The Student News Site of Taipei American School




Getting Creative at Cultural Convention


Walk past the blackbox theatre after school and you’ll spot a group of students wielding guns, laughing, screaming, and crying.
Don’t worry though, this isn’t a lock down. These students are the drama delegates selected to participate in the annual IASAS Cultural Convention.  This year, art, dance, and drama will be held at SAS, debate and forensics at ISM, and music at ISB.
The TAS senior drama ensemble will be performing a self-written piece, “Bullet in the Brain”, based on a short story by Tobias Wolff. In this play, a cynical man gets shot at a bank robbery. The rest of the play narrates his memories as the bullet rushes through his head.
“The cast interacts super well with each other,” said Zachary Verne (11). “The hardest part is coming up with believable dialogue while keeping the actions of the cast consistent.” While the production has always been run by Mr. Edwards and Mr. Franklin, students this year have more free reign to make it their own piece.
Just like the drama team, this year’s IASAS dance delegates are choreographing most of their piece by themselves. The dancers are working on a piece about human interaction, using water as the metaphor.
“It’s about how water comes together and goes apart; how it can be calm or steamy or turbulent: just like human relationships,” said Ms. Flemming, Upper School dance teacher.
Not everyone wants to take center stage. Eric Peng (11), one of the tech delegates for Dance and Drama, found his niche behind the scenes. He’s in charge of lights, sound, and props. Even  though he has to attend every rehearsal, “the shows are always slightly different, so it keeps things refreshing.”
Eric is really looking forward to meeting new people at IASAS. “It’s cool how people from completely different places, living completely different lives, are joined together to do the same thing.”
This year, music delegates will be traveling to ISB. Music categories include piano, vocals, band, and string.

 Vocal delegates practice around 6 hours a week, perfecting both their individual solos and their vocal octet, or group pieces. Delegate Jeffrey Liao (11) first joined IASAS music as an alternate delegate in his freshman year but is now traveling for the second year in a row as a tenor. “There are some things that you can’t describe through conversational language,” said Jeffrey. “Each note a composer writes is there for a reason and signifies something. Music can express things words can’t express.” At the convention, he looks forward to singing in a mass choir. “It’s really powerful and exciting!” he said.
IASAS art delegate Alex Chen (11) is currently working on a digital art piece. It features a robot, Crisis Use Dangerous Life Emulator (C.U.D.L.E), who saves a little girl from a bomb explosion by sacrificing himself. Nina Hsu (12), another art delegate, can’t wait for Cultural Convention. ”It’s going to be so much fun attending the various workshops with other artists, and being part of critiques for developing my artistic techniques!” she said.

While all the events showcase talent, debate and forensics also bring out the competitive side of students.  The yearly categories are original oratory, impromptu speaking, extemporaneous speaking, oral interpretation, and debate.
Jeremiah Hsu (10) is on the extemporaneous speaking team, where delegates have 30 minutes to write a 5-7 minute speech on a current event. He believes that one of the most important factors to public speaking is confidence. “Fake it ‘till you make it,” he said.
Another delegate Anjoli Guha (11), participates in original oratory and oral interpretation. She remembers the first time speaking in front of a large crowd at Cultural Convention last year. “It was honestly pretty terrifying,” said Anjoli. “The best moment was the first time the crowd laughed. I was actually a little taken aback because until that point, I hadn’t heard people really reacting to the speech. But once I realized that laughter is a good thing, all the nervousness disappeared and I ended up just really enjoying myself.”
IASAS Cultural Convention will be held March 4-8. Be sure to watch the live streams to support your fellow tigers!

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