Speech Night 2018

Part 1

The Mock Turtle Story dramatized by Anna Lozano, Evi Sargeant, and Elisabeth Ko

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CAST Alice, Anna Lozano; Duchess, Evi Sargeant; Queen of Hearts, Elisabeth Ko; Gryphon, Christian Lengkeek; Mock Turtle, Jacob Louie

“A Throwback to 1972: a World without a Cell Phone” by Jada Sankey

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“A Brave Housewife” by Haley Garecht, portraying Penelope, the wife of Odysseus

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A is for Apple Class and B is for Bear Recitation

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“A Chill”: Tobias Volpe; “There is But One May“: Margot Mohan; “To Autumn”: Ana Mohan and John Lengkeek; “Bitter for Sweet”: Athena Nolan; “In the Garden”: Mikayla Young and Joshua Cooper; “Weariness”: Linus Haselbarth; “The Bells”: Lucia Volpe; “The Sun Has Long Been Set”: Olivia and Amalyah Callahan

Foundations Poetry Recitation

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“Through Every Age, Eternal God”: Lila Murdoch; “Good Friday”: Francesca Milani; “I Had No Time to Hate” by Eliza Copeland; “Light Shining out of Darkness”: Lucas Mohan; “The Echoing Green”: Andrew Stevens; “Lines Written in March”: Cecilia Volpe; “Centipede” and “The Pedigree of Honey”: Jane Stalnaker.

“The Slippery Slope, or How Not to Harvest a Christmas Tree” by John Kocher

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“$20” by Ben Callahan

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“Progress: For Better or for Worse?” by Audrey Drennen

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Question: “What is the Most Important Aspect of Family Life?”

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ANSWERS Queen Mary, portrayed by Caroline Gardner; Lady Jane Grey, portrayed by Anna Rose Walter; Queen Philippa, portrayed by Bridget Haselbarth

Five-minute Intermission; Part 2

When Father Brought Home the Lamp, dramatized by Sophia Burrowes, Anna Walter, Caroline Drennen, and Emma and Elise Lengkeek

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CAST Matias (the Father), Noah Callahan; Katya (the Mother), Anna Walter; Pekka, Kellen Stevens; Shopkeeper, Elise Bushra; Neighbor, Gianluca Milani; Children, Caroline Drennen, Elise Bushra, and Trinity Hobaugh; Girls, Emma and Elise Lengkeek

“A Hundred Pounds of Almost Ruined Batter” by Elsa Walter

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“Bergdorf” by Irene Thomas

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“The Bread Shop” by Joshua Noble

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Question: “What Do You Think of Homeschooling?”

ANSWER William Wallace, portrayed by Micah Volpe

“Political Polarization” by Joshua Louie

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Vice and Virtue Poetry Recitation

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“Barefoot Boy”: Saarang Anand; “The Pasture”: Kaleb Murdock; “The Eagle”: Patrick Nolan; “Praise to Our Creator”: Judah Cooper; “I’m Nobody”: Rose Kocher; “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud”: Jason Bushra

“When Your Brain Stops Working” by Zipporah Ellis

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“Everything is Humorous in Reminiscence” by Sam Bushra

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“Traveling Nightmare” by Jonathan Noble

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Question: “What is the Biggest Problem Facing America Today?”

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ANSWERS Queen Elizabeth I, portrayed by Monica Levis; Wat Tyler, portrayed by Nathanael Chen; Thomas Becket, portrayed by Thomas Dierkes; Richard the Lionhearted, portrayed by Justice Kocher; Guy Fawkes, portrayed by Andrew Ko; Edward I, portrayed by Luke Bushra

Five-minute Intermission; Part 3

“Wildflower,” composed and sung by Jean Milani; Samuel Walter, cello

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“The Seatbelt” By Robert Gardner

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“A Canoe Trip” by Grant Metzger

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“My Savior: Peet’s Coffee and Tea” by Miriam Shera

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“Legos” by William Livezey

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“Unconventional Heroism” by Grace Germany

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“This Year There Is No Next Year” by Antonia Milani

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About Speech Night 2018

The cover of the program features an engraving by the English illustrator and political cartoonist John Tenniel depicting a scene from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, particularly that of the Gryphon and Mock Turtle’s conversation with Alice. The chapter of the Mock Turtle, which the Classic Works Class read this year, typifies Lewis’s love for wordplay and the ridiculous. While many postmodernist critics may glean some profound gender themes in Lewis Carroll’s work, I am of the opinion (and most likely you are, too) that they are barking up the wrong tree. However, Lewis Carroll’s work is not merely silly nonsense. In addition to being a wonderfully entertaining work containing wordplay, logical fallacies and conundrums, it is an excellent satire on the adult world as seen from the eyes of a child.  Much of the humor in Lewis Carroll’s work is dependent on puns. For example, the Mock Turtle calls his teacher a tortoise, and when Alice asks why, he says because he “taught us” (which sounds very much like tortoise). The Mock Turtle also remarks that he was taught Writhing (Writing) and Laughing and Grief (Latin and Greek). These puns are intended perhaps to satirize the cruel means of discipline in Victorian schools as wells as the chaos of the classroom. See if you can recognize other puns and wordplay in the dramatization.

The Narrative Class is also performing a play titled “When Father Brought Home the Lamp,” which is based on a short story by the same name, written by the Finnish author Juhani Aho. Aho’s work centers around the big hullabaloo that comes with new technology. I remember what a sensation it was when the first iPad came out. And then came the iPhone. Now where are we? The excitement has dissipated and with that waning excitement came the recognition, by some at least, that there though there was something gained with the new technology, there was also something lost. Although it was written more than a century ago, the Aho’s work seems more apt today than when it was written more than a century ago.

This year, one of the high school classes focused on Greek literature and those English and American works influenced by it. For Speech Night one or two of the students opted to impersonate a character from one of the Greek myths that we read. Others chose to write an expository speech on some topic of interest to them. The Short Story Class, too, will be delivering speeches, but in the narrative format.

The English History and Literature class studied the lives of many colorful historical characters, such as “Bloody Mary,” William Wallace, Queen Philippa, Wat Tyler and Guy Fawkes. I thought one way for students to try to get to know these men and women better is to put them in a modern context. What would, for example, Thomas Beckett say if he were asked what was one of the biggest problems facing America today? Listen to tonight’s program and find out!