Art Department NY Trip / Evan Espinoza

“Art education students (from left to right) Dani Henderson, Emily Elliott, Joy Powell, Emma Kate Lyons, Dr. Stephanie Busbea, Corrie Lee, and Lauren Sitarz stand outside the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum after a morning of seminars at the convention.”

In March, Dr. Stephanie Busbea and the seniors and juniors of the art education department at Mississippi College spent a few days in New York City for the National Art Education Association conference. The group spent time in seminars, talked to professionals in the art education field, and visited many of New York’s best art museums to gain some in-depth experience and knowledge in their future profession. The students got to hear lectures from current art-educators and talk to vendors from whom they could one day purchase classroom art supplies.

“A big theme of the conference was about getting kids to think more creatively and problem-solve,” said Corrie Lee, a junior art education major. “Every morning we would get to the conference and there would be about 20 different sessions every hour we could go to and hear from different professionals.” They were also educated on teaching different types of students. They got to hear outlooks on how to approach and appreciate all kinds of different students, ranging from elementary to high school to those with special needs.

The group also got to have a close bonding experience, as they all had a few days to immerse themselves in a field that they’re all passionate about. “We all get to come back now and enjoy [even more] and be motivated to go to class with each other,” Lee said. “Now even Dr. Busbea knows me a lot more and who I am as a person, and I got to hear a lot about her passion for teaching.” 

Aside from the vast amounts of new knowledge the group gained at the conference, they also gained a refreshed sense of inspiration at the art museums. “I love learning about artists and how they influence art,” commented Lee on the aspect of the trip that she enjoyed most. “It was so cool seeing the work of so many famous artists we’ve studied in our art history classes. We got to sit down and try to sketch some of [the art] and it really gave me a deeper appreciation for it and its complexity.”  

Swerve 2022 raises money for MC Dance Marathon / Caroline Hunt

The annual Swerve Dance Competition was held in Swor Auditorium on Thursday, March 10, featuring student dance groups that dazzled the packed theater. Three groups were awarded laurels at the end of the night, and the top competitor took home prize money that went toward the group’s charity of choice. 

The prize money was raised from Swerve ticket sales with the earnings going to MC Dance Marathon, independent dance crew New Kids on the Block’s philanthropy. MC Dance Marathon, not unlike what the university does with the Swerve competition, raises money to benefit the patients and families of Children’s of Mississippi Hospital each year. 

The winners of this year’s competition included the independent dance group New Kids on the Block as “Harry Potter” in first place, independent group What If’s as “Energy!” in second place, and Laguna Social Tribe as “Star Wars” in third place. 

“Most of our competitors are tribes and clubs which are service-oriented organizations. So, being able to give back to our philanthropies is very important to us. We get to donate all of the money made from the tickets in Swor to the winning team’s charity,” Maria Guay, a member of the Student Productions Committee, said. “Being able to give that money back to an organization that can better our community is completely invaluable and priceless.”

While the end goal of Swerve is to serve the surrounding community, many students participate simply because they love the art of dance.

“Swerve is really exciting for people who have been dancers in the past or are current dancers. I was a ballerina for 14 years, and Swerve is really different from ballet. But it’s getting me into dance again and I really enjoy it,” Lauren Allison, a junior competitor for Chenoa Social Tribe, said. “I also think it’s a great opportunity for everyone to be involved and truly grow as dancers.”

In fact, Swerve is such a big event for MC’s student body that tribes and clubs elect an official governing officer for it in their organization’s judicial election each year. The Swerve Captain is in charge of choreographing the routine, mixing the music to be used on stage, and implementing stage direction and costume design for the spring semester’s competition. 

Allison, who is a co-captain for her tribe’s Swerve team alongside Hannah Lopez, added that Swerve is worth any stress caused by the planning and coordinating of such a large operation. 

“This has been a really fun process. It stretched my comfort zone being able to step up and lead a group of girls in this way. Our theme is something different for Chenoa and we are excited to showcase something new and different,” Allison said. 

Some more memorable dance routines included Kissimmee Social Tribe’s eleKTric dance crew as “MC’s Nursing School,” a double marriage proposal called “A Good Day for Marrying You” by an independent group called I’d Rather be Dancing, Civitan Men’s Club’s “Cops and Robbers,” Chenoa’s “A Trap Christmas,” and Nenamoosha Social Tribe’s “Taking Care of Business.”

