When I was younger, I would ask my mother to spray me with her perfume before I left for school so I could smell just like her. My mother, whom I can thank for my curly hair, fair skin, and brown eyes, is a minimalist when it comes to skin care. As a result of me wanting to be just like her, so am I. It is from my mother’s influence that, growing up, I never liked the fruity smells of Bath and Body Works or The Body Shop. I found the Bubble Gum Lip Smackers my friends used to adore overpowering and would get a headache from too much Victoria Secret Body Spray. Once, in middle school, one of my friends called me a grandma for using Aveeno moisturizer instead of Bath and Body Work’s Coconut Lime Fusion lotion. From them on, I hated bringing my toiletry bag to sleepovers for fear of future ridicule. I prefer clean, simple scents that don’t overpower and products that are more tried-and-true than “this just in;” it all began with my mom’s Waterlily Perfume by Fresh (unfortunately, since discontinued). My skincare routine is a lot like my preference in scents: simple and sedated. I wake up every morning and wash my face with Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser. Anyone who knows me well knows that I wear predominantly Glossier products. Their millennial pink and white color scheme paired with their motto of “skin first, makeup second” encompasses all I look for in a beauty brand. After I wash my face on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, I roll it with a microneedle roller. On all other days of the week, I skip this step. Microneedling stimulates collagen production and increases the skin’s ability to absorb of skincare products. I then finish off the morning routine with a Glossier serum; I love their Super Glow Vitamin C serum. Finally, I use the Neutrogena Hydro Boost Water Gel face cream. Both the serum and the face cream are super light and absorb into the skin quickly, especially thanks to the microneedling beforehand. To top everything off, I place some Aquaphor on my ever-cracked lips and begin my day. During summertime, I also lather on a thin layer of Glossier’s Invisible Shield daily sunscreen after the Water Gel face cream. In the evenings, my skin care routine is a little more relaxed. I begin with the same Milky Jelly Cleanser (this product is a must-try), jade roll to depuff my skin from the day, and put on an overnight face mask. I try to do a mask once a week and my favorite is the LANEIGE Water Sleeping Mask. Put it on before you go to bed and poof, you’re gifted with nourished, glowing skin in the morning. If I don’t put on a mask, I put on the Glossier Priming Moisturizer Rich for thicker coverage that lasts through the night and doesn’t leave my skin feel oily in the morning. The goal of my skincare routine is to clean but not overpower. My motto mirrors that of Glossier in that I focus on my skin first, and my makeup second. And, as someone who rarely uses makeup, I rely on my skincare products to give my complexion a little glow. So, I gravitate towards products that make my skin feel good, even if I get called a grandma for using them. This, I feel, should be the goal of anyone looking to purchase a skincare product: does it make you feel good? Does it make your skin feel good? If so, that’s all that matters.
Author: Pippin Evarts, Assistant Arts & Leisure Editor Page 1 of 16
Sunday afternoon I was pleased to sit down and meet with the presidents of a club, one of whom suggests, “people don’t know it exists.” Frank Fusco, ’19, and Charles Harker, ’19, are co-presidents of Bates College Republicans. The club can be characterized as the proverbial “black sheep” of Bates clubs — the organization does not set up tables in Commons or the Fireplace Lounge, was absent at 2018’s Fall Club Fair, and has not solely hosted a speaker since 2016. Despite the lack of public support for conservative values, Fusco and Harker remain steadfast in their views.
Fusco and Harker arrived at the same ideological destination, though each had a unique way of getting there. Harker attributes his viewpoints to the upbringing he received in a family full of Republican values. “My mom’s side, my dad’s side, both of their parents were Republican,” he says. However, Harker is never slow to acknowledge Paul Ryan, born in Harker’s hometown, influenced his thinking in many ways as well. Fusco, on the other hand, was generally apathetic towards politics until the 2012 election. In 2012, he realized, “Those political ideas that [Republicans] were sharing, were the same ones I believed were best for this country.” Since coming to Bates, both Fusco and Harker have been increasingly involved with the Bates College Republicans club.
As trends have suggested, political polarization has steadily increased since the election of Donald Trump. Trump’s impact has certainly been felt by the club, Harker notes, saying, “People just automatically assume the worst… they think ‘oh you must love Trump including all of the bad things he espouses.’” Fusco chimed in, saying, “People saw the election of Donald Trump’s bad qualities and prescribed his values to the entire Republican party.” Fusco views educating people on true Republican values as the role of Bates College Republicans. “Our job as Bates College Republicans is to show people that there is more to the issues than what many college students think.”
