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Allison Estremera, Contributing Writer

Keeping with the spirit of the spookiest time of year, October once again brings with it the opportunity for Drewids to enjoy the darkness, not only with ghost tours and trick-or-treating, but also with Drew’s biannual “DREW it in the Dark!” challenge.

Organized by Campus Sustainability Coordinator Christina Notas, the challenge runs from Oct. 17 through Oct. 31 and aims to teach Drewids the importance of conserving resources, while also providing some friendly competition between the residence halls.

The rules are simple: whichever residence hall uses the least amount of electricity wins. Though it may seem like just another campus-wide competition, the event raises awareness for an issue that continues to affect humanity on a global scale. With environmental awareness recognized as a critical topic of intrigue, we must show our support and spread the word in whatever ways we can.

The Drew community is certainly no stranger when it comes to aiding the environment. From RecycleMania to having 70 students participate in People’s Climate March, Drewids regularly show their love for Mother Nature. Though Drew is certainly an eco-friendly university, the staff behind “DREW it in the Dark!” believes that Drewids can contribute even more to the ongoing fight to protect the planet.

“Environmental awareness on campus is fairly high in my opinion, we as a campus just need to be more conscious about how we use energy and water and other alternatives to reduce our usage,” stated  Ben Schafer (’15), campus ambassador coordinator and eco-rep for Foster, McClintock and Hurst Halls.

Though it may seem like a difficult task to use less electricity in today’s technology-obsessed society, the team behind “DREW it in the Dark!” made sure to offer both tips and alternative options in order to both win the event and remain connected to the outside world.

“These are simple everyday things that can be done even when Drew it in the Dark isn’t going on that could really decrease the amount of energy being produced in each residence hall,” noted Kara Bradley (’17), an eco-rep working on the event.

“The refrigerators are the number one users of electricity in the residence halls,” Notas stated, and suggested that Drewids remember to close the refrigerator door when not looking for a snack. Game consoles also accounted for a large percentage of electricity consumption, though setting up time limits for gaming should easily change this.

In addition to providing tips, the “DREW it in the Dark!” staff also offers opportunities for Drewids to get out of their dorms in celebration of the event. In keeping with the Halloween theme, this semester’s challenge calls for the campus to “combat energy vampires,” Notas said. In accordance with this, the staff will host a talk on Oct. 30 in The Space about bats. The aim of the discussion is to provide a look into the lives of creatures that spend most of their lives in the dark while giving Drewids an opportunity to gain an upper hand in the challenge by leaving the residence halls and turning off their appliances.  When discussing the long-term outcomes of the event, Notas said, “The larger goal of ‘Drew it in the Dark’ is to build sustainable habits that you can take with you after you graduate.”

For additional information and tips about the challenge, be sure to check in with your residence hall’s eco-rep and remember to watch out for energy vampires as Halloween draws near.

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Caitlin Phillips, Contributing Writer

What’s that tapping, rapping on your chamber door? It’s the Shakespeare Theatre’s fifth annual performance of “Something Wicked This Way Comes.” In honor of Halloween, be prepared to be spectacularly spooked and sufficiently scared.

This performance got its start through former company member Joseph Discher (C’91). As director Brian B. Crowe put it, “He envisioned an evening of storytelling…with a Halloween twist and a theatrical flair. This 90-minute event was a tremendous success and it immediately became an annual event for the theatre.”

The title of the performance may come from “Macbeth,” but the play incorporates much more of the macabre including Edgar Allan Poe and H. P. Lovecraft. Hayat Abdelal (’18) said, “They are all wonderful renowned authors. Poe’s writing can be very dark so it fits perfectly for Halloween.”

COURTESY OF JOE GEINERT, THE SHAKESPEARE THEATRE OF NEW JERSEY|At a previous performance of “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Ames Adamson and Derek Wilson read renowned horror tales at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Courtesy of Joe Geinert, The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey | At a previous performance of “Something Wicked This Way Comes,” Ames Adamson and Derek Wilson read renowned horror tales at the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey.

Crowe said, “Each year, ‘Something Wicked’ celebrates the wonderful traditions of storytelling, harking back to evenings when families and friends would gather ‘round the old fire-side and share haunting and delightful tales. To see a packed house captivated by a single actor presenting the works of these great writers is always what I look forward to the most.”

The performance changes every year. “Different stories, different actors to read them,” Crowe explained. “We spend the year culling through hundreds of spooky tales and eerie poems… and unite them in a deliciously creepy evening which celebrates the language of the macabre. This year seems to have a focus on scary childhood memories–something we can all relate to.” Halle Levitt (’18) said, “I think a good ghost story will be a fun way to get into Halloween. I’m looking forward to the readings for Lovecraft because he is not as well-known as Poe.”

This makes the performance an opportunity students won’t want to miss. Abdelal also commented, saying students “definitely should go to the performance! These writings are great, and they have a greater effect when read aloud and expressed.”

In addition to the spooky stories, is another event planned by Crowe that is sure to scare. John Hoge, a world-renowned theremin player, will be performing as well. The theremin is most often used in classic horror and science fiction films. Crowe noted, “There is no other place that I know that audiences can see a theremin played live on stage.”

