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Denebola » Bianca Ho http://www.denebolaonline.net The Award-Winning, Official School Newspaper of Newton South High School, Newton, MA Fri, 17 Jun 2011 02:00:19 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.0.2 Vaudeville meshes together diverse talent in one show http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/vaudeville-meshes-together-diverse-talent-in-one-show/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/10/28/vaudeville-meshes-together-diverse-talent-in-one-show/#comments Thu, 28 Oct 2010 08:04:52 +0000 Michael Fuchs http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4823 ­From September 30 to October 2, South Stage Vaudeville put on a show with plenty of variety and lots of laughs. The vaudeville-style show, a form of entertainment once popular in the early 20th century, was directed by Jeff Knoedler, and stage managed by senior Jocelin Weiss.
Knoedler suggests that the appeal of Vaudeville lies in its range of theatrical elements. 
Vaudeville is unique in that it combines comedy with singing and dancing.  It is theatrically singular and brings together a diverse group of acts. 
Vaudeville has attracted actors of all sorts, and, in recent years, the genre has been assimilated into a more modern format. “George Burns, Milton Berle, and Harry Houdini all had careers on the vaudeville circuit, and some performers made the transition to radio and later TV.  We can still see the influence of vaudeville in sketch comedy shows and segments on late night TV such as Letterman’s Stupid Human Tricks, Knoedler said.
South’s own Vaudeville show certainly lived up to expectations, showcasing the multitude of talents of South’s students.
Sophomore Rebecca Shapiro exalts the range of theatrical elements apparent in Vaudeville’s style of entertainment, noting the “plenty of variety in our acts- there [are] comedic skits, songs, dances, gymnastics, and just about everything that could be put into a show.  
Though sporting a primarily younger cast, the show proved no less competent or engaging. The acts were peppered with clever, sometimes off-color jokes; the audience was certainly never bored.
With tones ranging from serious to comedic, acts from stunts to dances, there’s really no way to describe Vaudeville except as an amalgam of thoroughly entertaining sketches.
The show opened with the entire cast on stage, in all their costumes. “Another Openin’, Another Show, they sang, shedding light on the thoughts of performers of such vaudeville shows.
Comedic skits were plenty, even incorporating some Jewish jokes geared towards the particular audience from Newton. The announcer, “Master of Ceremonies sophomore Zoe Clayton cracked constant jokes, keeping the audience entertained throughout. Though many of these jokes, as well as others during the acts, were cringe-worthily corny, they were perfect for the show and added a great touch to the whole experience.
Unique performances included sophomore Leyah Melikian’s rhythmic gymnastics routine, with flips and ribbons. Along with junior Annie Humphrey who delighted with a gymnastics routine, the two went on later in the show to pursue an interconnected plot between their acts, with a sharp and cutting brawl between best friends.
Sophomore Raphael Kasobel amazed the crowd with his impressive command over knives, even if they were fake ones. A combination of knife spinning and a light show, it was certainly a highlight.
Sophomore Emily Ho added some ethnic variety to the acts with a Chinese dance, “A Rose for You.
Even oddities of nature were not too weird for Vaudeville. Sophomore Hayley Goldstein and Junior Charlotte Cohen played Siamese twins in “Two Peas in a Pod, a delightfully witty number that highlighted the strained relations such closeness can bring.
Musical numbers were many. Sophomores Samantha Boucher and Alex Conrad each sang beautiful solos, “My Funny Valentine and “My Man, respectively, adding a more serious tone.
Even the musical accompanist, junior Josh Harlow, got his own solo number, playing some cool jazz piano.
South Stage Vaudeville clearly lived up to the historical style of vaudevilles, and at the same time put on an enjoyable show for the modern South audience.
This year, South Stage’s decision to do a Vaudeville show means that it would replace South’s previously annual improv show and cabaret.
“South Stage Vaudeville is a combination of the previous year’s improv show and cabaret. Variety was the key to successful vaudeville shows. Producers would line up all kinds of performers from singers and actors to acrobats and animal acts.  Comedians and novelty acts were especially big draws, Knoedler said. 
According to Knoedler, the first production slot, normally held by the improv show, is better suited for a variety show. Improv, which requires a native wit, intimidates some South actors.
“For this first production slot, we need a show that has flexible casting and can be successful with an abbreviated rehearsal process. Our improv show fits this description, but since some actors are scared of improv, we weren’t getting the interest levels we needed to cast it well, Knoedler said. 
“A variety show like Vaudeville seems like a perfect solution: actors can work on their scripted pieces or songs independently over the summer and can begin rehearsals on the first day of school with the bulk of the work already in place, Knoedler said.
Even the auditions were a grab bag of performance styles. “There was a monologue audition for acting, an audition for a singing part, and a dancing part audition, too. To prepare for the show, we were given our scripts and songs over the summer to practice and memorize our lines before school started, Shapiro said. 
And, although Vaudeville was the first show of the year, Shapiro noted that students were neither anxious nor nervous about the performance. 
“I don’t think it’s more stressful because it’s the first show of the year, I think it’s more because of school just starting, so it’s difficult to balance getting used to new classes and getting work done and focusing on the show at the same time, Shapiro said.    
Since Vaudeville is a mix of comedy, music, and dance, the show developed over the course of several scenes, many of which were not related.  
“Most of the scenes aren’t related, but a few are, just by the characters in them. There are two actors playing a married couple, and they’re in multiple scenes together, though not all of the scenes are directly related besides the people in them, Shapiro said.
Ultimately, Vaudeville was certainly a success. “South Stage Vaudeville aims to take the audience back in time to 1920 with costumes and comedy sketches from the period and songs in the style of vaudeville. With an evening of song, dance, and comedy, there [was] something for everyone, Knoedler said.

