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“Fighting with My Family” Review

“Fighting with My Family” is a biopic based on a documentary of the same name that follows the Bevis family, most commonly known by their wrestling last name of “Knight.” Despite the movie being about wrestlers, the movie tries its best to appeal to all audiences, even those who do not follow wrestling, by simplifying certain confusing elements of the business, having strong characters, and a far-reaching message. For those unfamiliar with the “Knight” family, they are wrestlers from England who founded the World Association of Wrestling (WAW). Though the film includes each of the family members, the movie mostly focuses on the youngest and only daughter, Saraya, and the youngest son, Zak, played Florence Pugh and Jack Lowden, respectively. These two characters are representative of the two main story threads of the film.

The story of Saraya, most commonly known by her WWE ring name, Paige, mainly focuses on her journey to America to compete for the WWE. While trying to prove herself, she struggles with her image and attitude. Saraya’s character arc in the film is well-developed showing how she finds herself as both a wrestler and an individual. When she first arrives in America, it seems like it will be a cliche story of how the “outcast” overcomes the stereotypical popular group, represented by three girls who were hired by the WWE despite having no prior wrestling experience. However, much to the movie’s credit, this trope is subverted and adds much needed depth to Saraya’s storyline that seems to be lacking at the beginning. Another positive is that, despite being in America for the majority of the film, she is still an active part of the coinciding storyline in England especially during her return home for a short visit. Despite portraying Saraya in two very strong arcs, the one in regards to her family is the superior due to the fact that her other arc seems very typical at first. However, on the subject of family, Zac’s arc was both more focused on it, since he did not have a second arc, and slightly better because of it.

One key thing to note regarding Saraya’s character arc is that there are some major differences between what occurred in real life and what occurs in the movie. One change, that I can only assume is to make the movie more accessible to non-wrestling fans, is the format change to NXT. NXT is the developmental brand of the WWE that also airs weekly shows on the WWE Network. In the movie; however, NXT is made out to be just a training program that puts on the occasional live show. This completely modifies Saraya’s character arc in regards to her in-ring career in the WWE. In NXT, Paige was the first ever women’s champion, while in the movie the title seemingly never existed. Saraya also changed the landscape of women’s wrestling by being one of the women to validate it because of her career in NXT. This is again not evident in the movie, though her impact on women’s wrestling is mentioned in the credits. By not showing at least some of her achievements in NXT, it is confusing to both wrestling fans and non-wrestling fans alike why she was moved to the main roster of the WWE and given a title opportunity on her first night up. This difference also completely changes the final scene of the movie and makes her in-ring progression seem slightly stagnant due to her challenging of AJ Lee, played masterfully by fellow wrestler Thea Trinidad, more commonly known by her ring name Zelina Vega, being less grand since nobody in the audience knew Paige. I do applaud the movie for staying true to its alternation of the NXT format by having the audience of the WWE react to Paige’s first encounter with them in a manner as if Paige’s achievements in NXT did not happen, though I feel like some wrestling fans may be unhappy with these changes because of how differently the character of Paige is presented just to make the movie more understandable to general audiences. The changes that were made mostly make sense and help to progress the character of Saraya and present her story in an easier to understand fashion, even though the changes stifle the personality of Paige and make it appear as though she did not make as much of an impact upon women’s wrestling as she actually did.

The other main character in the movie, Zak, has an arc more tied into the theme of family. Zak, like the rest of his family, is a wrestler and dreams of going to the WWE. When Zak and his sister are called to tryout for the WWE, everyone expects Zak to get in. However, when he does not and his younger sister does, he begins to grow distant from everybody, especially Saraya. Zak loses sight of his goals and passions and can only focus on his rising anger in regards to his sister fulfilling his dream. One key reason this arc works so well is the performance by Jack Lowden. Every emotion that Zak feels, the audience can feel because of how expressive he is. The change in dynamic between Saraya and Zak before and after the WWE tryout is also a prime factor in this arc’s success. Even though it was not the arc I was expecting to find the most satisfying when I entered the movie, it was the one I enjoyed the most. Zak’s storyline allows for many entertaining side characters and entertaining performances by Lena Headey and Nick Frost as the matriarch and patriarch of the family. I believe that since it was not bogged down in trying to strike a balance of trying to explain the dynamics of the WWE and especially the climate of the “Divas” era of the women’s division, this arc was able to just focus on sibling rivalry and self-doubt in such a universal and emotional manner.

