by Rebecca Shwartz
Fourteen years passed since Kathleen McKenzie last directed one of the most popular musicals about the Bible, and for the past four years, she’s been searching for the right group of kids to perform Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. This year, she finally found that group.
“I wanted to do a show that highlighted us as a group, and it just wasn’t the right show for that mix of kids [in previous years],” McKenzie admits. “I am blessed, being able to work with these kids.”
As the kids in the musical rehearse number after number, they never complain nor goof off, focusing on how to fit their role and portray the character in a realistic way as they race across stage to their designated spots.
“The rehearsals are pretty difficult, but it’s a nice way to end the school day,” actor Garet Mildish says as he shrugs. “But once tech weeks begins, it’s like Hell on Earth.”
In rehearsals week to week, everyone keeps their positive attitude, preparing for their opening night on November 18.
The actors take great pride in their roles and how this musical will turn out, especially main actor Ben Carme, who’s playing Joseph.
“I’m intrigued and compelled by the storyline of being a dreamer and never giving up,” Carme says. “I honestly love this musical.”
Carme’s positive energy spreads to all the other actors, who have been there for each other when a musical piece or dance confuses them. Eighth graders listen to seniors for guidance, and sophomores practice with freshmen to reach the required pitch for numerous songs.
Alicia Sagastume, ecstatic while she hit high notes in the middle of rehearsal, bounded around the auditorium with a grin from ear to ear.
“Everyone has something to point to and say, ‘I did that. I’m proud of what I did. I feel like I belong,’” McKenzie says, and the statement stays true as rehearsals keep barreling forward day after day.
Throughout the play, there are many moments that bring out the side characters’ importance and their pride, such as the salsa scene between one of Joseph’s brothers and Potiphar’s wife. It shows how hard they’ve worked to reach this point, how the wives create harmonies for the vocalist to sing to, and how Joseph’s father reacts to his death. This small dancing scene draws in the audience, even if there are no vocals. The dance numbers as well as the songs can steal the show.
To McKenzie, this musical brings everyone together and shows that drama society isn’t about only the two main actors. She stresses that everyone in this play is equal to or even more important than Joseph in the end, as the ensemble is in every piece and every actor shows up at least once in each act.
“They’re such a welcoming group, and they’re there for each other,” McKenzie says. “That’s what I love about them.”
The Drama Society’s latest production, Iphegenia and Other Daughters, will be performed tonight at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. It is a Greek tragedy about a young girl sacrificed to the gods so that the wind will blow. Throughout three acts, this play follows a cycle of reoccurring vengeance within an ancient Greek family, until the cycle is ended by a reunion between a brother and his long-lost sister. Tickets are $10.
by Jennifer Champeau
Eighth graders Sam Maston and Kailyn Vaillancourt played in the wind ensemble with some of the best musicians in the state at the Central Mass Junior District Music Festival on April 30 at Leominster High School.
To perform with this band they had to audition for one of the four ensembles available: the wind ensemble, the orchestra, the jazz band, and the chorus.
They performed and practiced the songs “La Madre de los Gatos,” “Salvation is Created,” “Silverquill,” and “The Fate of the Gods.”
They have both been playing their instruments for five years, Maston on the clarinet and Vaillancourt on the flute. They both share a passion for music, so they enjoyed going to long practices to prepare for the festival.
The practices were four hours long. Even though the practices were lengthy, “they were worth it because at the concert, we sounded fantastic, and everyone was together,” Maston said.
Even with all of their practice, their nerves were still running high the day of the performance, and they did not go away until they picked up their instruments.
“The conductor was talking, and I was a bit nervous. Two clarinetists were speaking in low voices to my left. The conductor finished what he was saying and then turned around and raised his hands. He looked at me for a moment. Then he signaled for everyone to raise their instruments. When the downbeat came, I knew we were gonna be the ones that people talked about after the concert. And I was not wrong,” Maston said.
The experience they gained at the festival was unforgettable because of the friends they made and the music they played, and it is something that will stick with them for a while.
“The best part of the festival was learning music and how music can be shaped and performed,” Vaillancourt said.
After their positive experience at the Junior Districts this year, they both plan to try out for the Senior Districts next year.
by Stephanie Petrovick
After debuting at the Art Show on April 28, the painted pianos made by the National Art Honors Society moved to their permanent locations, the Unitarian church and Avidia Bank. The students decorated the Unitarian church’s piano with symbols of peace, love, and hope, and Avidia Bank’s piano celebrates Hudson’s 150th anniversary. These organizations requested the designs, but the idea for the project started before then.