It is no secret that many of Bates students differ ideologically from the members of Bates College Republicans. In fact, a Hart Research Associates study found twice as many college students identified as Democrats compared to Republicans. Fusco and Harker both attribute this fact to a lack of information. Harker explained to me, “I think some people just watch the fifteen second NowThis video, or read Buzzfeed, or get CNN updates on their phone, but they won’t talk to conservatives and see where they stand on an issue. I think that leads to a disconnect between the right and the left.” Fusco sees some people’s lack of information as an opportunity rather than a roadblock, saying, “the conservative view is not being heard anywhere on college campuses in America. When we offer our beliefs, you start to see people rethinking the mainstream, liberal narrative. I think that’s a good thing.”
While having an unpopular opinion during one of the most politically hostile times may be a burden to some, Fusco is overall grateful for his experience as a minority on a liberal arts college campus. He proudly states, “Being a conservative on a liberal college campus is a gift. We hear every single argument against the things that we believe in.” Harker echoed his statement, saying, “Here, you’re really forced to think for yourself.” The constant pressure from the other side has helped Fusco develop an appreciation for conservatives across all campuses, exclaiming, “It actually takes a lot of courage to be a conservative. You really have to know your stuff because people are going to try to find a way to beat you. You have to be willing to stand up for what you believe in because people aren’t going to understand it.”
Despite the tumultuous political environment, Harker and Fusco are optimistic for the future of the club and the development of public discourse. Harker cites the Bates College mission statement, saying, “I think if people come to Bates, they should be ready to embrace ‘the transformative power of our differences,’ but I think people forget the mission statement includes diversity in political thought as well.” He continued, proposing, “It would be great if we could get five or six liberals to come to a meeting and talk with us.” Fusco voiced his confidence in the future success of the club, stating, “I foresee the club maintaining its presence on campus and even growing within the new few years.”
In the words of co-president Frank Fusco, “People should join our club because we offer intellectual diversity. You will hear points of view and positions that are not often heard on college campuses. I think that’s really, really important.”
Calvin Reedy’s talent is evident from his photographs, but on closer inspection it can be seen that they represent and embody something deeper than aesthetic appeal. Some of his most recent work is a collection of photographs titled “Negro Sunshine” which captures people of color in the golden hour between sun set and evening. Reedy’s studio thesis work “Hallowed be their Names” is comprised of depictions of black men. He explains in his artist statement that he chooses to depict black people in his photography a means to “Combat the tendency in western art to marginalize black artists, and limit authentic depictions of black people.” Reedy and similar trailblazers are leading the charge in reimagining and reshaping the art world into something that fairly represents all people, a theme of Reedy’s talk last Wednesday evening.
After spending February 6th at Bates meeting with senior studio art majors, Calvin Reedy ’17 presented a talk in Olin Arts Center titled, “On Art and Justice: working towards a more just (art) world.” His talk highlighted the role of black artists in creating a more just and accurate art representation, but also the numerous opportunities in the art world outside of making art, and their impact in perpetuating change. Reedy, a Bates studio art graduate was well suited to deliver this presentation. In conjunction with creating his own transformative art, he works as gallery assistant for Jack Shainman Gallery in Chelsea. Reedy’s other experience includes a curatorial internship at The Whitney and writing for the Aperture Foundation.
The first part of Reedy’s talk focused on black artists, primarily photographers. Reedy featured art ranging from Carrie Mae Weems’ iconic “Kitchen Table Series” to work from more contemporary artists like Latoya Ruby Frazier and Shikeith. Reedy discussed the artistic elements of the work as well as their broader social implications. Reedy said, “One of the reasons that I did want to focus on black artists [is because] the world is really changing and representation is changing, there are a lot more black artists … working in the world and their work is being seen.” He notes that the black liberation model can be used for other minorities who are historically underrepresented, “You can use this model as a framework to use when other groups of people are coming to the table.”
