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The Voice of the College at Florham

"News is the first rough draft of history." - The Voice of the College at Florham

FDU’s ‘Sweet Charity’ abundant with comedy

Entertainment Editor

Rife with comedy, charisma and choreography evocative of the “Austin Powers” movie series, Fairleigh Dickinson University’s rendition of “Sweet Charity” provided a light-hearted, satisfactory theater experience for audiences. And while many of the musical numbers were easily forgettable, the flawless comedic timing excused flubbed accents and acutely blasé acting.
The musical follows title character, Charity Hope Valentine, a ballroom hostess at the Fandango Club, in her search for love, happiness and, most importantly, a better life for herself. Encountering obstacles along the way, Charity finds herself waist deep in the waters of trouble (she literally falls into the lake three times) as she struggles to break away from the Fandango Club and discover herself. It is Charity’s internal conflict that drives the action within the play, towing along a long a trail of ho-hum musical numbers.
The show’s most memorable musical number, “Big Spender,” added the spice needed to pepper up a sluggish first act.
Cindy Fernandez shined as Nikki, Charity’s co-worker and best friend, in that number, seducing the Fandango Club customers with a come hither hiss and foxy feminine flair that perfectly underlined Nikki’s motives and skills as a seductress. Fernandez moved with conviction and determination, signaling Nikki’s strong, confident personality. She also portrayed Nikki’s vulnerability with slower movements and softer facial experssions in “Baby, Dream Your Dream.”
Michelle Cabot shined as Charity. Her flippant attitude and squirish mannerisms played perfectly to her character’s indecisions and uncertainties about her future. Cabot’s powerful voice, accompanied by fluid dance movements, empowered “If My Friends Could See Me Now,” making it one of Charity’s less dispensable comedic musical numbers. Cabot drove that number home and showed her knack for physical comedy when she danced on Vittorio Vidal’s (played by Louis Vetter) bed. Dreaming stares, excited moments and an overall bounciness were all devices that Cabot employed to portray Charity’s good-hearted nature and her naïveté.
Undoubtedly, the piece de resistance was Matt Sullivan’s role as claustrophobic, overanxious Oscar Lindquist. Sullivan played Oscar with careful, contemplative intention behind every movement. From the second that Sullivan stepped onto the stage, Oscar’s neuroticism was easily identifiable by fidgeting, pacing and strained breathing. Sullivan’s most memorable moment was undisputably the scene in which Charity and Oscar were stuck in the elevator. Clinging and climbing on the side of the elevator, Sullivan delivered his lines in a refreshingly hilarious yet uneasy manner, emphasizing his character’s discomfort and inner fears. In his duet with Cabot at the end of the first act, Sullivan’s musical chops were beautifully displayed with nearly perfect pitch and wonderful clarity.
However, the same can’t be said of the entire cast. Vetter’s performance as Vidal lacked the passion and strife that came with his character’s romance conflicts. It must be said, however, that his body language was exact and believable despite his waning attempt at a foreign accent. In his song, “Too Many Tomorrows” a few notes ran away from Vetter, however, that number was perhaps the one place where Vetter genuinely created Vidal into a sympathetic character through believable emotion and movement.
Rosemary Glennon’s performance of Ursula also felt forced. Her attraction and then disappointment with Vidal felt too fabricated. Her lines were delivered too matter-of-factly, especially when she left Vidal at the restaurant. But when she reunited with Vidal in his bedroom, her character began to feel more fleshed out. While her lines may have felt rushed, her voice was sincere as were her projected emotions.
The set, though simple, was an appropriate foil to the complex characters within the play, with some pieces doubling as buildings, structures and closets.
The cast and crew did a good job in spicing up a dull musical score. Even though it lacked pizazz, with careful attention to movement and comedic timing, the production was overall light and enjoyable.