It began with Erin Yates’ discovery of a YouTube video of a homeless man playing a complex song on a beautifully painted piano in Sarasota, Florida. Yates looked further into this and discovered that the piano belonged to an organization called “Play Me, I’m Yours” based in the UK. The organization decorates pianos and then places them on the streets in different cities for the public to use. This project began as an artwork exhibit by the British artist Luke Jerram and includes over 1,500 pianos in 50 cities worldwide.
Inspired by the idea, Yates talked to other people and messaged with “Play Me, I’m Yours” for advice, but she is not working with the organization because of how much money that would cost.
“I like the idea that we’re painting on something that’s not paper, or canvas, or even a mural. We’re painting on something different, and we’re adding music to it. And I like that it’s community oriented, and we’re working with businesses on this. I had to meet with Avidia Bank and the Unitarian church, and we have to have a partnership with them to make this work. And Hudson Appliance actually helped us get the pianos from people’s houses and to the high school, so it’s something like a real team effort,” Yates said. “The Chamber of Commerce in Hudson has also participated and helped us organize where to put some of these pianos.”
Yates started contacting people, looking for private businesses who would allow the pianos to be placed outside their building. The pianos would be placed out of the way in any extra space next to the buildings. With residents donating pianos, Yates and the students started the project in December and were able to get two pianos from families around town with the help of Hudson Appliance, with two more waiting to be moved because of a lack of storage space at the school.
“If that [the first two pianos] goes well, we will hopefully work with some other businesses and put some pianos there. I’ve been talking to Medusa about putting a piano outside on the sidewalk there, and maybe putting one outside here at the high school, just outside the cafeteria in the rotunda,” Yates said.
The students worked together to plan and paint the designs for the pianos, but the process is not always perfect.
“I did something on the other piano where I fixed something someone did because it didn’t look very good, so I was like ‘I’m gonna fix this,’ and it’s really nice to see it all coming together,” National Art Honors Society member Jillian Giorgio said.
The first two pianos have been completed and moved to their new homes on the streets outside Avidia Bank and the Unitarian church. Now the only problem is how the pianos will survive the elements.
“They are using paint that will not come off in the rain, and that’s why we’re using mural paints and acrylic paints. And we prime the pianos first, so we can be sure the paint won’t come off while they are outside. The pianos will also have buddies there, and the buddies might be our students or they might be people from the organization or both. And those piano buddies will cover up the pianos when it rains and just check up on them, make sure they’re okay, things like that,” Yates said.
With more pianos on the way, downtown Hudson will be filled with art and music for a long time.
by Stephanie Petrovick
Watch the video above to see some of the highlights from Spamalot!
Spamalot is a play made by the Monty Python troupe of comedians which was recently performed by the Drama Society. Spamalot is a retelling of the story of King Arthur, complete with collecting the knights of the round table and then setting off and trying to find the Holy Grail on the orders of God while singing, dancing, and making jokes. Arthur leads his knights through deadly challenges, defeating a killer rabbit, making it past French taunters, and outsmarting the Knights of Ni. The knights all have their own separate adventures, which reveal the love of Sir Robin for drama and acting, and the fact that Sir Lancelot is gay, among many other things. The play ends with finding the Holy Grail in the audience and King Arthur marrying Guinevere, the Lady of the Lake.
Character’s Funniest Quotes:
Garet Mildish (King Arthur): “A lot of them aren’t even lines, necessarily, they’re really just moments where I’m more reacting to other people. Probably when I’m reacting to the knights who say ‘ni,’ and it’s just in such a terrified way even though they’re just kind of absurd.”
Nayiri Bekiarian (Patsy): “Probably ‘What could they possibly do with a cow?’ because they throw a cow at me right after, and I die, but I come back to life real quick.”
Scott Kall (Sir Robin): “Most memorable line would probably be, for him, the title of his song, which is ‘You won’t succeed on Broadway if you don’t have any Jews.” Which I think is really memorable for him because it’s just him being a goofball. And it just leads into this hilarious song that he does all big and musical theater-y. But the other iconic line he has besides that song is when there’s a whole scene where God’s talking to them, and he’s talking about the grail. And he calls it the quail, and Arthur was like ‘No, the vessel they used at the last supper,’ and he’s [Robin’s] like ‘They had a boat at the last supper?’”
Buren Andrews (Sir Lancelot): “My favorite line is probably, ‘Leave him alone!’ Which is leading up to my coming out as a gay knight. The scene before that, Prince Herbert is kind of being harassed by his father, and I’ve sort of seen his father be a jerk to him the whole scene. And even though I come to save him and I realize he’s not a woman, I kind of brushed it off like, ‘Alright that’s not what I thought it was.’ But eventually it’s kind of like, ‘Okay this guy needs help.’ And I break apart him and his dad, who’s kind of trying to give him crap, and I just scream at the top of my lungs ‘LEAVE HIM ALONE!’ And it’s kind of like a monologue about how this guy just needs some love from his father, and that’s when my tender side comes out. And at the end [there’s] silence, and then his father’s like ‘My god, you’re gay’.”