The Council, Mississippi College’s governing committee over tribes and clubs, believes that Swerve is an important and creative way for all students to display their artistry–even those students who don’t belong to a service organization. 

“I think Swerve is an amazing way to show your talent, from the costume [design], to the music, to the way the music flows through the transitions,” said Jarred Couch, co-president of the Council. “It’s an incredible opportunity to showcase your talent in a way that you may not be able to on the football field or baseball field. Through Swerve you can really showcase any talent.”

National Art Education Society Honors Dr. Busbea with Preservice Excellence Award / Gracie Lee

Dr. Stephanie Busbea, who has taught for more than a decade, received the Preservice Chapter Sponsor Award of Excellence from the National Art Education Association (NAEA). The award is reserved for those who are active sponsors of the preservice chapter and who are devoted to the promotion of future professionals in the society. A fellow Mississippi art teacher who recognized the time and effort Busbea devoted to her students nominated her during the fall semester. She received the award at the National Art Convention in New York City on March 4 at the Higher Education Awards Ceremony, alongside several of her art education students. In addition to this, the NAEA honored her with the Mary Quinn Dix Leadership Award during the Mississippi Art Education Association Awards ceremony on Nov. 12, 2021.

Busbea’s passion for art began early. She had a natural ability to draw realistic pieces as a child, and her family enrolled her in art classes at a young age. Through this creative outlet, she met many mentors. “One of my favorite mentors, Charlott Jones, was a teacher I took art from in elementary school, and she was my advisor in college,” she said. In 1987, the two traveled together to NAEA’s conventions. “When I became coordinator for art education at Mississippi College, I started taking my students to the conventions. It really makes a difference in students’ lives and that’s why I keep doing it.” 

Busbea received her undergraduate degree in art education from Arkansas State University, and went on to gain her master’s from the University of Georgia and Ph. D. from the University of Texas. In 1990, she began her teaching occupation at elementary schools in Arkansas. It wasn’t long before she moved up into instructing middle schoolers and high schoolers. “I always knew I wanted to train up art teachers. Seeing them go from freshmen to student teachers to new teachers to mentor teachers–I love seeing them do that. That’s my joy,” she said. “They’re my girls. They’re like family to me.”

Busbea’s art students are inspired daily by her passion for teaching. “She’s able to teach us so much because she has experience in many art forms. She has made me a better artist and I hope to teach like her one day,” Dani Henderson, a senior art education major, said. 

Corrie Lee, a junior art education major who accompanied Busbea and Henderson to the New York Convention, is grateful for the opportunity to learn under Busbea. “She has taught me so much about what a good teacher looks like. I have truly learned so much from her academically and relationally, in the way she interacts with her students and exemplifies what a teacher should be,” she said. 

Besides teaching others how to create beautiful art, the MC art professor enjoys embarking on projects of her own. One of her current projects is an art series based on fiber artist Anni Albers’s works. Albers, a 20th century student from the Bauhaus art school in Germany, was not allowed to work in the wood or glass shop because she was a female. As a result, she worked mainly through textiles and fibers. Busbea has extended her own interpretation to include wood, glass, and metal.

Black History Month Celebrated at MC / Rachel Faulk

 Photo: Camryn Johnson showcases one of her favorite books in one of the library’s Black History Month displays. Johnson worked with Heather Moore to coordinate several book displays in the library to celebrate Black History Month.

Over the course of the month of February, MC students and organizations celebrated Black History Month in a variety of ways. A number of smaller events and projects led up to the highlight of the month, a theatrical production on Feb. 24 called “Celebrating the Black Legacy.”

Senior Camryn Johnson, founder and president of the Multicultural Student Association (MSA), recognized the importance of celebrating Black History Month on MC’s campus. “It’s a month to celebrate Black history, celebrate Black people from the beginning all the way up to now,” Johnson said. “It’s a moment to celebrate who we are, not necessarily focusing on the bad side of history but the good side of history where we’ve had people thrive and overcome a lot of things.”

Johnson added that it is important to her to celebrate not only Black History Month but also Hispanic Heritage Month, Native American Heritage Month, and other such months, “because we have students and faculty and staff here who make up those populations, so we want to make sure that we include and make everyone feel celebrated.”