FDU student-run Book Club in the works

Entertainment Editor

Bookworms now have an excuse to put aside those academic textbooks in favor of a little recreational reading. Created with the intention of promoting “for-fun reading and robust discussion,” Fairleigh Dickinson University’s new Book Club provides students from all majors with the opportunity to do some light reading outside of the classroom.
The Book Club’s co-founders, Amara Schertz and Amanda Alford, started the club with help from Professor Bethany Rabinowitz of the Literature, Language, Writing and Philosophy Department and Assistant Director and Learning Specialist Mary Ford of Freshman Intensive Studies.
Schertz and Alford, on separate occasions, went to Ford and Rabinowitz, respectively, and inquired about the existence of a book club on campus.
After learning that no such club existed, Schertz and Alford expressed interest in starting a book club. Alford, who works for the Dean of Students Office, already contacted Director of Student Life Sarah Azavedo, who referred her to Rabinowitz. Ford recommended Schertz to Rabinowitz and Rabinowitz suggested that Schertz speak to Alford.
With the common goal of providing fun, leisurely reading in a non-academic atmosphere, the founders took the first steps in starting the club and hosted their first interest meeting at the Jimmy Santiago Baca reading on March 11.
Roughly 30 to 40 people signed up online for the interest meeting weeks prior, but only a handful showed up to the actual meeting.
The founders remain hopeful, however. “We started it because we know a lot people like to read,” said Schertz.
“It is a great way for these people to find new books and expand their reading repertoire,” added Alford.
The school requires that the club have a roster of at least 10 members, a constitution and an executive board before they are officially recognized as a club on campus, the founders said.
“We’re still working out the quirks,” said Schertz. “We want our members to be involved so we are waiting on our members before we make any decisions.”
One of those decisions involves the material to be read and discussed at the meetings. The founders want to decide collectively as a group what will be read and discussed. They do not want to limit the selections to one genre or author. Fiction, non-fiction, plays and graphic novels are just some of the many genres that the club hopes to read and discuss.
“The club might also have different reading groups within the club,” said Alford. “We can have separate genre groups who will read different pieces and come together to discuss. This will fuel interest in different types of books and keep all the members active.”
Another decision the club will have to make is in regards to the financial matters. The founders are considering several options, one of which may be paying a flat membership fee to cover books for the semester or year, said Schertz. Alford also added that they are considering utilizing FDU’s library as well.
While the club has its required advisers, Rabinowitz and Ford, Schertz and Alford do not want to deviate from the club’s mission to keep the reading leisurely and less structured than a classroom setting.
“We want to let members lead the discussions and keep it fun,” said Alford.
Looking ahead toward the fall semester, Schertz and Alford anticipate hosting events. They plan on working closely with Rabinowitz, Ford and David Daniel, director of FDU’s creative writing program.
With faculty help, they hope to bring in authors for readings and panel discussions.
To keep the reading schedule leisurely and fun, members of the book club will only meet twice monthly.
The first meeting of the month would be dedicated to selecting pieces to read for that month and planning ahead for the following month, said Schertz and Alford.
Members would then have the month to read the selections and the group would reconvene at the end of the month for a discussion.
The club would also host interim meetings as needed to plan events, fundraisers or charity events.
Member involvement is the core component of this club and both Schertz and Alford anticipate a strong showing at their next interest meeting on April 22 at 5 p.m. in the cafeteria.