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Art Focus: Eric Phillips http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/art-focus-eric-phillips/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/05/21/art-focus-eric-phillips/#comments Fri, 21 May 2010 07:01:33 +0000 Bianca Ho http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4350 Any student at South acquainted with senior Eric Philips would call him a musical guy. Philips has performed, written, and mixed various music projects.

He was not always this interested in music, though. For most of his childhood, Philips had not yet discovered what would become a huge part of his life.

It was not until eighth grade that he became truly absorbed in music. Even then, Philips did not take a lot of initiative.
“I’ve always felt a bit of regret for not really applying myself until this past year or two, Philips said.

Now, however, he devotes a large amount of his time to music. Philips takes two guitar lessons and teaches two guitar lessons each week.

He is in a band, and he also participates in South’s jazz band, which meets on Monday nights. In addition to that, Philips tries to fit in at least two hours of practicing something musical each day.

At South, Philips takes honors jazz ensemble, songwriting, and AP Music Theory.

Though Philips spends a lot of time on music, he does not find it tedious. “Of course music is enjoyable; it’s my passion! Philips said.

Last summer, Philips attended a five-week summer performance program at the Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Recently, however, Philips has not been performing as often. He and senior Michael RiCharde played at Water Aid International’s Bananagrams Tournament.

Instead, Philips is working on perfecting and finishing an album that he recorded with senior Nick Sobel for his WISE project, due to be unveiled May 28 in South’s Lab Theatre.

As for the future, Philips plans to pursue music as a career, but not in performance. Next year, he will be attending New York University for music composition and technology.

Philips hopes to enter a career related to audio engineering or film scoring. He has not figured everything out yet, but he may also be interested in teaching.

This summer, Philips may make another “goofy album with senior Gabe Glissen-Brown just “for funzies, he said.
When he is not engrossed in music, you may find Philips playing Age of Mythology on his computer.

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Art Focus: Claire Barnewolt http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/art-focus-claire-barnewolt/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/04/14/art-focus-claire-barnewolt/#comments Wed, 14 Apr 2010 05:26:47 +0000 Bianca Ho http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=4106 Senior Claire Barnewolt has danced for as long as she can remember, and her parents have been a huge factor influencing her in pursuing her passion.

When she was only two years old, they signed her up for her first dance class at Peanut Butter and Jelly Dance Company in Brookline. Two years later, she moved to Joanne Langione Dance Center in Newton, where she still dances today.

As a child, dancing delighted her. Barnewolt has fond memories of her younger dancing days. “I wasn’t in that many dances, but the whole thing was such a big deal with all the lights and shiny costumes, she said.