Reedy emphasized that the often-overlooked workers in the art world have just as much as an effect on social issues as the artists themselves, because they control how the art is portrayed to the public. Jobs that help support artwork include curators, archivists, researchers, writers, and many other instrumental positions. In the majority of cases the curator is charged with acquiring and managing collections, and most importantly interpreting an artist’s work in order for it to be most accurately showcased to the public. According to Reedy, art institutions have historically been “Colonial projects and manifestations of colonial power.” Thanks to a new generation of individuals in the art industry, institutions are reckoning with how they are dealing with their collections. Artists are not the only ones responsible for art justice, and they are not the only career opportunities available if one wants to work in art, “People who are working alongside artists can also effect change and work towards different social changes,” said Reedy.
Reedy concluded the talk with a section discussing culture as a mechanism to create social change through art. He utilized Beyoncé to illustrate someone propagating a positive art culture. Beyoncé in many instances has hand selected minority artists to collaborate or work for her. “She provides a really good example for someone who has power, influence, and money reaching back to help other people along in their career,” says Reedy. He also cites Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s music video “Apesh*t” which is set in the Louvre. The video critiques the historical connotations of high art, while at the same time highlighting contemporary black artists. In the past some art has been used to demean and divide. Fortunately, Reedy has demonstrated that the work of artists of color are creating a more just (art) world.
Hullo hullo my feisty friends, I hope that y’all are doing fan-freaking-tastic! In today’s edition of Motivation with Maru we’re going to talk about the Law of the Universe and some other feel good shenanigans that might help you have a more positive, open-minded perspective! LET’S DO THIS!
The Law of the Universe, when boiled down to its essence, basically states that all people, thoughts, and feelings have certain vibrational frequencies. So, when we put out positive/empowered thoughts and feelings, they end up coming back to us! Think in terms of karma: if we sass our sibling, maybe we stub our toe right after. That’s karma. We cheer on our teammates at a meet and in return perform well in our race. That’s the Law of the Universe! If we spread love and positivity, it’ll boomerang back to us.
As you go about your day, try doing little things with great kindness to put out some good vibes. If you pass by someone in Post and Print with an absolutely poppin’ outfit, be brave and compliment them! When you walk into Commons, greet whoever is at the check-in desk with a friendly “How are you?” You best believe that the receiver of your kindness will feel grateful, and you best believe that you will feel good, too! Another way to channel all of this mumbojumbo: if you wake up in the morning on the day of a test in a crabby state, can’t seem to get the hot water flowing in the shower, and miss omelets in Commons, you might feel as though the forces of the universe are frowning down upon you. It’d be super easy to just slip into this series of unfortunate events, have a crappy test as a result, and allow your morning to negatively influence the rest of your day. But, it is in these challenging moments when we must choose to rise up and keep-on-keeping on as positively as possible no matter what life throws at us!
Prep-yourself up for some feel-good-feels down the road, too! Write a little message to yourself a few weeks/months ahead in your planner with a little bit of punchy mojo! When the day comes that you open your planner to the day that you wrote a little message to yourself, it’ll 40983% bring a glow to your heart! Wishing y’all all the good vibes in the world. Here’s to tackling this final week before break, we can do this! Until next time!
With love, Maru
When people hear the word “mindfulness” what do they think? What do they associate it with? What do people do that may be considered mindful? These were the questions that guided my attempt to identify how mindfulness plays a role in the Bates community. Early on, I ran into a few roadblocks—most people I talked to had no idea what mindfulness was, or how one might go about being mindful. They are not alone. In my research, I found several different definitions of mindfulness, each with their own mix of vague terminology. For example, one self-help site defines mindfulness as “the practice of purposefully focusing all of your attention on the current moment, and accepting it without judgment” (https://www.mindful.org/how-to-practice-mindfulness/). A different site states practicing mindfulness is “the art of creating space for ourselves—space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.” Superficially, these may be two different definitions, but as one peels the layers back they both speak to the importance of awareness and self-reflection.
After I briefly explained what mindfulness was and what it could look like to my interviewees, they all had a similar moment of realization. While they found it difficult to speak to mindfulness per se, they found it easy to talk about awareness and reflection. For many people, mindfulness manifested itself through methods of preparation, removing distractions, and taking a step back when stress levels increase. Mary Richardson, a friend and teammate of mine, plans out her weeks by identifying deadlines, organizing a work schedule, and setting goals for how she wants to spend her time. At night she journals about things that went well during the day, explaining, “it helps me focus on things that I am grateful for, because we can get too wrapped up in the things that made us stressed or upset.” A common theme throughout my conversations was an awareness of how phones have interrupted many of our daily actions. Carly Harris, a first-year from California, described a moment of realization she had when walking to the library earlier this week. The icy sidewalks had forced her to pay attention to every footstep she took, and to put away her phone in order to do so. “It made me feel present. I see so many people on their phones as they walk, but it can be really relaxing to notice the world around you.” Henry Colt ‘19, a senior from Massachusetts, turns his phone off at 9:30. Mary puts hers away until she completes a task. Another great manifestation of mindfulness came from Jackson Donahue ‘22, a first-year from New Jersey: “I don’t hold grudges against people because there are reasons behind people’s behavior—I don’t know what they’re going through.”
