Center Stage: Emcee Spotlight

Loud, confident, charismatic and especially flexible: the emcees for Grasshopper Night must exhibit these essential characteristics. The female counterpart for this year’s duo, Cecelia Worthington ’08, runs off of the stage and hurriedly transforms from a glitzy leotard to her street clothes in a matter of seconds. While undergoing such intense costume changes: zipping, unzipping and flattening hair, she responds to my questions with poise and candor. Matt Cranney ’08 exhibits another level of multitasking as he practices his manSLAM routines while memorizing his script for the skits linking each main act. Such versatility and dedication is required for this role, which is much harder and more important than most of the Andover community may think. The competition during this year’s Grasshopper Night emcee auditions was as aggressive as ever. A total of 14 students tried out by themselves, in pairs or in trios. Even though the winners did not end up with their intended partners, Cranney and Worthington complement each other well. During auditions, Cranney focused on his “skater-dude” personality, while Worthington stuck to her satirical attitude. Though they did not audition together, the producers decided that they would be a good fit. Aside from the talent acts featured during the show, the duo will provide another dose of entertainment with their skits. “We’re not trying to be anyone else. We’re just trying to play up our own style of humor,” said Cranney. Worthington has been in a few drama labs and is heavily involved in the dance department on campus. Cranney, on the other hand, has not participated in theater but has always loved old Saturday Night Live comedy skits. Suprisingly, Cranney has never been able to attend a Grasshopper Night show before this year. Worthington said, “We don’t want to copy other emcees. We just wanted to remember what people thought was funny. We don’t want to repeat any of the same mistakes.” To come up with the skits in between the main performances, the pair sat down with Lucas McMahon and Jonathan Adler, both Seniors. Cranney said, “We just sat down and started brainstorming ideas. Then the funny ideas formed into sketches and then we just filled in the details and started writing the scripts.” The emcees mock several school-related issues in their skits such as PAPS and library policies as well as certain articles in The Phillipian. Even though most of the jokes are directed towards the student audience, the emcees are not worried about whether parents will understand the jokes. Worthington said, “Last year when I watched Grasshopper Night with my mom, she didn’t get many of the jokes. But this was a good way to explain to her some of the things going on around campus in a way that wasn’t awkward. Hopefully, our acts with do the same and spark conversations.” Due to the schedule change of the school year calendar this year, Grasshopper Night is a week earlier than it has been in years past. The producers decided to hold the auditions during the normal time frame, however, giving the performers one week less to prepare. For some Lowers and Uppers, PSAT’s fall on this same weekend. Cranney said, “I knew this was going to be chaotic and busy, and that’s what it’s been so far.” Despite the limited time frame and hectic rehearsals, the show is shaping up to be as impressive, if not more, to parents and students as past years.