The event will take place Oct. 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Shakespeare Theatre. Tickets are $40 and can be purchased online at www.ShakespeareNJ.org or by phone by calling the Box Office at 973-408-5600. Students with a valid ID will be offered $15 rush tickets at the theatre half an hour before showtime.

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Catherine King, Contributing Writer

Hear ye, hear ye! It was a day of revels. Drew students traveled through time to the days of Medieval England. Members of Bridging Our Anthropology Students (!BOAS) and That Medieval Thing (TMT), decked out in medieval apparel for a field trip to the Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire last Saturday. This was the first trip to the Renaissance Faire for both !BOAS and TMT.

Before the bus even arrived, many people were hyped about the trip. Their only problem was the long bus drive to get there, but not even this could dampen their excitement.

Catherine King - Contributing Writer|A street in the shire seeks to replicate the feel of Medieval Europe.

Catherine King – Contributing Writer|A street in the shire seeks to replicate the feel of Medieval Europe.

“I’ve been here before. I was here a while ago, though. So I believe it will be fun. There are a lot of great vendors. It’s like a Halloween-themed thing,” said Sara Perkins (’16).

One aspect of the faire were the actors walking around interacting with everyone whom they encountered. This especially appealed to TMT, who have their own fair in the spring and a Renaissance-themed dinner in the winter.

“I guess it just supplements what we do on campus. We kind of connect with people who are interested in doing the same thing we do. And they are professionals, so it’s better seeing people who are better and great at what they do, do it,” said Katie Yasser (’15), co-chair of TMT.

According to Yasser, the main purpose of this trip was to experience life during Medieval times, an interest shared by both TMT and !BOAS.

Catherine King - Contributing Writer|Throughout the day, actors dressed as figures from the Renaissance, such as Queen Elizabeth, strolled around the grounds in character.

Catherine King – Contributing Writer|Throughout the day, actors dressed as figures from the Renaissance, such as Queen Elizabeth, strolled around the grounds in character.

“This is what TMT is about! !BOAS tagged along because the culture of Renaissance fairs is what anthropologists study, specifically what about the fairs make people attracted to them,” said Peter Vandenberg (’17).

TMT hopes to use this experience to aid the preparation of their own medieval fair in the spring, as well as Revels, a medieval-themed dinner hosted by the club where they act out a play and serve food from the Medieval era. “TMT really wanted to do it. This is what we wanted to model MedFest after,” Yasser said.

There was variety in the range of characters the acotrs portrayed. They ranged from common street wenches to a king and queen parading around the fair surrounded by guards and trumpet players. Many common folk also wandered the shire and intermingled with people.

Aside from the performers, many shows and activities entertained the masses. Some of the events of the day were the game of human checkers played by the king and queen, the parade through the shire by all the actors and the coronation of the king and queen. The shire also contained a recreation of Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre and staged Shakespearean plays.

The shire served a variety of foods to sate the hunger of any knight back from battle. Many attendees indulged in the sundry foods common at the fair, such as whole turkey legs and entire pickles on sticks. If Renaissance foods were undesirable, then the shire offered modern foods like burgers, hot dogs, a variety of crepes and funnel cakes.

“I had a lot of fun. Everyone who was there was hardcore and into it. They kept into character and, yay, it was fun,” said Perkins.

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FILM CLUB REVIEW

Cecilia Ewing, Contributing Writer

New film “Gone Girl,” directed by David Fincher and based on the sensational best-selling novel by Gillian Flynn, is a dark, suspenseful thriller that will get under your skin and stay with you long after you’ve left the theater.

It begins with the story of a marriage that has lost its spark. Nick Dunne (Ben Affleck) is a slick writer in New York married to self-proclaimed “cool girl” Amy (Rosamund Pike). They are smart, successful and they absolutely adore each other.

Flash forward through the mid-2000s recession, the loss of two jobs, and a move back to Nick’s hometown of North Carthage, Missouri and the spark is entirely gone. Love has turned into resentment and then,on the morning of their fifth  anniversary, Amy disappears.

Amy’s disappearance spirals into a nation-wide media frenzy and a police case that has a sole suspect: Nick.

Flashbacks via Amy’s diary entries paint Nick as cold and cruel, and the incriminating evidence continues to pile up. The crime scene of overturned furniture and broken glass doesn’t make sense, and Nick’s alibi is hardly airtight. There is just one thing everyone wants to know: Where is Amy Eliot Dunne? Anxious viewers will have to wait until the end to find out.

Fincher, also known for films including “Fight Club” and “The Social Network,” brings his slick, intelligent style to yet another fantastic movie. “Gone Girl” is sharp, full of wit and absolutely chilling. He brings Gillian Flynn’s novel to life in the darkest of ways.  He leads the audience through the film’s plot, full of brass-knuckled twists and turns, with practiced ease. The true power of this film’s success, however, lies in the hands of its cast.

