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Theatre Ink productions halted by teacher strike

Lost+and+Found+cast+members+take+their+bow+on+opening+night+Thursday%2C+Jan.+18.
Michele Leong
Lost and Found cast members take their bow on opening night Thursday, Jan. 18.

As the Newton Teachers’ Association (NTA) initiates its strike, Lost and Found, among other shows, is feeling the direct impact of the ongoing contract dispute. 

“It’s not fair to the kids, it’s not fair to the community,” said Theatre Ink Director Adam Brown. 

Originally running from Jan. 18-20, Lost and Found has tentatively rescheduled its Friday and Saturday performances for Jan. 26 and 27, according to senior Zaina Sayeed, a Lost and Found director. If the teachers’ strike extends past these dates, Lost and Found will continue to be pushed back.

As long as we resolve this as quickly as possible, no shows will be canceled. I promise that,” said Brown. He added that even if the strike lasts for over a week, only a brush-up rehearsal would be necessary. 

English teacher Michele Leong, an adviser of Lost and Found, commended the cast’s preparation for the show, emphasizing their talents. She added that teachers are committed to supporting students, offering refreshers or extra rehearsals as needed. 

Despite the last-minute date changes, affected students expressed support for the movement. 

“We are so grateful for the advisers,” said Sayeed. “They have been so wonderful to work with and the show wouldn’t be possible without them. We feel that it is imperative to support them and their cause because they deserve to be treated right.” 

Not only are directors willing to accommodate the needs of teachers, but cast members as well. 

“It’s not that big of a deal,” said senior Kavin Kannan, a Lost and Found cast member. “Pretty much the entire cast supports what’s happening, so we’re all on the teachers’ sides.”

Senior Amiya Smith, a cast member, added, “I think that while the timing for us does impact the show and is not super optimal for Lost and Found, overall this is a very important issue and the cast believes that teachers deserve a living wage and good pay.”

Lost and Found is not the only show affected by the strike. Chicago, North’s Spring musical, the improv show Spontaneous Generation, and sketch comedy show Nitrous Oxide have all begun their journey to the stage. 

According to junior Nell Ranalli, who plays Velma Kelly in Chicago, even in the first month of rehearsal, time to opening night was beginning to feel short. “I think that any Theatre Ink show is so lucky to have the teacher and adviser support that it does, but since they are on strike, I am worried a lot about time management.”

Senior Raven Belson, a director of North’s improv troupe Spontaneous Generation, added that because the troupe has a cast of a smaller size, they have been able to carry on with rehearsals at cast members’ houses. However, the issue of not having advisers at these rehearsals has been a setback for the show. “This strike is going to cause a pause in productivity for our troupe, but we plan on doing everything we can to keep ourselves on track for when our show goes up while we support our teachers,” said Belson.

While these shows still have months left in their rehearsal process, time is precious for Theatre Ink productions as they are susceptible to disruptions such as sickness and the upcoming February break.

Choreography Project, currently in the casting process, has been uniquely disrupted. According to senior Sonia Murthy, a Choreography Project director, “We have to wait until the strike is over to get teacher approval to even release the cast list.”

As the weight of the strike settles in, students and staff alike are forced to navigate the uncertainty of their productions. However, with open minds and a sense of optimism, they must adapt to their new circumstances. 

“Life is live theater,” said Brown. “You have to be prepared for curveballs and you have to prepare in advance.”

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About the Contributor
Eric Lam, Arts editor
Eric Lam is a freshman at Newton North High School. For extracurricular activities, he plays cello and plays in an orchestra. During his free time, he enjoys playing with his dog, using 3D modeling softwares, playing video games, and practicing cello. Most recently, Eric performed in a concert with his orchestra, playing a few pieces such as Romeo and Juliet by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovskyis. Eric is currently playing Edward Elgar’s Cello Concerto in E Minor. Eric’s favorite movies are Avengers: Infinity War and Interstellar, and his favorite video games are CS:GO and Terraria. His favorite subjects in school are Latin and Math. Eric’s favorite ice cream flavor is mint chocolate chip. His least favorite flavor is ginger.
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