Revivals spring onto the Broadway stage

Entertainment Editor

Now that the spring semester is half over, students and faculty are surely feeling burnt out. Fortunately, upcoming Broadway shows promise to help with the mid-semester slump. Upcoming shows include new musicals and new plays, but some of the most exciting shows coming into New York are revivals.
The most interesting new musical headed to the Great White Way is “The Addams Family,” which is based on the famous comic strip by Charles Addams. According to the show’s official Web site, the show had an out-of-town tryout at Chicago’s Oriental Theatre. Dedicated theater fans will not be surprised to learn that Tony Award winner Bebe Neuwirth, best known for her Emmy-winning role of Lilith on “Cheers,” will star as Morticia. The rest of the cast includes Tony winner Nathan Lane as Gomez, as well as Broadway veterans Carolee Carmello, Terrence Mann, Jackie Hoffman and Kevin Chamberlin. Though the word-of-mouth has not been positive on theater message boards, it is difficult to believe that a show with so many gifted performers could be worthless.
The other new musicals coming to Broadway are all jukebox musicals. As reported by playbill.com, “Come Fly Away” uses the music of Frank Sinatra and the choreography of Twyla Tharp to tell the story of four couples. “American Idiot” is a new musical that was inspired by and features the music of Green Day. John Gallagher Jr., who won a Tony Award for his performance in “Spring Awakening,” is set to star.
Roundabout Theatre Company’s “Sondheim on Sondheim” is perhaps the most promising new musical coming in this spring. According to the Roundabout’s Web site, the show will use both well-known and obscure Sondheim songs to tell Sondheim’s personal story. The cast includes Broadway legend Barbara Cook, Vanessa Williams of “Ugly Betty” and Broadway veteran Tom Wopat.
While the new musicals headed to Broadway are intriguing, the most exciting musical coming to New York is the revival of “Promises, Promises.” According to broadway.com, the musical is based on the 1960s film, “The Apartment.” It tells the story of the ambitious Chuck Baxter, who allows the executives at his office to use his apartment for their extramarital affairs. Complications arise when Chuck falls in love with waitress Fran Kubelik, who has romantic problems of her own. The score of “Promises, Promises” is by Burt Bacharach and contains hits such as “I’ll Never Fall in Love Again” and “Turkey Lurkey Time.” The show stars Tony and Emmy winner, Kristin Chenoweth, who never disappoints, and Sean Hayes of “Will and Grace” fame.
For those who do not enjoy musicals, there are plenty of non-musical plays coming to Broadway. “Collected Stories” by Pulitzer Prize winner Donald Margulies, is slated to begin previews on April 9, according Manhattan Theatre Club’s Web site. The play follows a story of a young writer and her mentor. It promises to be funny, moving and ultimately, shocking. Linda Lavin, best known for her work as Alice on the sitcom of the same name, and Sarah Paulson are set to star.
“Lend Me a Tenor,” the beloved comedy about a star who is missing on the day of his opera debut, is set to start previews March 12, according to playbill.com. Stanley Tucci, the wonderful film actor, is making his Broadway directing debut with the show. Jan Maxwell, who was seen earlier this season in a Tony Award deserving performance in MTC’s “The Royal Family,” will star.
For more information on any of the Broadway shows, be sure to check out broadway.com for ticket prices and the latest updates.

‘Balto’ author reads in Hartman Lounge

Entertainment Editor

Beeping, buzzing and blipping like a robot, Natalie Standiford cranked her forearms perpendicularly to her body as she read from her latest book, “How to Say Goodbye in Robot.”
Making sure to only pivot at her elbow, the young adult and children’s author animated the book’s main character, Beatrice, at a reading for her audience at the College at Florham’s Hartman Lounge on Feb. 9.
Hosted by the Department of Creative Writing, the Storipan Committee and Sigma Tau Delta English Honor Society, the event featured a reading, question-and-answer session and a book signing in which “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” was available for purchase.
Standiford jumped right into the heart of the event and entertained her audiences with the first two chapters of her book, changing her voice for each new character along the way and moving her body in an equally comical fashion.
In fact, at one point she mimicked the robot benediction of Beatrice’s late gerbil. Interesting, it is this strange, robotic goodbye that becomes the title of the piece.
Described as the author who “makes the best books in the whole wide world” by Professor Rene Steinke’s five-year old son (he is also Standiford’s self-proclaimed biggest fan), Standiford is most well-known as the author of “Balto.”
Steinke, a close friend of Standiford’s, was inspired to ask her to read at FDU after many of Steinke’s Fiction Writing students said a reading assignment reminded them of “Balto.”
“I told them the author of ‘Balto’ is one of my best friends,” said Steinke, laughing.
Steinke provided Standiford with a beautiful introduction for the reading. “Her secret genius is a deep and rich memory of what it was like to be a teen and kid,” said Steinke. “Her newest book, ‘How to Say Goodbye in Robot,’ has complex characters and heartbreaking writing.”
It is surprising that “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” is Standiford’s first book set in her hometown of Baltimore.
Standiford, who described Baltimore as a “weird place with people who aren’t ashamed of how weird they are,” told the audience that Baltimore was the setting for all of her teenage memories.
And as for tuning into the teen culture in her adult years, Standiford relies mostly on her memory. Several of these memories shine through in “How to Say Goodbye in Robot,” according to Standiford.
And it is the utilization of these rich memories that adds color to her works and makes her “teenage voice” genuine and believable. “I just listen to the teenage voice in my own head,” said Standiford. She prefers to avoid asking teenagers for advice when she writes. “I’m not trying to please one specific reader,” said Standiford. “I’m just trying to write the best I can.”
And at times, that task is quite difficult especially as the line blurs between young adult novels and adult novels.
“I have felt a dismissive attitude from people because they felt it is easy to write a young adult’s or children’s book,” said Standiford.
And while many may think that writing a young adult’s novel or children’s picture book is easy, Standiford holds the opposite point of view.
“Writing a picture book is like writing poetry,” said Standiford.
Pacing, limited space and a condensed story arc all present unique challenges to picture book authors, according to Standiford.
Following the reading, many students asked questions about the publishing industry and the publishing process. Standiford cheerfully provided the students with her experience and expertise.
After working for a blind lawyer in New York, Standiford was encouraged to apply at Random House.
There, she started as an editorial assistant and was placed in the children’s books department. As an editorial assistant she did in-house writing. It was there that she found her children’s writing voice, she said.
Making her living as writer, Standiford has seen and withstood many changes in the publishing industry.
Standiford, an avid fan of the printed word, believes that digitalization is changing the publishing landscape and creating a foggy future.
“I think picture books will always be printed,” she said.
But Standiford admitted that the future of novels still remains unclear.
She believes that fiction is suffering, while celebrity biographies are prospering.
She attributes some of the changes to a shift in corporate attitudes. “Agents play a bigger role and you deal with them constantly,” said Standiford.
Despite the nay-sayers and the changing landscape of the publishing world, Standiford has pumped out several beautiful and breathtaking works, such as “Astronauts are Sleeping,” “Dollhouse Mouse,” “Balto” and her latest, “How to Say Goodbye in Robot.”
Proclaiming her preference for the printed word, Standiford removed the book jacket from “How to Say Goodbye in Robot” to display a lush, watermelon-colored cover and matching pages. Standiford gushed, “It all seems so beautiful.”