Currently, Barnewolt is in the senior class at Joanne Langione Dance Center (JLDC). She devotes a large part of her time to her passion, dancing 12 hours a week. However, this is still a more relaxed schedule compared to the 17 hours she put in earlier in her high school career.

Her commitment to dance is hard work, but it is rewarding.

“I can’t say I’m always in the mood for dance, but once I’m there, I usually enjoy it. Barnewolt has formed lifelong friendships and her dance studio has become like a second home.

She participated in conventions and competitions with JLDC; the classes’ main focus, however, is on technique and combinations.

Recently, Barnewolt performed in JLDC’s winter concert, which featured dances by the classes and student choreographers.

In February, she also competed in the Dance Hall of Fame competition. She performed with classmates to “The Chain by Ingrid Michaelson. Their routine was very successful, winning platinum, best lyrical, second overall, and various choreography awards. “It was very fulfilling, Barnewolt said.

Outside of her yearlong dance classes, Barnewolt also participated in summer workshops and intense training.

At JLDC, she took a solid month’s worth of dance classes, running from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. She also participated in a dance program with Boston Ballet.

Barnewolt says the most intensive program she participated in was a week-long convention in 2007 in New York City, called The Pulse. She took lessons for various forms of dance, taught by famous choreographers such as Mia Michaels, Shane Sparks, and Wade Robson. Some of the choreographers Barnewolt learned from also taught dancers from the show So You Think You Can Dance.

Barnewolt’s favorite dancer, Travis Wall, danced on the show and worked with the ver=y same choreographers. With both dance and school, Barnewolt follows a packed schedule. She takes many Advanced Placement and Honors classes, and she also plays the piano.

While dance remains a passion of hers, Barnewolt does not plan to pursue a career in the field. “It’s a hard career to choose. You have to be absolutely brilliant to make it these days, she said.

Instead, her interests for college lie in the social sciences and languages. Barnewolt knows for certain, however, that dance will remain a part of her life. “It’s a good way to keep fit and release bottled up emotions, she said.

To Barnewolt, dancing is synonymous with being healthy. She believes that everyone should familiarize themselves with some type of dance during their lifetimes.

“Dance like no one is watching, Barnewolt said, “because even though dance is a spectator sport, dance is mainly for the dancer. Watching someone dance is like getting a peek at part of their soul.

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Album Review: The Courage of Others by Midlake http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/album-review-the-courage-of-others-by-midlake/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/album-review-the-courage-of-others-by-midlake/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 08:43:43 +0000 Bianca Ho http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3866 The folk-rockers of Midlake released their third studio album, The Courage of Others, on February 1. If you do not recognize the name, it’s probably because you have never heard of them before.

Midlake began in 1999 when a group of jazz artists at the University of North Texas collaborated in a band titled The Cornbread All-Stars. Their music evolved to a more mainstream “indie-pop sound later on.

Critics often compare Midlake to the musical stylings of Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac. Midlake focuses on the relationship between nature and life, a concept portrayed in all their albums.

After hearing their second album The Trials of Van Occupanther many times, I dubbed the group as a personal favorite of mine. Singer Tim Smith’s rich and melancholy voice in combination with the ballads and fascinating lyrics captured my attention.

The Trials of Van Occupanther, however, did not make an great impression immediately’€Midlake is a band that demands replay, and they certainly deserve it.

Critics gave The Trials of Van Occupanther favorable reviews on the whole, and thus Midlake’s third album was highly anticipated.

The Courage of Others, however, does not completely live up to its predecessor, though it is pleasing all the same. Smith’s voice still sports the same dark charm and the mood of the songs remains generally gloomy. The beautiful melodies are still there and the lyrics still conjure lush images of the charm of older woods and a simple life.

The Courage of Others was heavily influenced by Smith’s newfound love of very traditional European folk rock; this record is reminiscent of the Druids and bands similar to Fairport Convention’€think “Greensleeves.

Arguably the best track on the album, “Acts of Man brings together a smooth layering of vocals and guitar. Its sweeping yet slowly marching beat accentuates the simplicity of the woefully beautiful song. “And when the acts of man / Cause the ground to break open / Oh, let me inside, let me inside, not to wait, Smith sings.