Perhaps my favorite thing about mindfulness is the ability to see a sort of domino-effect of benefits. Being aware of what you have to do in the week to come, of how technology distracts you, and of how people behave won’t just positively affect your mental health and productivity, but will also strengthen those connections in your brain, making mindful behavior second-nature. On Thursday the 14th—Valentine’s Day, for those who are keeping track—CHEWS is sponsoring a “Hang Up, Hang Out, and Spread the Love” event in which we encourage people to put away their phones, be present, and write a letter to a person they appreciate. Come by our table to learn more about the event, pick up supplies, and kick off your mindfulness journey!
Trigger Warning: Sexual Assault
Disclaimer: The ambiguity of this article is designed to keep the identities of those mentioned protected. However, because the article clearly indicates that my perpetrator was someone I’ve dated, I want to make undeniably explicit that this person does not and has not ever attended this college.
It took me three and a half years to admit to myself that I was raped. Neither my experience of rape nor my rapist matched my preconceived notions of what rape looked like: he was no stranger, there was no alley, there were no drugs involved. In fact, he was someone who I was deeply in love with at the time of the event. I pardoned, sugar-coated, and remembered everything he did gazing through rose-colored glasses. It was easier to remember him and his actions as choices I was making than to admit to myself the disconcerting powerlessness he inflicted upon me.
How could I conceive of myself as a strong and independent woman, a good feminist, if I let myself stay in a situation that was textbook abusive for two and a half years? How could I claim such abhorrent labels, such as abuse and rape, if he loved me? What about all the other victims of assault who experience bodily injury and debilitating mental trauma? I wasn’t them. I signed up for my situation. As I saw it, I really was asking for it.
It was around the time of the Kavanaugh hearings that I remember the heaviness of exhaustion sinking in; it became harder to do school work, harder to sleep. I felt unrecognizable and visceral bouts of anger creep into my bloodstream when discussing sexual assault. I listened to the detail with which Dr. Ford recounted her story. Her memories were so vivid, clear, and credible, and yet hundreds of thousands of people wrote her off.
I would lie awake at night wracking my brain for details, too. I couldn’t remember the month that it happened to me. I couldn’t even tell you how old I was, let alone describe the narrow staircase of the high-school house party as Dr. Ford did. All I recall were the boots I was wearing, the direction I was facing on my couch, and that it took nine minutes from start to finish.
A few weeks after the Kavanaugh hearings, a close friend divulged her experience of assault to me. I was utterly chilled when she told me that she, too, could hardly remember the time-frame of when she was assaulted. The more I listened to people, the more I noticed the desperation with which survivors tried to recall details of their experience, and their consequent inability to do so.
It was only then that I understood the body’s physical response to trauma. Sometimes we can’t remember the place, the night, the person’s face, the things they said, or how many drinks we might’ve had. But the art on his walls, the peanut butter on his breath, the temperature of the hot tub, the hand on the back of her head, or the nine minutes it took for him to satisfy himself are the details that are seared into our psyches. What did I say to him? Did I kiss him back? Did I orgasm?
These lingering questions prevented me from accepting the significance of my experience for years. Even today, I struggle with using the word rape, unsure if that is a label I get to claim. For years, I listened to other stories and compared them to my own. I grew up with robust sexual education and a supportive network that believed survivors unquestioningly, yet I simply couldn’t situate myself within the crux of the problem. I couldn’t say #metoo, out of a fear that maybe I was wrong.
I downplayed my experience. I chalked it up to melodrama. Maybe I’d misremembered. It wasn’t until I became cognizant of the fact that so many other survivors struggled with the same self-doubt that I realized the immense capability that systemic power-based violence has to silence. It wasn’t until I noticed the common thread of all the stories I heard was the terrifying sense of bodily dissociation. The moment we left our bodies and became receptacles. The moment we left our bodies and became observers and involuntary participants. The moment we left our bodies and simultaneously watched and experienced what was being done to us.
