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The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

The Student News Site of Harvard-Westlake School

The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle

Students perform in acting showcase

Students in the Advanced Performance Studies class this semester performed the play “Do You Feel Anger?” by Mara Nelson-Greenberg on Jan. 20 in the Drama Lab, which now serves as a new blackbox theater. The students spent their first semester working on the production and performed it as their final project for the class. The play centers around Sofia (Calla Fox ’25) who has recently been hired as an empathy coach at a debt collection agency and struggles to teach the employees about emotion and how to practice compassion for others. At her workplace, she encounters misogynistic male employees and tries to change their mindsets.

Anna Ames ’24, who played office worker Howie, said she appreciates the strong bonds she has created with her fellow actors.

“The play was so much fun,” Ames said. “We’ve spent the semester working as an ensemble and have become kind of like a little family. We have a lot of trust in each other so it makes working together really enjoyable and easy. I love them all a lot. [Performing Arts Teacher Sabrina Washburn] is also such an amazing director and she let us have a lot of creative freedom throughout the process which was really cool. ”

Ames said she struggled to draw parallels between her own life and her character’s life.

“Howie isn’t really a great guy, so I had some trouble connecting with him at first,” Ames said. “I think I was able to understand him and his actions better by thinking of him like an immature little boy. I kind of tried to channel my little brother at times.”

Isaac Tiu ’24, who played the role Old Man, said he learned how to create a deeper connection between himself and his character.

“The process [of the play] was great for me because I was able to concentrate on just one scene, which meant that I could go into much more depth and find out what the character’s real intent was,” Tiu said. “Upon first reading [his monologue] it seemed to have little to no meaning, but after researching the irony used in this play, I found that there are significant reasons for why the character talks the way he does, and that has to do with this idea of nurture versus nature, where he was brought up in a society which significantly impacted his development as a person. For me, having this understanding of my character helped to contextualize him.”

Emma Lutsky ’26 said she enjoyed the ongoing theme of gender roles throughout the play and feels that sexism in the workplace is a prevalent issue that should have more awareness brought to it.

“I loved it,” Lutsky said. “It was so much fun to watch and the characters were so fun and overall I had a great time. I really enjoyed the motif of women [standing up for themselves] but how it’s perceived in society as the woman being controlling or bossy and that they are lashing out against men, even in instances where the men are in the wrong. It was a very specific topic that I think needs to be spoken more about.”

Tiu said he spent some time researching older comedians in order to learn more about the character he played.

“Old Man was definitely a challenging character to connect with, given that he was 130 years old, and I am 18,” Tiu said. “But I tried to research other comedic skits like in Saturday Night Live and where people have played older roles to see what they had done to make [their performance] comedic [while being] realistic. I [couldn’t sound] 130 years old, so I decided to just over exaggerate how I was speaking in order to make it look like an acting choice [and develop] my character.”

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About the Contributor
Colin Ho
Colin Ho, Sophomore Editor
Colin Ho ’26 is the Sophomore Editor of the Chronicle. In his free time, Ho said he likes to sing, listen to music and go out with friends. Ho said he also enjoys going out to nature and trying new restaurants with his family. Ho said he joined the media program because he wanted to become a better writer. “I joined media because I was interested in learning more about journalism and how it works because I have been intrigued by journalism since middle school,” Ho said. “I wanted to learn about how to interview people and talk to people I don’t know because I think that’s a really important skill to have.” Ho said he is most excited to work in different sections and at layout. “This year, I am looking forward to being able to get more involved and writing more articles, as well as expanding my range and trying to write articles in different sections, such as A&E or Opinion,” Ho said. “I am also looking forward to layout because I think it’s a great opportunity to bond with the other people on The Chronicle.”

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