by AMANDA TRAXLER
Tiffin University’s Theatre Arts program, also known as the Dragons Den Players, celebrated its 10th anniversary this year. The Player’s recently staged Neil Simon’s Rumors, which was the first show the theatre program staged here at the university.
When asked where the name Dragons Den Players came from, Dr. Mary Grennen, director of theatre arts, stated “The Dragon’s Den Players’ name was conceived by Joe Knipe, who has designed the sets for all of our productions, since 2007.”
In over one decade, the theatre department has staged 23 productions and has given hundreds of thespians and thousands of audience members the opportunity to enjoy theatre on the TU campus. “Though it is always sad to see our veterans graduate, I assure them that they are always welcome in the Den and hope that they continue to be active in theatre wherever they live,” Dr. Grennen said.
When it comes to selecting a show to stage, the process involves a series of decisions involving staging requirements, casting, technical demands, space, and a fair amount of conjecture with regard to audience response, she said.
“I have been fortunate so far to have selected 23 plays that have all been extremely well-received,” she said.
The set that was used for this semester’s performance of Rumors is only slightly different from the set that was used in 2007. When the show was originally staged, a higher platform was used that required twice the number of stairs. “The first set didn’t even have a rug on the set, and, quite frankly, I’d like to see our present stage rug be replaced with a new one, as it has ‘seen better plays’” Dr. Grennen said.
Though she enjoys every play that she directs, she has always considered Rumors to be one of her favorite modern comedies. She also said that the enjoyment of educational theater truly lies in seeing these young actors bring their own flavor to the parts and reap the rewards of acting before a live audience after the long hours they have rehearsed on early weekend mornings throughout the semester.
“I also believe that many of our actors, set builders, painters, and production crew have no idea how talented they are, and how much they bring to our campus. We are a family, and every single person named in our play programs contributes significantly to the final product,” Dr. Grennen also said.
She chose to revive the first play done by the theatre department was chosen two years ago when she knew that she could cast it with the actors she had.
“It has a fast-paced script, side-splitting humor and vibrant characters. It was a wonderful opportunity to see an already performed play with a new cast and new crews,” she said.
by ALEX BEGLEY
Netflix released the second season of its show A Series of Unfortunate Events. The show is based on Lemony Snicket’s book series of the same name and is further evidence of the success Netflix has adapting source material.
The second season followed up a well-received first series with more critical acclaim. Much of its success can be attributed to its great casting. Neil Patrick Harris, best known for his role as Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother, brings a fantastic performance as the antagonist Count Olaf. His presence on-screen is dominating and he manages to bring to life the zany and cartoonish villainy of Count Olaf. This is thanks in part to his Broadway background, including Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
The young Malina Weissman and Louis Hynes also put forth amazing performances, representing the siblings Violet and Klaus Baudelaire. Along with their baby sister, Sunny, they are the protagonists of the show. It is easy to immediately empathize and feel sympathetic for them which keeps you interested in watching them as they go on a long and tortuous journey. Joining them are a variety of interesting supporting characters, many of which are played by major guest starring actors, such as Will Arnett, Cobie Smulders and Nathan Fillion among others.
The stories’ unique combination of dark yet quirky humor is masterfully brought to screen. It provides a great show for kids while also having deeper life lessons behind its admittedly cheesy jokes. Snicket’s whacky characters and settings are mixed with real life struggles. Twisted motives, ignorance to wickedness, and even death are no strangers to the show. Yet it still remains comedic by almost making fun of its own depressing nature. The genius comes in that it is a story full of tragedy that keeps you searching for the hope that, despite everything, things will get better.
If you are searching for another show to binge watch on Netflix, A Series of Unfortunate Events is a good candidate. Let your inner child out, get a good laugh, and be grateful that its series of events have not befallen you.
by BRANDON UTLEY
The lights. The cameras. The drag queens? Tiffin University’s LGBTQ+ organization SPECTRUM hosted their 6th annual Drag Night event on March 27. The night was full of star-studded performances by students and faculty alike. Returning host Deija D owned the stage from the moment she entered the room and did not let up until her final bow.