Those celebrations took a variety of forms over the course of the month. 

To start off Black History Month, the Cross-Cultural Committee hosted a business expo on the Quad highlighting small, minority-owned businesses in the Jackson area. Businesses present included an African art gallery, a vegan restaurant, mental health-based businesses, as well as a few student organizations.

Johnson also worked with Heather Moore, Head of Special Collections at the Leland Speed Library, to put up book displays highlighting Black History Month. Book displays were set up by the library entrance, in the Discovery room, and downstairs by the juvenile section. A display highlighting MC’s first African American graduates was also set up on the main floor by the entrance.

Similarly, the RA staff in West made posters highlighting lesser-known Black historical figures and put them up in the dorms across campus. 

“Bree Chastang, she came up with the idea, and she asked me to help her,” explained Queen Washington, one of the RAs in West. “It started off just for West, but I was like, why not just make posters for everybody?” 

Washington, who is also chair of the Cross-Cultural Committee, added, “I think it’s great when you’re walking around and you see something that you recognize or you just feel appreciated in some way. Because [the Cross-Cultural Committee] did the same thing last semester, for Hispanic Heritage Month, and a lot of people enjoyed that, just seeing your culture and the famous people in your culture outside of the basics. One thing I was focusing on is getting people outside of, you know, MLK, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, W. E. B. Du Bois—just something that people don’t know about.”

Beyond these more subtle projects, the highlight of the month was the campus-wide program held in Swor Auditorium on Feb. 24, “Celebrating the Black Legacy.” The show was a dramatization of the eras and events of Black history, including the kingdoms of Africa, slavery in America and emancipation, the Jim Crow era and the Selma March, a focus on powerful Black women, President Obama’s inauguration, and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Johnson is the creator and director of the program. She got the idea for the program while watching the Swerve dance competition last spring and has been working on making the program a reality ever since. 

“Everything that’s happening, I wrote it or made it or mixed it,” Johnson said, “by God’s grace. I feel like He gave me the vision for it … It’s been real smooth; I’ve gotten a lot of support, not just with students but with faculty and administration. It’s been an experience and it’s been fun.”

Johnson hopes that the program gives viewers a new perspective on Black history and a desire to learn more about it. “I just want people to understand that we’re all created in God’s image, and for us to live with one another and understand one another, love one another, we have to understand each other’s past, each other’s present, in order to make a better future. And so I want a lot of people to take away from the whole program, the whole month, that it’s okay to celebrate Black history. And I wanted to really focus on that it’s not just for Black people to celebrate, it’s for everybody to celebrate.”

Alpha Psi Omega Hosts New Theatrical Events / Gracie Lee

         Alpha Psi Omega, Mississippi College’s national theatre honor society, hosted a dramatic competition titled “Build a Play” on Feb. 11-12 . Students built teams consisting of a writer, director, and actors to produce a 15-minute play overnight. They met in Aven Hall Friday night to register and receive themes and props. Each team could choose their members or be assigned into groups. After their initial rendezvous, writers went home to compose a 15-minute production. Teams met the following day to rehearse and performed in the Jean Pittman Williams Recital Hall Saturday evening at 5:00 p.m. Dr. Phyllis Seawright, sponsor of APO and communications professor, judged.  

“It is unique because it’s the first event APO has hosted that needs involvement from the rest of the MC community. We’ve had events that are open to all, but this is the first that relies on interest from other populations on campus,” Beth Owen, president of the organization, said. “The first time doing anything is a little scary though. I believe that this is a great event, and an opportunity for students to have a lot of fun, so I’m hopeful.”

The club offers a chance for new members to be inducted in the fall and spring semesters. Induction is not determined by classification or major, but some credits in theatre productions and classes are required to qualify. Being a member of APO is not required for participation in dramatic productions. Other officers of the academic year 2021-2022 include Vice Presidents/Stage Managers Kat Goss and Takaye Farmer.

Goss looked forward to hosting the performance. “We are working to provide a creative outlet to the artists, writers, and actors across campus in the middle of all of the crazy schedules and busy lives,” she said. “The ability to come together to make art and entertainment is precious.” 

