior journalism major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.