Category Archives: A&E

Students take ‘Charge’ for the One Act Festival this weekend

Photo by Shelby Pennington

By Hannah Tarr

Additional reporting by Eleni Pappas

Every night for the past month, actors and stage managers have been hard at work in Studio One rehearsing two different shows. Anton Chekhov’s The Marriage Proposal and Eric Kaiser’s Charge open tonight in FC’s annual One Act Festival. What might surprise a passerby observing these rehearsals is that not a single adult is involved in either of the shows. Instead, these One Acts are entirely student produced.

FC Theatre is well renowned for its high standard, and students take pride in that reputation. However, Kirsten Gude, the junior who serves as Charge’s stage manager, recognizes that even in this esteemed environment, the phrase “student produced” may be a turnoff for many potential audiences.

“Most times with a show, it’s clearly led by [Robbie] Steiner, [director of theatre arts] and [Sophia Bierman, technical theatre teacher], and people expect it to be good, because those are their jobs,” Gude said.  “But because [these shows are] run by students, most people wouldn’t really expect much. They would just kind of expect a half put together show.”

Gude expects the shows will go against people’s expectations, though. Not only will audiences be impressed with the shows themselves, but they will be impressed with the student production team.

“I think it just shows the audience how independent and responsible the students are within the department,” said Gude. “It just shows the community that Mr. Steiner and Ms. B have taught us and we have taken it upon ourselves to be professionals.”

Director of The Marriage Proposal and senior Josey Waterbury, loves the feeling of knowing that students are able to prove themselves through the One Acts.

“Knowing that you don’t need a teacher involved, and knowing that you can do it. Knowing that it is possible for group of students to come together and make art on the stage,” said Waterbury.

She said that reliance on adults and teachers can inhibit students who try to create art, so it is important that students get the chance to expand and learn in different ways.

Cast member Stevie Griffin, a junior who plays Natalia Stepanova in The Marriage Proposal, agreed that it is a great opportunity for students to learn how to put on their “big girl pants.”

“This is a stepping stone into adulthood,” said Griffin. “A stepping stone into our future, and so I think it’s important for students to see that now and it’s a super good opportunity.”

Junior Connor Nevitt, who plays George in Charge, is a staunch believer in the value of independence because it pays off in the long run.

“It really teaches you the way of being independent because you have to be independent if you want your show to succeed,” he said. He said that the students have learned that lesson, so the shows will be successful.

Gude credits the success of the shows to their organization and well-structured production team. Just like any FC show, there are managers and designers, each with their own assistants. All are organized by a production manager and a technical director, senior David Greenwell. These people make sure that everyone else is getting the information that they need, so the process has been relatively easy as well as enjoyable.

While the technical side of the shows adhere to a strict way of doing things, the one acts have allowed the actors to work in a slightly unconventional way. Many of the performers have noted the importance of their directors being their peers. In a typical show, there is generally a strict rule against actors advising the director about how their or someone else’s character might act. Here, that is not so important. The directors are by no means letting their casts direct for them, but both Waterbury and Charge director Jordan Burger, a senior, have opened the floor up to more collaboration during their rehearsals.

Waterbury loves to learn how her cast members each approach problems differently from what she originally had in mind. She said that she keeps the end result in mind as a director, and the cast think about what they think their character would do. Then, those concepts combine.

“You kind of have to blend that and so the end result is kind of always moving,” said Waterbury.

The entire concept of Burger’s show changed through this collaboration. He had a vision going into the show, but through collaboration he said that has evolved.

“It’s not at all what I’d envisioned in the beginning. And that’s a good thing, because now, as a company, we’ve developed something better than what I originally had in mind. And I think that what we make as a company will be better than anything that any one person can make on their own.”

The casts also enjoy this collaboration. Griffin said she has learned how to be independent as a performer. Nevitt has enjoyed what he considers to be a laid back rehearsal process, but he mostly loves how the cast is able to explore their characters without fear of disrespecting the director.

“We’re all on equal ground and it’s sort of mutually understood throughout that process,” he said.

Burger appreciates Nevitt and his co-stars for their dedication to rehearsing well.

“The rehearsals are so much fun,” he said.“The cast is an absolute delight- they all have these amazing, vibrant personalities, and they’re all putting a really good effort towards the show, they’re all really excited about it. I’m feeling no stress in rehearsals- yet, a least. It’s all just we come in, we’re going to work through a scene, and we’re going to learn something about our characters. And it’s just absolutely delightful.”