Though it does have canonical issues that some people may react sour to, the movie will probably satisfy most wrestling fans because of how it has an obvious respect for the business, which makes sense given that it was produced by Dwayne Johnson. For the general moviegoer, although some of the wrestling aspects may not make sense, they will find the strong storylines of the characters, the performances, and how relatable much of it is, appealing. I feel as if this movie was created for both groups of people, though I feel that if one group was to be left more dissatisfied it would most likely be the wrestling fans because of the fact that the movie had been rumored in the wrestling community long before its creation and it may not be exactly what they expected since it is less a story of “Paige” and more the story of Saraya, her brother Zak, and an independent promotion in England. If you look past that, however, you will find a familiar yet entertaining movie about sports and family.

By: Maria Aliberti

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Martin Luther King Jr.

January 21 marks one of America’s many national holidays. This holiday commemorates a man who has become a symbol of justice, peace, and equality. Martin Luther King Jr. was one of the most famous civil rights activist during the 1950s and the 1960s. He is most commonly known for his “I Have a Dream” speech given on August 28, 1963, where he called for equality for all races and an end to blatant discrimination towards African Americans and minorities. Martin Luther King accomplished many things in his lifetime. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia on January 15, 1929. During this time, segregation laws were enforced in many parts of the United States, especially in the south. He attended segregated schools and graduated from high school at the age of fifteen. After studying three years of theology at Crozer Theological Seminary at Pennsylvania, he attended Boston University where he met his wife Coretta Scott. In 1954, King was the pastor of Dexter Avenue Baptists Church in Montgomery, Alabama as well as a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. In 1955, he participated and led in the first nonviolent equality movement of the United States, the bus boycott. After 382 days, the Supreme Court of the United States eliminated segregation on buses. This act started off King’s goal of creating equality in the United States. Throughout his journey of reaching this goal, he was arrested, assaulted, and mocked by many people. Despite this, he still stood up for what he believed in and never gave up hope. He received the Nobel Peace Prize at the age of thirty-five and a large sum of money which he donated to the civil rights movement. Unfortunately, on April 4, 1968, he was shot in Memphis, Tennessee. His legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of Americans everywhere. He will always be remembered as a symbol of freedom, justice, and equality.

BY: Tamera Moinuddin

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Course Selection Tips

by Katie Coviello

It’s that time of year again: course selection sheets are out! It can be intimidating to choose what classes to take, as you’re deciding your schedule for the next year, but it should be fun, too! Every year, there are more and more options for different classes to take, so you can arrange your schedule according to what classes you want (or need) to take. This freedom also comes with responsibility, but don’t worry! Here are some tips to keep in mind when filling out course selection sheets, from someone who’s done it three times:

