Junior Show, one of the College’s most creative and student-driven traditions, has been a source of entertainment and general merriment on campus for more than a century. It features an original play that is typically heavy on humor and parody. Costumes, dance numbers, songs, inside jokes and a smattering of stereotypical representations of both Mount Holyoke and the other members of the Five Colleges? Yes, yes, yes!
Initially produced by the senior class, and known as Senior Show, the tradition was passed to the junior class in 1920 and subsequently recoined. It comes around each February — a welcome bright spot during a predictably bleak time of winter.
Cast of the 1909 Senior Show: “Beauty and Beast”
In April 2016, the newly-elected 2018 class board sat together and discussed the Junior Show. What to do? How to make it memorable? Throughout the summer, we tossed around ideas. After much back and forth, we began to formulate a vision.
When we arrived on campus in September 2016, we couldn’t wait to get started. We strategized each week’s goals and created a game plan. The first task? A theme for the show. We agreed unanimously that the student body should be the deciders. We penned a few catchy themes and sent a poll to the class of 2018.
The winner: “Mary Potter”
An astounding number of students responded within hours to the poll. There was a clear winner: The show’s storyline was to feature Mary Potter — needless to say, a pun combining Mary Lyon and Harry Potter.
Immediately after the poll closed we began to work on the script. With hundreds of possible ideas to weave into two hours, there was no time to lose. The board spent most of Thanksgiving break finishing it up so it could be edited by a corp of volunteers. The finished sixty-page script is one of our greatest accomplishments: a reflection of our teamwork, eagerness and dedication.
In the months that followed, J-Show took shape at a breakneck pace. We recruited actors from the class, including those who were abroad fall semester (they shared audition tapes online). To encourage people to try out, we guaranteed that anyone who auditioned would receive a role.
Once the 11 actors began rehearsing aloud in January, we made some necessary tweaks to the script. We gave actors personalized feedback — and the option to change their lines if they had funnier ideas. The head of the acting committee held voice projection sessions. We also worked closely with the 15 members of the stage crew, who were responsible for managing props, costumes, visual projections, sound effects and transitions.
Don’t miss it: Feb. 17 and 18
Curious about what’s in store? Mary Potter is the successor to Harry Potter that we all deserve. The reluctant heroine takes on champions from the Five Colleges to bring the Sorcerer’s Cup back to Mount Holyoke. Along the way, she learns about friendship, inner strength and the conviction to do what is right. Can she succeed in her endeavours? Will she carry on the Potter legacy? Most importantly, will she be able to overcome her fear of midterms?
Martha King-Devine FP’18, who plays Mary Potter, described the play as, “funny, silly, poignant and magical. The only thing better than being in the cast is being in the audience.”
“Through J-Show, I have met several other juniors who I hadn’t spent time with before,” said Emet Marwell ’18, who plays the narrator. “It is such a fun experience to work together to produce a hilarious show. Anyone who loves either Harry Potter or Mount Holyoke — or both! — will appreciate the allusions in the play!”
Attendees should expect to have a lot of laughs and a great time, said Lyssi Joseph ’18, who plays Alex. “J-Show has been an amazing experience. We are putting our hearts and souls into it.”
A scene from Junior Show, class of 1952: “The Adventures of Fraternity Man”
Class of 1975: a scene from Junior Show
Aayushi Mishra ’17 is a biology and environmental studies double major. The concentration of her major is environmental policy, politics and economics. As president of the 2018 class board for the 2016 – 2017 academic year, having begun at MHC as a red pegasus, her duties include overseeing traditions such as the Big/Little Sibling program and the Junior Show, and keeping in touch with 2018’s sister class of 1968. She works at the Groves Health Center as a health education assistant. You can find out more about Mishra on her website.