Inside the Class IV Follies
By NATHAN SMITH ‘20
From Thursday, November 1 to Saturday, November 3 in Milton’s Ruth King Theater, the all-freshman cast of the 2018 Class IV Follies entertained their audience with a strong performance. Upon first entering the theater, the viewer is struck with the unusual seating: as opposed to the classic row seating, the ground level was filled with circular tables surrounded by chairs. A giant balloon-like ball hung from the catwalks. Instead of being a regular musical, the Freshman Follies consisted of a compilation of sketches, songs, and poems, all following the theme of “the four seasons.” Starting with spring and ending with winter, the progression of the Follies followed the progression of the seasons, and each new season was introduced by the recitation of a poem.
Last year was the first year the traditional Class IV Play was changed to the Follies. “We did our first Class IV Follies last year. We changed up the format [of the Class IV Play], because we wanted a [show] where we could tap into all the talent the Class IV students have,” said Ms. Kort, who has been the director of the Class IV Play/Follies for the last five years. In a classic play, each member of the cast has a set role, and as some roles are lead roles with lots of lines and stage time while others give students less opportunity to shine. Kort stated that “The idea for the Follies was to build a show around the students that sign up for it. In this production we had dramatic acting and comedic acting, singing, dancing, instrumentalists, poetry, and more. Every student had a moment that was their own, and that is what makes the Follies special.”
Each sketch, song, and poem from the show garnered massive applause. Perhaps the freshmen cast—which was exceptional this year—was the main cause of the show’s success. “They are excited and open to taking risks. The Class IV Follies is [the students’] chance to shine, and they do!” said Eleza Kort. Clara Wolff, the assistant director and choreographer, was also impressed. When asked about how it was working with the freshmen, Wolff responded, “they are all so talented and each such unique individuals. It was a pleasure getting to work with them and watching them each grow performance-wise.”
For Wolff, working with freshman was especially important. “As a senior, there are so few opportunities to get to know the Class IV students, and although the cast and crew of the Follies was only a small handful of the freshmen class, getting to know each one of them and having insight into the dynamics of the freshmen grade was a fantastic and unique experience as an upperclassman…[it] made me nostalgic about my freshman year.”
Every cast member gave a fantastic performance, and several audience members have offered glowing reviews. Zan Huang ‘20 said, “the freshmen follies were the work of the freshmen. No doubt about that. It was...amateurish, perhaps due to the age of the cast, but the show was extremely well put together. Overall there is great promise in all who participated.” Kendelle Grubbs ‘20 shared her thoughts as well: “[the] Follies was a good time. I was amazed at how talented the freshman were. From poetry to singing to dancing, the freshmen could do it all. For me, the singing was the highlight of Follies, especially the final number where Autumn Gay ‘22 sung her heart out.”
Overall, it seems the Class IV Follies were a major success. If you missed it, make sure to go see it next year; you won’t be disappointed!•