TFMS Performs “Lost Girl”

By Angelie Roche

Vol. 82 Issue 6 December 14th 2021

On Nov. 17-20, the SMCM Theater, Film and Media Studies (TFMS) department presented Kimberly Belflower’s “Lost Girl,” a show about Wendy Darling years after her return from Neverland. As Wendy faces pressures from her family and friends to move on, she recounts her experiences with Peter Pan, continuously searching for him in the hope that he will return. The advertisement on InsideSMCM called the play “a moving meditation on memory, grief and the power of stories to harm and to heal.” 

The show was an immersive experience from start to finish; the doors did not open until right before it began. As the audience eagerly waited outside the theater in Montgomery Hall, director Amy Steiger introduced the play and spoke briefly about the importance of TFMS’s return to live theater. 

Erika Berry, a senior TFMS major at SMCM, played Wendy. She has performed in two other SMCM theater productions as well as several student-led productions during her time here, but this is her first since the pandemic. Berry prepared a lot for Wendy’s character, who she says represents a young woman growing up in a society that promotes the idea that “you will just find the person for you [without] putting in the work.” She appreciated that Wendy was a creative person who struggled against that expectation, illustrating the challenges many girls face. To get into character, she thought about how to make her “real” and engage the audience, going beyond the lines to create a relatable character. 

Masks were an added challenge, Berry says. Because of this, the actors dedicated a lot of time and energy to body language and indicating emotions with eyes. They also utilized an intimacy choreographer to determine how to coordinate romantic scenes without traditional kisses. In the show, some of the most memorable scenes were those between Wendy and Slightly (played by Chloe Colvin), the Lost Boy who had a romantic interest in her but recognized she was not yet ready to move on from Peter. “Chloe is a good friend of mine, too, and it was easy to create that chemistry because I felt safe with them on stage,” explained Berry. 

Sarah Grzyb, a sophomore environmental studies major, played the part of Nina, a curious young reporter who is later revealed to be another of Peter’s previous love interests. She shared Berry’s sentiment that the cast was close-knit; additionally, she said that director Amy Steiger “really valued everyone’s input and creative ideas during the production,” allowing the cast to shape their own characters in meaningful ways. The show made her realize the true importance of live theater, albeit with masks, and she hopes to be a part of more TFMS productions in the future. 

Because there were no real pauses or breaks in the narrative, the one and a half hour show kept the audience at the edge of their seats throughout. Because of this, though, Wendy was onstage during the entire production. Berry called this experience tiring but rewarding, and her ongoing presence made the final scene– in which she finally closes the window and exits the nursery– so breathtaking. The boxes which were also onstage for much of the production represented unpacking, as Wendy quite literally “unpacks” her feelings to the audience; at the end, though, she re-packs a box and leaves, signifying that she understands the importance of her experience and will take it with her as she moves into a new chapter of her life. 

“Lost Girl” transcends the simple story of Peter Pan, bringing fantastical elements into the very real-world context of a young girl grappling with her first heartbreak. When Wendy finally sees Peter again in the second-to-last scene, the tension is familiar to everyone who has lost touch with someone who was once important to them– meeting him again, Wendy realizes that he was not what she had been missing after all. The takeaway message, Berry says, is that “the real people we should cherish are the ones who stay.”

Pet Feature: Charmander

By Madeline Kenerly

Vol. 82 Issue 6 December 14th 2021

Meet Charmander, the fun-loving bearded dragon! Charmander currently resides in LQ and is loving college life. One of Charmander’s favorite activities is to climb up on elevated surfaces and then make the big jump off and back to the ground. Other than death-defying stunts, Charmander likes to get some midday beauty sleep under the warmth of her basking light and get all the pets and attention she deserves. Charmander also loves to eat. I mean who doesn’t right? Veggies, strawberries and, of course, bugs are all a part of a bearded dragon’s heart-healthy diet. Many times, you can find Charmander sitting in her windowsill watching the world go by.  So if you ever find yourself walking in LQ keep your eyes peeled for Charmander.

Creative Writing in the Community Class Holds Book Swap Event

By Annilee Hampton

Vol. 82 Issue 6 December 14th 2021

A book swap took place outside of the library on Nov. 16, 17 and 18, inviting SMCM students to give new homes to unwanted books.

The book swap was organized as part of Professor Crystal Oliver’s Writing the Word in the World: Creative Writing in the Community class, which centers around literary citizenship and what it means to write with the purpose of serving the surrounding community. It was one of four projects that students worked on throughout the semester, with the other projects including From Pen to People, an open mic that took place at St. Inie’s Coffee in Lexington Park on Nov. 5; a creative writing podcast consisting of interviews with writers from the SMCM community; and the development of the Lucille Clifton Lounge, a space for writers to create and share their work in Montgomery Hall.

“Originally this started out as a book swap treasure hunt,” student Catherine Wasilko said when asked what drew her towards the idea of the event. The other students that worked on the book swap were Taylor Byrd, Maya Miller and Irene Ragan. “We wanted to expand on this idea and add more activities. Eventually, we decided to have several activities that involved reading and writing!” 

The book swap consisted of many different activities, including a poster on which community members could leave a message or drawing on a post-it note, scavenger hunts around campus for hidden books and an activity called “Read Me When.” Wasilko cites this activity as her favorite at the event. “This was the activity I helped to complete,” she said. “I wrapped books in paper and marked what mood they had. On the first day, I prepped 19 books and they were taken within the hour! People were very excited as they did not know what book they would receive, but they were happy to know what book they ended up getting. Jennifer Cognard-Black came by and said, “‘It’s like a blind date with a book.’ I thought that was the best way to describe the activity in a clever way.”

In addition, the book swap offered giveaways of journals and pencils. Wasilko stated that this truly allowed the event to embody the idea of creative writing in the community. “We wanted people to be inspired in writing their own stories,” she said regarding the giveaways. The aforementioned poster where passersby left notes was also an important part of the community aspect of the event. “I think this allowed people to share a bit of kindness with the community,” said Wasilko. 

Setting up the event took most of the semester, and was not without its challenges. “I think I can speak for everyone when I say the hardest thing was finding a location,” said Wasilko. “We’ve had to contact several people, and most of the time, no one responded.” However, despite these initial setbacks, the event was a success, with many members of the SMCM community walking away with a new book in their hands.