Coffeehouse, the annual senior class production filled with skits, dances, music, and satire, finally returned to the Performing Arts Center on February 5. The P.A.C. was packed with students, faculty, and staff who all enjoyed a night filled with CA inside jokes. After a whirlwind three-and-a-half years, the Class of 2022 certainly had a lot of material to work with.
The best-received act was the finale, where the senior class riffed off of the popular TV game show, Shark Tank, to emulate the Head of School Search Committee. Each “contestant” was a Head of School candidate played by a senior. First, Lilia Kasdon ’22 played Katie Titus and pretended to evade the Sharks’ questions, encouraging the board not to do a background check. Next, Tyler McGarry ’22 came in as Jed Lippard, who played into being “gay Rick Hardy.” Casey Bakarani ’22 dressed up as Monica Palmer in a white shirt decorated with a pride flag on the back, but the Sharks quickly dismissed her. Zachary Tung ’22 did a spot-on impression of Laura Twichell, who has served as Interim Dean of Faculty, Dean of Academics, and Director of Community and Equity before leaving CA in 2021. Tung’s Twichell made the crowd erupt in laughter with his body language and voice. Finally, Thomas Alemu ’22 impersonated Henry Fairfax, who won over the Sharks with his height and dashing good looks.
To get more of an insider view, I interviewed one of this year’s emcees, Will Tran ’22, about his experience. He said, “What I consider amazing was the grade-wide participation in Coffeehouse as amazing, whether it be front and center acts, running the logistics behind the stage, or everything in between. It was amazing to watch our grade come together over the months as we prepared for this. Another aspect I’d like to emphasize was that Coffeehouse was a ‘living’ performance, nothing about it was finalized or perfected, in fact among other things, there were many amazing performances that didn’t make the final cut simply because of scheduling conflicts. That being said, I’d like to think we put on the best possible version of ‘our’ coffeehouse. Also, if you’re 18, it is incredibly easy to get ordained online.”
While Will had many compliments for his classmates and fellow performers, he emphasized his deep appreciation for the Coffeehouse faculty advisor, Amy Kumpel. “We didn’t have much preparation. Honestly. Coffee? Lots and lots of it. No, but seriously, the only reason that Coffeehouse functioned was [that] Amy was calling all the shots and managing everything behind the scenes. She is terrifying, but she was the best possible faculty advisor we could have gotten for this task.” Throughout the performance, Kumpel dashed around the stage, making sure that props were in the right place, the microphones were working, and that jokes were school-appropriate. “Not that I’m complaining,” Will joked, “but I still don’t get how Amy approved the racier jokes!”