  1. Remember to follow any requirements. You have to take certain mandatory classes, like english and math, and there’s no getting out of them. While you may not like some of these classes, Matignon requires four years of them, so don’t go into course selection thinking you’ll be able to transfer out of them. In most cases, these classes are non-negotiable.
  2. Be aware that you don’t have to take some classes. With the fact that some classes are mandatory every year in mind, there are some classes that you can drop. When I was a sophomore, you could drop history and take another science class or a language class instead. While I’m not sure of what the requirements are this year, as it varies yearly, be aware that there is some flexibility in which of the main, non-elective classes you take and when.
  3. Be honest with yourself about Honors and Advanced Placement classes. Being in a higher-level class looks good on a transcript, but you should ask yourself a few questions first. How much effort are you willing to put in to get a good grade? Are you going to be able to handle all the work that comes with a higher-level class? Often, students go into these classes not realizing the amount of work that they will have to put in. This shouldn’t discourage you, however. Many students thrive in an honors or AP class once they adjust to the increased amount of homework, studying, and effort they have to put in. You should never doubt yourself when it comes to these classes if you know you can do the work or want to challenge yourself in a particular subject. Don’t settle for an “easy-A” class if you know you’re capable of excelling in honors or AP.
  4. In the same vein, don’t take too many honors or AP classes. If you are busy outside of school with sports, extracurriculars, work, etc. or if you are already taking multiple AP classes, be sure to think about how another rigorous class will affect your schedule, your ability to do well in class, and your mental health. Taking many higher-level classes isn’t worth it if you don’t have any time to do your homework or take a break from schoolwork every once in a while.
  5. Take classes that excite you! This mostly applies to juniors choosing their classes for senior year, because there are many more options during your last year of high school that weren’t previously available, like Psychology, Law, higher levels of Art, Graphic Design, Internship, etc. If you’re interested in a class you’ve never taken before, and you have an empty mod in your schedule, try it! You never know what will happen; you may discover your new favorite class/subject.
  6. This is another tip that’s mainly for next year’s juniors and seniors, but it can apply to anyone. If you already know what you want to study in college, or if you know the general field you’re interested in (ex: math, chemistry, history, etc.) try to choose classes that will help you in the future. For example, if you want to be a marine biologist in the future, taking AP Biology and Anatomy may help you more, or be more interesting, than doubling up in a language. Be aware that some classes will help you more in your future careers (if you already have a good idea of what they are) than others.
  7. With that being said, it’s always good to branch out and see what interests you. I may be the least qualified person to be giving you the advice in #6–I took AP Bio last year because I wanted to be a forensic anthropologist, and I dropped a science class this year and am going to college for Art History. Over time, especially in high school, you find out what subjects interest you, and it may be a completely different field than the one you thought you wanted to study or work in in the future. Be flexible in your approach to high school classes, and keep in mind that your schedule now may not reflect your future goals–and that’s fine! The pressure to know what college major or future career you want is intense, but you definitely don’t have to know exactly what either one will be yet.
  8. Make the most of whatever schedule you end up with. If you find that you have a schedule full of seemingly boring or difficult classes, go into them with an open mind. They may surprise you–that seemingly strict teacher may end up being one of your favorites, or that hard class you were dreading may turn out to be interesting if you put some extra time and effort into studying. Your schedule may not seem ideal right now, but that’s okay, because you never know what will happen next year when you’re actually taking those classes.
  9. Remember the language requirement! This year’s seniors only had to take three years of a language, and four was recommended but not required. It may be different for each grade, but remember–a class you think you’ll dislike may end up surprising you. Many students dread the language requirement, but it can be interesting and even fun once you take the class. Knowing another language gives you many opportunities in the future, and a language class can be a fun way to learn a new helpful skill. Many students who learn the value of another language choose to take a fourth year of whichever language they’re learning, whether it’s Spanish or French. Also, colleges look for whether a student only took the required few years of a language or if they exceeded the requirement and took a third or fourth year, so keep that in mind no matter what you’re planning on studying in college, but especially if you’re majoring in a language-based subject like English or another foreign language.
  10. Don’t worry! Course selection can be scary, but there are so many people and resources available to help you. You can stop by the guidance offices on the top floor, or you can ask your parents and teachers what courses they think you should take, or which ones would most benefit you. Another underrated resource is the students at Matignon! Be sure to reach out to other upperclassmen if you’re nervous about taking a course they’ve already taken, if you’re not sure if you should double up in math or a language or not, etc. The input of students who already took the classes you’re considering can be so valuable when filling out course selection sheets.

 

I hope these tips benefit you in some way during the course selection process! Choosing which classes to take next year is a big responsibility, but you can take advantage of so many new opportunities. Remember these tips, keep in mind which classes you need or want to take, and don’t forget to ask for help when needed, and you’ll be fine!

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Warrior Woof: Piper

Meet Piper! Piper is a 9 ½ year old German Shepherd who still thinks she is a puppy (even though she is way past that stage in her life). Piper likes to play with a stuffed candy cane that squeaks. She currently has a pile of old toys that she won’t use because they no longer squeak. Piper doesn’t really like to socialize with other dogs, she instead likes to hang out with humans. I read once that because dogs don’t understand mirrors, or ever look in them, they think that they look like a human and Piper totally falls into that category. She loves to cuddle, go on walks and bark at squirrels. Piper spends most of her days sleeping by doors waiting for my dad to come home from work, and trying to sneak into my parents bedroom to sleep on their bed because she figured out that it is more comfortable than sleeping on the floor. She is actually a very smart and nice dog and if you ever meet her make sure you tell her that she looks really pretty, she likes that.