See a portion of Deija's performance below (video by AMANDA TRAXLER)
“Drag night was a culmination of the organization's efforts as well as the love our [actors] have for the event,” said SPECTRUM education coordinator Raymond Goodrum.
SPECTRUM co-president Sami Kramer added, “I think drag night went really well. We had so many amazing people come out to watch and help us set up and tear down. Our performances this year were absolutely amazing. Everyone involved did such a great job.”
See Residence Life Area Coordinator Megan Somodi perform below (video by BRANDON UTLEY)
Deija D even posted a heartfelt message on her personal Facebook profile stating, “Last night was an absolute dream and the complete reason I do what I do.” She never fails to disappoint as an eccentric host and even said that she cannot wait until next year.
As per tradition, audience applause chose the winners. This year, best group went to none other than Dean of Students Mike Herdlick and Dr. Steven Hurwitz; the best male drag was awarded to Nichole Berry; and the best female drag went to Ian Holbrook.
“With so much support from Tiffin University, drag night continues being bigger and better each year,” said Goodrum.
by BRANDON UTLEY
This quote by Challenge Champion Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio is the tagline the reality stars on MTV’s The Challenge live by. Now, I understand that reality television is not everyone’s forte, but give this show a chance. The Challenge is by far my favorite reality show on television.
The show has been in production since 1998, and has been growing in quality ever since. After the producers saw high ratings for a special crossover competition special for the 1997 seasons of MTV shows The Real World and Road Rules, The Real/World Road Rules Challenge was born (since renamed The Challenge).
With MTV struggling to bring forth high rating television in recent years, they have been heavily relying on their juggernaut challenge competition series. The series has something for everyone, drama, romance, and action.
The show has gone through a lot of iterations over the years, from the original Real World vs. Road Rules setup, to the more recent Battle of the Bloodlines and Dirty XXX. Along with the varying themes, the show also ran through various reincarnations of the gameplay format. The first few seasons shared a similar format. The challengers competed in a basic competition, the winners were put in the “inner circle,” and a challenger was voted out of the game. In more recent seasons, however, the game gets more intense. The challengers compete in brutal, over-the-top competitions around the world and the losers compete against each other in physical elimination rounds.
Even if you do not know the show, you most likely know someone who has been on the show. WWE Superstar, Mike “The Miz” Mizanin, appeared on the 2001 season of The Real World: Back to New York and competed in multiple Challenge seasons. Jamie Chung, who currently plays Clarice Fong on FOX’s X-Men series The Gifted, originally appeared on the 2004 season The Real World: San Diego and competed on The Real World/Road Rules Challenge: The Inferno II. Chung is known as the most successful alumna of the franchise. Last, but not least, Johnny “Bananas” Devenanzio, who originally appeared on The Real World: Key West in 2006 and has competed in 16 seasons of the show, recently appeared as a guest on Jimmy Kimmel Live. Bananas has made a name for himself as the most successful Challenge competitor in series history, winning six seasons and making a total of $685,543.
Personally, I started watching this show during its 21st season, Rivals, which paired each competitor with someone they despised and forced them to work together. New, innovative themes such as this and their infamous Battle of the Exes are what kept me interested all these years. From tightrope walking between skyscrapers to swimming 150 feet underwater between yachts, this show never fails to disappoint with jaw-dropping competitions. Since starting, I have gone back and watched the first 20 seasons and the show has only improved since its origin in the late 90’s.
The Challenge has cemented itself as a staple in reality tv history and does not seem to be slowing down anytime soon. The show has become so successful, it has spawned a spin-off series that puts celebrities and professional athletes against the series champs in a much shorter competition for charity.
The 31st season, The Challenge: Vendettas, currently airs on Tuesday nights on MTV and includes cast members from The Real World, Road Rules, The Challenge, Are You the One?, MTV UK’s Ex on the Beach, MTV UK’s Geordie Shore, and CBS’s Big Brother. If you want an interesting, competitive, and dramatic reality program to enjoy, check this one out.
by ABBEY HOBBS, Staff writer
Tiffin University Musical Art’s program is presenting its annual ProMusic Festival on April 12 featuring members of the band, dance team, and choir.