Affleck’s portrayal of Nick was masterful. He was confident without the smugness, exactly the right amount of intelligence (in that he lacked some), and likeable when he needed to be. It was a reserved portrayal of a man you just couldn’t quite predict. Not to mention that Affleck’s trademark grin was a real killer.

Pike’s multi-layered performance as Amy was exactly what the film needed. Cool (in more ways than one), smart and charming with flashbacks from Nick and Amy Dunne’s early life are ripe with chemistry and wit. Falling for Amy’s charm is easy as pie.

Secondary characters are also on-point, with Nick’s twin sister, Margo, played by Carrie Coon, delivering a few of the film’s necessary laughs to break tension. Coon’s chemistry with Affleck is also used excellently, portraying a believable sibling relationship. Tyler Perry’s performance as Tanner Bolt is calculating in the best way.

Also, Neil Patrick Harris is surprisingly well-cast as the sometimes creepy rich boy accused of stalking Amy in her younger years.

The film is dark, intense and full of smart surprises that keep you guessing throughout the two-and-a-half hour runtime, which feels like nothing when you spend a significant amount of time white-knuckled.

“Gone Girl” is another Fincher film that will charm you, unsettle you and leave you feeling chilled for days.

Cecilia Ewing is a sophomore and co-president of film club.

Rating in a nutshell: 4.5 out 5 acorns : almost EXCELLENT

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Author spins tale of college student woes and institutional incompetence at university

Taylor Tracy, Student Life and Arts Editor

 Up there with writing resumés that will hopefully look impressive to employers and spending hours studying for finals, they’re a fact of college life: letters of recommendation.

Often times, these humble documents that students and professionals request for might seem boring. Certainly they don’t seem like the first choice as the format for a novel about the life and struggles of a college professor at a small liberal arts college remarkably similar to Drew.

However, this is the route Julie Schumacher has taken in her new novel, “Dear Committee Members.” Written as a chain of recommendation letters Professor Jason Fitger writes during a particularly challenging year in his career, Schumacher delivers a gripping, amusing and well-written novel about the professor of English and creative writing at fictional Payne University in the Midwest.

From his attempts to help one of his students whom he believes to be a literary genius to navigating tense communications with his ex-wife, Janet, and mistress, Carole, Fitger’s letters of recommendation reveal a lot more than just the positive traits of those he writes the letters for. They also reveal a lot about him as well as how people can be reunited and lives  can be changed through the epistolary form.

Overall the pacing of the novel is just right, which is surprising considering the novel is an endless stream of letters that are mostly unrelated. When placed together they provide  the riveting framework for the story. The length felt right and the ending evoked feelings of both satisfaction and longing to hear more of Fitger’s fascinating tales.

Structurally, the novel felt a little one-sided, perhaps because the reader only sees Fitger’s letters and not the responses. It would have been nice to have some of the responses as they might have solidified the plot of the novel. They might also have added a sense of wholeness to the work, which at times felt fragmented.

The pinnacle of the novel was Fitger himself, the occasionally unlikable but relatable professor fighting for his students and upholding the values of English amid an explosion in the natural and social sciences at his university.

In Fitger, however,  Schumacher has created a blunt, sarcastic and often hilarious voice that dominates the work. His voice is complex, interesting and authentic. Although blunt, he is honest and trustworthy. This is a protagonist the readers can root for.

Equally fascinating are the secondary characters, a diverse cast of university students, colleagues and administrators. Among the best are Fitger’s ex-wife Janet and ex-girlfriend Carol. In his letters to them, Fitger’s voice is at its best.

Fitger writes letters of recommendation for his students for a myriad of jobs and opportunities. Each student has his or her own backstory from Fitger’s point of view. The results range from grotesque to remarkably touching. The only drawback is that some of the characters were stereotypical to the point of triteness.

For example, Fitger’s protégé Darren Browles struggles to gather enough financial aid to continue his studies at Payne. Fitger writes letters recommending his past students for a myriad of jobs from a position in a paintball emporium to a daycare center, referencing the stories they wrote for his class.

These moments reveal the struggle of students to both fund their academic endeavors and find meaningful employment post-graduation. Also coming from these moments, which at times seem random, is the connection with and support for each of his students Fitger has is clear.

Nonetheless, Drewids will still be able to relate to this cast of varied college students, finding that their challenges of employment and financial aid mirror their own.

Another aspect of “Dear Committee Members” Drewids will find familiar is the setting itself. Payne University is a small, liberal arts college in the Midwest, where smaller programs in the humanities are being cut in favor of expanding the sciences and social sciences.  In a school much like Drew, Fitger champions the utility of effective writing and communication skills.

Not only is the setting relatable, but also the various themes of the novel might resonate with many Drewids. Among these are both the value and laughability of letters of recommendation as well as the bonds that are created between professors and students at a small university, moving on from the past and tactfully handling difficult situations.

Overall, “Dear Committee Members” is a whirlwind of emotion, pathos and university politics. This is a book to which everyone in the Forest will be able to relate in some way and one that all Drewids should consider reading.

Rating in a nutshell: 4.5 out 5 acorns : almost EXCELLENT

 

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