Written By Aayushi Mishra

How I wrote and directed a college play – The Junior Show!

Published: February 25, 2017

The beginning of the Junior Show

In the April of 2016, I was elected Class President of my year in college. It was a great honor to have this opportunity, but I knew that it came with many challenges. It was going to be my duty to oversee the production of the Junior Show (nicknamed J-Show), which would take place in February of the following year. As the class board was assembling, I began to create a personal timeline and a set of goals for the team. The board and I worked all summer on details and immediately got to work the week we returned to the campus.

The 2018 Class Board!

The 2018 Class Board rocking our Mary Potter-themed shirts!

The theme!

The Junior Show has been a tradition at Mount Holyoke College since the early 1900s. The purpose of the show is to portray the daily life at Mount Holyoke and make fun of the Five College Consortium stereotypes. As the primary playwright, I knew it was going to be complicated to include every aspect of MHC’s student life in a 1.5/2 hour play. In the meantime, the class board and I narrowed down five “famous”¬†themes that would be fun to play around with; we sent out a poll to the junior class and asked them to vote for their favorite. ‘Mary Potter’, a combination pun on Harry Potter and Mount Holyoke’s founder Mary Lyon, won by a significant majority.

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The Mary Potter script! Photo credit: Martha King-Devine

I began to jot down ideas for the play in October and we had the script ready by November! We held auditions for actors both on-campus and who were studying abroad for the semester (they submitted video auditions!). We guaranteed a role for everyone who auditioned because we wanted it to be an inclusive show that would highlight the unity of the 2018 class. A few days after the auditions, we sent out the cast list and got to work!

The production

The actors were amazing. They made it their priority to memorize their lines, acknowledge our feedback, and work tirelessly until the execution was perfect. We had rehearsals every week leading up till the week of the show; we had daily rehearsals the entire week so by the actual show days everyone felt ready and confident.

I directed the show by both working with actors individually and arranging the scenes in the best way possible. The stage crew for this show were extremely professional and dedicated and the show wouldn’t have been what it was had it not been for them. The class board had divided itself up in six committees- Writing, Acting, Props, Costumes, Visuals/Sounds, and Publicity. This made sure that we knew everything was moving smoothly and efficiently. We had committee checks every week (I was the head of the committees) and discussed strategies.

Me with most of the cast members (including our favorite professor!)

Me with most of the cast members (including our favorite professor!)

The show is always free for juniors, but we wanted the ticket price to be affordable by non-juniors. We decided $3 would be a good deal. To sweeten this up even more, we rented a popcorn machine and were excited to hand out free, fresh popcorn!

The successful journey

Mary Potter was a huge success!¬†We had around 300 people attend the show and all the proceeds from the show went to the Class of 2018’s budget. This money will be used for next year’s Pub Nights, Senior Ball, and other events. It was wonderful to have such a diverse, enthusiastic, and talented cast. It was a bittersweet moment when we realized that we no longer needed to have 2-hour long rehearsals because most of us had become close friends throughout the journey. The 2018 Class Board proved once again how cohesive and connected it is. We took the following week off from all class board related duties and tried to catch up on sleep and academic work.

The Friday show! Champions were busy making potions onstage.

The Friday show! Champions were busy making potions onstage.

This was an amazing opportunity for me and I’m so grateful I had the chance to be a part of something so magical. I will forever cherish this memory. Thank you Mount Holyoke College for having such wonderful and unique traditions. I can’t wait to go back and watch the show’s recordings with my friends!

For more information about J-Show and its history, read my article on the Mount Holyoke blog!

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