Student hosts relationship seminar; focuses on college-age dating violence

Entertainment Editor

On Feb. 15, the “Healthy Relationships” seminar acted as a jarring bookend to the Valentine’s festivities at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham.
Hosted in the Bottle Hill Room by Resident Assistant Janae Sones, the seminar set a refreshingly new tone for all relationship and dating seminars.
Focusing on dating violence and abuse, the seminar was presented in a lecture format but still welcomed questions and answers from the small, intimate audience.
A senior psychology major, Sones hosted the seminar as her final project for her summer internship at TESSA. TESSA, located in Colorado Springs, is a victimized women’s organization that provides aid and resources to those in need, according to Sones.
The organization’s name, TESSA, is unique in that the individual letters do not create an acronym. The purpose, explained Sones, is to protect the victimized women with discreet resources and communication that would not catch the attention of an offender.
Sones utilized many of TESSA’s resources during the seminar. Sones also provided heartbreaking facts about dating violence and abuse that she found from organizations such as Lundy Bancroft and Web sites that included safespace.org and endabuse.org.
“All of these resources are very accessible and relevant to the college age group,” said Sones.
Despite all the statistics and fact sheets available, Sones honed in on dating violence and abuse as it relates to college age students. “It is one of the only crimes that doesn’t discriminate across gender, race and sexuality,” said Sones.
Sones shared several statistics with the small group at the seminar. “One-third of females ages 16 to 24 are victims,” said Sones, citing endabuse.org in her presentation.
Sones also cited NJCASA saying that 87 percent of victims know their perpetrators.
Returning to the safespace.org Web site, Sones shared a moving video clip in which victimized women shared their abuse stories. Many of the stories in the clip shared common threads: romance, jealousy, hope and technology.
“Our generation is especially affected through technology,” said Sones. Sones believes that the use of cell phones, text messaging, social networking sites and the Internet are all vital media in which dating violence and abuse can flourish.
Citing loveisnotabuse.org, Sones supported this claim with a striking fact: “One in five young adults have been abused via the Internet.” Sones added, “Technology is only intensifying the effects of dating violence.”
And with growth and progress of technology also comes barriers to identifying dating violence. Sones blamed cultural issues, such as the “she asked for it” mindset, as one barrier. She also cited several marital rape laws and blamed “convoluted ideas of intimacy and abuse” as key barriers. “Shame, embarrassment and a desire to return to a normal routine are other barriers,” said Sones.
But the Internet also provides a variety of helpful resources. Sones used a youth-geared graphic novel on safespace.org as an example. The graphic novels and creative cartoon strips show a variety of situations and solutions. These resources are not only accessible, according to Sones, but they are also relevant to both males and females.
As a result of her work with TESSA and the seminar, Sones hopes to help victims break through the barriers and know their resources. Sones had the unique opportunity to work as a victim’s advocate. Part of the job required Sones to accompany the victims to court.
“I was there to make sure the offender wasn’t threatening,” said Sones. She also worked to gather employment information, references and legal documents while working at TESSA.
Sones, who enjoyed her internship experience and the 40 hours of classroom training that accompanied the work, is very interested in furthering her education about dating violence and abuse. “As a psychology major, what we learn in the classroom definitely crosses into the dating violence spectrum,” said Sones. “I would like to continue working with dating violence in the future but I also want to see what else is out there.”
Sones hopes to make FDU students more aware of the available resources. She also believes the Wellness Center is a great place to start when searching for information and aid.
“Everything is confidential and safe,” said Sones. “Everyone should take advantage of these resources.”

