Recreating Dr. Caligari

When one spends their time primarily glued to The College of Idaho campus there is no greater treat than a visit to Boise. This is no insult to our home, for I do find myself lost in buildings and courses for hours on end, with a mind hungry for the atmosphere and a soul cozy in benches far and wide. I cannot, however, deny that Boise is a cultural explosion of experimentation that is bubbling more and more every day. I have been in the valley for about half of my life now and every year throws the horseshoe of creative freedom forward further. As such, my delight was overflowing when I was given the opportunity to visit the city, particularly the magnificent Egyptian Theatre, to observe a performance with ties to our humble home.

As is the nature of October, my visit to Boise was laced with all sorts of terror and horror. Goose pimples and standing neck hair provoked themselves upon the most basic elements: What will I wear and who will I bring. In a more genuine sense, I was terrified that my vehicle would combust and promptly explode on its way into town. My Subaru is a glorious chariot, but seems more like Frankenstein’s monster than anything this autumn. That said, myself and a small group of good friends made our sojourn, clad in relatively formal attire with an appetite for the morbid.

The event was a perfect fit. The Second Annual Idaho Horror Film Festival was taking place over the weekend, which permitted for our splendid evening. Within the entrance of the venue was a collection of lovers of all things dark and twisted, with merchandise spread out and V.I.P. badges on lanyards around their necks. I was fortunate enough to have one, which granted access to various places throughout the event – Including a room upstairs that had some excellent, excellent beverages. Though I was thirsty, my attention was at the heart of the happenings.

Tonight’s performance was one that I can only describe as “Totally College of Idaho”. As it were, recent graduate Sean Dahlman composed a score for what may be the father of most horror films, a Germanic silent piece titled The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. In what I found an illuminating experiment of interdisciplinary nature, Dahlman captured chords that fit well with the scenes of the piece and the performers, a quartet largely populated by C of I names, including alumnus Kyle True and current students Ashton Jenicek and Tasha Sitz. There was a key overture that drew itself into other areas of the piece, like an artery to smaller veins in a manner that was properly repetitive of central musical themes whilst managing to branch out into new territory, which permitted every second of the composition to have fresh flavor to it, building on itself a monumental cavalcade that shouted success through experimentation.

It was, without a doubt, one of the more significant cultural experiences I have ravished in during my time in the Treasure Valley. It is rare that we see artists take risk in their work and the premise of Dahlman’s venture is one that I genuinely admire; it is fresh, it is new, it is something that I expect of all College of Idaho graduates. After the performance we made our way to Goldy’s for cinnamon rolls and as I sat in late-night silence I continued to contemplate the success in a manner that left me vexed. Suffice to say, it is my hope to create greatness such as Dahlman’s in my own medium and it is my hope that, when we are treated to the works of our alumni network, we feel the motivation that they did, from whatever corner of our soul, to meet out what must be done for our arts and labors.