First place won a small trophy and bragging rights for the rest of the semester. The individual teams chose their own themes. One team, including freshmen Emma Ellard and Carson Jones and sophomore Camden Clem, based their plot on a murder mystery parody. “It was unexpectedly enjoyable,” Kathryn Elliot, a sophomore and audience member, said. “ It was much more well-rehearsed than I thought it would be.”

Goss, who has participated in and volunteered at the Vicksburg Theatre Guild in the last several years, is always eager to create theatre-related opportunities for students on campus. “I love the chance for a community that has a love of theatre in common, especially because we all come from different places in our theatre experience,” she said. “Some people have mostly done straight plays, and love Shakespeare and the classics. Others love musical theatre and all the modern world applications that are represented,” Goss said. “I want others to see it as a place to be exposed to new ideas and art forms.”

Farmer agreed. “My favorite thing about theatre is seeing actors completely transform into the characters they are performing. APO is like a family to me. Each of our members, and sponsor, are caring, loving and genuine.”

If dramatically inclined students missed this opportunity, Alpha Psi Omega has many others lined up for the remainder of the semester. Those without a date on Valentine’s Day could socialize at a musical screening in the East/West Lobby. The club is also hosting a bake sale on March 7-10 to help raise funds for more activities and events. They will conclude the semester on a strong note with “Quarrels on the Quad” on April 11. Goss, who is trained in stage combat, will share some tricks of the trade with interested students.

Redeeming Love creates opportunities for gospel conversations / Chloe Newton

“My love isn’t a weapon, it’s a lifeline, reach out and take hold, and don’t let go.”

This quote is undoubtedly from a love story. Anyone could picture a young man speaking this to the love of his life. Yet, the love story this quote derives from is unorthodox. This love story is centered around a prostitute, which seems to be a paradox. However, the Bible and Francine River’s Redeeming Love would beg to differ. After 30 prolonged years of waiting, the well-known Christian romance novel finally debuted in movie theaters. 

Katya Blackwell, a junior from Hattiesburg, Miss., who has read Redeeming Love 15 times said, “I was really excited because I thought it was going to be almost word-for-word from the book.”

Because Redeeming Love was based on the book of Hosea in the Bible, it creates endless opportunities for Christians to share the gospel. Taking place in Paradise, Calif., during the gold rush of the 1850s, the loose interpretation of Hosea captures biblical themes incomprehensible to the world. But what a great way to start conversations for the Kingdom of God!

People love discussing their favorite films, scores, characters, and scenes. Films are in a sense a love language to modern society. Movies, like Redeeming Love, with a large focus on morals create opportunities for evangelical Christians to meet the culture where it is. 

Cass Harris, a freshman from Kimberly, Ala., said, “[Forgiveness] is not something that makes sense to people.” 

The biblical account of Hosea is a metaphor for the relationship between God and His unfaithful people. River’s characters Angel (Abigail Cowen) and Michael Hosea (Tom Lewis) represent the prophet, Hosea, and the prostitute, Gomer. While the book of Hosea is written exclusively from the perspective of the prophet, the movie swings back and forth between the perspectives of Angel and Michael.

PC: Universal; Caption: Angel (Abigail Cowen) and Michael (Tom Lewis) wake up for an early sunrise. Lewis slayed his first major role as Michael Hosea.

Lewis, having never starred in any other major films, used his eyes to capture his emotions unlike any other actor in the movie. His eyes reveal a clear story of longing, patience, disappointment, forgiveness, and a hint of jealousy (the righteous kind of course; he is a representation of God). Throughout the film, one motive depicted in the eyes of Michael remains constant. Love.

When Michael first lays eyes on Angel, after his marriage to her, and through each time that Angel unjustifiably runs away from the safety of his home, Michael’s love remains steadfast just like the love God has for His people. Besides love, themes of identity, forgiveness, and redemption seep through the story. 

Harris related heavily to Angel’s struggle with identity. 

Angel talked about how she would always be the same person and how she would never be anything more than a prostitute. She never saw herself as Michael’s wife or any of the things he told her that she was. In highschool, I thought I could never be anything else. But the Lord had something else.

These themes are clearly interwoven into the story. But in the special case of Redeeming Love, the question is not whether or not the themes were distinct but whether or not the film did the biblical symbolism justice. For a Christian, who has experienced the complete forgiveness and grace of God first hand, yes the symbolism is evident. However, for a nonbeliever, it was not so.