Black History Month production to debut

Entertainment Editor

The Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences and the theater arts program at Fairleigh Dickinson University’s College at Florham is presenting its first Black History Month production, appropriately titled “Black History, Black Voices: A Celebration of African American Theatre.” With two scheduled performances on Feb. 25 and Feb. 26, the production features FDU’s first all-black student cast.
Stage manager James Michaelson has expressed his excitement about working with the first all-black student cast. “It’s great that [the theater students] are moving away from doing strictly main stage performances,” said Michaelson. “This is a way of blending cultural experiences and expanding the program even more.”
While the inaugural performance will certainly be ground-breaking, its roots and inception are of a humbler caliber. Angelica Herndon, the assistant director and a cast member, can be credited with the origin of the production. A freshman theater major, Herndon had always been surrounded by theater at home in Flossmoor, Ill. According to Herndon, her mother, a playwright and producer, originally introduced Herndon to the theater through performances at church.
Herndon’s parents, who graduated from Northwestern University, often talked about a “black theater initiation” they experienced their freshman year of college. Herndon was inspired by her parents’ experience and decided to attend the Black History Month committee meetings at FDU. After sitting through the meeting, Herndon felt dismayed as the committee had planned nothing for the theater. So she took matters into her own hands. Herndon’s plan was to put on a performance to honor and celebrate blacks as part of Black History Month.
After speaking with her fellow students, Herndon felt confident that there was enough student interest to present the idea to the theater department. Herndon pitched her idea to Stacie Lents, assistant theater professor, who was “extremely excited and supportive,” according to Herndon.
Lents, who is in her second semester of teaching at FDU, immediately gravitated towards Herndon’s proposal. “I was so inspired by her excitement and interest,” said Lents.
Featuring three renowned African American writers – August Wilson, Nikki Giovanni and George C. Wolfe – and six different pieces, the production will present a sampling of each of the writers’ works. Lents selected the individual pieces and adapted them for the performance’s purposes.
“We aren’t just working with conventional texts,” said Lents. “We are using poetry from Nikki Giovanni, for example, and adapting the poetry for dialogue.”
When selecting which works to perform, Lents laid down a few limitations. “The works had to fit two criteria,” said Lents. “One: They were works by African American writers who contributed to the black theater canon. Two: the subject matter honored black achievement.”
Through the combination of the chosen pieces, Lents has given the cast an opportunity “to be in dialogue with black history.” Lents believes that everyone can relate to the chosen pieces. She also believes each piece is important to each artist in a different way. “The point is to honor history, not to exclude anyone,” said Lents.
The largely freshman cast has also been asked by Lents to keep small reflection journals to document their process. The cast and crew are also seeking to create a documentary of their process, according to stage manager Michaelson.
“Actors will get a chance to explain their experience,” said Michaelson. “The audience will get a backstage view and see how the production impacts the cast and crew.”
Michaelson also said that the cast and crew intends on putting the reflection journals on display in the Barn where the performances will be held. “Audiences will get to peruse before and after and get to see the cast’s process,” said Michaelson.
Herndon believes that the documentary and journals are a great way to see the evolution of the actors, how the production came to be and how each actor relates to his or her characters.
Rehearsals, which have been ongoing since last week, have kept the cast busy. According to Lents, Herndon and Michaelson, scheduling has been extremely tricky. Sandwiched between the auditions for the two main stage productions, the cast and crew of the Black History Month performance have had to juggle multiple tasks. Michaelson said that many of the cast and crew also have been cast in the productions “Sweet Charity” and “Whose Life is it Anyway?”
Herndon, who is cast in both “Sweet Charity” and the Black History Month production, described her experience as “living in a constant limbo.” And because she can’t attend every rehearsal for the Black History Month production, she depends heavily on Lents, Michaelson and Chaelee Chaput, the assistant stage manager. As for the rehearsals she has taken a part of, Herndon said. “It is good! When we ran through it, it all really came together.”
Lents remained equally optimistic. “This is just a strong example of what is possible in an educational environment.”
But with any production comes challenges. “We have taken on something ambitious,” said Lents, in reference to the short amount of rehearsal time and the limited resources available. Lents described the production as being presented in a “workshop style” format with few production values.
According to Lents, the cast are pulling their costumes and settings from what either the department or the cast already has available. Despite limited production values, Lents, the cast and crew are taking advantage of the situation.
“With the workshop format, the focus is on the artistry, the writing and the process of the performance,” said Lents. Michaelson believes it is harder with fewer production values.
“We have to use what we already have and adapt,” said Michaelson. “What lacks in ornate setting is made up with great acting.”
Herndon also appreciated the value of a workshop format. “We wanted to keep that abstract feel to it. Sometimes plays are all about the set. This is raw. We take away the distractions so your focus is on the actors and the messages.”
And that message, according to Herndon, is love. “I believe the overall theme is love but not just in a relationship sense,” said Herndon. “It is love for your self, love of others. It is making a connection. It’s love that ties us all together.”
Lents, Herndon and Michaelson all hope to continue a Black History Month production in the years to follow.
Lents believes the production is “charting new territory” and hopes to continue this project.
Michaelson looks forward to potentially continuing as stage manager and hopes to help build a “five-year plan” for future Black History Month productions.
Herndon also wishes to see it grow in flourish in the up and coming years. “Words cannot describe how emotional and inspiring this whole process has been for me,” said Herndon.
Herndon, whose family is flying in from Illinois to see the production, says she is so grateful for the help of the cast and crew.
“It is amazing to be able to cross this off my list at only 19,” laughed Herndon. “Everyone has been so committed.”
The cast of “Black History, Black Voices: A Celebration of African American Theatre” includes Candyce Atkins, Laymah Cisco, Kadi Cisse, Kristin Fulton, Garry Jones, Ra’John Raeford, Kier “KJ” Thompson and Angelica Herndon.
Performances will be held on Feb. 25 at 7:30 p.m. with a reception at 6:30 p.m. and Feb. 26 at 4:00 p.m. in the newly renovated Barn Theatre. Admission is free.