I might not remember everything, but I will never forget the feeling of leaving myself, closing my eyes, letting my limbs go limp, and counting down the seconds until the pounding would stop. We might not remember everything, but survivors will never forget the moment we left our bodies to survive the dislocation and unparalleled fear.
This year, I tried to explain to him my realization. I thought that talking through some of what happened might bring me some peace. I thought that two and a half years of reflection might bring an apology, or, at the very least, an admission. Instead, I received, “Okay Maddy, go ahead and #metoo me if you want,” in return.
It is that utter lack of accountability that drove me to write today. The immense feeling of hopelessness that I have been enduring, working through in therapy, and falling asleep to has begun to take its toll.
I was on a run in Lewiston the other day when a man catcalled me. For him, the outburst was a fleeting moment. However, I spent the rest of my run looking over my shoulder to make sure no one was behind me. He did not understand that his moment of sexual lasciviousness triggered a chilling fear for my own safety.
My freshman year at Bates, one boy tried to get me alone in his room; another cornered me in an elevator; a third convinced me to leave a party, and upon realizing I wasn’t going to sleep with him, left me drunk and alone in the street. This year, I found out that all three of the men described are known predators on this campus, some even having assaulted some of my closest friends.
I do not conceive of myself as the poster child for sexual assault. Others have experienced different, life-changing trauma. I am simply exhausted by the fact that each time I go into Commons, I see multiple men who freely walk around this campus having faced no consequences, social or official, for their actions. I am exhausted by the fact that the Title IX office has closed the cases on some of the most egregious forms of sexual assault I have ever heard happen in my life— instances that would shock the world in the same manner as Brock Turner’s did if they saw the light of day.
I am exhausted that I am unable to publicly name many of these on-campus assailants without facing legal repercussions. I am exhausted because facets of our community know these perpetrators and willingly choose to continue associating with them. I am exhausted by the juxtaposition between support groups held by Bates in the wake of the 2016 election and the class time dedicated to speaking about these issues after the Kavanaugh hearings against Bates’ continuation to let those with money, power, and status roam this campus with no repercussions. All this hypocrisy condones and encourages the message that those with plentiful enough resources are free to “grab [us] by the pussy” here.
The experience of rape culture I am attempting to address does not solely encompass rape and its survivors; it is about each and every coercive sexual experience, every instance of workplace harassment, every inappropriate passing comment. It is for every person who has had to wrestle with their own self-doubt, draw on the power of hindsight, and fight to legitimize their discomfort. This letter is meant to address a culture that conditions some people to believe that other bodies are worth less than their own. By writing this, I hope that if even one or two people understand the persistence of my fear, they might begin to hold those responsible accountable. It need not get to the point of physical assault for someone to care, let alone take action. It need not take knowing a survivor personally or thinking of the women in our lives for someone to care. This is an issue of moral urgency and human dignity.
There are wonderful people on this campus, of all genders, actively combatting the system of power-based violence in a variety of ways. We see you and we hear you. In writing this, I simply want our administration to be aware of the consequences of their complacency. And even more so, I want us all, myself included, to remember that this horror starts and ends with the student body. It starts and ends with us calling out one another for the ways in which we degrade each other’s bodies, in turn lessening their value to justify our own desires. It starts and ends with a joke in Commons. It starts and ends with our conduct at dances. It starts and ends with who we let in the doors to parties. It starts and ends with accountability.
This need not create a culture of fear. Sexual assault is far from simple, far from black and white. But at the end of the day, those who aren’t participating in or contributing to this culture of violence have nothing to be afraid of. I recognize the nuance and delicacy of sexual assault cases. However, it is not a difficult or trying task to simply respect other people’s bodies. Sexual assault is an issue of unbridled entitlement, and we sacrifice nothing in trying to do better. And we must do better.
Amirah Sackett, artist, activist, and dance educator who performed on Feb. 5 in Schaeffer Theatre at Bates, took her first ballet class at age 10. But before she ever registered for formal training, she’d been dancing for years. Sackett “grew up with hip hop” in Chicago, when the now deep-rooted dance form was still just “something you did with friends.”
