“Once upon a time in a land far, far away…lived a woman who was vain, self-centered, ego-centric…”
So begins the story of Mirror, Mirror, the play chosen by Corona High School’s theatre department for the 2015 student production to be performed and directed entirely by the students.
“It’s literally like nothing we’ve done before, it’s risqué in some ways, and it’s very our generation comedy,” stated director Maia Bonales when asked to describe the chosen production. Fellow director Jose Alanis expressed similar sentiments, saying that it “went more towards teenage humor”.
The play is a twist on several of the famous Grimm’s fairy tales, featuring several memorable characters such as the incredibly vain and incredibly recusant Stepmother (senior Trashawn Lux), the hot and shallow Sleeping Beauty (senior Hannah Sullivan), and the iconic and sassy Mirror (sophomore Frank Carlin). Despite it’s seemingly familiar storyline, the production gives the age-old stories a new, fresh look using a combination of dry wit and a hint of modernism.
As Bonales, a junior and a member of the Advanced Theatre class explained about Mirror, Mirror, “Jose and I, we both really loved the Grimm Brothers. And it’s kind of mocking Grimm Brothers. It’s written by Bruce Kane, unknown writer of course, but it’s just very funny and it’s got characters out of character but they’re in character, and it’s just a really fun production.”
The cast members spent several weeks in after-school rehearsals, perfecting their scenes for opening night on Thursday, February 12. When asked why they had decided to audition, their answers differed.
“I’ve always wanted to act, I just never had the opportunity to and this is my first production,” Trashawn Lux, whose sassy performance as the Stepmother had audiences laughing throughout the show, admitted. “I loved the rehearsals, but bringing it altogether was great too. And then Frank [Carlin] was there too to help me the whole way, like he’s such a great person. I was so nervous at first, and he calmed my fears. We worked together onstage and offstage.”
Carlin stated that he auditioned simply “because I didn’t want to do the musical”, but remarked also that he enjoyed the rehearsals along with fellow cast-member and sophomore Joel Martinez, who played the strong-voiced and wise-cracking Narrator.
Despite their different motives for auditioning and their characters’ tension onstage, the cast members appeared to get along well backstage, and revealed their favorite moments of the show
“[My favorite part was] the rehearsals, definitely.” Martinez stated. “There were dance-offs…”
“That time Dillan [Brown] put the hammer on his head…” Carlin cryptically added.
“When a certain blonde comes out with her new friend, that is my favorite part of the entire play,” related junior Samantha Davis, who played Prince Charming’s daughter, refusing to elaborate for fear of giving away more of the show’s plot.
“My favorite part would have to be at the end, our beautiful Narrator comes out smothered in makeup and his shirt torn, and if you come see it you’ll understand why.” Director Bonales stated, also hesitant to give away too many details.
Opening night saw a relatively full audience, and the comedy was well-received. When asked his opinion on how he felt the production went, director Alanis, a senior and also a member of Advanced Theatre, said, “I think it went really well, there were a lot of moments when people laughed a lot, so I was really excited for that.”
“[My favorite moment] was just when the cast was just all a mess and then they pulled together and made the show really funny with their ideas,” he added. “I thought that I would bring a new twist and see what the student productions were.”
Overall, the production was another success by the theatre department, combining modern humor with familiar stories supplemented by the talented actors chosen by their dedicated directors.
When asked about her favorite part about being in theatre, director Bonales stated that it is “the memories, and the friends you make…and it’s just everything I’ve ever dreamed of in one little room.”
Corona High School eagerly awaits the theatre department’s next production, the musical Thoroughly Modern Millie.
Homecoming week came to a climactic conclusion on September 19, with an entire week’s worth of spirit and anticipation culminating at the Friday night football game, during which the Corona Panthers played La Sierra High School and the Homecoming King and Queen were crowned.
A tradition that is observed by many high schools throughout America, Corona High School kicked off the celebrations with it’s annual dance, promoted and carefully constructed by the Associated Student Body into a “Moonlight Masquerade”, based on the chosen theme of Mardi Gras.