Poetry therapy allows students to express themselves

Entertainment Editor

On Nov. 4, over 30 students gathered in Hartman Lounge to experience the cathartic and inspirational benefits of poetry therapy. Resident Assistant Janae Sones and Lona Whitmarsh of the psychology department brought in licensed poetry therapist and Madison-based counselor Kerstin White for a participant oriented session.
White, a licensed poetry therapist, jumped in ‘en media res’ and started the session with a warm-up activity. The group began with a reading of a 12-year-old’s poem, entitled “To Understand Me.” After interpreting different meanings, the language and purpose, the group was encouraged to write their own “To Understand Me” poems.
Senior creative writing major Paul Russell shared his poem with the group. Russell shared his likes, dislikes and unique quirks in a poem similar to the “To Understand Me” poem. From pizza and cats to his at times difficult relationship with his brother, Russell shared a little bit of himself in a comfortable, safe, non-judgmental environment.
White’s strategy of beginning with a writing exercise was quite intentional. “The best way to learn about poetry therapy is to just experience it,” said White.
Conducting sessions for both groups and individuals, White believes that the creative writing process is “a catalyst for expressing emotion.”
Turning again to the group, White supplemented this point by prompting the group with the question, “why do you write?” Many students offered similar answers such as self-expression, emotional release and to document everyday life. Quite appropriately, therapeutic writing has similar driving forces. White explained that therapeutic writing is all about self-expression. “We aren’t concerned with editing and grammar,” said White, “you just gotta put it all out on the page.”
And for some, this self-expression can be a powerful healing device. White explained that people who have experienced trauma often feel a sense of fragmentation. According to White, poetry therapy can alleviate that sense of separation. “It combines the left and right sides of the brain. It reunites and links feelings with events,” she said.
White also described poetry as a “catalyst and a bridge between the client and the self.” But why poetry over other styles of writing? According to White, poetry is the ultimate form of self-expression. “Poetry is the language of dreams. The metaphors, abstract concepts all get directly into the unconscious,” said White. “It gets quickly to the core and is ideal for a group because it is short and concise.”
To dive into the unconscious, however, White has to go through a lot of prep works to individualize each session for her clients. For the group in Hartman (mostly creative writing and psychology majors), White prepared an exercise relative to the experiences that college-aged individuals might face. She presented a series of college-oriented poems under the general heading of new beginnings. After exploring the themes of identity, individualism, independence and the future, students wrote their own new beginnings poems.
Senior creative writing major Megan Lacey shared her poem with the group. She hit many common themes in the other poems as she discussed who she was, where she was going and what she was going to do following graduation.
And while many of the students who did share their poems were creative writing majors, psychology and education major Brittany Becker also shared her new beginnings poem after a little encouragement from White. “Many people feel that they don’t know how to write” said White. “And when they do and when they share, it is inspirational to see them tap into something deep within.”
And perhaps one of the best things about poetry therapy, according to White, is “the chance to have your voice heard and have others listen.”
A truly relaxing and therapeutic event, White helped tap into the students’ subconscious in a safe, fun and interactive environment that released a semester’s worth of stress.