Combining art with activism was a practice introduced to Sackett during her teen years in the 1990s. She “was into hip hop culture,” listened to “conscious” hip hop and rap songs that addressed societal issues of racism and the ever-changing and flawed political climate, and saw hip hop as social justice. As she got older, Sackett began to investigate choreographed hip hop, and later became well-versed in training, breaking, and popping, dance styles popular both then and now. However, it wasn’t until 2011 that Sackett began to “merge [her] identities as Muslim and American and a hip hop artist.”
Her frustrations grew as she heard endless negative framing of Muslim women in the American mainstream media. The artist became an activist when she reached a breaking point and knew it was time to use her chosen voice, dance, to stand up for Muslim women “in her own way.” Sackett was determined to “say something about who we are.”
“We’re Muslim, Don’t Panic” was an outcry from Sackett on the defensive for Muslim women and the hijab and her first official project related to their identities. She had been planning to choreograph the piece and then was further inspired by Iman and Khadija, two teen hip hop dancers from Minneapolis wearing hijab. Sackett, Iman, and Khadija performed the original piece together and started a new chapter in Sackett’s career. That initial profound choreography and the work she’s done since have protested and attempted to improve public perception of Muslim women and the hijab. Sackett believes the hijab is “an outward symbol of being Muslim” and one’s “dedication and love of Allah.” She sees the hijab as one part of a modest lifestyle and a “futuristic protection.” In an “image obsessed society,” Sackett feels the hijab forces the outside world to talk directly and exclusively to her face. “It’s a feminist perspective: you can’t objectify me or sexualize me.”
Sackett’s performance on campus included two solo pieces set to Rumi poetry and tracks by Chicago DJ’s. Her decision to center her performances around Rumi furthers her goal of bridging the gap between Muslim and American cultures. She takes Rumi, the poet, scholar, and philosopher who may not be known to be Muslim by many of his American admirers, “back to his roots” by pairing his words with her expression of her Muslim identity. Sackett’s precise and visceral choreography basked in the glow of Rumi’s universality during her Tuesday night performance. Sackett is proud to have seen the impact her work has had on those who have seen her perform or learned dance from her and explained that audience members and students alike can relate to the modesty culture expressed by her work. “People of other faiths are finding the through points across our religions… it’s a beautiful exchange.” Sackett’s visit to Lewiston was particularly special due to the surrounding area’s large Somali population, and she wanted to further bridge the gap between the Somali and Bates communities. “It’s important to see someone who is from America, who is Muslim, born in Chicago, talk about” the beauty of Islam on the Bates campus.
Looking back at the arc of her career, Sackett is empowered to have been “part of a bigger collective and movement of Muslim women taking their voice back.” She’s fostered the increased inclusion of Muslim women in the mainstream media and worked to break down stereotypes surrounding Muslim women as altogether oppressed. Undeniably, Sackett acknowledges there is work left to be done. Sackett looks forward to the day when “we, as American Muslims in particular, are just seen as part of the fabric of America, that our beauty is recognized as part of the diversity of this county, and that we make it great.”
What’s next? Sackett hopes to continue collaborating and choreographing. Once being Muslim is accepted as a mainstream identity, Sackett believes she will be able to create and connect with others through dance. “I love doing this work, but that’s the goal.”
Last weekend, Bates sent five students to participate in various competitions at the Region I Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in Massachusetts. The festival is a celebration of theater hosted by the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. In preparation for the Nationals in April, eight regional festivals occur across the country in January and February. Actors Ethan Winglass ‘19 and Sukanya Shukla ‘20, who starred as Orpheus and Eurydice in Sarah Ruhl’s “Eurydice” last November, were both nominated to compete at the festival. In addition to their nominations, Maddy Shmalo ‘19, Lucas Allen ‘22, and Jack Willis ‘19 received a Merit Award for Ensemble Work as The Stones in “Eurydice,” though they did not attend the festival. Winglass and Shukla both performed monologues and scenes and were accompanied by their scene partners, Michael Driscal ‘19 and Cael Schwartz ‘19.
