Student Production: Almost, Maine
by Allison LaBelle ’20
Guest A&E Writer
Almost, Maine, an independent student production directed by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18, was featured the weekend of Nov. 3-5 in the Bowab Studio Theatre at the Smith Center for the Arts. The play was not only artistically crafted, but it brought a wonderfully entertaining performance that still has the hearts of its audiences.
The play was broken down into eight vignettes, divided by fitting transitional songs. These scenes all transpired at the same time on a magical Friday night in an inexplicable and not quite existent town in Maine, known as Almost. Each scene featured a new group of characters, all connected by one thing: love.
The multiple dimensions of love were revealed through the relationships of the characters: yearning for love, lack of love, head-over-heels love, loss of love, and friendly love.
These plain and ordinary characters were undeniably relatable in their romantic endeavors. They grappled with a concept that is well known by all and experienced in so many different ways. With love comes numerous supplementary emotions: hope, pain, delight, pleasure—the list goes on. Through these simple characters, the complexity of love was unveiled.
Although the audience was only exposed to snippets of these characters’ lives, it was so easy to connect with them and feel for them. Characters like Pete (Thomas Edwards ’20) and Ginette (Alexsia Patton ’21) show that love is not easy, and it sure is not simple. Their experiences were a combination of hilarious, magical, and heart-wrenching. Because love has many forms, it was unpredictable.
The cast did a noteworthy job immersing themselves in their roles. Several cast members played more than one character, and were able to completely alter their role from one extreme case of love to another. The talent of the cast was undeniable, which made for an enjoyable experience.
Love is magical, and that was apparent during the closing scene of the play. The two characters that began the play were brought back once more for a mystical ending. It was a picturesque scene with snow, lights, and the most charming form of love: a fairytale ending.
Gaga over Gaga— ‘Fat’ And All
by Allison LaBelle ’20
If you saw Lady Gaga’s halftime performance during the Super Bowl last week, then chances are her talent and vocals blew you away. Lady Gaga’s individuality is admirable. Her confidence shines on the stage, and she serves as a positive role model for all of her fans.
Unfortunately, the responses to Gaga’s performance were extremely pessimistic, and not for the reasons one would expect. People loved her show, saying it may have even been one of the best halftime shows of all time.
So if people were not shaming her performance, then what bad things did they have to say? It’s called body shaming.
Tweets following her performance said things such as, “Gaga needs to do some crunches if she wants to show her flabby belly,” and “Tried to enjoy Gaga’s performance, was distracted by the flab on her stomach swinging around.” Tweets, like these, came from individuals hidden behind their computer screens.
Gaga performed incredibly and looked beautiful during her show. The standards put on women to be stick-thin have gone too far. What people are calling fat is actually called skin, and we need it to survive. Without it, we would all be skeletal zombies.
The pressure put on women to fit into a size two is outright disappointing. According to the Multi-Service Eating Disorders Association (MEDA), approximately 20 percent of college women suffer or have suffered from some form of an eating disorder. Why do girls who weigh 135 pounds fear that they are “fat” and get nervous after eating one slice of pizza?
Society has created an unrealistic body image for females. Insecurities and nerves run rampant when people are not comfortable in their own skin. So what should we take away from this distasteful after-effect of Gaga’s performance?
In response to these disrespectful tweets, Gaga said,“I heard my body is a topic of conversation so I wanted to say, I’m proud of my body and you should be proud of yours too.” Her pride and confidence in her own body is one of the many reasons she is such a role model.
Gaga is happy in her own skin and encourages everyone to be proud of his or her own body. She advises, “Be you and be relentlessly you.”
We are all unique. We are all different shapes and sizes. It is our differences that define each and every one of us.
If we were all the same size as Victoria Secret models, then there would be no individuality. It is not only extremely unrealistic and impossible for all women to be Barbie-sized, but it would also make for a boring world.
Let’s embrace our differences. Stand tall and be proud of our bodies. No one has the right to put you down. You are beautiful, and you should never let anyone tell you otherwise.
The Importance of Stories
by Allison LaBelle ’20
Everybody has a story. It is important to remember that. There are seven billion people in the world, and on average a person will meet around 10,000 people in his or her lifetime. That is a whole lot of stories. We encounter so many people on a day-to-day basis whom we know little to nothing about. People on the street. People in our classes. People at the dining hall. We brush past people having no idea what goes on in their lives. It is almost crazy to think that everyone we pass has their own complex life story with all sorts of intricacies and dynamics.