Another highlight, the short but sweet “Fortune incorporates the flute, which is traditional to earlier European folk music. The distinctly folksy melody is calming and draws a grassy scene with overcast sky.

The Courage of Others certainly does not follow the styles of music popular in recent years but still offers its own unique, valuable contributions to music. Its beauty lies in its fusion of modern music with traditional folk songs.

A central theme of humans living with nature gives the album cohesion. This cohesion, however, works too well, resulting in all the songs on the album sounding similar. Each song also has almost the same tempo.

Midlake aimed high and tried something new this time. Their work demonstrated grace and beauty, but missed chances for some great opportunities to improve pertaining to their potential to bring a little more originality.

Although it may seem outdated, give The Courage of Others a try and listen to it a few times. You would be surprised as to how the change in music affects you.

Better yet, I recommend you try something from Midlake’s second album, The Trials of Van Occupanther, which manages to be very original whilst incorporating values of modern music.

Overall, I praise Midlake for daring to take a different path; The Courage of Others, however, deserves to have a little more life and a little more vivacity. I would give this a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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Staff extends beyond classroom, shines in faculty talent show http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/staff-extends-beyond-classroom-shines-in-faculty-talent-show/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2010/03/24/staff-extends-beyond-classroom-shines-in-faculty-talent-show/#comments Wed, 24 Mar 2010 08:41:00 +0000 Bianca Ho http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=3862 The teachers and employees of South traded places with the students on March 13 as they took the stage for the seventh annual Faculty and Staff Talent Show.

All proceeds went to the Newton South Faculty’s “Students in Need fund, which helps students with financial difficulties participate in school activities.

The show encompassed a variety of acts, and the emcees were a show in their own right. As in previous years, history teachers Jamie Rinaldi and Sean Turley, and English teacher David Weintraub hosted the event between acts, these three teachers captured the audience’s attention with their antics and witty banter.

Their mismatched outfits and endearing jokes were a success with the students; Rinaldi even sported a parrot suit and shaving cream pie for a few acts. Weintraub composed an amusing song for Turley that capitalized on his “arbitrary grades and lack of “pedagogy.

The annual favorites, Sharon O’Connor and Martha Moyer, thrilled the crowd by tap dancing to the classic “Puttin’ on the Ritz.

Austin Marks and Katani Sumner performed their own rendition of the old Roberta Flack song, “Where is the Love, with rich, beautiful voices.

Peppered throughout the acts were brief but funny English Department skits. These skits touched on relevant, current topics such as the repetitiveness of the new course registration system, the lack of substitute teachers, and the short blocks on early release days.

The many musical acts took center stage. Leslie Quattrini and Alan Reinstein both played guitar and sang in their respective acts; Quattrini played a pleasant original song and Reinstein performed a couple of comical pieces.

Gene Stein and Mary Kate Kasper as a duet played guitar and sang together, adding a different vibe to the solos before them.

In the last act before intermission, Bob Parlin won the hearts of the crowd with his sweeping rendition of “Beyond the Sea.

Pat McFarland told the story of “The Great Guitar Mystery, and joined Sleepyhead to perform a song about evolution, inspired by the Beatles’ “Revolution.

One of the highlights of the night was Principal Joel Stembridge’s stage appearance with Mary Scott, Donna Gordon, Josepha Blocker, and Charlie Myette. Stembridge and his partners showed a new side of themselves in a dance routine to an edited version of the Temptations’ “My Girl, substituting with “my guys.

Math teacher Hayley Teich sang her own rendition of Colbie Caillat’s “Falling For You, which was popular with the audience. The history duo of Pilar Quezzaire and Paul Estin performed two songs, one serious and one goofy, regarding real excerpts from students’ writing.

A new addition to this years show, the World Language Department performed its own take on professional development and use of technology in classrooms.

The final act, a “Guitarchestra, was a collaborative effort from all the guitarists of the night. The audience sang along to the classic “Country Roads before joining a dance party to Daft Punk’s “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger on the stage.

