Record Number of Portola High Students Will Perform in Irvine Talks for an Evening of ‘Movement’


Courtesy of Ajay Rane

Irvine Talks board members are charged with painting the mural for the event. Those painting the mural incorporated the theme of “Movement” in the artwork by making it a central focus of the work.

Maya Sabbaghian and Kate Hayashi

Irvine Talks board has entered the final stages of preparation for its third annual event with a record number of performers from Portola High, including juniors Kailyn Pham and Eric Hao and seniors Dheitshaa Bala and Jude Chau. 

Through the audition process, the board found a set of fifteen performances that they believed exhibited the most creativity and ability to move the audience, and to reveal new aspects of the “human experience.” Hao will be speaking and dancing in a performance titled “Dance Like Nobody’s Watching,” Chau will speak about “A Self Worth Having,” Bala will speak about “The Moment We Speak Up” and Pham will sing an original song. 

“I’m talking about how to continue on when life is hard because when you go through pain, you see beauty,” Hao said. 

The night will feature a student art exhibit as well as a live band performance. The planning process and the people involved have shifted through the past three years, especially in the involvement of ASB presidents. 

“My role is basically as the messenger, or the information-relayer, to ASB from the Irvine Talks committee,” senior and ASB president Mustafa Hassan said. 

When selecting the theme, “Movement,” for this year’s event, the board aimed to connect to the last two themes, “Be Human” and “Perspectives.” The board settled on the theme of “Movement” because of its capacity to be explored with expansive mediums and interpretations, according to junior and Irvine Talks publicity manager Esther Moon. 

“We chose ‘Movement’ because I think it’s a fresh perspective of how people will interpret the prompt,” Moon said. “I think it will be distinct from last year’s Irvine Talks, but it will still have the same values and allow people to speak their minds,” 

As Irvine Talks approaches, the board has focused on increasing online engagement, designing merchandise and finalizing the program. The board held auditions for performers and finalized the setlist at the beginning of the month, and it is currently in the final stages of rehearsals. Irvine Talks is on Nov. 23 at 7 p.m. in the Portola High theater.