“Being in ASB, we had a committee, so there was a specific dance committee that planned how everything was gonna work, and we came on Friday and Saturday and we helped set up the dance,” stated senior Amelia Zabala at the beginning of the dance. “I think the turnout is gonna be really good because it’s really early and I feel like there’s already a lot of people inside.”
Lasting from 7 PM to 11 PM on September 13th, the Homecoming Dance was declared by many students to be a spectacular success, though some did state that there seemed to be a problem with the air conditioner on the dance floor. According to senior Celine Doan, “[The dance] was good! The AC sucked, but other than that, I enjoyed it much more than prom.”
Underclassmen also revealed that they, too, enjoyed the dance. Sophomore Jasmine Garcia said that she attended homecoming “because I went last year and it was fun. You see people dressed differently than they ever would at school.”
Fellow sophomore Gabby Enriquez, who attended the dance with Garcia, also added, “It’s really cool seeing everyone, but I don’t like going really early because it’s like…”
“Nobody’s here!” Garcia interjected as Enriquez nodded in agreement. “They should make it earlier, like say it starts at five and then everyone will actually show up at seven.”
More students did eventually show up as the night wore on, and began dancing to the music chosen by ASB. Senior John Quinn Noreyko commented that he “enjoyed the dance. The music selection was in great taste for dancing, ranging in genres. The addictive quality of an outside area was also a great idea. Although,” he added. “This is only because of the fact that the dance floor was extremely hot.”
At approximately 10 PM, the Homecoming Court was announced, a list of nominees chosen from various seniors nominated by various clubs and sports who were then voted for by the student body prior to the dance. These students would then have the privilege of walking onto the field at halftime during the homecoming game the next week, and two of them would be crowned Homecoming King and Queen.
While being overall a tremendous success, the Homecoming Dance was also the subject of a curious incident involving an ASB promotional video that surfaced on September 11. The video featured two members of ASB imitating a homecoming proposal. When turned down by the girl of their choice (which included the following dialogue of “No way José.” “..my name is Juan!”), the two boys then decide to go to homecoming with their “squad”, followed by a promotional shot of a “Moonlight Masquerade” poster.
The video, which garnered almost 700 views in less than 24 hours before it was asked to be removed by the school administration, was seen by some as satire. Others, however, saw it as offensive and slightly racist.
When asked about his reasoning behind the video being taken down, Corona High Principal Dr. Danny Kim explained, “It didn’t represent, I think, Corona High School, it wasn’t really an ASB authorized video…I think it was well-intentioned in that ASB students individually were trying to come up with a way of really promoting the dance, but altogether I think there were better ways we could do it.”
However, students who had seen the video, such as sophomore Jasmine Garcia, had a different view. “I liked the video, you know, it was funny. I don’t see myself as a person who would probably be like that, so I don’t see why it would be offending anyone.” she said with a shrug, before going on to enjoy the rest of what many others described as an overall spectacular dance.
Later on in the week, any casual visitor to Corona High School on Thursday, September 18, would have witnessed a strange sight.
“Generation Day”, where students dressed up as a certain generation based on grade (freshmen as babies, sophomores as toddlers, juniors as adults and seniors as senior citizens) was just one of five school spirit days chosen by Corona’s Associated Student Body to help celebrate and raise school spirit for the homecoming game on Friday.
Students were encouraged to show up to school in their pajamas on Monday, while others sported handmade and bought tie-dye shirts for Tie-Dye Tuesday. Wednesday was then Mix Match Day, with students finally being encouraged to wear as much red on Friday to show support for the football team.
“I would say about 70% of our students are wearing red today, so that speaks volumes. But I think our goal is 100%, until we get 100% of our students to feel excited about being at Corona High School.” Dr. Kim stated Friday, looking around at the campus as students displayed their Panther pride. When asked what he thought made spirit week so successful, he replied, “I think it really starts with the leadership, so I give a lot of props to our ASB. I think they’re very conscientious. I know I’ve been in some of their meetings, they’re really thinking about, ‘how do we really make students, our classmates, get really connected with the school’?”
ASB certainly put in quite a bit of effort into this year’s spirit week, promoting it through posters, lunchtime demonstrations (featuring the Homecoming Court nominees, who also sported the various spirit day attire), and various social medias such as Twitter. Their efforts clearly paid off, as many students could be seen throughout the week showing off their school spirit.