The show was a huge success this year with attendees nearly filling the entire auditorium. Students enjoyed seeing their teachers and faculty on stage. “It was interesting to see them not in the classroom, freshman Sam Houston-Read said. The show was also a great way to unwind after taking the SATs the same morning.

“We know that teachers have hobbies and talents besides teaching… [But] the performances were nevertheless pleasantly surprising, junior Grace Kim said.

The willingness of the teachers to get on stage and do something different positively affected South, and softened the concrete boundaries between teacher and student.

“It probably made students think of teachers in more of a cool way, Houston-Read said.

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Spirit outfits transcend sports teams http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/spirit-outfits-transcend-sports-teams/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/10/21/spirit-outfits-transcend-sports-teams/#comments Wed, 21 Oct 2009 07:39:16 +0000 Bianca Ho http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2940 The following has been observed at some point by most South students: a person walking down the hall, dressed in something along the lines of a pink tutu, a crocodile mask, and thigh-high polka dotted socks. This sight is merely passed off however as, “Oh, it’s (insert show or sport here) spirit today.

The concept behind spirit isn’t apparent at first. Why on earth would dressing up eccentrically on the day of a game help the team’s performance?

Wouldn’t the crazy outfits only embarrass some students and actually decrease their performance level? Some shows and teams keep it pretty low-key for spirit, but usually South seems to be a world of weird and quirky spirits.

However, spirit is a great way to make a group feel united during the school day. When everyone on a show or team goes all-out to dress in outrageous ’80s clothing or hippie attire, members feel like, somehow, they’re presenting themselves as a cohesive front even offstage or the field.

Junior Jocelin Weiss is especially enthusiastic about the idea. For theatre kids, spirit is even a way of promoting a show. “It really helps ticket sales, because in class, people are like: ‘Ëœwhy are you wearing a fancy dress/pajamas/etc. at school? she said.

This sort of inquiry spreads knowledge of shows, sometimes faster than any poster in a hallway. Weiss also loves to use spirit as a way to express herself. “I can’t speak for everyone, but a lot of the kids I’ve been in shows with like to target that love for self-expression and creativity into dressing themselves up in crazy things you’d never usually wear to school, she said.

Junior Melanie Rucinski appreciates how spirit brings close friendships even closer. “Not only do I have a show outside of school hours, but the fun and the social bonding from the activity get carried into my other classes, she said. Rucinski adds that during The Miracle Worker, actors did spirit as wacky as “baby and helmet costumes, and during the one-acts two years ago, participants did “dress up like your show spirit.

“[Alumnus] Alex Caron came in wearing a cardboard box with armholes and a hole for his neck because he was in ‘ËœEdges,’ she said.

The one acts that year’s spirit was formal dress the Wednesday before the show, and then pajamas that Friday. On the following Tuesday and Wednesday, the week that the one acts were taking place, those involved in the show do spirit related to their own specific show’€with Wednesday often being “promote the show spirit.

Not everyone expresses the same viewpoint about spirit, however. Junior Zoe Newberg believes that although the idea behind spirit is good, “it doesn’t work if nobody does it, which is usually the case, she said.

Sophomore Judy Cohen agrees. She says that “it’s a bummer when not a lot of the team does it though because it defeats the purpose.

Junior Zhuoshi Xie, who does both speech team and volleyball, prefers doing spirit for volleyball. “Very few speech people do spirit, she said, “and it just feels very awkward.

It is true that many people just don’t end up doing spirit when duty calls for it.

This completely defeats the purpose, putting more pressure on the people on the team or cast who have done the spirit to advertise the game that day, and also does not achieve the same sense of unity and teamwork.
However, we can agree that when all members do spirit, it produces exceptional results.

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Affordable clothing just around the corner: Frugal fashion is not just for Fannie anymore http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/frugal-fashion-is-not-just-for-fannie-anymore/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/09/30/frugal-fashion-is-not-just-for-fannie-anymore/#comments Wed, 30 Sep 2009 06:01:21 +0000 Sandy Shen http://www.denebolaonline.net/?p=2595 As the value of the dollar continues to shrink, a new trend in clothing has become a fad. Thrift shopping is more and more common as the current state of the economy steadily recovers.

