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Millie thoroughly accepts the challenge

Caroline Cohen
Claire Smith ’15 practices to perfect a Chinese accent for her role of Mrs. Meer’s, a mysterious and evil character for the upcoming player’s production of “thoroughly modern millie.” Opening night is Friday, Nov. 15

For “West Side Story,” Staples Players had to perfect Hispanic accents to portray the saucy sass f characters like Anita and Bernardo

Throughout “A Chorus Line,” performers had to fine-tune dance skills that they had just acquired.

During “Into the Woods,” underclassmen like Claire Smith ’15 stepped up into the spotlight in lead roles.Imagine all of these challenges blown into a whirlwind of a show: “Thoroughly Modern Millie.”

Even better, imagine that Players doesn’t seem phased by it.

In the show, often referred to as “Mille,” Nick Massoud ’15, Joe Badion ’15, Will Haskell ’14, Wellington Baumann ’16 and Josh Popkin ’14 have each been cast as Chinese men. They are required by this role to dabble in Cantonese Chinese, a language most had never spoken before. (Though Baumann has been studying Mandarin Chinese, a language differentiated from Cantonese by dialectal changes.)

“They have to learn Chinese and use a Chinese accent which I think is really difficult,” Maddy Rozynek ’14, who is cast as Millie Dillmount said.

However, the boys seem to have handled it all right.

“Its actually incredibly easy because we just repeat what we hear on the tape and commit that to memory by putting it to a song,” Badion said.

“Yeah, we beatbox,” Massoud interrupted.

The rest of the five seemed to generally agree. Even their student director Vig Namasivayam ’16 confirmed that they were meeting the challenge with open arms.

“Working with these guys I’ve seen that, even though it may not be the most difficult thing for them, they have put in 100 percent…okay they’ve put in like 50 percent,” Namasivayam joked.

Second challenge: the quite numerous and quite difficult tap routines sprinkled throughout “Millie.”

Yet similarly, it still seems like pretty smooth sailing. Players seem to be looking at this difficulty as a calm horizon.

“Well, it’s not as bad as I thought it was going to be. Tap is a really fun type of dance,” said Rozynek, “And, like, if you don’t know exactly how to do it, it’s sort of easy to fake.”

Everett Sussman ’15, casted as Mr. Trevor Graydon, agrees that the tap numbers are going well.

“The people who are teaching the tap are great,” Sussman said. “And [with] all the dancers that we have, I was amazed to find all the people who could tap and who were seriously amazing at tap.”

Okay, so then they’re going to leave it to those newbies to the spotlight to screw it up. Right?

Wrong again, disbelievers.

Both Jack Baylis ’15 and Nick Ribolla ’14 were somewhat new to center stage when cast as male lead Jimmy Smith. However, it seems that the limelight is a good color for them.

“I used to be the little dweeb in the audience looking up and thinking how amazing they were,” Ribolla said. “Now that I’m in their position the pressure is on to live up to them.”

And their castmates have few doubts in their ability to step up to the plate.

“I think that they’re both doing great, and I think they really rose to the occasion,” Rozynek said.

So what challenges might actually be challenges for Players? Perhaps it will only be living up to the standard they set for themselves in “Mille.”

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About the Contributors
Cadence Neenan
Cadence Neenan, Web Managing Editor
By the age of 18, most kids have not yet chosen their favorite word. In fact, most teenagers have never even thought about such a question. Perhaps a few have been asked on a “Getting to Know You” sheet handed out by English teachers on the first day of school. But in that case, most probably just mindlessly scribbled words onto their sheets such as “literally,” or “totally,” or “dude.” Cadence Neenan ’15, on the other hand, has thought about this deeply. Her favorite word is “loquacious.” Neenan grew up in a home that fostered a love for all things English. With her mom as a former Staples High School English teacher and her dad as a librarian, Neenan was destined for a love affair with vocabulary, grammar, and reading. “My mom always used to read to me ever since I was little,” she said. “I love to read because I was raised to be a good reader.” In school, Neenan has opted to create a heavy course load that reflects her love of English and reading. AP Lit, AP Lang, AP Euro, and AP Gov are just a few of the difficult classes Neenan has chosen to take on. For Neenan, however, much of the learning and “fun with English” goes on outside the class material. “The other night, I was reading a poem during English class,” Neenan said. “I really liked it, so I brought it home and showed my mom. We spent the whole 45 minutes at dinner rhetorically analyzing it and talking about the devices the author used. It was so fun.” Alongside typical English classes, Neenan has also become a part of Inklings to exercise her love of writing. After taking Intro to Journalism, she fell in love with newspaper writing and, since then, has proven herself to be an essential Inklings player, as she is now the Web Managing Editor. “When I found out that I got Web Managing I had a panic attack because I was so happy,” Neenan said. “I like being a managing editor because I love the freedom the web gives me to be creative with my ideas.” Neenan also plans to use her journalism and writing skills in college and, later, in her career. “In college I want to study political science, but I am considering using that to go into journalism,” Neenan said. “Going into journalism with a focus on politics is what I am really interested in.”
Caroline Cohen
Caroline Cohen, Managing Editor
Caroline Cohen ’15 is a team player. And in true MVP fashion, she has made a name for herself on Inklings with her pep and strong work ethic. Since taking Intro to Journalism freshman year, she has put in countless hours of hard work and, this year, even snatched up the coveted position of Blue Staff managing editor. Cohen’s dedication stems from her passion. She loves writing, especially thoughtful opinion pieces and interesting feature stories. And the more daunting the challenge, the more willing she is to tackle it. The story she is most proud of is an investigative piece about snow day policies, for which she interviewed Superintendent Elliott Landon. Cohen’s favorite part of Inklings is, naturally, the team spirit. “I never really played sports, so Inklings is my team,” said Cohen. “It’s a way to be more involved in our school and form close bonds with lots of people.” Cohen’s love of teamwork is especially evident when she talks about her goals for her final year of Inklings. Number one on the list is writing a “twofer,” or working with another writer on a story with a challenging topic. And like any other great sportswoman, Cohen is always looking out for the other members of her team. Her “claim to fame,” as she puts it, was coming up with the idea to have editors chip in for a refrigerator for the Inklings room to store snacks in after school. Cohen especially loves the support and positive feedback from her Inklings-reading fans. “I had a copy of the graduation issue at my house, and my friends saw it and were amazed,” she said. It’s sure to be another great season for Caroline Cohen.

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