Gude, who is required as stage manager to take notes at every Charge rehearsal, said rehearsals have also been her favorite part of the process. Burger finished blocking the show quickly, so the cast has been able to dedicate rehearsal time to diving in and exploring what the characters’ intents are within the show. Gude thinks this is a lot of fun. She is most amused by Burger’s unconventional character work methods: just a few days before she was interviewed, Gude and her assistant stage manager, sophomore Garrett Martin, participated as Burger led the five-member cast in a meditative exercise with all of the lights off.

Meditation may seem like an alien character work tactic to someone accustomed to Steiner’s rehearsals. Burger acknowledges the differences between his and Steiner’s directing ideas, but he doesn’t think they’re important.

“I think it’ll be a new experience for everyone who watches the show. As someone who’s [been directed by] Mr. Steiner, my directing is very different from Mr. Steiner’s,” he said. “Not to say that any one of us is better or worse- I’m sure he’s better, he has more experience- but we have very different approaches to what we do, different thoughts about different shows.”

Burger does think he has one thing over Steiner, though, or even an Academy Award winning director who were to direct Charge– Burger loves Charge.

The reason, I think, this show is going so well so far for me, is because I love the script so much,” he said. “I love the writing, and I love what it’s about. If someone who didn’t feel as deeply for the script tried to do the show, I’m sure they could do it well, but I think it’d be different. I think that as a director, you should only direct a show that you are truly in love with. So that way you’re not just directing to direct, you’re directing because you have something to say onstage. You have something you want to show the audience and share with them.”

Burger does have a message he wants to share with the audience through Charge, as does Waterbury through The Marriage Proposal. In addition to proving to the audience that kids can do anything, both cannot wait to see what audiences think of the shows. Waterbury hopes The Marriage Proposal is fun for the audience.

“Onstage, the actors are having fun, and I want the audience to have fun with it,” she said. “And there is a lesson to be learned from Chekhov, there’s always a lesson to be learned from a show.  But I hope that with this show, after watching all of the shows this year, like Bonnie and Clyde and upcoming Rabbit Hole, there’s such a darkness that has [been] portrayed on stage. And the show is just fun and light and exciting and I hope that people enjoy it.”

The One Act Festival opens tonight, March 16 at 7:30. The Marriage Proposal plays before a 15 minute intermission, followed by Charge. The shows are performed again on Saturday, March 17 at 7:30, and the production closes on Sunday, March 18 after a 2 matinee. Tickets are available at

Relevant film captures interest of moviegoers

Art by Tori Roberts

By Reagan O’Farrell

In a world where terrorism seems to have become relatively inevitable, it is not much of a surprise that movies are now being released exemplifying the heroism of those who take action to prevent it. In the most recent case, that movie is The 15:17 to Paris.

The 15:17 to Paris tells the true story about the endeavors three men took to stop a terrorist bent on killing hundreds of helpless citizens as they took the Thalys train connecting Amsterdam to Paris. This movie, directed by Steven Spielberg, has a notable twist, however—the main cast is the heroes themselves.

This film has a running time of an hour and 36 minutes in which the life stories of Spencer Stone, Alek Skarlatos, and Anthony Sadler are told beginning when they are around 11 years old and ending when they receive membership to the Légion d’Honneur.

Overall, The 15:17 to Paris told a great story of heroism from seemingly ordinary people, demonstrating the power of every individual to make a difference in the world. However, going into the theater, one would expect to learn more about the events that transpired that day in August of 2015 when a man entered a heavily-populated train with the intent to kill, or even gain a look into the unique lives of all the people who stopped that man. Frankly, neither of those happened.

The plot—which was, of course, a true story—seemed interesting on the surface, but the only moments where a person could feel like he or she was interacting with the film, almost there, feeling the rush of adrenaline, happened in the span of a brilliantly produced maybe-fifteen minutes. The rest of it was pretty distant.

This may be because the transition from childhood to adulthood is abrupt, awkward, and lacking in explanations. Not to mention, the dialogue among the children is forced—child actors William Jennings, Bryce Geiser, and Paul-Mikél Williams did their best with what they got, but what they got must not have been good enough.

It may also be because of the most infamous detail being the actors actually playing themselves. Their acting, while a good attempt, is not the best. The conversations are not natural—from sports talk to making light of one another or talking about future plans, it is evident they were not trained to do this kind of work. One develops an appreciation of those who act for a living when watching these three make a go. Then again, maybe it is just really hard to act as yourself in a film.

The best scenes in the movie came when the men were acting in behavior seemingly normal to them. In Spencer’s case, this was following orders on a military base, practicing jiu jitsu, and ultimately taking down the terrorist. He seemed to hold the most spotlight, which may be because he is the one who ran down a man in the face of a gun and faced injuries due to his willingness to protect people.

