Beware…the Herky of the Opera

Describe your Herky in detail. Focus on the visual aspects of your Herky.

  • Herky of the Opera is a spin on the titular character in Phantom of the Opera. He is wearing the costume the Phantom wears in the show, a white blouse and red vest that pays homage to the clothing of the late 19th century, black dress pants, a black and white cape, and the famous white phantom mask that covers the right side of the actor’s face. Like most other Herkys, his teeth are exposed, like he is growling at his opponent, he has heavy eyebrows, and short black hair. I am assuming this Herky is male due to the physicality and the fact that the Phantom of the Opera is usually played by a male actor.

Summarize, in your own words, any relevant background information about your Herky, such as who created it, where it is placed, if it is still standing, how long has it been standing, why it was created, and so forth.

  • Herky of the Opera was created in 2014 by Cody Ash, Alyssa Peters, and Shannon Torphy. All three creators are graphic design majors, although only two graduated from Iowa. Shannon was still in school during the creation of Herky of the Opera and is connected to Iowa through her participation in the 2011 RAGBRAI.

What kinds of appeals does the Herky use (pathos, logos, kairos, ethos)? The Herky statue does not have to employ all of them. What specific emotions does it aim to inspire? Does the Herky reflect or respond to a specific cultural moment or public sentiment? What credibility/authority does the Herky possess based on its creator, or its associations?

  • Pathos: The University of Iowa prides itself on its strong arts department and performance venues. By placing Herky of the Opera in a superhero like stance, the artists communicate this sense of pride and aims to make others proud of the successful arts programs at UI.
  • Ethos: The Phantom of the Opera is one of the most recognizable characters in the musical theatre world, so many who see Herky of the Opera will immediately understand the reference. The Phantom is also considered on of the most demanding male roles in musical theatre and requires the performer to have an incredibly strong and technically advanced voice, so the selection of this character reflects the strength Herky is trying to communicate, therefore showing the strength of the University of Iowa.
  • Logos: Herky of the Opera is logically located in Coralville center of the Performing Arts, since this Herky is referencing the performing arts.

What kinds of values does the Herky communicate? Does it aim to inspire us to act in response to other social or environmental issues, does it encourage us to feel school spirit, does it highlight the value of a particular institution? How does your Herky aim to change your mood, mind, willingness to act?

  • While Herky’s physical appearance does communicate a sense of pride in the arts, its location contradicts its physicality. University of Iowa performing arts departments are forced to put shows off campus so often that there is an off-campus space worthy of a Herky. While the collaboration between the departments and the location provides a connection to the community, the location of Herky shows a lack of access to Hancher auditorium and inadequate amount of space on campus for the number of performances held per year, proving the arts departments aren’t very high on the pecking order at University of Iowa.

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