Stores like Wet Seal and Forever 21 are preferred over stores that used to be popular, but slightly more expensive, such as Abercrombie and Fitch. Discount stores, such as Marshalls, TJ Maxx, and Filene’s Basement have been even more popular, as they offer designer labels for bargain prices.

The back-to-school season, which normally garners huge revenues for retail stores, revealed a miserable outcome for American Apparel, Abercrombie and Fitch, and Zumiez. Their sales figures have dropped a devastating 29 percent, while a much more inexpensive store, Aeropostale, has posted a nine percent increase in sales. Unlike others, Aeropostale is flexible about dropping its prices frequently and is eager to advertise sales and bargains.

What Stapleton doesn’t realize, is that people are much more willing to spend 50 percent less on clothes that are 80 percent as good.

Abercrombie and Fitch director Craig R. Stapleton explains that the reason for maintaining constant prices was a means of “brand protection –– lowering the prices would cause the store to lose the appeal and luster it currently holds as a “luxury store. What he doesn’t realize, is that people are much more willing to spend 50 percent less on clothes that are 80 percent as good.

South students are joining in on this trend. Sophomore Kathy Sun likes to shop at places like Delia’s and Forever21 “obviously because it’s cheap.

“It’s not bad quality or anything, and you can get more stuff because it’s a lot less expensive,

Junior Campbell Rogers said, who prefers to go to similar places. “I shop a lot at Delia’s, but their clothing is quite expensive sometimes, she said, “I try to buy from clearance or at cheaper places like Forever 21.

Where to Shop:

The Garment District

200 Broadway

Cambridge, MA 02139

Take the Green line, then switch to the Red line, get off at Kendall/MIT, and you will be within a short walking distance to the store.

The Garment District calls itself “an alternative department store, and it truly is one. The store sells both second hand and new clothing from every decade. You can find everything from vintage to current, modern day fashions.

If you’re really adventurous and patient, head downstairs to the infamous mountain of second hand clothes called the Dollar-A-Pound. The pile is replenished daily with fresh clothes.

It’s not easy to find anything wearable among the various sweaters, pants, and sheets (even underwear!) but every so often, with a lot of patience, you’ll find the perfect garment.

Not only are the clothes unique and interesting, but also the prices are more than reasonable. It’s the frugal shopper’s paradise, with inexpensively priced new clothing, and of course, the Dollar-A-Pound’s impossible-to-beat prices ($1.50/lb, $1/lb on Fridays). If you’re really tight for money, you can even sell your retired clothes for store credit or cash.

Filene’s Basement

215-227 Needham Street

Newton, MA 02464

Conveniently located on Needham Street in Newton, Filene’s Basement is the perfect place to shop.
This store specializes in designer items. All the clothing exudes sophistication, and no one will believe the amazing prices you paid for them.

You can buy items from classy labels such as Calvin Klein, Seven for All Mankind, Ralph Lauren, and Armani (if you’re lucky) without breaking the bank.

Filene’s Basement also has great accessories and an awesome shoe section. Head across the street for the second half of the store, which sells men’s clothing, women’s shoes, children’s apparel, and home items.

275 Needham St
Newton, MA 02464-1507

(617) 964-4987

Just down the street from Filene’s Basement, Marshalls is similar in that it carries designer items for affordable prices. Marshalls, however, has a larger juniors section and tends to carry more from your average mall store, like American Eagle and PacSun.

The overall atmosphere of this store is more teen-friendly, as it carries brighter colors and less flashy clothes than Filene’s Basement does. It also carries houseware items like pots, pans, and even scented candles.


Located on the 1st floor of the Natick Collection

1245 Worcester St
Natick, MA 01760
(508) 655-4800

While stores like Marshall’s and Filene’s Basement depend on outside retailers to send them overstocked or undersold items, Forever 21 has the dependability of holding clothes that will stay in stock and probably come in your size.

While at times it is a bit disorganized (and the lines can be absolutely chaotic), the clothes are chic for less, and you can feel like a true recessionista by shopping there.

Another benefit of this store is that it is located right inside the mall, so you can drop in during the middle of your shopping, and get great deals along with an occasional splurge at Neiman Marcus. It is also right below the food court, allowing you to refresh yourself after waiting in those long lines for the changing rooms!

