by: Ansley Moore
The technical difference between Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre is the amount of seats in the house. A Broadway theater must have a house of at least 500 seats, while an Off-Broadway theater has between 100-499 seats. Both types of theaters must be located in Manhattan, the geographic stipulation to be considered any sort of “Broadway”.
This distinction shocked me because I was under the impression that the difference would lie in professionalism. It’s a misconception I’ve held all my life, even joking on more than one occasion that some silly skit my friends and I made was opening Off-Broadway next week. But looking back it was incredibly unfair for me to make that judgement because until this past interim I had never seen any Off-Broadway production before. And after attending my first Off-Broadway show- Avenue Q- and the only real difference between that show and every other Broadway show I’ve seen was the house size (as aforementioned) and the budget. The financial gap was made more apparent to me because just days earlier FRA had taken the whole group to see Aladdin, which was truly a spectacle of “Disney Magic”. There was a cast of thirty six people and each one was in spectacularly intricate and detailed costumes, wigs, and makeup that were constantly changing into something more extravagant. They were working with an incredibly versatile set that moved on its own and further conveyed the grandeur of the story. Every cast member has probably spent more time in dance classes than I have spent on Earth because every dance move, stunt, flip, and whatever else was executed to perfection. And the moment when the magic carpet really flew across the stage the whole audience gasped as one. It was truly breathtaking to witness (if only casting could have made the experience my ears had listening to Aladdin sing equally as pleasurable…).
Meanwhile, Avenue Q only had one big set piece that could be manipulated in small ways to convey a new location. Rather than give the eleven person cast extravagant costumes (they were all dressed in black jeans and t-shirts) they were all given an extravagant amount of puppets to work with. There are thirty four puppets in the whole show with some cast members operating as few as five ranging to one of the ensemble tracks (known as the “second handler”) having to operate every single one of them at some point during the show. And the casting department for Avenue Q definitely pulled their weight in choosing performers for such a small show because every actor was perfectly cast and I spent all of intermission gushing about how incredible all of their voices were. The show wasn’t choreographed so much as it was stylized. There were no giant “Friend Like Me” dance breaks, but there was never a disconnect between an actor and their puppet. Even though the expression of the puppets obviously couldn’t change, it felt like you could watch the puppet’s mood shift over the course of a scene just because of how specific the actors were able to make the body language of their puppets match how they (the actor) were moving through that scene.
And even beyond things that we could see on stage, the difference between the scale of the two productions was revealed through things like one of the ensemble members of Avenue Q also being the Assistant Stage Manager to help out their one Production Stage Manager and Stage Manager, while Aladdin needed a PSM, an SM, and three ASMs in order to get through their show. Ticket price also helps to reveal scale because our Aladdin tickets were around $80 each (and those were group tickets so they were cheaper than they would have been if we bought each ticket individually) and we were on the third floor balcony of a theatre that seats 1,702 people- so we were nowhere close to the stage. But for only ten more dollars at Avenue Q we were able to buy individual tickets for front row center, which is considered by most to be the “best seats in the house”. On the other hand, the smaller scale of Avenue Q made it possible for them to host an event like Puppet Prom after the show in honor of National Puppetry Day. Audience members brought their own personal puppets to mingle with puppets from the show, and those of us without our own puppets were given a pair of puppet eyes to join the party with (and based on the picture, you can clearly tell that some of us were more excited about this than others). So if you’re in New York, don’t discount Off-Broadway theatre as a way to take in a show!
by: Ansley Moore
There is only one day in the whole Gregorian calendar system where all of its adherents (aka everyone on the planet except for the residents of give or take three countries) celebrates so massively the change of one day to the next- New Year's. Most people will celebrate with parties, staying up until midnight, and making New Year's Resolutions. This year in particular, the concept of New Year's Resolutions has been quit fascinating to me. Gearing up for my last semester of high school I'd like to think that my previous 25 semesters at FRA have taught me valuable skills as a student and as a human, but looking back there are definitely still changes I can make in order to be less of a "garbage human" as the kids say. That's why over the break I have been scouring the internet looking for advice from other people on how they achieve goals and have combined them with some of my own ideas so that (hopefully) we can both go into the New Year with the best chance possible at letting 2018 be the year that we actually accomplish our resolutions!
1. Plan Early, Start Late
There are still 6 more days left in 2017, so use that time to prepare your resolutions and start planning for the changes that you want to make. If you want to start eating healthier, use this time to look up recipes and ingredients. If you want to spend more time with friends, look up any fun events coming up that you can put on your calendar to bring your friends to. The clearer your ideas, the easier it will be to actually know what you want to change going into January 1st.
Also, in case you weren't aware January 1st is on a Monday this year and I know that I will have been up very late the night before or many of you might be out of town or with family, which means that the chances of doing anything productive on New Year's Day might be very slim for you. If that's the case, maybe start on January 2nd, or the 3rd, or whenever you think the day is that will best set you up for success. Similarly, if it's June and you feel like you've hit a block don't feel like you have to keep doing something that isn't working. Change your approach and modify from what hasn't been working and start again. The important thing is the resolutions and the changes you're making, not to start on January 1st.
2. Say It Out Loud
I won't bore you with the nitty-gritty science, but essentially when we say phrases like "I can't do this" out loud it strengthens chemical pathways in our brain that make those negative thoughts a habit, which in turn makes it easier for us to talk down to ourselves because even if that negativity isn't true we're more likely to think that way because it's a habit (NPR). So not only would I encourage you to say your goals out loud, but the more times you find to say "I can do this" in your daily routine, do it! Start with simple things that you're already doing like "I can get to first period on time" or "I can drink this whole coffee" in order to strengthen the positive pathways and then keep building up to the bigger goals.
