Lifestyle

Olive Tree Review open mic night showcases Hunter’s talent

Freshman, alumni and super-seniors alike came to perform at The Olive Tree Review’s open mic night last week, presenting original poetry, excerpts of novels, songs and even a few freestyle raps.

Decorated with balloons and bright blue lights around the stage, the room in Thomas Hunter was converted into a welcoming space, where performers could discuss issues of race, beauty and other sensitive topics.

“Do we have any volunteers to go first?” asked Srinidhi Rao, and Felix Mastropasqua’s hand shot straight up. Mastropasqua performed an acapella version of the Mitski song “I Will,” and had no problem being the opening act of the night. He had participated in open mics before and uses them as practice.

“I’m an aspiring singer, so I take the opportunity to get the experience whenever I can,” Mastropasqua said.

While some didn’t let their nerves show, other performers were very open about their stage fright. As Sara Tabio, a senior, took the stage she exclaimed, “I didn’t expect to be this nervous!” There was nothing but reassurances from the large audience sitting and standing in the room.

Many of the performers had, in fact, been workshopping their pieces in advance for some time before the open mic night with Doria Wohler, the Olive Tree Review’s poetry editor. Wohler noted that this has allowed all of them to become very close with one another, and also made the night extra special as she watched each of them showcase their original works.

“It was honestly incredible. During workshops I really try to keep a low-key atmosphere, so pieces are usually shared from like a swivel chair and read while eating pretzels.” Wohler said. “So to see those same pieces go up on stage with all those lights and a mic and such an audience—it sounds silly, but I was light a proud mom watching her kids at a piano recital.”

Watching the performances inspired some to get up on that stage and perform as well. Alex Booth got the audience to stomp the beat with a rendition of “We Will Rock You” by Queen, which he paired with his own freestyle.

“I just decided it was time for me to establish a vibe,” Booth said.

The audience members seemed to be just as much apart of the performances as the people on the stage. Screams of affirmation and reassurance pushed the show along and there was a sense of community that seemed to go beyond the room in Thomas Hunter Hall.

Melissa Rueda sketches a performer

As each performer took the stage, Melissa Rueda, The Olive Tree Review’s secretary and art editor, did a quick charcoal sketch of each of them, which she gave them after as a kind of memento of the night.

This was the last open mic night that the Olive Tree Review will be hosting for the semester but there will be at least one next term. Keep an eye out for flyers.

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