Overall, The 15:17 to Paris shared an excellent story about heroism in the modern world and about the coming-of-age tale of Spencer, Alek, and Anthony. While the production was a bit awkward, the inspiring tale captivates audiences regardless.

The latest production, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, showcases choir and theatre talent

By Abby Chovan and Hannah Tarr

Photo by Shelby Pennington

The faint ringing of bells echo off a darkened set, only starting to light as a collection of voices begin to sing out from their places on the stage. As more lighting and layers of song are added, an eruption of emotion and music paints the scene for FC’s third and final musical for the year, The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Ensemble members and leading actors work together with the A Capella choir and technical students to tell a story unlike one they have ever told. This tale shows contrast against the previous musical, the upbeat Newsies, by taking a turn down a darker-yet-still-as-captivating path.

Audiences who attended any of the performances, which premiered Feb. 9, witnessed months of hard work that started immediately after the close of the show beforehand. Actors, new and seasoned alike, spent the better part of winter break focused on the show, due to the quick turnaround that would follow coming back to school.

“We tried to knock out the basics before break and keep everyone on task with memorization so when we came back, we’d be ready to jump into rehearsals,” said theatre director Robbie Steiner.  

For actors, it was a neck-breaking whip around from the relaxing atmosphere of the holidays to having rehearsals almost every day and spending countless hours on character development.

“Oh, it was the hardest thing ever. Being in a show like Newsies that was so happy and energetic is so different, and when you think of my previous character, Romeo, you don’t think of Frollo,” said junior Noah Hankins, who plays Claude Frollo, Archdeacon of Notre Dame. Frollo is the most powerful cleric in Paris, as well as the uncle and caretaker of the Hunchback, Quasimodo. “Getting out of the New York accent and cocky attitude and into the demented and older character was odd. Romeo had huge stage presence very easily and I had to learn how to give Frollo that presence.”

Starting the process early was especially important due to the sudden shift in technical directors. For the spring semester, college senior and new teacher Sophia Bierman stepped up to tackle the role. Senior Mitchell Lewis, in addition to playing the titular hunchback Quasimodo, took on some director roles of his own in hopes to help improve the show and learn how to be a director. As co-director, Lewis helped Steiner block scenes and call the shots on design decisions. He also ran rehearsals when Steiner was absent for any reason.

Lewis said that his time as co-director taught him time management and how to lead an ensemble, as well as how difficult it is to create and work through blocking complex scenes. He is thankful for the opportunity to co direct Hunchback of Notre Dame, which is his final show at FC.

“The process has been rewarding because it’s enlightened me on how to lead a group,” said Lewis. “It’s been rewarding because this story is just really good, and this is the last show of my high school career. So it’s kind of like my swan song.”

Actors faced not only the pressure of the time crunch and the technical transition, but also had to confront their own feelings. With such an emotional show at task, a lot of draining and taxing work went into perfecting the performance.

“Acting wise, this show is really challenging emotionally. I’ve always been accepting of others and judged others not by how they look but by their personality. Frollo is the opposite of me, so it’s hard to put myself in his shoes,” said Hankins.

Junior Jesse Johnson said that he faced similar difficulties in his role of Phoebus de Martin, hotshot knight who falls for the gypsy Esmeralda.

“Phoebus is, like, in most ways polar opposite of me, because he’s like big huge strong knight guy, and I’m, like, not the tallest and I’m pretty skinny, I’m not super buff or anything. But I’m trying to just relate to certain things that I can connect to myself. And then work on the harder stuff by trying to connect it afterwards.”

While the show tests actors emotions and capability to perform difficult and problematic characters, it also tests singing abilities. Even though the actors are experienced in telling a story with their words, it is a new challenge for much of the A Capella choir.

“A Capella has to actually get into a story for once, like usually whenever we sing we only have to worry about one song, but now we have to worry about all these other songs and how they fit into a story. And now we have to be able to convey a message using them,” said junior Charlotte McFerran.

A certain strength is needed to push through all aspects of the show because, as most actors know, being vulnerable is not easy.

“The show has challenged me to be vulnerable onstage because the content of it is so real, and so you don’t get to be campy, you don’t get to joke around, you have to be honest and be yourself onstage- even though you’re playing somebody else you have to show your own emotions,” said junior Elizabeth Hallal, who plays Esmeralda.

Though the show is more gruesome than previous productions, it has brought a sense of community to its cast and taught the members to think more openly.

“I have learned a lot about community. Because even though, you know, I’m not in the ensemble for this show, the show is an ensemble show. So even the leads are as much of the ensemble as everyone else. And you just have to rely on each other for everything you do and work together and figure out things on your own and that’s just been a good experience,” said Hallal.

