A Recap of Vinit Joshi’s “Personas”
Colin Brereton ‘21
Vinit Joshi’s one person show Personas comprised some of the most entertaining 35 minutes of my life. It was full of humor, sadness and, most of all, a message that no matter how different someone may seem, similarities are not that hard to find. Vinit played four different parts: himself, a New Yorker with a “previous engagement” in “illicit activities,” the Cat in the Hat, and Tom Collins. The show saw Vinit interview different characters that he has played in the past. Although these characters couldn’t be more different from him, Vinit found common ground with each of them throughout their interviews. One person as four characters could be confusing, but Vinit gave each character their own unique voice and personality, causing no confusion as to with whom was speaking.
In his interview with Nathan Detroit, from “Guys and Dolls,” Vinit at first had a hard time relating to a criminal, and Nathan had a hard time relating to a kid from an affluent family who seemed to have things much easier than he did. As they got to know each other, they found things that they have in common with one another. They related to each other through their hard working parents and experiences of discrimination.
The next interviewee was the Cat in the Hat, who at first seemed extremely cheerful and excited, but soon revealed his depression to Vinit. The Cat tells Vinit how his friends, Thing 1 and Thing 2, were, keeping him from doing what he loves, juggling, and causing his depression. Vinit decided to help the Cat, and found a similarity between them. Vinit tells the Cat how he had a hard time acting as The Cat in the Hat because he was depressed on the inside, but was expected to be overly cheerful every day after school. However, Vinit also tells him that doing what he loves, performing, helped him through his tough times and he believes that the same can happen for the Cat if he resumes juggling.
The final character interviewed was Tom Collins, a man suffering from AIDS featured in “Rent.” Vinit was astonished at how Tom could be happy when he had gone through endless hardship. They found common ground on a common problem between them. Tom fell in love, and then his lover passed from the same disease that he has; Vinit has a cousin who he recently grew close to who suffers from cancer. Tom helped Vinit find peace with the fact that he does care for his cousin, not just because he is dying, and that Vinit's support is helpful to him. The show ended with Vinit addressing the audience by giving advice. He declared that no matter how different people may seem, you always have more in common than you think, and seeing eye to eye can build new friendships.
Eileen Zhang ‘21 & Christina Nguyen ‘21
There’s no doubt that Ariana Grande is one of the most popular artists of 2018. The teen actress turned pop star has been on a long journey to get to where she is today. The past few years have been tough for her; with the traumatic experience of a bombing at her concert in Manchester, the death of her former boyfriend and close friend, Mac Miller, and a broken off engagement with Pete Davidson, Grande has many reasons to feel defeated. However, her most recent release, “Thank U, Next,” shows her perseverance, her persistent optimism despite a difficult year, and her ability to continue producing music about her experiences that resonates with her audience. Her playful spin on the events of the past year shows just how strong she is as an individual and as an artist.
Ariana Grande’s rise to stardom from her role in Nickelodeon’s show Victorious, which ran from 2010-2013, helped propel her to success as an artist. The show revolved around a group of friends who attended a performing arts school. Grande played Cat, a bubbly and naive, but overall well-intentioned friend of the main character, Tori, played by Victoria Justice. Ariana’s unique voice was showcased in the show’s many hit songs. While enjoying her time on the show, she claimed that “acting was fun, but music has always been first and foremost with me.” From there, her music career blossomed.
Her first single after Victorious, “Put your Hearts Up,” was a step in the wrong direction due to its bubblegum pop style that she was trying to stray away from. However, her vision was eventually fulfilled with her first studio release, Yours Truly, which debuted as number one on the Billboard 200 albums chart. With albums Yours Truly, My Everything, Dangerous Woman and Sweetener were released, Ariana Grande has won 66 awards out of 138 nominations from shows such as AMA’s, MTV Video Music Awards, Teen Choice Awards, and the Grammy’s.
Her recent music video for her single “Thank U, Next” broke records as the most viewed video on Youtube in its first 24 hours of release, featuring references from classic 90’s and 2000’s movies starring a female lead, and created something never before seen in mainstream media. Her lyrics reflect on her past relationships and ultimately profess to her audience the importance of acceptance and self love. The video also features cameos from her previous co-stars, friends, and actors from the original movies she was inspired by, showing the incredible amount of support she has.
Clearly, Grande is rapidly climbing the ladder of success in the music-making industry, and influencing many of today’s listeners to embrace their past and look forward to the future along the way. She has grown out of the childish image previously associated with her and has become an iconic figure many hold near and dear to their hearts, thus paving her way as a serious pop star. Ariana Grande is not just a pop singer, but an icon to be remembered for decades to come.
Artist of the Edition: Max Donches
Lauren Paynton ‘20
As an actor in Belfry, a tuba player in band, a trumpet player in jazz band, and a contrabass singer in multiple choirs, Max Donches ‘19 devotes a huge portion of his time to the arts. In his experience with art at GA, Max says that “getting the spotlight out of nowhere, just not expecting to have it” is particularly memorable. “I do the arts to be a part of the product. I don’t complain about being in the chorus, I’m okay with that” he says. “Sophomore year pop assembly, I had like a two second solo and I had people coming up to me all day saying I did a good job, and that was really special.”
Out of all of his different musical affiliations, Max is proudest of his work with the Keystone State Boys Choir. Having begun singing with the choir back in fifth grade, Max spends three to four days a week working with his choir of about a hundred boys. Over the years, after spending countless hours rehearsing and memorizing hundreds of songs, Max has worked his way up the ranks. Not only has he become a member of the exclusive Chamber Choir, but also performs as a Bass II in the Anonymous Eight: a group of eight singers, two from each of the four vocal sections, who sing in concert without their names printed in the program. For Max, it’s about the music, not the recognition.
Over this past summer, Max toured with his chamber choir in South Africa, and he recalls it as “The coolest thing I’ve ever done.” He continues,“You’ll never get a feeling like performing music solely for the audience you're performing it for. In Africa we sang an English song, and then a guy grabbed a drum and we all started singing a song in Zulu and the audience lost their minds. They were like, ‘wow these guys can actually sing in a language we speak’”
“What singing gave me beyond a musical experience and an appreciation for art was an appreciation for people,” Max concludes. “I’ve seen myself improve over the years because of [it, which] I attribute almost completely to choir.”