Video by Asher Simonson, Video Editor. Thumbnail photo by Caspar Carson, Photo Intern.
The Mandela Room was packed full of formal dresses and suits on Saturday for Asian Night 2022: A Tap Away.
Asian Night is the biggest annual event for Asian organizations on Binghamton University’s campus, courtesy of the Asian Student Union (ASU). This year’s theme, A Tap Away, is a rom-com skit parodying K-dramas, full of charmingly cringe, funny and — most of all — emotional moments. Apart from the video skit, the event included more than 15 performances that have been in the works all semester.
Constance Chen, a sophomore majoring in computer science, and Dechen Pema, a junior majoring in business administration — both co-event coordinators — wrote about the hectic experience of working with and recruiting different performers.
“For performers, we reach out pretty early in the semester to gain interest,” Chen and Pema wrote in an email. “The most important thing we focus on is consistent communication between all parties to ensure that tasks are getting done and deadlines are being met.”
Most of the performers are members of the various cultural organizations of BU. Apart from classic acts such as the Vietnamese fan dance, Taekwondo choreographies and group dances from various E-Boards, this year also brought many unique acts from emerging clubs and solo artists. Shaarang Sawale, cultural chair for the Indian International Student Union (ISU) and a sophomore majoring in computer science, showcased an acoustic guitar performance of “Castle on the Hill.” Additionally, the musical group Sulpoong played the four traditional Korean percussion instruments, and an a capella song was performed by the a capella group No Strings Attached.
Chen and Pema wrote about the pressure of planning an event with such a long history, and why they picked a video medium this year for the skit over playing it live.
“It definitely is difficult to maintain tradition, while also bringing new ideas every year to Asian Night,” Chen and Pema wrote in an email. ”Every year, our [event coordinators] try to think of new ways to make Asian Night unique — whether it’s through inviting new performers or trying a new medium for the skit.”
In the skit’s first act, the first main character, Robin, is under heavy pressure to find an A+ boyfriend from her powerful family, and the second main character, Elias, is so broke he’s fake dating for rent. Throughout the skit, it is revealed that Robin risks losing her inheritance if she doesn’t have an impressive boyfriend, and Elias’ dreams of being an artist got his parents to cut him off. Robin offers to let him come live with her. A collection of their peaceful moments together plays, revealing that Elias’ real name is Sam, ending with a classic K-drama fade-to-black kiss.
Chen and Pema wrote about how the E-Board landed on this theme.
“This year, ASU decided to go with a skit plot that we felt was entertaining, both for the audience and for us as skit writers,” Chen and Pema wrote in an email. “Additionally, we felt that the main problem, which was dealing with parental pressures, was an experience the audience could relate with.”
The skit’s second act starts with Robin’s parents finding out Sam is a poor art student, threatening her to cut ties with him. Her friend, Hannah, promised to help her because “Harvey owes her a favor.” The skit ends with them finally reunited, prompting an emotional response from the audience.
The event also received visits from Asian organizations from other schools, including Cornell University and Rochester Institute of Technology, strengthening the camaraderie between these organizations. Cornell’s drumming team, Yamatai, brought a three-song performance on traditional Japanese drums near the end, reinvigorating the crowd with their heavy drums and lively cheers.
Other acts included a step routine from Binghamton Lambdas, beatboxing by Darren Yu, ‘19 and light art by BU’s Flow team. MODA impressed with a hip-hop performance — with perfect synchronization and creative choreography — as a fitting final act.
The night concluded with ASU President Hubert Zhou, a junior majoring in integrative neuroscience, giving a thank you speech to everyone that helped bring the event to life, and an emotional acknowledgment and send-off to the graduating members.
With a heaping 16 performances and a professionally produced skit, Asian Night 2022 was a resounding success.