Theatre and Dance Holiday Spectacular

BUCKSBAUM - This year, the Theatre and Dance Department has decided to end the fall semester with a bang: The Grinnell College Holiday Pageant. The pageant will include contributions from every writing and performing group on campus, and according to the Department, it will be the most spectacular performance the College has ever seen—so much so that some people, such as first year Nina Ply ’21, are touting it as “more divine than Titular Head.”

“We had a power meeting last week. We assigned roles to everyone and then complained about finals as a group for twenty minutes. We are so ready for this pageant,” said enthused Theatre and Dance SEPC member Kelly Sanchez ‘18.

According to Sanchez, the Pageant’s aim is to “celebrate the Holiday season in an inclusive way.” Therefore, it is “Non-denominational, and super inclusive. We’re celebrating Christianity, Judaism, and even Kwanzaa all at once!” said Sanchez.

The pageant is several acts, to fully accommodate all the campus organizations. The first act will be focused on all campus music ensembles. Jazz Ensemble, Latin American Ensemble, Mbira Ensemble, Ensemble Ensemble, Assembled Ensemble, Dis Assembled En Samble, and all students taking instrument lessons will perform in this act.

The seven different groups are intended to represent the seven principles of Kwanzaa. Half of these groups will play “All I Want for Christmas Is You,” while the other half will play “Hanukkah Oh Hanukkah.” The performances will occur simultaneously, to keep the pageant within a five-hour time constraint.

The next act will feature content from all written student publications, as Freedom of the Press similar in theme to Freedom of Religion. Members of each publication created a joint Google Doc, and created a script for Act Two. A representative Standup Club member will enact the script, which involves a universally-inclusive (for those in the northern hemisphere) Winter theme. During the performance of the script, the GUM will take artsy and partially-obscured portraits of people sitting on the stage wearing Star of David-patterned gingerbread house costumes. “This way, through the photographic medium, we can profoundly show how different religions can coexist simultaneously,” said GUM editor-in-chief Greg Gerseh ’19.

Meanwhile, according to the Dance Department, the third act should steal the show—but “steal it from everyone, equally” according to Sanchez. Multiple dance ensembles will combine to perform a Nutcracker/Dreidel Song mash-up, while a member of Grinnell Monologues artfully recites the choreography being performed. Dancers will have the option of whether to dress as a Christmas tree, kinara, or Menorah, or create-their-own. Salsa Club and Contra Dance will duet to “Feliz Navidad.” For a finale, Studio Art majors will paint a mural around the dancers to form a massive wreath “similar to the Olympics logo, that symbolizes everyone,” Sanchez stated.

The fourth act will feature several campus drama and improv troupes. The performers will reenact the birth of what they are calling “a nondenominational god-like figure.” The performers will also reenact the oil lasting for eight days in real time. During the show, Neverland will give their standard repertoire but covered in rainbow mistletoe.

While the pageant could probably end after four acts, the Theater and Dance department decided to include a fifth act, which they are keeping under wraps.