“To a non-believer, the movie just looks like another romance story. It wasn’t very clear that Michael was trying to portray God’s love and Angel as us being sinners,” said Blackwell.

PC: Chloe Newton; Caption: Katya Blackwell, junior, has read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers 15 times. She was extremely excited to see the story come to life on the big screen.

Unlike most love stories, Redeeming Love carries more depth to it. Topics of prostitution, incest, and Hebefilia are discussed and insinuated. Viewers should proceed in caution when watching the film. Despite the PG-13 rating, the film contains two graphic scenes.

Some scenes are difficult to watch and are even more difficult to discuss. But the truth is, this world is broken and is filled with broken people. Stories like Redeeming Love reflect this truth. Truth the world doesn’t want to hear. But this film is an aid to Christians to share the hope of Jesus Christ to the world. It’s like God is handing His people the perfect opportunity to share the gospel. In addition, believers need to be reminded of Jesus and his grace. Sisters and brothers in Christ need to be spiritually fed too.

When Christians participate in watching movies like Redeeming Love, hearts and minds should be set on searching for the gospel. The apostle, Paul, tells believers in Colossae, “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” (Col. 3:2, ESV, 2016)

“You’ll Shoot Your Eye Out!”: A Survey of Holiday Movies Through the Decades / Gracie Lee

Even though students have long since returned to campus, many are missing the warmth of the Christmas lights amid January’s wintery bleakness. The December break offers a plethora of traditions, even ones as simple as one of Gen Z’s favorite pastimes: movies. Or more specifically, Christmas movies. Everyone has their own personal favorites, but even the most cliche hallmark film makes the season a little brighter. Holiday movies, whether old or young, are a nostalgic experience for most individuals. Although there will always be debate about what makes a movie a “classic,” several films have made their mark on the silver screen–and in students’ winter breaks–over the last few decades.

       1947–It’s a Wonderful Life: In a charming 1940s town, a young man named George Bailey is thinking of ending his life due to a financial crisis. His guardian angel, Clarence, is sent down to earth to show him what his loved ones’ lives would be like without him. On the way, the audience witnesses his boyhood, marriage to his childhood sweetheart, and comical interactions with his friends and family of Bedford Falls. It’s a charming retelling of Philip Van Doren Stern’s “The Greatest Gift” and implements both comedy and drama into its plot.

  Frank Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life, starring James Stewart as George Bailey, Donna Reed as Mary Hatch, and Henry Travers as Clarence, didn’t do well at the box office when it first premiered. However, when a clerical mistake in 1974 prohibited the copyright owner from renewing their application, the movie found its way into the public domain. As a result, multiple networks played its reruns through the holiday season and ushered the story into millions of families’ television sets.  Since then, it has become one of the most well-known Christmas movies and is beloved by thousands. 

“I love It’s a Wonderful Life for the warm timeless Christmas feels it gives you, while also teaching you a deeper meaning about the impact you have on others,” Corrie Lee, a junior, said.

1965–A Charlie Brown Christmas: This kid-friendly TV special, based on the 1950 comic strip Peanuts, was first created by Charles Schulz. The strip even premiered as a musical in 1967, and starred Kristin Chenoweth (Wicked) as Sally in 1999. 

The holiday episode features nostalgic songs from Vince Guaraldi like “Christmas Time is Here.” It begins when Charlie Brown complains to Linus–everyone’s favorite blanket-wielding sidekick–that he doesn’t get all the excitement over Christmas. He simply doesn’t understand what the fuss is all about. After Lucy ropes him into directing the Christmas play, he is increasingly upset to find that no one else seems to remember what Christmas means either. Even his kid sister, Sally, asks Santa for “tens and twenties.” Linus reminds them of the true Christmas Story, and Charlie Brown finds the inspiration to buy a Christmas tree. It is sadly sparse and bare, until his friends decorate it with beautiful ornaments. The episode concludes with the entire cast singing “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.” 

It is thought-provoking to notice the commercialism surrounding holidays, even 60 years ago. Although it is depicted comically through characters like Snoopy–who makes his own wish list for Santa–it’s an important reminder to not let the hustle and bustle of the season take away the joy of Christ’s birth.

