For some MVHS students, the new school year begins with a long, tiring day at Running of the Bulls. For others, it begins the moment their official schedule ends up in their hands. But for a group of particularly driven students, it begins with the start of MVHS’s Saturday Night Live production, and SNL begins with a diverse cast unified primarily by their love of acting.
On Aug. 21, the MVHS drama department kicked off the year with auditions for those interested in acting in this year’s MVSNL. Students crowded in front of the Black Box Theater after school, waiting to begin the auditioning process. Once let in, they were introduced to a panel of eight directors and two producers. They were then split up into smaller groups and given half an hour to rehearse a sketch.
One of the first groups to audition consisted of freshmen Zarick Paris and Zack Sanchez, both of whom have six years of drama experience. From summer camps at MVHS to performing plays back when they attended Kennedy Middle School, Paris and Sanchez have stuck with each other for the majority of their early acting careers. They first heard about MVSNL through their upperclassmen friends, and their interest was immediately piqued.
“We have a large history in acting,” Paris said, “and I can vouch for both of us that we watch SNL frequently, so we know how it runs.”
But despite presenting themselves as naturals during their auditions, Paris and Sanchez feel that there was room for improvement. Sanchez, who wants to pursue something along the lines of an acting career, doesn’t find this feeling new.
“Personally, I don’t come out of auditions feeling very well,” he said.
In addition to its new members, MVSNL has brought back a steady flow of veterans, including senior Pooja Pandey, who has performed in MVSNL every year since she was a freshman. Though Pandey has no formal acting experience, the low-commitment, high-energy nature of SNL has brought her back repeatedly.
“SNL is the funniest show and has the highest attendance,” Pandey said. “People usually don’t show up just for extra credit, which is obviously beneficial for us.”
While MVSNL has just started for cast members, the directors began planning over the summer. MVSNL has traditionally been a student-directed performance, and in order to preserve the inclusive, colorful spirit of SNL, there will be no cuts.
Director senior Eva Chatterjee said, “We’re trying to mix it up. We’re like, ‘Hey, you know what? Everyone gets an equal chance.’ If you’re talented, you’re in. And everyone always gets in, unless there are a bazillion people auditioning.”
This year is Chatterjee’s fourth year involved in MV SNL; she auditioned her freshman and sophomore years and was the junior assistant director junior year. After judging over fifty MVSNL auditioners, Chatterjee is very excited that everyone is giving their all.
She believes that this all contributes to the “classiest SNL” thus far.
“We don’t want people to just scream at the stage,” Chatterjee said. “We want to be like, ‘Hey, let’s just behave and have fun.’”
While the actual show is still a month or so away, the finalized team members have already started rehearsing for one of the most popular MV Drama productions. The bevy of multifaceted members believe they have set the bar high once again for this year’s show.
MVSNL will premiere on Sept. 21 and Sept. 22.