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Staples senior takes on a new role

The+Man+Behind+the+Scenes%3A+Nathan+Francis+%E2%80%9914+directs+his+first+spring+studio%2C+%E2%80%9CDon%E2%80%99t+Drink+the+Water%2C%E2%80%9D+a+%E2%80%9Cvery+zany%2C+slapstick%E2%80%9D+comedy+originally+written+by+Woody+Allen.+The+play+opens+Feb.+28th%2C+and+also+shows+on+March+1st+and+2nd.+
Rachel Treisman
The Man Behind the Scenes: Nathan Francis ’14 directs his first spring studio, “Don’t Drink the Water,” a “very zany, slapstick” comedy originally written by Woody Allen. The play opens Feb. 28th, and also shows on March 1st and 2nd.

Practice begins outside the auditorium. The environment is calm and casual as kids let their heavy backpacks collapse onto the ground and pull out their crinkled coffee-stained scripts. The buzz of conversation and laughter flood the space, only to be disrupted by a single commanding voice. The small talk dwindles away as the actors turn their attention to the person in charge— the director.

Only, in this Players’ production, the director is barely older, if not the same age, as the actors. Nathan Francis ’14, who has been involved with Players since he was just a freshman, is directing this season’s studio play, “Don’t Drink the Water.”

“Don’t Drink the Water,” by Woody Allen, chronicles a family who is accused of espionage after taking harmless tourist photos. They end up stuck in the American Embassy in a made-up country behind the Iron Curtain, and the play follows them and all the crazy people they meet as they try to escape.

Francis says some examples of these people include “a nun doing magic tricks, a communist policeman with anger issues, and a psychotic chef who is very proud of her cooking.”

Francis also describes the play as “crazy and wild with a lot of energy and action.” Cast member, Justin Chen ’16, adds that it features a lot of “very zany, slapstick style of humor with a lot of witty, fast paced dialog.”

Only one or two studio plays are directed by a student each year. To be eligible, you have to take the directing class either junior or senior year. Francis raved about the class, talking about how “you learn how to manage your actors, and you become a better teacher and leader in the process.”

Rachel Beck ’15, who plays a member of the family, said the atmosphere is much more “low-key” than when plays are directed by an adult.

When asked if it’s hard to balance being a student director, Francis doesn’t hesitate to answer.

“It’s 100% percent difficult. While it would be easy just to laugh and joke with my cast the entire time, I also need to be the one to be on task and really work everyone around me so they can be the best they can be,” he said.

He chuckles while saying, “I’m definitely more of a stickler for the rules now.”

Despite the obstacles, Francis’s passion for directing is evident as he discusses how it’s different from acting. As he begins to speak, he leans forward in his chair and his words start tumbling out quickly.

“I really like the creation and being able to develop the world as opposed to just contributing,” Francis said excitedly, “I’m manipulating, and designing, and creating.”

A slight  smile spreads across his face as he adds, “I like being able to kind of call the shots and make my own interpretations.”

With Francis behind the scenes, “Don’t Drink the Water” is sure to be a lively comedy that will be coming to Toquet Hall on February 28st, March 1st, and March 2nd.

Renée Weisz ’17, a member of the cast, urges everyone to see it “to support Nathan and check out a Woody Allen script that is quite hilarious.

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About the Contributors
Margaux MacColl, Features Editor
This summer Margaux MacColl ’16 was cliff jumping in Africa. As she was preparing to jump, she looked around and realized that of the 200 people on the cliffs, she was the only girl. MacColl was amazed at the societal gender differences compared to her lifelong home, Westport, CT. This, she says is why it’s important to travel. To MacColl it’s necessary to experience people with different values. At Staples, everyone has the same end-goal–college–so to be in another country allows her to understand a perspective that she may not have seen back home. MacColl has always wanted to be a writer, a familiar profession since mother writes novels, but MacColl appreciates the regular publication that is journalism. MacColl sees herself writing features for a magazine so that she can give a voice to the “different perspectives” she finds in her travels. In the same way MacColl likes to dive into dive into different cultures, MacColl also likes to dive into her story topics. In today’s society, she has noticed that you’re not going to read much in print that you haven’t already read online, so print journalism requires in depth research about the topic in order to find an intriguing angle. MacColl likes to find the heart of the news and find an emotional connection to it. Journalism is about “translating empathy through words.” It’s not the news story MacColl cares about, it’s about who was affected by it.  
Rachel Treisman, Web Features Editor
Since the time that she could remember, Rachel Treisman ’15 always loved reading and writing. And with a long list of titles read, she kept track of her favorite words that she found in books. Inklings was always something that Treisman ’15 wanted to be a part of. After stopping involvement in sports when she was younger she had a desire to be part of a team. “I always tried to be involved but didn’t know I had to take the Intro to Journalism,” said Treisman ’15 “I tried to make graphics and help out in other ways but there was not much I could do” So, she signed up to take the Introduction course her sophomore year and then became a staff writer last year. Aside from her role as the Web Features Editor for Inklings and keeping her portfolio full of stories, Treisman also has found the time to start and lead the Circle of Women Club at Staples. A club that helps raise money and awareness to send girls in developing countries to school. Treisman has been involved in the organization for a few years now, following her fundraising for her Bat Mitzvah project. “I was trying to think of a project and my dad asked me what I was thankful for,” said Treisman ’15 “And the big thing that I could think of, was school.” And now, she can add Inklings to her list of things to be thankful for and proud of.  

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