South’s variety show: Synchronicity

GBS’s 2017 variety show, running from Feb. 22-25, is themed Syncronicity, which means “meaningful coincidences.” As a preview to the 2017 v-show, the Oracle staff is featuring five of the acts.

Motivational  Maleh:  Senior Dahlia Maleh will be performing an original spoken word poem in this year’s variety show. Though her act last year was also a spoken word poem, Maleh explains the ways in which this year’s act will be different, including a change in topic and visual elements.

Rachel Nwia

Motivational Maleh: Senior Dahlia Maleh will be performing an original spoken word poem in this year’s variety show. Though her act last year was also a spoken word poem, Maleh explains the ways in which this year’s act will be different, including a change in topic and visual elements.

“Sounds of Silence”

With around 6,500 languages in the world, senior Genevieve Thompson and junior Eliana Wright will perform a sign language interpretation of the song “Sound Of Silence.”

After studying sign language for four years, Thompson believes this performance speaks toward the deaf community and has a message that is close to her heart.

“It is a unique translation of sign language because it’s not a hip-hop song, and it has such a strong message that I think it is very unique in the way it comes across, and it should be powerful,” Thompson said.

According to Thompson, there are many interpretations that could come from the performance. One includes what it is like for the deaf to live in the world of the hearing people.

“The performance itself is not the lyrics translated into sign language, but instead the meaning behind the song,” Thompson said.

According to Wright, the act will feature her and Thompson completely synchronized. She says that this act will be very meaningful to both her and Thompson.

“[The song] has a lot of meaningful things towards the deaf community and the hearing community with a lot of synchronicity based into that song,” Wright said. “We just thought it was very special and connected to both of us because [we] know ASL, and we are part of the hearing world and the deaf world.”

“Rock this Town”

“The second time’s the charm.” Some would say that the third time’s the charm, but sophomore Steph Ornduff and senior Kaitlyn Ornduff would beg to differ. According to Kaitlyn, her last v-show act will feature her and her sister, Stephanie, performing a tap dance act for the second year in a row.

“Last year’s number was more inspired by jazz and Broadway and almost more mysterious, but this year’s [dance] is just about having more fun,” Kaitlyn said. “The dance we’re doing this year is more inspired by jitterbug and swing, which will be a lot of fun for us.”

According to Steph and Kaitlyn, the two are both excited for v-show, but also sad that this is Kaitlyn’s last opportunity to be in the show. Steph explained that the two have been tap dancing together for many years which is apparent in their performances.

“I’m kind of glad that we have one last chance [to perform together],” Steph said. “We started tapping together when I was in first grade and [Kaitlyn] was in third grade […] it’s just weird that next year [Kaitlyn] will be gone.”

Both Steph and Kaitlyn added that students and members of the community should come to v-show not only to see them perform for the last time but to see the months of hard work that many South students put in to make the show all that it is.

“I think people should see our act because it is different, and it’s the only tap act in the show,” Kaitlyn said. “I think that everybody [that goes to South] should see at least one v-show while they are here, if not all of them just because it involves so many kids in the school. You’ve got all of the performers, all of the crew. The fact that our school can put on a show of this magnitude speaks volume to the talent here.”

“What I pay to be free”

Not only will senior Antonio Duca’s act follow the synchronicity theme, a “series of meaningful coincidences,” his performance will also be a series of meaningful firsts. At the end of February, Duca will be performing his first original piece, “What I Pay to Be Free.”

Duca’s vision for “What I Pay to Be Free” was love. According to Duca, he wanted to convey the struggle and awkwardness that oftentimes come with your first love. “The song is about a guy who has been a lone wolf, but then he meets a girl and falls madly in love; there’s a whirlwind of emotion in his mind,” Duca said. “The lyrics ‘now I come back home to find myself alone, the records play so high the sounds drown out my bitter cries,’ […] are the strongest lyrics […].”

Writing this song, Duca pulled from personal experience and simple human observation, and he hopes the entire audience can relate to the song’s message.