In the past, the bond that exists in this cast has not always been there. In a group of so many students, it is easy to fall into a routine of cliques. Towards the beginning of this process, the cast made a promise to stick together and grow instead of break each other down. Lewis wrote down on a sheet of poster paper that he hung on Steiner’s office door the mission statement that the cast invented: “We are doing this show because we want to become united in our acceptance of ourselves and those around us.” The cast has taken living out that mission statement to heart.

“Since this show is smaller, about 24 people, we’ve become a family unit. There has been a lot of cooperation on stage. I found myself working with a lot of actors on stage to find the best way to work together on stage. I’ve seen a lot of friendships building. Our goal was overall to unite and accept, and that’s what we’ve done as a cast. At the end of the show, there is a moment where everyone accepts Quasimodo, and I think it’s a beautiful moment because it’s what a perfect world would look like. We get to live in that perfect world for a moment, and it’s beautiful,” said Hankins.  

Many of the cast members find that, despite the novel it is based off of was written in 1831, a lot of the topics discussed can be related to modern day events.

“I think that this story is just so relevant to times today because people are made monsters because of one thing or another,” said Lewis.

But this show teaches the audience that we are headed in the right direction. Even the past 100 years has shown that acceptance is on the rise and that the world is changing.

“The song ‘Someday’ is about, you know, one day, all of this will be different, there will be acceptance and love in the world. And I think it’s just the perfect time to tell it, because of what’s going on right now and [because] these are problems that we still deal with. We’re the future, our generation is the future of this country and this world, and it’s our job to make these changes,” said Hallal.

Despite this show being put on by only high schoolers, it can incite real change in the world. That change can start on a small scale, as little as one person.

”What I’ve taken away is just like accept people for what they are because you might not even know what they’re going through before you judge them. Like give somebody a chance,” said Johnson.

Hallal and Lewis’ characters draw inspiration from hope that Lewis thinks everyone can learn from.

“The neverending, tenacious hope, that no matter how awful things are, and even if you know things are going to turn out not good, like there’s still hope,” said Lewis.

Hankins is thankful to be able to learn from this show and share its lesson with the world, in the hopes of making change and approaching that “Someday.”

“In a world that’s filled with hatred, we get to a show that reflects that but also turns into acceptance and unification and as students living in that world, it’s good to be in that world for a moment and apply it to our lives,” said Hankins.

Writers present differences between theatre and Disney version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame

By Madison Fuson and Eleni Pappas

Art by Eleni Pappas

The musical opens with mysterious, hooded figures standing on wooden platforms. The stage is still dark, and as the show begins, the choir sits, narrating actors joining and revealing themselves to recollect the story of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, a classic story known for its dark or surreal elements and vivid imagery. The story is both a musical and a Disney movie production based off the novel published in 1831 by Victor Hugo.

The story centers around a bell ringer named Quasimodo, who is locked away in the bell towers from the outside world for his deformation—being “too different” and “ugly” to the normal folks. Quasimodo leaves the bell tower, despite his master Monseigneur Claude Frollo’s, warnings. Once out, he meets the enchanting gypsy Esmeralda who, alongside the other gypsies, are considered to be subservient by Frollo.  

Disney’s film adaptation of the book was released on June 21, 1996 and became the fifth highest grossing film of that year. From finding one’s place in society to dealing with sin to extreme topics like infanticide, because of this, the movie is considered one of Disney’s darker themed films and much had to be altered from the novel in order for it to get the PG rating. With directing by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise (Beauty and The Beast, Atlantis: The Lost Empire) and famous actors voice acting such as Demi Moore (Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, G.I. Jane) the film was set up to be a huge success.

Disney’s version first starts in 1482, in Paris with the gypsy Clopin Trouillefou, voiced by Paul Kandel, who opens the story with a puppet show for curious children. The story begins with Monseigneur Claude Frollo, the film’s villain, on a horse pursuing gypsies attempting to flee from him. Frollo chases one of the gypsies, a mother, to the church and causes her death upon the stairs of the cathedral, Notre Dame. Frollo sees the deformed child and goes to drop him in the well when he is stopped by the archdeacon. He is then made to take in the disfigured child in order to atone for his sins he committed in the eyes of the holy church. This child is named Quasimodo, meaning half-formed, and due to his differences, he is kept away in a tower, with only stone gargoyles as friends.

When the Festival of Fools arrives, Quasimodo sneaks out against Frollo’s wishes. At the festival, he meets Esmeralda, who believes his face to be a mask. She pulls Quasimodo on stage for “The King of Fools,” a contest which searches for the ugliest face in Paris. When the crowd goes wild by Quasimodo’s blemishes, the gypsy girl stops the crowd, earning Frollo’s anger. Quasimodo must work to save the girl from Frollo’s subsequent wrath.