Johnny Esposito ‘22 was also sent to the festival. The first-year’s ten-minute play was selected as one of six to be performed at the festival. The play, entitled “Past Forgiven” was performed as a staged reading, with scripts in hand, some movement, and very minimal production elements. A director from Dean College worked with Esposito. Casting took place on day one with over eighty auditionees. After a couple rehearsals, the reading of Esposito’s show took place on Saturday as part of the competition for Nationals. Nine plays total are chosen to perform at the festival: Six ten-minute shows, two one-act shows, and one full-length play. Both one-acts, the full-length, and two of the ten-minute shows are then nominated to appear at Nationals, though their performance is not guaranteed. Although Esposito’s play was not nominated to move on, he shared with me that he is not too upset; the plays were all “phenomenal.” Esposito was surprised to discover that he was one of the only, if not the only, playwright in an undergraduate degree program; the other playwrights selected were all in graduate school, and several of them are specifically seeking MFAs in Playwriting. In addition to preparing their ten-minute plays to be performed, the playwrights participated in workshops with professional playwrights and wrote 4-5 plays for a one-minute play festival. “I had a lot of fun. I learned a ton. I wish I was still there,” said Esposito; he even refers to his time at the festival as “some of the best of [my] life.”
The festival in general is very much a networking opportunity to connect with other theater artists and compete for scholarships. There are competitions for almost every aspect of theater—acting, musical theater, playwriting, directing, stage management, dramaturgy, sound design, and more. Several full productions are also invited to perform at the festival. Esposito developed an interest in playwriting in high school, where he participated in both theater and speech & debate, a series of competitions which involve the recitation of monologues, speeches, and scenes performed for judges. Several of the competitions, many of which he participated in, involve writing your own material or stringing together various monologues, book passages, or articles to form your own monologue. In addition to his participation in the activity, Esposito even has a self-published play on Amazon entitled “Listen,” which is rooted in the acting and performing styles of speech & debate.
The young playwright took the playwriting course last semester, where he wrote his one-act that appeared at the festival. He hopes to continue to study theater, especially playwriting, in his time at Bates. This past weekend, he performed as Jack Harper in “The Way Station,” Ellie Yguico’s ‘20 Independent Study in Directing, and he directed as part of the Robinson Players One Acts Festival last October. Esposito hopes to return to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in the future and to submit plays to a variety of categories. The young playwright took the playwriting course last semester, where he wrote his one-act that appeared at the festival. He hopes to continue to study theater, especially playwriting, in his time at Bates. This past weekend, he performed as Jack Harper in “The Way Station,” Ellie Yguico’s ‘20 Independent Study in Directing, and he directed as part of the Robinson Players One Acts Festival last October. Esposito hopes to return to the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in the future and to submit plays to a variety of categories.
This past weekend, directing majors Ellie Yguico ’20 and Luis David Molina Rueda ’20 put on their shows in a double billed back-to-back night of theater in Black Box. Yguico and Rueda directed the program as an independent study in directing, one act plays that students studying the Directing track of the theatre major at Bates complete as their “360 show.” The purpose of the 360 experience is to give the director a chance to work on a smaller, more intimate piece of theater and hone their creative voice.
The first show was Rebecca Gorman O’Neill’s ‘The Way Station,” directed by Ygucio. The one-act is a dark, supernatural comedy in which three strangers come together at a mysterious crossroads, each of them running from something they’ve done. The three strangers each come from different places and different times; Daisy O’Shea (played by Ceria Kurtz ’19) is a 17-year old farm girl with dreams of being a fortune teller at the circus, Jack Harper (played by Johnny Esposito ’22) is a mysterious cowboy running from a past love, and Tom Cutler (played by David Garcia ’20) is a failed businessman trying to start a new life in the big city. Each character has their demons, and each finds that as the play moves forward and the train pulls closer into the station, they must accept themselves and their actions.
The memorable characters combined with the snappy dialogue lulls the audience into thinking the play is just a typical odd-couple comedy, but underneath lies a touching story about guilt. In her Director’s Note, Ygucio wrote, “I personally believe that the best types of plays are the type that make us think about the bigger question in life.” Remembering her semester abroad in Japan, she cited a memory from the Hiroshima Peace memorial museum. Yguico kept pondering the “The Way Station,” and considering, “What is it that defined the differences between sinners and the innocent and the guilt they hold?”
Rueda directed Paloma Pedrero’s “La Llamada de Lauren,” or “Lauren’s Call.” Written during the Spanish cultural revolution of the 80’s, the play is about a seemingly normal couple, Pedro (played by Noah Pott ’22) and Rosa (played by Maddy Shmalo ’19), celebrating their anniversary on Carnival. The couple prepares to cross dress for the night of festivities, but as the night continues, fantasies and secrets explode on the stage. Pedro, overworked and exhausted, comes alive for Carnival wanting to dress as Lauren Bacall and he wants his wife, Rosa, to dress as Humphrey Bogart. At first, it’s a fun game of roleplay between the two, but as tensions rise, deep desires within Pedro arise and the call of being Lauren is much stronger than he first let on.
