Come Along, Ding Dong

Written by Randall David Cook, Contributor

I’m baaaaaaaack! In 2017 I wrote a horror-thriller play called Kappa Kappa Scream for the Furman Playhouse. (Ask seniors about it. They were impressionable and easily frightened freshmen at the time but have hopefully recovered by now.) In that play, a sorority pledge retreat in the woods went terribly, horribly wrong, and the laughs and screams from the audience rose along with the body count.

So when I was asked to write a new play for Furman–and yes, this comedy is brand spanking new–I decided to challenge myself to try to get the laughs without all the mortality.

Continue reading “Come Along, Ding Dong”

‘In the Silence: A New Musical’ Review

Written by Mckenzie Gibel, Staff Writer

In the Silence: A New Musical was written, composed, and orchestrated by Furman senior, Robert Cushing, directed by Katie Jennisen along with Assistant Director Maggie Ramirez and produced by the Pauper Players. Affectionately coined “The Big Sad” by Cushing’s friends in the music department, this labor of love has been in the works for the past six years. With inspiring music, touching scenes and dynamic characters, In the Silence is a moving and deeply meaningful show that fails to leave a dry eye in the audience. The story centers on a family, the Montfords, who live in Sharpsville, Georgia in the 1940s. Mr. Montford is a Baptist minister with a devoted wife (played by Kirby Burgess) and two sons, Sam (played by Raleigh Cothran) and Henry (played by Ethan Durham). When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, Henry, being the older of the two brothers, sets out to join the war effort along with his two friends, Lee Roy (played by Dylan McCormick) and Joel (played by Carter Gravitt). Jumping forward in time, the majority of the play takes place after Lee Roy and Joel have been discharged from the ongoing war effort. The main character, Sam, is just graduating from high school, and one letter, his college acceptance letter, will determine if he will continue his education or enlist in the war effort.

Continue reading “‘In the Silence: A New Musical’ Review”

Senioritis Stories, Vol 6: I Have Been Thinking Hard About Cherrydale Point

Written by Maddie De Pree, Columnist

I am a person who likes mundane things. I don’t know why, but I enjoy the dismal plainness of a good sprawl. A strip mall on an overcast day, a long stretch of asphalt leading to nowhere special—these things make me happy in a specific, gritty way. The Cherrydale shopping center is arguably one of my favorite spots in Greenville simply because it is so dull. It is probably one of the most regulation-grade shopping centers that I have ever clapped eyes on, and that is exactly why I love it.

My infatuation with Cherrydale began during my freshman year at Furman. At some point during my fall semester, I wound up eavesdropping on two seniors who were talking about their ideal date. One of the seniors said he took all of his dates to Cherrydale. When the other senior laughed at him, the first one said, “What? Cherrydale has everything I could ever need.” I have been meditating on the profundity of that statement ever since.

Continue reading “Senioritis Stories, Vol 6: I Have Been Thinking Hard About Cherrydale Point”

From Glasglow Adventures to Rural Immersion

Written by Caroline Scudder, Columnist

After spending much of our time on a bus during the Scottish Highlands Tour, it was nice to settle down in Glasgow, Scotland for almost three weeks. This trip has been fairly nomadic, and staying in Airbnbs was a nice change of pace. With four people to a “flat,” we were given a kitchen to cook our own meals and a nice common space. For those of you who can appreciate the joy of unpacking after living out of a bag for more than a week’s time, this was a glorious moment of grounding.

One of the first places I sought out was a cozy coffee shop to make a regular part of my routine as both a place to study and meet up with pals. With beginner’s luck, the first place I stumbled upon was a short 3-minute walk away from my flat and had an extraordinary drink, called the “vanilla & rose white hot chocolate.” This concoction was the elixir of immortality itself! Turns out the little things are actually the big things.

Continue reading “From Glasglow Adventures to Rural Immersion”

Senioritis Stories, Vol. 5: The Cubicles are Actually Underrated

Written by Maddie De Pree, Columnist

In the prime of my youth, I could study anywhere. When I first arrived at Furman in Aug. of 2016, I could sit down in virtually any location—Coffee Underground, the loud part of the library, a rock by the lake—and knock out my homework in a matter of hours.

Those days were fleeting, though. With each passing year, I have become more and more picky about my study spots. Sophomore year, I could only complete my work if I was sitting in the back left corner of the library (facing the weirdly large oil painting of the man playing flute). As a junior, I did most of my work in the art building. But the other week, during one of my final semesters at Furman University, I found that I could hardly work anywhere at all.

Continue reading “Senioritis Stories, Vol. 5: The Cubicles are Actually Underrated”

Halloween Movie Review: Coraline

Written by Emily Balogh, Staff Writer

When you decide to watch Coraline, it is not because you are searching for a feel-good, pleasant piece of media. This eerie children’s cartoon is dark in the most subtle of ways. It is one of the only movies that can scare adults more than children, even with a PG rating. This notorious animated film has become one of my favorites because it is very well done and intentional. It also is a great go-to if you want something with a hint of spooky without all the gore. However, the unsettling feeling it leaves is arguably worse than typical horror film jump scares or bloody scenes. Coraline is psychologically terrifying, and the emotions it elicits are ones of darkness.

  The ideas behind this movie are brilliant and clearly carefully thought out. The animation is just unsettling enough that you feel uncomfortable throughout the film. The characters’ movements parrot human-like patterns, but for some reason, it feels “off.” The fluidity of motion and the gaunt, disproportionate characters give the movie an extra level of the bizarre that caters more to fear in adults. Another tactful choice by the production team is the coloration. The whole film is rather dark, both in sentiment and scenery. Colors are utilized, but often only muted versions are displayed. The settings are decrepit and appear nearly lifeless except for our few main characters. The area reeks of barrenness, isolating the main character and creating an even spookier location for the story.