The musical put on by the FC Theatre Department on Feb. 9, 11, 16, 17, and 18, was based on the original novel by Victor Hugo, called Notre-Dame de Paris. The main cast includes Junior Noah Hankins as Dom Claude Frollo, Senior Mitchell Lewis as Quasimodo, Senior Logan McNeeley as Clopin Trouillefou, Junior Jesse Johnson as Phoebus de Martin, and Junior Elizabeth Hallal as Esmeralda.

The show starts to narrators recalling of how the Hunchback, Quasimodo, came to dwell in the tower. It starts out with brothers Jehan and Claude Frollo, Jehan being wild and Claude Frollo, his opposite, being devoted to Notre Dame. Jehan brings a gypsy to the church but is caught and banished by the bishop. With his brother gone, Claude Frollo rises to the rank of archdeacon. News of Jehan on the verge of death reaches Claude, and Claude goes to his side in attempt to persuade Jehan to come back with him to heal him from his illness and sins. However, before Jehan’s final breath, he asks of his brother to show mercy to the deformed child, Quasimodo, he and the gypsy had before her own death. Frollo does take the child in, but his distortion keeps him locked in the tower, away from civilization.

Although both of them are based off Victor Hugo’s novel, they are not exactly the same. Disney, a company targeting a family audience, does have to be cautious as to what it publishes as a mass media company. Disney had to change their script and work around the family rating, leaving out much of the mature and shocking themes to make it appropriate for all ages. Apart from the more graphic depictions of the musical, the conclusion stayed true to the novel’s ending, while Disney altered it for a happy ending. The characters of the Disney production were adapted for the villain-hero outcome while the musical enriched its characters. The characters have their own flaws and advantages, whether that be lust, demanding respect or physical appearance.

However, as much as the backstories differ, most of the main characters remained the same, with Quasimodo, Frollo, Esmeralda and Phoebus. In both, the men fell in love with Esmeralda for her beauty, compassion or acceptance. For both, the main theme still remains about coming to terms with your flaws.

Both representations may show different things, one more canon to the novel, but their theme still stands. Despite the format of the story, The Hunchback of Notre Dame will remain a staple of world history.

Youtubers ingrain themselves in next generation

By Ky Haney

Sitting in front of a TV screen with your family members for a 90-minute movie is becoming more rare. A new platform has found its spot in the media: Youtube. While older generations are not used to this kind of media platform, the younger generations are growing on it.

Different kinds of fans exist in the community, fans who prefer makeup artists or live action performances. The most popular known Youtubers who exist are lets players. Lets players are people who play video games with comedic commentary. Over-the-top comedy is becoming more abundant, which is dragging out new personalities in younger generations.

“Younger generations” refers to people born in 2007 and up, whenever Youtube was first opened to the public. Children growing up on popular Youtubers such as Markiplier or JackSepticEye seem to differ in personality types and personal comedy than the people who enjoy Supermega and Oneyplays.

Now, some Youtubers are more justified for audiences of 10 to 13. Thirteen year olds are more likely to start watching Oneyplays than 10 year olds. It is just because of the content. In Markiplier’s content, his videos are of usually new video games. It does not seem to matter to him of the amount of humor he uses, more focusing on the surprise factor of comedy. This could affect the comedy in younger audiences.

Audiences who watch Oneyplays and Supermega range from anywhere to 13 to 19. The thing about Oneyplays is that the main host, Oney (or Chris O’Neill), originally started with animations. A lot of his follower count came from older generations who watched him on Newgrounds, an American social media and video website, and his animation videos. In Chris’s videos, he is usually paired with his friends Julian and Ding Dong. This makes the comedy factor much more lively. They play older games and focus mostly on the comedic factor, not on the surprise shock humor. This also plays in personalities with fans just by what they are surrounded by. Fans develop this humor and see it in other things such as movies or cartoons.

Most Youtubers post multiple videos at around noon. These videos are usually 10 to 15 minutes long. This results in children staying in their bedroom to watch these videos. Youtube is not the only thing they could be doing; social platforms like Instagram and Twitter take up time as well. While watching these people everyday, it could alter personalities. The people you hang out with changes your behavior. Listening to these people every single day begins to influence what a child’s jokes are.

This transition could make younger children say things that are not appropriate for their age, which is why the Youtubers younger children watch should be monitored. Younger children should not watch channels intended for older audiences. Youtube is a large influence in lives around the world, the comedy perhaps being the only joy they can receive.