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Student directed one-acts are ACTually amazing http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/student-directed-one-acts-are-actually-amazing/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/05/13/student-directed-one-acts-are-actually-amazing/#comments Wed, 13 May 2009 17:00:55 +0000 Bianca Ho http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2330 A troubled playwright caught up in his own fantasy world. A Jewish child disguised as a Nazi soldier during the Holocaust. A lost boy searching for the meaning of true love.

From April 30-May 2, these main characters of South Stage’s one-acts from the Student Directed Festival grabbed the audience’s attention, each one of them teaching a distinct message to the, and every one as meaningful as the next.

The first play, Old Saybrook, directed by senior Mark Galinovsky, opens with two couples having a small get-together in the middle of their house.

Couples Norman and Sheila (played by junior Ariel Shvartsman and sophomore Sarah Wanger) and David and Jenny (played by sophomore Jake Light and sophomore Charlotte Sall) have their own inside jokes and shared experiences. They gently tease each other about their shortcomings and insignificant faults, and there seems to be a healthy relationship among the four of them.

As the rest of the story unfolds, however, a third couple joins their company to visit the house where they first got married. Newcomers Hal and Sandy (played by senior Alex Brodsky and sophomore Tanya Lyon, respectively) know about every nook and cranny of the house, including a secret vault behind the fireplace.

Sheila discovers a diary that Norman has been keeping in the vault and reveals to the audience that Jenny, Sheila’s sister, has been having an affair with Norman.

The scene then breaks out into chaos as David becomes aware of the situation and proceeds to bring out a shotgun.

There is another twist in the plot, however, as the former owner of the house, a writer named Max Krolian (played by freshman Daniel Bender-Stern), reveals to everyone that those four people are not real, but characters he invented in a play he failed to finish writing.

Hal and Sandy then take this opportunity to compare how this play fits in with their real life experiences, and reveal to each other affairs they have had.

When it seems like nothing can be helped, and their relationship is in jeopardy, they make up, realizing that life is about forgiveness.

Theopolis, the second play, was written and directed by senior Jonah David. The play consists of no speaking, but rather movements, music and sounds. The play about the Holocaust begins with a scene taking place at a Nazi-infested camp, where two officers are patrolling the areas. The Jewish people oppressed by the Nazis are introduced, and the audience embarks on a journey following the story of a young Jewish child hidden beneath a Nazi shell.

Though the play is a silent one, the message is no less powerful or meaningful than that of any regular play. The occasional sound effect and the simple piano score, played by freshman Patricia Ho, provides all the sound needed for the impact of the story.

The third, and final play, Women and Wallace directed by senior Anya Whelan-Smith, is a memoir of a boy’s life, beginning at age six.

The first thing the audience hears from him are all the reasons Wallace (played by freshman Aaron Wolff) loves his mother, and he continues to skip off to school. The plotline takes a twist, however, as the audience watches in horror while Wallace’s mother kills herself with a kitchen knife.

The story traces the rest of Wallace’s life, as he bears clumsy interactions with girls as a result of his mother’s suicide. We learn that he is afraid to allow himself to become too emotionally attached in a relationship because, as he learned at the age of six, “all women desert in the end.

He finally learns from his grandmother that he cannot blame all of his mistakes on the death of his mother and he has to come to terms with the fact that he would make mistakes on his own, even if she were still alive.

Galinovsky, David, and Whelan-Smith, put together an astounding show. Each play was unique, and the audience never lost interest. The night was filled with an appropriate mix of comedy, tragedy, and even a mixture of both in Women and Wallace.

By beginning the show with a light-humored comedy that had a meaningful message, the directors successfully grabbed the audience’s attention.

The serious undertone of Theopolis was an effective continuation of the show, and finally, Women and Wallace was both uplifting and humorous.

All in all, the Student Directing Festival was an incredible show, which garnered laughter and almost-tears while capturing the watchers’ hearts.