Continue reading “Halloween Movie Review: Coraline”

‘Pippin’ Hits the Stage

Written by The Pippin Cast

From the composer & lyricist of Wicked, four- time Grammy winner, and three-time Oscar winner Stephen Schwartz, Pippin is a musical theatre journey that follows one young royal’s path as he searches for the extraordinary. Prince Pippin craves passion and adventure only to find that magic can be nearer than you imagine. When the world around you is mired in fawning fans, clickbait worthy headlines, and televised scandals, how does the heir to the Frankish throne make his mark on the world? With songs like “Corner of the Sky,” “Love Song,” and “Magic to Do,” you won’t want to miss this ensemble’s finale with Pippin’s greatest performance of his life.

“The story centers on Pippin, the oh-so-sensitive son of 8th century King Charlemagne as the prince seeks to find his life’s fulfillment and live an extraordinary life… Thematically, it’s an epic struggle between finding fulfillment in celebrity or pursuing more ordinary, human concerns… it’s a scene of pure theatrical bliss.” – Frank Rizzo, Variety

Continue reading “‘Pippin’ Hits the Stage”

Senioritis Stories, Vol. 4: My Final Halloweekend Approacheth

Written by Maddie De Pree, Columnist

As October draws to a close, it occurs to me that it is time for my annual meditation on “Halloweekend.” It also has occurred to me that this is my last Halloween as an undergraduate student. My emotions on this range from sadness to a strange relief. I never have much fun on holidays—there’s always too much pressure to have a good time-so I don’t think I’ll miss the Halloweekend hype after I graduate from college. For those unfamiliar with the term, I will define Halloweekend here as the collective bender that takes place each year on the weekend of, well, Halloween. It should be noted, however, that not everyone observes Halloweekend in the same way. Some people crack open a beer, watch a scary movie with their friends, and go to sleep at a respectable hour. Others get plastered all three nights (and in three different costumes.) Still others dress up as Hugh Hefner and enlist their friends to be the Bunnies (shoutout to myself circa freshman year!) Regardless of how Furman students choose to celebrate, I think most everyone would agree that Halloweekend is one of the better weekends of fall semester. Allow me now to guide you, the reader, through a mental exercise. Picture me as a freshman in October of 2016—young, naive, excited for my first Halloweekend. Picture me attending my first frat party that evening (and fleeing within two minutes). Picture me scarcely observing Halloween during the following two years. Now, picture me on Halloween night of my senior year— worldly, poised, smoking a cigar in a tall armchair— staring at the bright-eyed underclassmen through a rainy windowpane. How hopeful they all are. How spry.

Continue reading “Senioritis Stories, Vol. 4: My Final Halloweekend Approacheth”

Glens, Lochs, and More!

Written by Caroline Scudder, Columnist

Hello from Scotland! Our group has savored every moment on this leg of the trip as we’ve traversed the Scot- tish Highlands and stationed ourselves in Glasgow for some more scholarly investigation. From England, we made up our way North to Edinburgh for a weekend before board- ing a small minibus (shout out to Timberbush Tours) to wit- ness the beauty of the Scottish Highlands. With a break from our academic classes, nature became our true teacher as we marveled at the Scottish moors and crags. A perfect way to practice our Land- scape Ecology terms outside of the classroom, we were taught the Scottish words for lake (loch) and valley (glen). Stopping along the way to ex- plore a look-out point or take a mini-hike, it was beyond comprehension how vast and sublime this part of Scotland is – not to mention magical!

Throughout the trip, there had been debate whether fairies exist. As silly as it may seem, the conversation was sparked once again at one of our stops at a place called Fairy Glen. Being very much on the side that believes in fairies and their role in our modern world, I was elated to see what kind of place would generate such a name. A fairy valley? Say no more! Our tour guide Rae explained to us how the area is believed to be the home of fairies dating back to the Victorian Age. A whimsical experience in itself, I was taken aback by one particular feature of the glen. In the middle of all the hills was a swirl-shaped circle of rocks. The story goes that if you pick a blade of grass, walk through this circle to the center, throw your blade of grass in, and then retrace your steps BACK- WARDS though the path… the fairies will grant you a wish. Even with a strong respect for fairies, this exercise seemed a bit much. What convinced me, however, to partake was when Rae told me the story of how his wish came true. Having completed the task success-fully, a month to the day after doing so, Rae met his “other half” and has been happily married to his beloved since.

Continue reading “Glens, Lochs, and More!”

Put On A Happy Face: ‘Joker’ Movie Review

Written by McKenzie Gibel, Staff Writer

What has been called painful, magnificent, and disturbingly violent is one cinematic experience you are likely not to forget. Joker, directed by Todd Philips and starring Joaquin Phoenix as the man himself, danced into theaters on October 4th to an intriguing mix of backlash and praise. Earning itself reviews calling for its removal amid great acclaim, and even winning the Golden Lion award, Joker provides an intense commentary on mental illness and economic inequality. As a fan of the Dark Knight, I was not disappointed in the rich origin story of Batman’s most notorious villain. In addition to important social commentary, Joker was an enjoyable psychological thriller that takes fans on a roller coaster you do not even realize you are on until the floor drops out from under you and leaves you reeling for days to come!

Continue reading “Put On A Happy Face: ‘Joker’ Movie Review”