By: Abigail Stiltner

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Another Success by the Matignon Drama Company

The Matignon Drama Company’s fall production was “The Man Who Came to Dinner”; a Kaufman and Hart piece, the play tells the story of a injured radio man, Mr. Whiteside, who is bound to his wheelchair in the home of a wealthy family in the small Ohio town of Mesalia. Along the way Mr. Whiteside makes new friends and greets old on a wacky adventure to escape the Stanley’s and ruin the love life of his assistant, Maggie.

The two-night performance has been rehearsing since late September. The main role of Mr. Sheridan Whiteside was given to Will Carroll, a sophmore. Katie Coviello, who doubles as the Drama Company’s vice president, played Mr. Whiteside’s secretary – Maggie Cutler. Richard Ata and Bryn Siegel finished the main cast, playing Bert Jefferson and Lorraine Sheldon respectively.

Starting on Monday, December 10th, the cast and crew ran through the show every afternoon and into the night hours. The tech runs went as smooth as possible with only a few hiccups due to missed lines and cues, but on Thursday night, around 7:20 pm, disaster struck and shock spread through the cast. TMWCTD’s very own Bert Jefferson, Rich Ata, was injured.  His knee popped out of place while he was on stage rehearsing. A source says that it was from “sitting down wrong”, others say it was the curse of the Scottish play. He was subsequently taken to the hospital after 911 was called. Rich didn’t come to school on Friday and the company had many questions remaining on what would happen and what this calamity meant for the future of the show. A brief meeting after school cleared the air and Rich came in to perform – on crutches, with a cast, of course.

His injury was worked into the play! Considering that Mr. Whiteside himself is in a wheelchair, Bert ad libbed lines, jokingly making the comparison between himself and Mr. Whiteside. It not only added some unintentional humor but the ever subtle message that the show must go on!

At 6pm on Friday night the whole cast and crew was eager to perform after the good news of Rich’s semi recovery. Mr. and Mrs. Stanley (played by Jake Hogan and Jacqueline Lemieux respectively) greeted the crowd, Mr. Whiteside started shouting off stage, the lights and curtain came up, and the play commenced. The play went on without a hitch and kept the audience intrigued, especially when Loraine was carried off in the sarcophagus. Matignon Drama Company Alumni were in attendance both nights, cheering on the next generation of performers.

Abby Lynch (class of 2022) says that her favorite part of the play was “Kaeshler’s performance as Dr. Bradley.”

An encore performance began at 4pm and the audience was small but engaged. After curtain call, tributes to the directors, Ms. Love and Ms. Townson, were given along with a special thank you to Ms. Cascio for her help with the props and set.

Another great performance from the Matignon Drama Company! Well done and good luck at Dramafest!

Written by: Abigail Stiltner

 

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A.R.T. – Barber Shop Chronicles

by Jacqueline Lemieux | 03 January 2018

American Repertory Theatre (A. R. T.) is a Cambridge-based theatre company which is well known in the Boston area and beyond for incredible productions. Barber Shop Chronicles is no exception – this poignant piece uses familiar tools of music, dance, and lighting to connect cross-cultural ideas and address complex truths about manhood, specifically black manhood, across the world. The show is set in several barber shops, intertwining scenes set in Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos, and Accra with those set in London, connecting concepts across cultures through the mundane conversations one finds in a typical barbershop.

Set changes were entirely through dance – the versatility of set allowed for simplistic movement of not much more than chairs, creating a neutrality and relatability in each setting. The base set itself was made up of telephone poles and wires, with signage that appeared classic and authentic, as well as one central hanging wire-cage style globe. It was artfully constructed – perfectly unkempt and cohesive, yet separable in location. Lighting was, in large part, one of the major contributors to this separability; as a lighting designer myself I admired the use of different tones to highlight location, ranging from the warm, cloudy lighting of Kowope to the stark, fluorescent, white-blue tones of Three Kings.

Barber Shop Chronicles offered moving testimony on several cross-cultural ideas and suggested that perhaps people of the world do not live in their own bubble – we are all connected, and ideas are universal, whether we realize it or not. The show addressed themes such as the evolution of culture and language, and to what extent that should be welcomed, and the hypocrisy of silencing young voices yet expecting them to rise up, criticizing inactivity and complacency while simultaneously requiring it. Barber Shop Chronicles is a masterpiece in every sense of the word – from the talented cast and crew to the technical aspects to the moving messages the show imprints on the audience. All people should seize the opportunity to experience this masterpiece – it will be running at the A. R. T. until Saturday, January 05, 2019.