“This song, in part, connects with me personally, but at the same time, I think it’s something that people feel at some point in their lives,” Duca said. “I wanted to project to the audience that […] love is a powerful emotion, and it’s okay to be frightened by it.”

According to Duca, writing original pieces contrasts sharply with his music career up until this point. Originally, Duca was a cover artist, but he says, the transition from singing covers to composing was empowering. “I was always covering other singers,” Duca said. “You can have fun covering songs because you get to play with it, but from what I’m experiencing writing a song is a completely different ball game, because it’s all you. I think it makes the performance a lot more believable for the audience.”

Along with believability being important in the writing process, Duca also hopes his performance will resonate with the audience.

“If there was a sentence they could say as they reminisce on my act, it would be ‘that was honesty,’” Duca said. “I’m not trying to fake anything or hyperbolize any emotion in any way. What I wrote was sincere and true, and I just want the audience to feel the same way.”

“Special Poem”

“Out with the old, and in with the new,” is the motto senior Dahlia Maleh is living by when it comes to this year’s v-show. According to Maleh, her final v-show performance will differ from last year’s in content and visuals.

Last v-show, Maleh explains that she performed a spoken word poem about sexism,  but this year, Maleh is switching it up with an original poem focused on self-acceptance and including visuals.

“Last year, it was very simplistic,” Maleh said. “Me, on stage, [a] microphone [and] one light. It was very open mic like, [because] we wanted […] it to just be about the words: powerful. This year, we’re going to incorporate videos and pictures with no sound […] to emphasize the words […]. [I think] it’s going to enhance it five times more, [and] I’m excited to incorporate another art form into it.”

According to Maleh, although she wants the striking visuals to draw in the audience, she’s making sure her words are still the main event. As Maleh walks off the stage, she wants the audience to walk away with a message: being different is okay. Maleh conveys this theme through a line from her poem.

“Basically, it’s about acceptance of yourself,” Maleh said. “You shouldn’t give into the status quo. [A line from my poem is] ‘I’m treading treacherous waters while everyone is synchronized swimming.’ [It’s] […] harder to swim alone and fight that wave, but if you don’t do that, you’ll have insecurities inside of you. You’ll always feel uneasy. Fight it.”

Maleh acknowledges the beauty of spoken word, how it evokes raw emotions in both the speaker and the listeners.

“Spoken word poetry is one of the most influential things around,” Maleh said. “It makes people think. It makes people feel things. I like spoken word because I feel like I’m having a conversation with the audience. It’s me, them and my words. The fact that 2,000 people [will get the experience…], whether they keep it or not, they all heard it for a minute and 45 seconds. That’s very powerful.”

Celtic Knot

Synchronicity occurs when things that have no relationship seem to be meaningfully related. According to junior Abby Coleman, her group’s act, Celtic Knot, represents this theme because it consists of four Irish dancers dancing to a Spanish style song. Coleman, senior Cammi Davis and freshman Claire Hackl and Madaket Chiarieri will take the stage as part of Celtic Knot.

According to Coleman, the group reused old steps that they had done in the past and put them together to create the dance for this year’s v-show. She says that this performance presents several challenges to the group.

“It’s really fast music, so we really have to work on keeping up with it and making sure that we do everything right,” Coleman said. “Sometimes the stages can be really slippery so making sure that we have control and everything is good [is important]. Personally, […] I had hip surgery  last year, so this is the first time I’m really getting back to dance.”

According to Davis, Irish dancing is very conformed, has a strict style and requires specific foot placement. She says that she hopes that the audience will understand more about what Irish dance is after seeing this year’s v-show.

“I hope the audience takes away that Irish dance isn’t the same as tap dancing,” Davis said. “[The v-show features] a tap act, so I hope that [the audience] gets to see the difference between Irish dancing and tap dancing because there is a distinct difference.”

In addition to learning more about Irish dance, Coleman says that she hopes that their act will be able to inspire young audience members to want to become Irish dancers.

“Hopefully we can show people that Irish dance is really something special, and maybe if there are some little girls or little boys in the audience who are like, ‘I want to do that,’  they can decide that they want to start dancing too,” Coleman said.