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Go down the rabbit hole with Alice in Cabaret http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/03/26/go-down-the-rabbit-hole-with-alice-in-cabaret/ http://www.denebolaonline.net/2009/03/26/go-down-the-rabbit-hole-with-alice-in-cabaret/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2009 20:33:10 +0000 Sandy Shen http://www.sandbox.denebolaonline.net/?p=2022 Cast members of South Stage’s Cabaret graced the stage of the lab theater March 19-21 with their unique self-written production, by seniors Alex Caron and Valerie Coimbra. Intended as a spin-off of Alice in Wonderland, the show included characters that belted out every kind of song from excerpts of musicals such as Nunsense to Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name. Two days before opening night, the tickets had already been sold out, and people were waiting in quiet anticipation for the promising production.

Producing Cabaret this year was no easy feat. Budget cuts to the South Stage program made it harder for shows to be produced with the same kind of flash as last year’s Peter Pan. Even without extravagant flying machines, however, Cabaret captured the audience’s attention and produced images they will never forget.

Memorable scenes occurred at every turn, all the way to the finish. Comedic characters such as Sunshine, played by sophomore Ellie Crowley, and Shadow, played by freshman Charlotte Cohen, brought on rolls of laughter to everyone in the room. Singer after singer dazzled viewers with their spectacular voices and incredible sound.

In past years, Cabaret has been directed and run by staff and faculty of South. This year, it was entirely student-run by Caron and Coimbra. Also, instead of following past patterns of creating a series of disconnected musical excerpts, this production was the first cabaret to actually include a real plot line that joined everything together.

Their unique script consisting of allusions to Alice in Wonderland and references to common south affairs made a familiar setting for the audience to connect with. The self-deprecating humor directed toward its own scriptwriters made the show even more hilarious. The show also consisted of original and creative humor, including one scene, which included some stage crew techies, senior Gaul Porat and sophomore Max Nathanson, singing and dancing along with the cast members, and another where sophomore Melanie Rucinski, piano accompanist and assistant musical director, repeatedly got her boa stolen by competitive auditioners.

The show began with a few uncertainties, starting off as a vague, umbrella concept conceived during mornings in Chemistry class by Caron and Coimbra, and then began to focus on Alice in Wonderland’€this conclusion was finally reached after many unsuccessful attempts.

“Some of [the rehearsals] were a little rough, but we definitely pulled it together, Rucinski said.
On a snow day, when a badly needed rehearsal would have been canceled, many dedicated cast members simply met at Caron’s house for an extra rehearsal; from the final product, you’d never be able to tell that there were any tough rehearsals. Everything went smoothly, and the show was virtually seamless.

The choreography, done by senior Juli Spier, was riveting and innovative, and the acting convincing and, at times, moving and sentimental. The music was well chosen, and appealed to a wide variety of tastes. The twisting plot, as random as it may have been, made the show that much more interesting to watch, and the audience responded positively. “Cabaret was out there, but was amusing and very funny, freshman Jake Abramson said.

The story follows the confusing and seemingly unrelated adventures of Alice, an adolescent girl played by sophomore Tanya Lyon. At the beginning, Alice finds herself in a situation not so unfamiliar to the audience: she catches her boyfriend Freddie, played by sophomore Gabe Goodman, “canoodling another girl.

Her aunt, played by senior Lily Simon, encourages her to “not take any of his shenanigans. Alice confronts Freddie and the two break into a rousing musical number “Cry For Me by Jersey Boys.

Unlike the original book, this performance did not include the fantastical, crazy creatures, but rather modern, realistic versions of the bunny, the mad hatter, and the caterpillar. The bunny is a Jack-Johnson-guitar-playing bunny, the mad hatter is a step mom, and the caterpillar is a bubble-blowing caterpillar.

Alice’s journey brings her to explore the soulful depths of the people around her, and to answer the pressing question: “WHO are you?

She talks to her father, a street corner who answers the question “How many roads must a man walk down before you call him a man?

“The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

The show ends with an inspiring, shiver-inducing number, in which all 18 members of the cast dance and sing in breathtaking unison to the appropriately chosen, “He Lives In You from the Lion King.

In the end Alice finally learns to be comfortable with herself, while instilling introspection in the audience. The show was exciting through out, and brought a wonderful close to the journey everyone embarked on.

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