Abbey Players Deliver Stellar Performance with All My Sons

At this point, it should come as no surprise that the ever talented, passionate and engaging actors of the Anselmian Abbey Players delivered yet another knockout performance with their debut of Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.

The show, which opened Thursday night, is directed by Dr. Landis K. Magnuson and stars Abbey Players veterans Phil Dragone, Morganne Mutkoski, Bryan Lavoie, and Nicole Sherwood. An impressive cast of supporting players including Aidan Lewis, Macy Doucette, Ryan McDonough, Erin Golden, and Freshman Andrew Gianattasio also accompanied the aforementioned actors. Throughout the performance, each demonstrated their reoccurring ability to display their passion, emotion, and dramatic talents emblematic of an Abbey Player.

Set after World War II, All My Sons follows the tragic and emotionally fragile life of Joe (Dragone) and Kate (Mutkoski) Keller, as they cope with the wartime disappearance of their son Larry. Chris (Lavoie), Joe and Kate’s sole surviving son, urges the family to move on and seeks to marry his brother’s widow, Ann Deever (Sherwood). Throughout the duration of the show, tensions grow and weaknesses are revealed as Joe attempts to provide the American dream of prosperity for his family while simultaneously battling demons of the past; Kate holds on to hope that her son Larry is alive despite the contrary beliefs of her family; Chris and Ann struggle to find peace in their love for each other; Ann’s brother George (Lewis) attempts to protect his families pride from the Kellers; and an imposing and nosey set of neighbors seek the latest gossip. This show is sure to keep audience members on the edge of their seats, and will leave everyone stunned, impressed, and astounded at the conclusion of this dramatic story.

I would highly recommend that everyone go see these incredibly talented Anselmians in the Abbey Players’ production of All My Sons. They never disappoint, and this show is no exception. Student tickets cost just $7, and you can attend this show either Friday, November 8 or Saturday, November 9 at 7:30 p.m.

*This show contains violent material which may be triggering to some audience members

No Labels: Problem Solver Convention

MANCHESTER – On Sunday, November 3, individuals from across the country gathered at the DoubleTree in Manchester for the No Labels: Problem Solver Convention. No Labels, a political organization whose mission is to combat partisan dysfunction in Congress, hosted the event that headlined multiple presidential candidates, members of the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus, as well as current and former senators. 

Former Senator Joe Lieberman (I-CT) spoke early on in the program regarding the importance of the ideals and attitudes of No Labels. He discussed the widening partisan divide in the U.S. Congress, and how in many ways “it seems like the extremes are driving the train and the rest of us are along for the ride”. Lieberman warned of the dangers of polarization, anger, and resentment of those we disagree with. He argued that the growing number of registered independents, the problem-solvers, represented the new silent majority. Lieberman said, “America needs a little rebellion now [sic] a nonpartisan rebellion”.

Inspired by the ideals Senator Lieberman described, the Congressional Problem Solvers Caucus began its work 10 years ago in the House of Representatives looking for bipartisan solutions where they can be found in order to break the gridlock. The Caucus is comprised of 24 Democratic members and 24 Republican members, and it is currently co-chaired by Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) and Tom Reed (R-NY). Members of the caucus were present at the convention and held a panel where they discussed their work in Congress coming to bipartisan solutions. In addition to Gottheimer and Reed, the panel included: U.S. Representatives Max Rose (D-NY); Tom Suozzi (D-NY); Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA); Dan Meuser (R-PA); Xochitl Torres Small (D-NM); and Steve Watkins (R-KS).

No Labels’ Get In The Room Campaign is centered around encouraging congressional leaders to “get in the room” through constituent letters, calls, and emails in order to negotiate solutions for contentious issues. Convention organizers encouraged attendees to participate in the campaign in order to accomplish the goals of the organization.

Much of the convention was punctuated by a growing generational divide. The vast majority of the crowd was at or close to the retirement age, and such a difference was apparent. The older attendees, which comprised the majority of the audience, raised concerns about social security, partisan divide, term limits, and campaign finance reform; however, there was little mention of issues like wealth inequality and education reform.

A Connecticut resident, aged 28, mentioned that the exuberant cost of living in states like Connecticut meant that he was without much hope that he would ever own a home. This showed that younger generations focus on distinctly different issues from older generations. In fact, when one voter, aged 84, expressed a desire to make community colleges free in order to bring down the rising cost of education, another retirement-aged audience member cried out, asking how that could be done when pensions and the social security net was in jeopardy.

Increasing the political activism of younger generations was mentioned by Former Massachusetts Governor Bill Weld, who is currently challenging President Trump for the Republican nomination. He outlined a plan to increase the younger vote by making it possible to vote on your phone, where the voter would take a picture of themselves to verify their identity then email their vote to a government database. He made no mention of potential security and privacy issues that would come with this. Weld also suggested that Climate Change could be addressed by simply instituting a tax on carbon emissions of various corporations and businesses, but he offered little else on that front. To a younger audience member, both ideas seemed like yet another example of a 20th-century solution for 21st-century problems.