When asked what he thought the best dress-up day was, Dr. Kim stated, “You know, I like the Tie-Dye Day, that’s kinda going retro, I haven’t seen tie-dye shirts in a long time. I was scrambling to find a tie-dye shirt, I couldn’t find one, so I looked like the only person without a tie-dye shirt on Tuesday. But I thought that was pretty neat to see.”
All the school spirit finally culminated Friday night, kicking off with the homecoming carnival that lasted from 5 to 7. Various campus clubs and sports set up booths and sold items such as donuts (Drama Club), soda (Community Service Club), chips, (MECHA), baked goods (water polo) and others. Other groups decided to take a more creative approach, setting up booths with activities for passerby to try, such as Key Club hosting a booth of free games such as a penny drop and throwing cards into a hat, and ASB hosting a free obstacle course by the pool.
Throughout the afternoon, students wandered from booth to booth, buying pizza (Relay for Life), root beer floats (Madrigals), and listening to the music being played through the loudspeakers. Members of various clubs could be seen dancing outside of their booth, or carrying signs through the carnival advertising their wares. ASB also advertised a face-painting booth, and many students could be seen walking around with their faces colorfully decorated in the school colors.
At 7 PM, the crowd shifted over towards the Panther Stadium, as the carnival was hastily cleaned up and the Corona football team prepared to play La Sierra in the traditional homecoming game.
“I’m not a predictor of final scores; I can only say that we are well prepared.” Dr. Kim had stated when asked his opinion of the game only a few hours prior that afternoon. “I talked with the coach, I’m talking with the players, they’re well prepared, so we’re just hoping for a good outcome, so. Victory is what we’re hoping for.”
By halftime, however, things did not look quite so good for the Panthers, as La Sierra led by one touchdown with a score of 21-26. As the players rushed off of the field, however, ASB ran onto it, carrying with them several props to be used in the Homecoming Halftime Show, during which the annual Homecoming King and Queen would be crowned.
With AP U.S. History teacher Paul Schroeder as ringmaster, assisted by senior Hannah Sullivan, the entire Panther stadium enjoyed performances by the school marching band, the girls’ dance team, and FPK (Funk Phresh Krew). Finally, the Homecoming Court was announced, and the nominees took their places on the field.
Once all the nominees had been announced, last year’s King and Queen, Jimmy Hernandez and Nicole Blanchette, stepped forward to crown the new King and Queen amid cheers from the crowd, as Schroeder told the nominees to look in the envelopes that they carried with them onto the field and that the “Mardi Gras King and Queen will have a gold necklace”.
All eyes were then on Malique Deshaun Berry and Jessica Dubowski, who pulled out their gold necklaces to roaring applause, screams, whistles, cheers, and hundreds of purple and gold streamers were shot into the air. As Blanchette and Hernandez crowned their successors Dubowski and Berry, respectively, students flocked down to the fence separating the stands from the field to congratulate the King and Queen.
“I don’t know if anyone saw my face, but I looked down and I had a good couple seconds trying to figure out in my head, ‘is this necklace like literally gold? This necklace is really gold!’ It was a really big moment of disbelief.” Berry stated once he had left the field, accepting congratulations and taking pictures with scores of well-wishers.”I feel on Cloud Nine right now, it feels honestly so amazing, so amazing.”
Dubowski, too, had an enormous smile on her face as she accepted congratulations. She admitted that she had been “nervous and excited” while opening her envelope, but her happiness was evident as she wore her crown like the Queen she is.
Dubowski and Berry were not the only winners that night, however. Once halftime had ended, the Corona Panthers took to the field once again, this time determined to defeat La Sierra and win the Homecoming Game.
It appeared to be a very close match – with 7 1/2 minutes to go in the third quarter, the Panthers had managed to pull ahead, bringing the score to 28-27. However, La Sierra still managed to score again, bringing the score to 35-35 with a minute and a half left in the quarter. It wasn’t until the final quarter that Corona got it’s chance. A touchdown by the Panthers finally brought the score up to 42; another touchdown secured Corona’s win at 49-35 in a play that made the crowd go wild.
