‘The 50%’ Spotlights Narratives Of Andover Students

R.Prem/The Phillipian

“The 50% (Things We Are Too Scared to Say)” gave students a platform to talk about different aspects of their identity.

“All I ever wanted was for you to love all of me. But I guess I’ll never get that,” Anna Lopez ’19 said quietly, ending their performance and walking off the stage to a chorus of snaps. Lopez’s piece on coming out to their parents was one of many emotional performances delivered by students of the Theatre-510 class. Their show, “The 50% (Things We Are Too Scared To Say),” was held Friday and Saturday evening in the theatre classroom and was a curtain call to a term’s worth of hard work.

“[The performances] are so heart-wrenching. Most people in the audience were crying and a lot of it came from them being able to be vulnerable… Based on how many tears we got in the audience, they’re very relatable,” said Rhea Prem ’19, one of the directors of the play.

“I liked how everyone was so honest. I feel like this school teaches you a bit to separate what you show from what you feel and [the show] was, what the title says, the other 50 percent,” said audience member Sofia Marina ’22.

With acts such as an original song by Junah Jang ’20 on how to return home, a passionate homage by Aliesha Jordan ’19 to her mother, and a monologue by Nolan Hamilton ’20 on being biracial, each piece showcased unique aspects of the performers.

“I think it went amazing. I think they did so well, I’m so proud of all of them. Ria [Vieira ’19, the other play director,] and I were crying when we were watching it…we’re so incredibly impressed by the work that they have done. We know it’s so hard… To see them perform so maturely and so openly is really amazing,” said Prem.

The performance came after months of self-reflection and writing prompts about themselves in order to develop these final pieces. Many of these prompts were about socioeconomic class, race, nationality, gender identity, and sexuality.

“[Linda Carter Griffith, Assistant Head of School for Equity, Inclusion, and Wellness, and Allen Grimm, Instructor in Theater and Dance ] gave out prompts for homework and the students would come back with pieces that they had written that fit the prompt. Slowly, it went to free choice and then writing about what came to them,” said Vieira.

During the process of creating, sharing, and revising their scripts, the cast members found support and solidarity in their castmates. This vulnerability also allowed for the performers to connect with the audience on a more personal and profound level, according to cast member Jelani Wilson ’19.

“It didn’t feel so much as acting, it felt so much like me getting off my feelings and telling other people. Of course, it’s a crowd and in an acting environment, but it felt just like me finally being candid and honest with everyone for once… I feel like it’s really uplifting and that the acting class was almost therapeutic in that regard, that I was able to get myself out there and feel comfortable with it,” said Wilson.

Editor’s Note: Nolan Hamilton is a Business Associate for The Phillipian. Junah Jang is an Associate Commentary Editor for The Phillipian. Rhea Prem is a Photo Editor for The Phillipian.