In addition to Weld, there were also three contenders for the Democratic Presidential Nomination present at the event: Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI); Congressman John Delany (D-MD); and author and activist Marianne Williamson. Gabbard was the first candidate to speak, and she also came into the audience to conduct an audience question and answer session. At one point she said that a president should focus on “not serving the needs of one party over another, but actually serving the needs of the American people”. Delaney echoed this sentiment, quoting President John F. Kennedy as saying, “let us not seek the Democratic answer, or the Republican answer, but the right answer.” Williamson called on the “people to step in” and reclaim their government. She also called for a “World War 2 sized mobilization” to address the threat of climate change.

Near the end of the convention, the organizers conducted a straw poll, asking voters “If you had to vote today, who would you vote for?” The end tally of the near 1500 audience members resulted in a “victory” for South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg with 18.5% of the vote, followed by Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) with 17.5% and former Maryland Rep. John Delaney with 14.2%. The three current leaders in national polling for the Democratic nomination, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Bernie Sanders each received 6.9%, 5%, and 3.6% of the vote, respectively. The divergence from the national polling results could be due to the presence of supporters of the candidates speaking at the event, as well as the similar ideals of bipartisanship and cooperation amongst participants.

* This article was written collaboratively by Editor In Chief Jackson Peck and Administrative Correspondent Aidan Pierce. Edited in part by Off-Campus News Coordinator Bryan Lavoie.

Special thanks to Chloe Cincotta, Madison Mangels, and the rest of New Hampshire No Labels for inviting the Hilltopper to this convention and providing us with press access.

The Clothesline Project; A Call to Action

On October 28th, the Assault Violence Education and Resource Team (AVERT) sponsored the unveiling of the Clothesline Project, an initiative undertaken by the YWCA Meelia Center Coordinators Abby Roden and Meagan Savage, The Harbor, and AVERT, among other community partners. The unveiling provided students the opportunity to view the many shirts left behind by Saint Anselm community members in order to raise awareness in recognition of Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

The YWCA has been collecting different shirts all month in order to provide survivors of assault, as well as their allies, an opportunity to courageously break the silence on the subject of sexual assault and domestic violence. Survivors of domestic relationship violence were given purple shirts, survivors of sexual violence were given teal shirts, and allies of these survivors were given white shirts. Recipients were told to decorate the shirts with either their personal stories, a motivational message, or anything else they thought would inspire viewers to do their part to break the silence. Once decorated the recipients could leave the shirts in various drop-boxes across campus to protect anonymity.

The unveiling gave students an opportunity to view the shirts in an intimate setting before the project went on display in the common space of the Jean Student Center. Everyone in the room could feel the severity and necessity of the project as we shuffled one by one to view the many shirts left by our community members. Some told detailed stories, some only told small parts, and some simply described the feeling that came with being subjected to this particular kind of violence. Although each shirt was different, all of them held intense power that made it impossible to look away and imperative to understand the domestic violence and sexual assault epidemic that our society is faced with.

As the ceremony began, Katie Parent from the YWCA offered some historical background on the Clothesline Project. It started in the 90s as a way to give survivors a way to express their stories in a non-intimidating way. This theme of breaking silence has continued and grown in the movement to raise awareness of sexual assault which is why the project has remained so successful over the years. Katie expressed that “they (instances of sexual assault/domestic violence) happen in silence and silence allows it to continue happening”. Giving survivors an opportunity to break the silence on sexual assault in a way that does not put them in harm’s way is essential to fighting back against sexual assault and domestic violence. 

Saint Anselm senior and one of the YWCA coordinators for the Meelia Center, Abby Roden, offered attendees the opportunity to take a moment of empowerment while recalling the sentiments that we had seen expressed in the shirts. Roden explained that as opposed to a moment of silence, a moment of empowerment was more necessary when it comes to sexual assault and domestic violence. There is plenty of silence already on the issue, what is needed is not more complacency but self-empowerment to do your part to end the stigma. 

This call to action was an exceptionally moving part of the ceremony. Especially on a college campus, it is vital that we are all remaining educated on the reality of sexual assault and domestic violence so that we can address it when we see it, and so that we can push for change to empower survivors rather than the assailants. While it is important to empower survivors, we should not have to rely on them to push for change when the healing process can take years and may never be fully realized. 

We all have a stake in this conversation, and we should be doing everything in our power to create an atmosphere where survivors feel empowered to report their assailants as well as heal in peace. As Katie echoed, assailants thrive in silent atmospheres where sexual assault is not talked about or reported. Survivors think that their stories will not be heard, or believed. The question remains, how can we dispel this silence when our school too often is also silent and unsupportive of the fact that its students are having consensual sex before marriage?