Jack Snow (Dennis/Sir Galahad): “For Galahad, it would probably be that at one point, we’re talking to the French people and I say, “Oh the fiends! They don’t have an ounce of chivalry!” and that’s my favorite line.”
Zack Carme (Sir Bedevere): “My most memorable line would probably have to be when I say, ‘Oh dear!’ When I mess up the thing with the rabbit in the French taunter scene.”
Amanda Lattanzi: (Lady of the Lake/Guinevere): “There’s a line that’s talking about Lancelot, and it’s after Lancelot comes out as gay. There’s a scene with me and Arthur, and Arthur says, ‘I thought you were a fairy,’ and I say, ‘Oh no, that’s Lancelot.’ And yea, that’s probably the funniest thing I say.”
Most Challenging Parts:
Garet Mildish (King Arthur): “The most challenging part for me is how often I’m supposed to be relied on because I have never played such an important character before this. Before this I played a few minor characters in Producers, and I played a character who was there a few times but didn’t talk. So now I’ve got one of the biggest roles in the entire show, and it was a daunting task when I first saw it and it’s still a daunting task now.”
Nayiri Bekiarian (Patsy): “I think not laughing at certain parts on stage, like I’m trying to keep my cool.”
Scott Kall (Sir Robin): “This show is surprisingly exhausting. I feel like I am running around a lot more in this show than I have in any other previous show. We have two big numbers in a row in Act 1, and then we go into this like runaway sequence at the end of Act 1, and we’re running away and I feel like I’m so out of breath the whole time. It’s like, ‘I’ve gotta sing this really high note, and then hold it’ and then it’s like [gasping]. And then, during my big song in Act 2, it’s the same thing. And I feel like that’s been very challenging for me because I just need more stamina for this show than I usually do. For my character it’s probably the age thing because it’s like he is a 7 year old in a 40 year old’s body, and I kind of have to make him seem middle aged almost physicality-wise, [because] physically he’s not going to be a 7 year old. And it can be constricting sometimes, but at least with his young personality it seems like it doesn’t make a difference.”
Buren Andrews (Sir Lancelot): “My character has his moments but I’m definitely sort of a side character. And sometimes I’m on stage, but I don’t really have anything to do that’s integral to the plot, so often times I’m just kind of acting without saying anything. And that’s a challenge because when you’re interacting with other characters and just being in character in the moment, you kind of have to make up stuff that your character would do, say, gestures. And that’s kind of challenging sometimes. Also remembering the songs, dances, and lines in general is hard. I think the hardest thing honestly is not that but having faith that you can do that, because there’s a lot of anxiety that comes out of that, especially coming up on tech week. It always turns out fine, but it’s really hard to grasp that.”
Jack Snow (Dennis/Sir Galahad): “I think the most challenging part is just really going for it, which is something that I think is a challenge in any show you do, especially for me. I’m still pretty new at theater, so it’s just working up my comfort and forcing myself to really bring it to the level it needs to be at.”
Zack Carme (Sir Bedevere): “I’d say the most challenging part of the play is probably the sword fight I’m in with the Black Knight because there’s a lot of choreography and stuff that we have to do. It’s very complicated, and there’s a lot of machinery involved and things like that.”
Amanda Lattanzi: (Lady of the Lake/Guinevere): “The most challenging [part] for me, and the rest of the cast probably, is Camelot because every single person is on stage. There’s a ton of people, and some of the timing with the pit is kind of hard, so that’s probably the hardest part.”
Click the link below to take the quiz and see what Spamalot character you are!
by Allura Carney, Jennifer Champeau, and Rylee Cowie
In the Scholastic art competition, our school had 13 winning submissions. We are highlighting eleven winning pieces. Click on the white dot in the middle of some of the pieces to hear the artists describe their winning submissions, and click on the Prezi below for more information about the seniors who won.
by Stephanie Petrovick
On February 25 and 26, the drama society performed the play that they entered into the Massachusetts Educational Theater Guild’s High School Festival. Two Rooms is the story of a man who is taken hostage by terrorists, and his wife builds a room that she believes is an exact copy of the room her husband is being kept in. She tries to talk to her husband in this room, and the story shows the different events in both copies of the room. These events include visits from a journalist, government worker, and interactions between the captured husband and his wife.