1983–A Christmas Story: This family comedy was set around the 1930s or ‘40s but premiered in the ‘80s. Nine-year-old Ralphie Parker (Peter Billingsley) only wants one thing for Christmas: a “Red Ryder carbine action 200-shot range model air rifle.” Of course, his mother is not keen on this idea, delivering the famous line: “You’ll shoot your eye out!” He receives the same warnings from his teacher and friends throughout the 94-minute film. On Christmas morning, he is overjoyed to find the BB gun and immediately retreats to his backyard to begin using it. As expected, the kickback from the gun breaks his glasses, causing him to initially believe that he has “shot his eye out.” However, all ends well, with adult Ralphie narrating that the Red Ryder was the best present he ever received. Director Bob Clark also interspersed multiple subplots throughout this film, including one where Ralphie’s friend Flick accidentally freezes his tongue to a metal pole. 

There are mixed opinions surrounding the status of A Christmas Story as a classic holiday movie. Some can’t spend the holiday season without watching it, and others find the comedy too slapstick for their humor. Contrary to popular belief, Ralphie’s famous Red Ryder model was never stocked as a real product. It possessed features based on the Daisy “Buck Jones” gun, but the weapon itself is just a figment of movie magic. Like It’s a Wonderful Life, the film wasn’t as popular at its debut as it is now, partly because holiday-themed movies were not as popular at that time. 

1990–Home Alone: This holiday classic was directed by Chris Columbus and extended into a franchise of four films. Macaulay Culkin only played nine-year-old Kevin McCallister for the first two films, however. Producer John Hughes hired Columbus after the latter departed from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation due to conflict with Chevy Chase.  

The movie begins with the entire McCallister clan under one roof the night before their flight to Paris for Christmas vacation. Kevin is in a surly mood and feels left out and overwhelmed by his dozen or so cousins and siblings. His mother, played by Catherine O’Hara, sends him up to the attic to sleep after he has an angry outburst. Unfortunately for the McCallisters, a power outage during the night disrupts their alarms and they all oversleep. In the panic of getting to the airport late, Kevin is left alone upstairs in the attic and awakes to find his house empty. At first, he revels in his newfound freedom but is quickly concerned by the appearance of Harry (Joe Pesci) and Marv (Daniel Stern), neighborhood burglars who dub themselves “The Wet Bandits.” When he realizes that they plan to rob his home, he makes up his mind to save it. 

The robbers enter the McCallister home on Christmas Eve night, not guessing that the nine-year-old kid has booby trapped the entire establishment. They undergo painful experiences including blowtorches to the head, Legos to the feet and irons to the face–but eventually come out basically unscathed. After succeeding in saving his home, Kevin wakes on Christmas morning, disappointed that his family has not returned. The movie ends happily, however, with the reunion of his mother and relatives after their frantic return from Paris. This movie requires its audiences to suspend their belief for an hour and a half and accept that the multiple injuries Marv and Harry sustain do no permanent damage to them, physically or psychologically. In fact, especially empathic individuals should probably refrain from watching the movie, as its antics grow exceedingly wild, although hilarious. 

2003–Elf: Director Jon Favreau’s riotous comedy starring Will Ferrell as Buddy the Elf, Zooey Deschanel as Jovie, and James Caan as Walter Hobbs, is perhaps one of Ferrell’s most popular works. It even inspired the 2010 Broadway production “Elf, the Musical.”

One Christmas Eve night, an orphan baby crawls into Santa’s bag and is mistakenly brought back to the North Pole. Santa decides to raise Buddy (named after the brand name on his diaper) as his own, and Buddy grows up believing that he is an abnormally large and clumsy elf. He finally realizes the truth when he is in his thirties and sets out to New York City to find his father, Walter Hobbs. Unfortunately, Walter is on the naughty list and Buddy’s simple, comical, and elfish antics do not mix well with the “scrooge’s” way of life. After getting a job in the mall, Buddy meets Jovie, who he develops a crush on. The two eventually begin dating and Buddy worms his way into his biological family’s hearts. Everyone, that is, except Walter. On Christmas Eve, Santa’s sleigh crashes in Central Park due to a slump in the Christmas Spirit, its primary fuel. Jovie remembers Buddy’s motto, “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear.” She leads those in Time Square in singing “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and New York’s faith in Santa is restored, along with Walter’s own belief.