“Lauren’s Call” is a chaotic tragicomedy that discusses gender roles, identity, and love and how those play out in a marriage on the rocks. It’s funny, emotional, frank, and, at times, crude. It challenges the audience to think about sexual and gender identity in a new way, and as Rueda states in his director’s note, “however challenging and unpleasant at moments the piece can be… it brings to light the complexity of the binary gender behaviors that we acquire through socialization.” So many years later, Rueda was surprised to find pertinent relevancy in the piece. Rueda directed the show to be lively and fast-paced; the couple quickly starts to butt heads as the set gets increasingly chaotic. Clothes get strewn around the room and Rosa and Pedro’s small apartment quickly becomes a battleground for the two actors. However, as quick as they are to fight, they are just as quick to make up. Rueda created an interesting dynamic between the two actors.
Both directors chose pieces that complement their specific styles. As an audience member, it was clear that the 360 shows were a labor of love, not just for the directors but for the entire cast and crew as well. “A 360 Night in Black Box Theater” presented the Bates community with two directors whose voices need to and should be heard. I look forward to the work Yguico and Rueda have in store for the years to come.
On the evening of Saturday, Feb. 2 at 7:30 p.m., members of the Lewiston community, local dancers, dance companies, and several Bates students gathered at the Gendron Franco Center for the 14th Annual Winter Franco and Bates Dance Showcase (F.A.B.). F.A.B. featured 14 pieces of dance in various genres such as hip hop, modern, and ensemble-based dance and included performances from Bates’ very own Sara Hollenberg ’19, Johanna Hayes ’19 2 B.E.A.T.S, and recent Bates graduate Jorge Piccole ’18. The F.A.B showcase is a great opportunity for the Bates and Lewiston communities to come together via the medium of dance while also including several dance companies and groups from the greater Portland area. The dance showcase brought to light the various forms of dance present within our communities. A handful of pieces had strong messages, others told stories, and some focused on the technicality and precision of movement.
Some of the pieces that caught my attention in these regards were “Pushed,” choreographed and performed by Gisela Creus, “Togetherness,” choreographed and performed by Emily Murray, Gabe Paulin, Danny Rand, and Aislinn Travis, “Sikeena,” choreographed and performed by Amirah Sackett, “Hanging Up the Old Coat,” choreographed and performed by Molly Gawler, “Before the Split.” choreographed by Julie Fox and Johanna Hayes and performed by Johanna Hayes, and “Wild Rice,” choreographed by TJ Emmerman ’21, Hanchen Zhang ’19, Galen Hooks, and Matt Stefanina. Both “Pushed” and “Hanging Up the Old Coat” are solo dances derived from modern-based movement which present stories. “Pushed” included a story of a woman getting prepared for her day by always adjusting her tie, which she eventually took off. “Hanging Up the Old Coat” followed a strong storyline evident in the choreography which showcased the relationship between a woman and the memories she has tied to a coat-jacket.
“Togetherness” had a strong message and was performed by a group of dancers that showcased their individual abilities in dancing while completing several group lifts. In my view, this piece seemed to be trying to bring political awareness to the audience but dramatically missed the mark. Its message focused on a shallow political statement about how Millennials are becoming more politically active. At one point in the piece, the dancers ‘epically’ danced to Hallelujah after excerpts of Millennials talking about politics were played.
“Before the Split,” “Wild Rice,” and “Sikeena” communicated strong themes. “Before the Split” was performed by a Bates graduate and presented contrasting movements with changes of sounds. There was a stark difference between the soft and sharp textures within the piece. “Sikeena” combined hip hop with the poetry of Rumi to show themes of identity, while “Wild Rice” focused more on the precision of their movements. “Sikeena” also featured very thoughtful movements and isolation work. “Wild Rice” showcased the capabilities of intricate and high demanding movements. I was so impressed with how 2 B.E.A.T.S. moved with such cohesion and precision.
Overall, the night proved to be a wonderful experience in which I got to see the many forms of movement present within the greater Bates/Lewiston community. It also was a really lovely experience to see dance outside of Bates at the Franco center, a great gathering center within Lewiston. For more information about upcoming events, like the Franco Center on Facebook or visit their website at www.francocenter.org.