‘Origins’ characterization cleverly crafted

“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” is undoubtedly a hard-hitting and action-packed film enriched with a fresh conflict and anxiously awaited comic book characters. But like any film interpretation of a novel, book or comic book, many themes, details and individual story lines are lost in translation, some of which are easily excusable. However, this film’s interpretation of Wolverine’s origins seems to uncomfortably deviate from carefully crafted details in the comics. As a result, the film feels disjointed and rough. With weak transitions and far-fetched streams of events, the film lacks a natural flow. It is the strong characterization and cleverly staged fight sequences that carried the film, making it bearable.

The characterization of Logan is perhaps the most intriguing aspect of the film. Logan’s forced transition into the feral Wolverine at an early age is especially creative. Along with Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber), the mutant known as Sabretooth, the film follows Logan’s war-filled past as the mutants battle side-by-side in the Civil War, Vietnam War and other major American wars in between.

Hugh Jackman reprises his role as a younger, soldier-like Logan. In this film, he plays Logan with a fresh, new and intuitive perspective. In this way, Jackman is able to approach his character with a powerful sense of discipline and humanity. It is the mercy and respect for human life that sets Logan apart from the other mutant characters.

Through his girlfriend, Kayla Silverfox (Lynn Collins), audiences are able to see how Logan has tried to make more of out of his life than just that of a military mutant. It is his characterization through Kayla that makes him the humane Logan as opposed to the vicious Wolverine.

Schreiber creates a powerfully menacing Victor. He acts as a strong foil to Logan, showing the corruption and evil that can befall the brainwashed mutant soldier. The ferocious battles between Victor and Logan are cleverly filmed with interesting camera angles that give audiences a sense of involvement in the fight. The stunts are believable despite the mutants’ regenerating bodies and super-strength. It is the mix of action sequences and the calm, serene face-to-face dialogues that follow that make the fight seem that much more larger than life.

Ryan Reynolds plays Wade Wilson, the mutant Deadpool, in the film. His performance is shockingly well timed, with witty and punchy lines laced throughout the action sequences of the film. Reynolds’ humor seems natural and creates greater depth in not only Wade but also the other characters.

Although his humor as Wade was cleverly crafted, his transition into the mutant Deadpool was a bit nauseating. Complete with self-ejecting sword blades out of his forearms, Deadpool seems too unrealistic. He lacks the mechanical form that his creator William Stryker had intended for him.

The cast of “Origins” is extremely surprising. Dominic Monaghan, known for his role in “Lost,” plays Chris Bradley, the mutant Bolt. Will i Am, from the Black Eyed Peas, also starts in the film as John Wraith. It is the variety of actors that makes the mutants believable. Each complete with their own quirks and tragic flaws, no mutant is quite the same in “Orgins.”

Overall, the film was enjoyable if viewed as an artwork separate from the comic books. The action sequences and the eclectic cast carried the film from start to finish. And although the film did seem far-fetched at times, the inconsistencies are excusable as the characterization rises to the forefront, creating sympathy for the characters and fueling the physical and emotional intensity of the film.

Entertainment Editor