Sarah Hankins Joins Theatre Department for Spring Semester/ Gracie Lee

Students who have participated in MC’s past theatre productions can expect to see a new face in the director’s chair this season. Clinton High School instructor and MC theatre adjunct Sarah Hankins will be directing “Will and Whimsy.” The play, written by Alan Haehnel, is a vignette-styled production composed of 16 dramatic sonnets and connected by a narrator.  As a result, adaptations of the show can vary from one act plays to full length productions. 

Hankins’s drama students–Clinton Arrow Theatre–will be collaborating with MC’s students. Audition and performance dates are still tentative, but Hankins hopes to conduct auditions in the late afternoon on Feb. 28 at Clinton High School, and March 1 on MC’s campus. Actors and actresses should come prepared for a cold reading. 

The style of this show is simplistic, referred to as a “trunk show.” Performers will wear jeans and white T-shirts and will pull props and visual aids out of a trunk. They will perform at the Lions Club Park pavilion on the brick streets. Tentative dates are April 21 in the early evening, and April 23 in the afternoon. Admission is free to the public. However, donations are greatly appreciated as a way of funding Hankins’s and her high school students’ “causical classics.” “A portion [of the proceeds] goes to a cause that’s near and dear to our hearts. It changes every year,” Hankins said.

         Hankins joined the staff to teach Introduction to Theatre online to fill Dr. Phyllis Seawright’s place, after she made plans to attend the London Semester. After its recent cancellation, Seawright looks forward to collaborating together. “It’s very close to Shakespeare’s birthday on April 23, so the timing is perfect for us to celebrate the Bard of Avon and the return of outdoor theatre in Clinton,” she said. 

“Dr. Seawright and I have kept in touch and Dr. Vance was actually my boss at one point in time. He worked in the media portion in the library, and I was the student worker for him,” Hankins said. “Those lines of communication have always been open.” After finishing her Masters in Theatre Education from the University of Houston in 2020, Hankins found herself presented with more possibilities in teaching theatre to older students and was available to accept Seawright’s offer to take over some of her Spring 2022 workload. “It all just happened without anything being forced. It felt natural,” she said.

Besides her other commitments, she serves on the Board of the Brick Street Players of Clinton, a local community theatre group. “She knows how to connect with every actor to bring out their best,” Seawright said. “When Sarah was an undergraduate, she worked on every show we did, in one capacity or another: actor, director, assistant director, costume, hair, makeup, set design, choreography, stage manager … whatever needed to be done.”

For Hankins, theatre is an art that lies close to her heart. “I think my big thing is I want theatre to be accessible to all,” she said. She looks forward to bringing two groups together that she is deeply connected to. “I graduated from Clinton High School and I graduated from Mississippi College–just creating that community experience and that connection … I think that this is everything I look for in what I do and why I do. I get to share what I’m passionate about, and then we get to make community relations.”

A Deep Dive Into No Way Home/ Evan Espinoza

On Dec. 17 last year, Marvel Studios and director Jon Watts released a third installment of their Spider-Man trilogy, No Way Home. Before this trilogy, two other major series of Spider-Man films have existed: Sam Raimi’s trilogy (2002-2007) and Marc Webb’s series (2012-2014). While Raimi and Webb’s movies had nothing to do with each other or the current era of Spider-Man movies, their creations just may have paved the way for the best Spider-Man film yet in Jon Watts’s No Way Home.

Before fully dissecting the newest Spider-Man movie, it is important to remember one that came before it. In 2018 the animated film Into the Spider-Verse made fans of the web-slinging hero very aware of the possibility of a “multiverse” where different versions of Spider-Man coexisted. While this film had nothing to do with the ongoing trilogy from Watts, it gave fans a fresh look at what was possible in Spider-Man’s world. This theory or possibility of one day seeing multiple versions of Spider-Man on the big screen was coupled with the long-lasting debate of which Spider-Man is the best. The debate ranges from quality of films, to actors, to the love interests, etc. However, when the possibility and idea of seeing all three of these major versions of Spider-Man in the same movie came to light, many fans daydreamed of seeing their favorite Spider-Man of old once again. Tobey Maguire of Raimi’s series and Andrew Garfield of Webb’s series are beloved in their respective roles as well as Tom Holland in the current era. The closer it got to Dec. 17 last year, the possibility of seeing them together became a very real, and more importantly, expected possibility. 