The Red C erupted into a cacophony of screaming, cheering, waving signs, and overall enthusiasm. Several people had brought baby powder, which they happily pelted the crowd with, covering mostly everyone in the student section in white powder (also causing the football commentator to announce over the loudspeaker, “Baby powder? Really?“) .
As the final seconds counted down and Corona High celebrated its homecoming win, the stands erupted into a loud cheer one last time – everyone, from the freshmen to the football players to the teachers to the graduated students who were back home to visit their old high school, felt it. That undeniable school spirit, that Panther pride.
“It’s important to students, but not just to students, but our whole community.” Dr. Kim had explained that afternoon when asked why he thought homecoming was so important to people. “As you know, this school’s been around since 1896, right, so when we say a ‘tradition of excellence’, it really brings out tradition, it brings out people coming back to their home. I saw some staff members that graduated here, they brought their letterman’s jacket from the class of 1978, 1979.”
Homecoming, is, in essence, a celebration of school spirit. The entire week had been a celebration of what it means to be a Panther, and Corona High School did not disappoint at all.
“You have people that are excited, and we’re expecting people to come to this game that have graduated here throughout the years. There’s a sense of nostalgia, there’s a sense of tradition, there’s a sense of coming back home to root on the old team.” Dr. Kim stated, watching students decked out in the school colors walk past; red, gold, and white. “That’s the purpose of homecoming, for current students and alumni to celebrate Corona High School.”
Ko-Hi-Nur’s staff editor Nicholas Sanchez also contributed to this report.
Last year, Corona High was treated to the experience of The 25th Annual Putnam Count Spelling Bee, a musical directed by Ms. Brockie of the theatre department and Ms. Eden of the choir department, and performed by the talented students who had worked for months to make it a successful performance. This year, they did it once again with the famous Sondheim musical, Into the Woods.
Into the Woods tells the familiar stories of different fairy tale characters, as well as a new story about a baker and his wife who are cursed by a witch so they may never have a child. The original 1988 Broadway production was called “strikingly original”by the New York Times and won two Tony Awards for Best Original Score and Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical. It has been largely praised for the way it handles a multitude of topics, such as growing up, parenting, and right versus wrong.
“There’s a lot of funny stuff, but there is also a lot of serious stuff,” states Senior Gio Solano, who played the part of the Baker. “I think some kids are going to be able to relate because they see their parents having these kind of arguments, and then they have these kind of arguments with themselves.”
The musical mainly focuses around a Baker and his Wife (played by Senior Kellina Doerr), who has been cursed by the Witch who lives next door (played by Senior Mackenzie Frankl) to be unable to have children. She then tells them that if they collect a series of items (“a cow as white as milk, a cape as red as blood, hair as yellow as corn, and a slipper as pure as gold”) in three days before midnight. Their quest into the woods to find these items and therefore grant their wish of having a child brings them into the lives of several other fairy tale characters, such as Little Red Riding Hood ( Freshman Eva Galdamez), Jack in the Beanstalk (Freshman Joel Martinez), Rapunzel(Senior Katie Southard), and Cinderella(Junior Hannah Van Patten), each with a wish and a dream of their own.
Overall, the musical was a pleasure to watch, with memorable songs such as “Into the Woods” (part of the Prologue and Finale) and “No One Is Alone”. The characters are memorable and engaging; the Baker struggles to learn from his own father’s mistakes in order to raise any future children he might have as best he can, along with the help of his Wife, who is the real strong character in the musical; Little Red Riding Hood describes in her song “I Know Things Now” about how her encounter with the Wolf (Senior Kyle Wilson) has changed her, whether for the better or for worse; Cinderella struggles to remain herself while traveling through her fairytale, not sure where she belongs, being the kitchen maid or the princess (“On The Steps of the Palace”); and the Witch, who at first seems like the unsympathetic antagonist, reveals herself to be the only character capable of always telling the truth (“The Last Midnight”).
When asked what his favorite number was, Joel Martinez, who played Jack, replied, “Giants in the Sky. Also, The Last Midnight, the Witch’s song. But they’re all good, I love all of the songs.”
The musical ran from April 17-19 and 24-26, with a special Children’s Matinee and Character Meet & Greet on the 19th.