High school students from all around Ohio come to Tiffin University to participate in this event and showcase their skills. The festival is two days long. The first day features the band; the second day features the choir. Each day, performances will be held in the Marion Center with a final performance at the Ritz Theater.
There will be an appearance by Chloe Feoranzo, a musician who plays for Postmodern Jukebox, who will judge the final performance as well as preform as the featured artist. “We are very excited to have her here at TU as a part of our ProMusic Festival this year!” said Ben Herrick, director of the TU band.
All TU students involved in band and choir are required to work this festival. The high school students work hand in hand with TU students, learning new skills and getting to know the art directors.
Leann Vandeveer, a junior at TU, has worked the festival the past three years and believes that it is a great experience for both college and high school students. “It’s truly great to have everyone from so many different places and backgrounds come together for this event,” she said.
At the end of each day there will be a performance from either the band or the choir. Students will be given feedback by the guest judges on their growth and performance at the end of the festival. Tiffin University uses this event to find recruitment's and spread information to every student who may be interested in attending this university.
Video by MACKENZI RICKMAN
CHLOE FEORANZO (from Postmodern Jukebox)
with an All-Star Jazz Band featuring Ragtime Rick
THURSDAY, APRIL 12, 7pm
The freshman softball players pose after winning the talent show.
TIFFIN—Tiffin University’s Student Athletic Advisory Committee hosted a talent show on Tuesday night that showed cased 13 acts and many laughs.
Some of the acts included dancing, playing the piano, comedy, sport specific skills, and solving a Rubik’s Cube.
The talent show is an annual event designed to show case the hidden talents of TU students and to get SAAC members involved in outreach, SAAC representative and event host Olivia Davis said. The event began at 7:30 p.m. and there was not an empty seat in the room.
Each sports team entered an act and competed against each other for the title of “2018 SAAC Talent Show Champion.” Athletic Director Lonny Allen, Provost Dr. Peter Holbrook and Dr. Kelly Daniels volunteered as judges for the contest.
Once all the acts were completed three finalists were called up to the stage. The finalists were the swim and dive team who performed magic, the women’s soccer team and their edition of a popular Saturday Night Live skit, and the softball team who choreographed a synchronized swimming routine.
Softball player Chelsey Trusty said, “We were all really nervous. I was shaking before we went on stage because I was so nervous.”
Davis announced that the softball team had won, much to the delight of Trusty and her teammates, “I was happy we won. I was excited when we won because the softball team had never won it before.”
The softball team was not the only group of people who left the event smiling. Davis spoke very highly of the event, “We had a fun night, and couldn’t have asked for a better turn out!”
The next SAAC sponsored event is Thursday, February 8 at the men’s and women’s basketball games against Ferris State. They will be raising money and selling t-shirts to donate to the Make-a-Wish foundation. First tip is at 5:30 p.m. in the Gilmore Student Center.
by JESSICA HOLLAN
Question: What was an internationally acclaimed a cappella group doing in rural Tiffin, Ohio? Answer: Slaying.
by ARIANA SEANOR
N’awlins, southern slang for New Orleans, is the newest instrumental ensemble within Tiffin University’s music department. The group mimics the style of Dixieland jazz, and despite being the newest group on campus, they have already gained a repertoire for their high energy performances and bayou sound.
Dixieland jazz was first introduced in 1917 by a group called the Original Dixieland Jazz Band. Its “Livery Stable Blues” was the first jazz single to ever be issued.
While the Original Dixieland Jazz Band had only five main members, TU’s N’awlins has ten. Under the direction of Ben Herrick, the ensemble has three trumpets; an alto, a tenor, and a baritone saxophone; a sousaphone; a clarinet; a trombone; and a washboard percussionist. Herrick also plays trombone in the ensemble to add diversity.
by NICK BUCHANAN, JESSICA HOLLAN, and BRANDON UTLEY
Editor, assistant editor, and staff writer
December isn't just the holiday season; it's also the time for year-end lists in the world of music. Scroll down and find out which of 2016's best tracks The Tystenac staff members were jamming to as they wrote their articles this year!
by NICK BUCHANAN, JESSICA HOLLAN, and BRANDON UTLEY
Editor, assistant editor, and staff writer
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