3. Set Measurable Goals
It's easy to say you want to "Get healthier" in 2018, but what does that actually look like? If you were to instead phrase that goal as "Go to yoga three times a week" or "Eliminate processed sugar" you're still "Getting healthier", but now you have steps in place to keep yourself on track. Another way to set measurable goals is to do them as short, medium, and long term goals. This works particularly well for goals like "I want to pass [insert any class here]". In the short term you could decided on a specific amount of times you want to visit the teacher during tutorial per week or dedicate 30 minutes on a Saturday to reviewing all of the material you learned in class that week. Those are good short term goals because they're measured on a weekly basis so you can tell quickly if they're working or not and gauge how to to adapt if a goal isn't improving your performance. A good medium term goal might be to get a B on every test this semester because like before it's very measurable, but it's using knowledge from the short term on a slightly bigger scale. Both of those goals will hopefully come together to help you accomplish the original long term goal of passing that class.
4. Pick Goals For YOU
There's no point in doing something that you don't want just because all of your friends are doing it or because you feel like it "should" be your goal. Find what you're passionate about changing and make your goal around that. It's far easier to stay motivated when you actually want to do the thing you've set out to do so don't set yourself up for failure by picking goals that you aren't willing to work for.
5. Accountability Is Key
Find a partner, tell your dog, post it on Instagram- just to something to let other people know what your resolutions are. You can use these other people to keep you accountable for following through on your goals. Finding a partner with similar goals would be ideal in my opinion because doing something with your friends always makes it more fun and friends are also much more likely to call you out for slipping up on your resolutions.
And now I'm going to leave you by taking some of my own advice and make myself accountable by sharing three of my New Year's Resolutions with you:
1. Eliminate Plastic Straws
Inspired by this Buzzfeed video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oiHDwU-g8T4 I plan on boycotting plastic, single use straws in 2018. Straws are so harmful to our underwater friends and I'm going to do my part to cut down on the amount that get put into landfill or into marine habitats. To help me do this I have ordered reusable, glass straws to take with me in public in the event that I need a straw for something. (WARNING- The first :18 seconds shows the affect of plastic straws on marine life and while it helps to fully understand the impact our trash has on the environment, if you're particularly sensitive to seeing animals in pain maybe close your eyes for that part.)
2. Make Sleep A Priority
Like most of you, I don't get enough sleep. My normal routine is go to sleep at around midnight and wake at 6:00 the next morning for school then "catch-up" over the weekends by sleeping as late as I possibly can. This usually results in me feeling exhausted all week then unproductive all weekend because I sleep half the day away and I'm hoping that by more evenly spreading my sleep I can stabilize my mood throughout the week and cut down on days where my sleepiness makes me really irritable. To do this I have created general schedules for an afternoon routine for three different times of the year- when I have nothing after school (which means I'm home around 3:15-3:30), when I'm in rehearsal (which means I'm home around 7:30-8:00), or when it's tech week (which means I'm home around 10:30-11:00). For you this might revolve around sports schedules, academic commitments, a job, but this is what my year will look like. Then for each day I have given myself a set amount of time for homework, eating, socializing, and getting ready for bed which the knowledge that when I get home earlier I have more time to socialize and when I get home during tech week I basically get to finish my homework and go right to bed. Generally my goal for during the week is to be in bed asleep by 10:30-11:00 and up by 6:00, but on the weekends I'll let myself wake up around 8:00 and stay up until 12:00-12:30.
3. Learn How To "Adult"
This will be a process that takes several years, but this year I'm starting with understanding my finances. I'm completely clueless when it comes to money. I have no idea how taxes work, how to make a budget, what is an acceptable amount to spend on rent- any of it- and since I'll be living alone in a new city in approximately 9 months I want to learn all that I can before I'm on my own. To do this, I've bought a notebook that I'm calling "Ansley's Book of Adulting" where I plan on compiling all of the knowledge I can find on how to live successfully on my own, starting- of course- with finances. I think the internet and my bank will be my two most helpful resources for this. I want to find several mock budgets and adapt them to fit my needs and I'm sure somewhere out there is a Khan Academy: Taxes for Dummies or something similar- I just have to find it. I also plan on calling my bank to ask if I can meet with someone to talk through good habits I can start as a teenager and how banks work in terms of things like giving loans and mortgages.
Hopefully these have given you some insight into how I have used the advice I found to make my own resolutions and will come in handy as you prepare for 2018. Best of luck in the new year!
Starecheski, Laura. “Why Saying Is Believing - The Science Of Self-Talk.” NPR, NPR, 7 Oct. 2014, www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2014/10/07/353292408/why-saying-is-believing-the-science-of-self-talk.
by: Ansley Moore
Under the guidance of Clifton Kaiser for the past seven years, the Panther Post is a long standing tradition at FRA, but you wouldn’t know by asking the student body. In fact, I’d be willing to bet that if you surveyed the whole student body the majority would be shocked to know that FRA even has a student newspaper, but we do. We began with the formatting of meeting once every other week to work on planning and writing articles for a print issue with the goal of releasing 4-6 issues over the course of a year. And this worked for a little while, however the over committed nature of the average student meant that school work, play rehearsals, sports practices, other club meetings, college applications, and other commitments soon began to take prevalence over the newspaper and our publication rate became nonexistent.
This year it’s time for a change, which is why moving forward we are shifting to the online platform you’re reading now. From now on, articles can be published as they are finished, not when the rest of the issue is complete, which means that students can stay up to date on what’s affecting the school community right now.
We hope to make the Panther Post an integral part of how students stay connected to their peers and encourage new authors to write about whatever they are passionate about. We also ask that you remember that this is a student publication and although we will try our best, mistakes are inevitable and when they do happen we request that you will be forgiving as we work to correct them for the future.