No Way Home exists as pure fan service. While some may view fan service as something that can destroy a movie while trying to please too many audiences-and this is the case in some films-it may not be the case in the newest Spider-Man film. The expected possibility of seeing all three versions of Spider-Man finally came true when No Way Home was released. The fans were delighted to see Tobey and Andrew back in action as Spider-Man once again. The big question is, did it work? The answer is yes. No Way Home is fan service executed near perfectly. Not to say that the film was without flaw, but it was everything a fan of the former Spider-Man series wanted and more. Not only did fans get to see their favorite Spider-Man again, but the same villains and respective actors that made those stories great also made their way back to the big screen. One thing that made the possibility of seeing Tobey and Andrew expected by fans was the reveal of some of those former actors reprising their villain roles in the trailers. The whole build-up to the film basically teased fans of Tobey and Andrew’s return.

No Way Home accomplished something special and not often seen. It is important to remember that all these different series were not originally intended to be connected in any way. By the end of Raimi and Webb’s stories, they simply existed as what they were, and fans had to accept them and that was final. Any questions about the beloved characters played by Tobey and Andrew or their stories were left unanswered. No Way Home managed to give fans and those characters some closure and really bring their stories to a more complete place. As for Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, his story is not yet complete, and Jon Watts brilliantly set up the continuation of his story at the end of the film. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is now embarking on a totally new and different journey without any help. He’s alone and independent and fans will get to witness a new form of Tom Holland’s Spider-Man get to build himself up from practically nothing.

Fans of Spider-Man all over the world expressed their love and joy for No Way Home. Here at Mississippi College, Kaleb Jefcoat shared his thoughts on the film and reflected on how exactly his life was changed in a single scene. “Andrew Garfield, I got a lot of respect for him. I feel like they closed his character well and did him justice. He caught MJ … and that changed me,” Jefcoat said regarding a moment that deeply impacted him. “I would say it’s the best Marvel movie I’ve ever seen in my life.” 

Mississippi College’s Spencer Hayes also shared his thoughts and how he appreciated each Spider-Man’s story coming full circle. “Since both of their [Tobey and Andrew] series have semi-unsatisfying last outings… this movie [No Way Home] did them all a lot of justice,” Hayes said. “Andrew’s Spider-Man saved MJ, Tobey’s Peter came to terms with continuing to be Spider-Man, and Tom finally became the Spider-Man he’s meant to be after being mentored by the others.”

Lyric Stage at MC to Produce “Godspell” in Spring 2022 / Gracie Lee

The MC music department’s newly branded “Lyric Stage at MC” is producing Godspell during the spring 2022 semester. This musical, composed by Stephen Schwartz (Wicked, Pippin), is based on the 2012 revival. Auditions are Friday, Dec. 4, from 1:00-4:00 p.m. in the JPW Recital Hall in Aven Hall. Individuals of all experience levels are encouraged to audition. Students’ time slot will consist of a 16-bar song and a 10-minute group audition. The group component does not require preparation. An accompanist will be provided, but singers may choose to bring a recording of the song track on their phones instead. 

Rehearsals will be led by Mr. Tyler Kemp, faculty accompanist, and Jamie Ertle, who earned her B.M. at Mississippi College. The schedule will consist of a 3:00-5:30 p.m. practice on Wednesdays and a 1:30-5:00 p.m. practice on Fridays. Singers should clear their schedule for tech weekend on March 25-27 and performances on March 31-April 3. Lyric Stage will post the cast list before students’ departure for Christmas break, and rehearsals will commence in January. Those who wish to audition must email NKPerna@mc.edu for a time slot.

The 2012 retelling features eclectic music and a wide variety of songs. It is based on the gospels, relying heavily upon Matthew. Jesus, along with John the Baptist and supporting characters, tells the Lord’s parables through melodies that range from pop to vaudeville. The plot follows Jesus through his life, ending with the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Crowd favorites like “Prepare Ye the Way of the Lord,” “Day by Day,” “Light of the World,” and “Bless the Lord” narrate Christ’s teachings through fist-pumping, inspiring lyrics and melodies. The musical concludes with the followers of Jesus going forth in the world to share his message of love. 

“I’m so grateful to be back at MC to direct Godspell,” Ertle said. “My favorite memories from college all happened while participating in a musical. I hope to see students from the entire campus audition.”