Clapping for Cappies

BY STEPHANIE RENNER

When Shannon Mathews opened her email during Government class, she had to cover her mouth to hide her smile and keep down her obvious joy. Her review about 42nd Streeta musical performed by Ursuline Academy–was published as the top review for that show on the Cappies of Greater Cincinnati website.

“I was super excited, surprised and happy that I got published,” says Mathews, a first year member of Mariemont’s Cappies team. “It was the first time I’ve ever been published.”

As a member of Cappies of Greater Cincinnati, Mariemont’s team travels to other schools to critique their plays and musicals. Mariemont has been a member of the Cappies program for 12 years.

Senior member Daniel Keyes says, “We go to shows Thursday through Saturday and write about the acting and singing ability of the performers, the way the production was portrayed by the director, and the special effects, like lighting and sound, for the the production. We have to submit the reviews by Sunday at 4:00.”

Keyes also mentions that the reviews are not always easy. 

“It takes a lot of thought and effort to word everything exactly the way you want to, explaining exactly how you felt during the performance,” he says. However, Keyes notes that, despite the difficulties, the work is “worth it.” 

The team has been working towards their current success since before the school year started. 

“We had a training session in the early summer,” says first-year senior member Sarah Feeney. “We practiced writing reviews and went over rules for criticism and proper conduct during shows.”

Feeney enjoys the benefits of the program. 

“I don’t have time to be involved in Mariemont’s productions and the theater program, so it’s a way for me to still be involved in high school theater but in a different way,” she shares.

“It’s going really really well this year. A majority of the team has been published,” says teacher leader Mrs. Lowery. “I’m the Cappies mentor. I get to go to 2 shows. At one, I lead a discussion and at the other I read reviews and pick the top 10,” she explains.

Sophomore Ellie Lewis says that being a part of Cappies has taught her how to write under pressure as reviews are to be completed between 24 and 72 hours after the show.

“I spend a lot of time on my reviews, anywhere from 4-8 hours to include all aspects of the show and to make sure everything is fluent and clear,” she says. “I proofread over and over and again to make sure that everything is top-notch. Yeah, it’s time consuming, but all of the effort pays off when you know you’ve turned in your best work.”

Many members of the team this year have published a review or excerpt, which senior member and lead critic Alex Wilson thinks is great.

Wilson is in charge of team communication: signing them up for shows and confirming it with the Cappies administration. 

“I’m very proud of our performance this year,” he says. “We’re really cohesive and I think that aside from our Cappies responsibilities, we just have a good time together.”

Senior members Sarah Feeney and Alex Wilson are excited for the show they are going to see in January: 28 Marchant Avenue at SCPA. (PHOTO BY RENNER)

Sophomore Shannon Renner prefers musicals to plays because, she said, they are constantly entertaining. 

“It’s always fun to see an actor exhibit multiple talents like dancing and singing,” says the second-year member.

Renner’s favorite production this year thus far is Blithe Spirit, staged by Ryle High School. 

“It is my favorite because of their incredible energy on stage. They did a really good job with it. The show was amazing,” she said.

Sophomore Avery Brinkman says that the best part about Cappies is attending the shows. He likes “being able to see all the different schools’ performances, which is something I wouldn’t normally do, and it’s free.”

Senior member Monica Wuertemberger joined the Cappies team because of her involvement as an actress in numerous productions Mariemont’s theatre program. “It’s fun to see other high schools and what they do with other programs different than ours,” she said.

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