“I’ve never met a girl who doesn’t have something to be sorry about,” said Rachel Simmons to her female audience on April 12. “It’s not, ‘people were so mean to me and now I’m so nice.’ No one’s perfect.”
On April 12, Ms. Simmons, a nationally regarded speaker on bullying prevention and female empowerment, spoke to the girls of the Williston Northampton School about how they could identify hurtful behavior, and change the patterns that created it.
The Upper School had divided in two for the special morning assembly. Girls listened to Ms. Simmons in the Phillips Stevens Chapel, while boys headed to the Williston Theatre to hear Dr. Christopher Overtree, director of the Psychological Services Center (PSC) at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and an expert on the prevention of bullying and harassment.
Emily Sillars ’15 doesn’t have the most glamorous job in the Rumors cast. If she’s very good at it, no one in the audience will even know she’s there—her small part will simply weave another thread in the magic cloth of the play.
When stage manager Minh Do ’13 tells her the cue through a headset—cue five, or six, or 12—Sillars tips a giant light mounted on a pole and spins it toward the stage windows.
“To me, it just looks like this,” says the soft-spoken Sillars, and she spins the light toward the windows. During the show, the beam plays across the interior of a sophisticated New York mansion. Or at least that’s what it looks like to the audience. From Sillars’ perch backstage, all she can see is an unfinished wall, full of exposed joists and beams.
“I can’t tell what it looks like at all,” Sillars says, adding with a gesture at the room beyond, “It all works together and makes this place.”
This fall, the Williston Northampton Theater Program presents Rumors, a farce by Neil Simon. The play, which runs through the weekend of Oct. 27, examines the world of upper class New Yorkers through the lens of a high end anniversary party where everything that can go wrong, does. A few days before the play’s opening night, Williston’s student blogger Brendan Hellweg ’14 took a short break from Beyond the Binder to sit down with actor Laura McCullagh ’13 to talk about her role, her costume, and how she’d react if stuck in an elevator with her character, Chris Gorman.
BH: What do you like most about acting as your character?
I really love that she is very different from me as a person. I’m one of those people who in a crisis situation will sit down and think of every possible way to solve it and then figure out which way is the best to go about doing things and she just panics and everything goes out the window. It’s really fun to play with that aspect of her – that she’s absolutely crazy.
The Williston Northampton School presents its annual fall play on October 20-22 and October 27-29 in the Williston Theatre. This year’s offering is Eurydice by Pulitzer Prize finalist Sarah Ruhl. All performances are at 7:30 p.m. except Friday, October 21, when the show begins at 8:00 p.m. General admission tickets are $5 and may be reserved at (413) 529-3434 or the box office email. Admission is free for Williston families on October 21.
Ruhl’s dream-like play, written in 2001, is a meditation on loss, love, and our hopes for true connection. This devastatingly breathtaking retelling of the Orpheus and Eurydice myth creates a world in which worms deliver letters, stones talk, and rivers make people forget.
The Williston Northampton School will present its fall play, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, October 21 -23 and October 28-30, 2010. All performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Williston Theatre, 18 Payson Avenue, in Easthampton.
One of the most famous comedies of all times, The Importance of Being Earnest tells the story of two men who decide to take on hidden identities in order to win the women of their dreams. Set in the London countryside at the turn of the last century, the play is full of witty dialog and sly criticism of the status quo.