Grasshopper 2007: In Review

Andover’s annual Grasshopper Night is a production entirely produced, managed, directed and operated by students. The show, according to tradition, took place this past Parents’ Weekend to showcase student talent. This year, 16 acts were featured as well as the contemporary, relevant campus humor of Matt Cranney ’08 and Cecelia Worthington ’08, the two emcees for the occasion. During the 7:00 show on Saturday night, one of Cranney and Worthington’s most comical skits was one in which they were both upper-echelon, English gentlemen. Inside the OWH Library, they discussed “quidditch,” the Head of the Charles crew race and “the whirligig of time” with one another in elevated tones. Funkapotomous, a four-man band that sang “Johnny B. Goode” by Chuck Berry, was one of the first acts of the night. The band was comprised of Matt Cranney ’08 on bass, Dan Silva ‘08 on vocals, Chris Wade ‘08 on lead guitar and Hank Williams ’08 on drums. During the 7 p.m. show on Saturday, Silva’s microphone refused to cooperate and his vocals were barely audible in the middle to back rows of Tang. The band recovered at the first musical interlude when Silva casually fiddled with the knobs on the speakers to turn the microphone back on. One of the highlights of the performance was Wade’s solo which, complete with spotlight, elicited a hearty round of applause from the audience. Patrick Brady ’11, Eli Grober ’09 and Eric Sirakian ’10, also called the BSGroup, performed a comedic sketch based on the 1940’s Abbot and Costello films. Grober’s character, Rudy, promised Costello (Sirakian) that he would “get him into pictures” as a stuntman to make up for not letting him perform in the 2006 Grasshopper Night. Abbot (Brady) acted as translator between the bumbling Costello and the shrewd Rudy. Nearly every line of the humorous skit was punctuated by chuckles from the audience, and the actors skillfully played off of the audience’s positive energy to fuel their own performance. Later into the night, Kathryn Quijano ’08, accompanied by Adriana Flores ’08 on guitar and Williams playing drums, sang “New Shoes” by Paolo Nutini,. Unlike other musical performances of the night, this song was less structurally complex and served as a fresh change of pace. “It was pretty much flawless. I’ve never heard her sing before, so it was nice to hear a new voice… Kathryn was fresh and different,” noted Anneke Heher ’10. Lights dawned on the next act, illuminating Andi Zhou ’09 playing the piano and, extracting a vigorous round of laughter and whistles from the audience, Alex Gottfried ’09 lying atop the piano. Zhou began to play a classical piece when he was sharply cut-off by Gottfried who remarked, “Let’s give them our best.” The duo then launched into a punchy rendition of the Pokemon theme song, complete with the evil Team Rocket’s classic motto and a battle between Pikachu (Sayer Mansfield ’10), and Jigglypuff (Farah Dahya ’08). An elaborate lightshow in the background contrasted the playfulness of the song, and the audience’s response at the end was thunderous: one of the most enthusiastic the entire night. Trisha Macrae ’09 said, “When the curtains opened and Alex was curled on the piano in a manner reminiscent of the Cheshire Cat, I knew the act was going to be funny, but the reality was so much better than what I expected. They sang the Pokemon theme song in such an un-diva-like way.” Preceding the beginning of the 10th act, Illuminati, whistles and appreciative yells penetrated the darkened theater. With the room in darkness, the song “Instruments of Darkness” by Art of Noise cut through the air and the barely visible outlines of Curtis Hon ’10, Peter Yang ’10 and Michael Yoon ’10 materialized on stage. Each cracked several large glow-sticks, and the trio began to weave them through the air in elaborate patterns and dizzying designs. The routine and music complemented each other perfectly, and the music allowed the rhythm of the movements to flow and evolve. The audience’s responses were wild. Too impressed to speak, most responses were along the lines of “whoa.” Breet Achin ’08 captured the audience’s attention performing her own original composition named “Mixed,” a poem composed in the spoken word genre. She spoke about the mixed messages one receives as a person of mixed heritage. Despite the intimacy and subjectivity of the topic, Achin delivered the poem with an assured confidence that was more related to objectivity—a difficult feat in regards to the enormity of her intended message. Mr. Coleman, father of Rachel Coleman ’10 commented, “The monologue was definitely my favorite. It was like hearing a life’s work from a high-school student.” Other acts of the night included SLAM, Azure, Gospel Choir, Blue Strut, T-Pomps to the Max, Hypnotiq, The Yorkies and The Spirit of St. Louis. Feedback from the parents was extremely positive. The general consensus was that the event perfectly showcased the wide variety of student talents at Phillips Academy. Feng Lan, father of Juliet Liu ’10, summed up the night perfectly by saying, “I really was impressed by the students’ energetic performances. They really made connections with the audience, and the level of artistry that they achieved in their performance was really skillful. There was also a good variety of performances in Grasshopper Night. Overall, I really enjoyed it.”