People want their stories to be heard. So why don’t we take the time to get to know people on a deeper level? Sometimes we wrongly assume we know people’s stories before we even meet them. We fall victim to stereotypes and biases. The thing to remember: we all use stereotypes. Human beings are biologically set up to do so. So when stereotypical thoughts start creeping into your head, don’t beat yourself up about it. This way of thinking is embedded within us. However, stereotypes can be overcome when time is taken to actually get to know an individual.
Stop yourself from making assumptions, and let people into your life. Give it a shot, and say hello. CBS News correspondent Steve Hartman did just this. Hartman came up with a method to hear people’s stories, and share them with the rest of the world. Every two weeks, he would throw a dart at a map of America, go to the area the dart hit, look through the local phone book, and pick a name at random. It was his mission to learn the story of each person that was randomly selected.
As years past, Hartman decided to take his mission to the world. He wanted to know the people of the world as neighbors, as friends. Stories bond people together. The people Hartman talked to and interviewed were typical people with ordinary lives. These are the stories that should be shared. Why is it that the only stories we hear about in magazines are those of celebrities? And why is it that the only stories shared on the news are usually dismal and sad? I want to hear about the good times mixed with the bad.
I want to hear about the happy moments in people’s lives. One of the men that Hartman interviewed, Erik Colton, lives on a ranch with his wife and two kids. Colton shared with us the story of his wedding proposal. How did he get down on a knee? Well, he didn’t. He proposed over the phone. Life is all about these unforgettable moments.
These moments should be shared for laughter and smiles. People want to share. We just need to be willing to take the time to listen. Listening to other people’s stories can help to educate us.
Everyone’s story is unique. People of different backgrounds and ethnicities have different stories. The more we know about others, the more educated we will be.
‘Guac Is Extra’
by Allison LaBelle ’20
Whole Foods is one of my favorite stores. I can spend hours strolling the aisles and picking out delicious, healthy foods, but I have encountered a major problem.
As a college student, I have come to find that I need to be more frugal with my spending. The issue? The healthy food I love is expensive. A 2013 Harvard study found that it costs about $1.50 more a day to eat a healthy diet rather than an unhealthy diet. It is now four years later, and I am sure this cost has increased.
Why is it that an apple can cost more than a bag of chips? Why is fresh food that comes straight from the earth more expensive than food that is manufactured in a factory?
I am so confused by America’s food industry. The gap in price between healthy and unhealthy food is bothersome and causes a major dilemma for people who are on a budget.
Rather than an apple versus a bag of chips, let’s think bigger picture. A family is on a budget and wants to go out to lunch. Will they spend less at McDonalds or Sweet Green?
McDonalds. The issue with this is McDonalds is processed food, which is bad for a person’s health. This is a huge conundrum for so many Americans.
People are forced to choose between the money in their wallet and their health. In the moment, it can be so easy to prioritize money over health, but in the long run it is one’s health that is the most important.
It is frustrating that in order to eat well one needs to spend more. This situation can even be seen here on campus.
In Alumni dining hall, students can choose between buying something from the Take 3 station by using a meal swipe or buying something using FriarBucks.
I only have $165 Friar Bucks each semester and I know that I need to use them wisely. I could easily run through them within a month, but instead I try and stretch them out.
Friar Bucks can buy you a smoothie, a fresh salad, a grilled chicken sandwich, a deli sandwich, pretzels and hummus, etc.
Meanwhile, Take3 options consist of quesadillas, grilled cheeses, burgers, processed chicken patties, pizza, and if you are trying to be “healthy,” pre-packaged salads.
It is difficult trying to maintain a healthy diet at school when it feels as though there is such a limited variety of healthy food.
It should not have to feel like the only way to eat healthy is by spending more money. Leading a healthy lifestyle should be something everyone feels they can do.
I’m so sick of hearing “Guac costs extra, is that ok?” whenever I go to Chipotle. Guacamole is made out of avocados, which are a great source of protein. I do not want to choose between money and nutrition any more.
America is one of the most obese countries in the world. One way to try and fix this is to finda way to charge less for healthy food. People should not be forced into processed, unhealthy, nutrient-lacking food due to their budget.