Meet Hannah Binder: Published Author and UMF Freshman

By Nathan McIvor Contributing Writer

   Novelist Hannah Binder is a freshman in the Creative Writing program who has published her first novel, “Why We Don’t Wave” under the name Hannah Paige. The novel is an ode to sisterhood and family.  

   Binder describing the novel in an email interview, said that the plot concerns four sisters who “grow up scattered across the U.S. unaware of each other’s existence .. [and] the trials that come about when four lives try to converge.

   Binder wrote the novel in “the lowest point I’ve ever been in my life so far,” crediting her older sister with spurring her improvement. “When I started writing, I wanted to dedicate this book to her. [The novel] was really a project to try and depict the importance of having a sister and it was an ode to her for all that she has done for me.  The four sisters in the novel all depict pieces of who my sister is,” Binder said.

   Binder began writing at six years old and finished “Why We Don’t Wave” at sixteen. Binder said that she enjoys “creating characters and establishing a story that I hope many people will be able to connect to” through her work.

   When asked about the publishing process, Binder replied, “My age was most likely the biggest hurdle to surmount. I was sixteen and had absolutely no idea what I was doing. I was not about to let my age keep me out of the publishing world, so I held myself to the same standard that writers twice my age do. I edited my manuscript as best I could and started submitting.”

   Despite rejections, the UK-based Austin Macauley accepted her manuscript. Much to her surprise, Binder had to ask for a modified contract, ”I needed a place for my mom to sign as well, they had no idea how old I was.”

   As a freshman, Binder appreciates “close-knit” campus. A native Californian, Binder had “a bit of a culture shock … but the Creative Writing program and the professors … are exactly what I’d hoped they would be.”

   She continues her craft and has already written another novel. Austin Macauley recently accepted “30 Feet Strong.” Binder hopes to have the book released this year. “Writing is a huge part of my life and who I am as a person.  That process of finding the perfect word, of composing a page of text that evokes so much emotion or just paints an especially effective image is exhilarating. It’s everything to me.”  


New Director, New Rocky

New Director, New Rocky

By Jane Metsker Contributing Writer


   This year’s UMF production of “Rocky Horror Picture Show” will be showcasing its K-Pop influenced dance numbers under the leadership of new directors senior Zach Roberge and junior Nate Red.

   Roberge and Red were assistant directors last year, and both have a few years’ experience with show. “We are making it awesome. We’re focusing more on choreography, keeping what we’ve liked of previous shows, taking everything else and amping it up by ten,” Roberge said.

   Sophomore Chloe Woodward, who is assisting the directors, said the show will be unique this year because of the new direction and the dancers’ involvement. “We’re adding a lot more to it. We changed some of the

This years Rocky emphasizes consent and dives into K-pop. (Photo by Jane Metsker)

scenes and we have more extras,” said Woodward. “The dancers are a lot more involved and there’s more scenes they’re involved in than in the movie.”

   Part of the directors’ visions was the addition of K-Pop to the pre-existing dance numbers. Red said, “As part of our new vision for the show Zach [Roberge] brought up the idea of around the world for spring fling,”

   There is further freedom to change up the production as almost every member of the cast has not performed in the show before. “Generally, the whole concept is to mimic the show, but we’re taking it a bit further, and adding a lot of our own aspects and touches,” Red said.

   While the topic of consent has been a prevalent aspect of previous performances, this year the directors are making a point to emphasize the importance of it.

   Roberge and Red were motivated by the idea of consent and decided that all the proceeds from the show will be donated to sexual assault prevention services. “Rocky’s always been this place of consent and freedom of sexual expression, that’s the kind of atmosphere we’re trying to set in this place,” said Roberge. “It’s a movement that Nate [Red] and I can get behind and really support.”

   Freshman AJ Saulnier, who is playing the role of Columbia, said that auditions were consent-based. “During auditions and the first few rehearsals we would constantly ask each other for consent,” said Saulnier. “With stuff like this there’s so much trust.”

   Darby Murnane, who is playing Janet, said, “I think it’s more comfortable to dance on the edges of sexuality here because it’s comic relief, it doesn’t feel dirty or unclean. It’s all for the punchline.” Murnane expressed that she feels completely comfortable in the environment created by the directors and the cast.

   There will be raffle tickets sold for a chance to win copies of the “Rocky Horror” DVD, sculptures, and posters signed by the cast. Penis gummies, penis pops, and miscellaneous Rocky items will also be sold at the event.

   The UMF Production of Rocky Horror Picture Show will be April 28 in the Lincoln Auditorium at 9 p.m. and midnight.

UMF Professors Lend Their Advice To The Class of 2018

By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter

 In mid-May, seniors will be marching across the stage receiving their diplomas for their hard work and then venturing off into post-college life. With this major change, UMF professors shared their advice to the class of 2018 on how to handle the ‘now what’ process students face.

   Professor of Political Science, James Melcher, was excited to share his thoughts on what students should do after graduation. “Don’t feel like you’ve gotta have your career figured out the minute you walk off the stage. A lot of people today are going to work a lot of different jobs,” said Melcher. “Be flexible, explore and enjoy, take advantage, if you’re in that position of not being tied down. If you ever thought about wanting to travel, it’s easier to do now.”

   Professor Melcher believes that students should savor the moment and not rush into everything at once. “Think about what you’re grateful for. That you went to school here, for the people that you met, for the things that you learned, for the experiences that you made. Even the bad experiences, maybe some of the bad experiences made you stronger, made you tougher, made you learn something.”

   Assistant Professor of English, Misty Krueger, weighed in on what she wants students to know before leaving UMF. “I want them to know that they can always come back and talk to us,” said Krueger. “We don’t forget you, we care about you, and we’re ready to write you letters of recommendation, help you find jobs, and be there for you.”

   Associate Professor of Anthropology, Nicole Kellett, believes that seniors should not be afraid to put themselves out there in the world after UMF and expand their horizons. “Try something different; try something new and maybe have a little time to chill out too,” said Kellett. “You’ve been working so hard for four or more years; have some time to maybe do something, explore different things that you’ve always wanted to explore.”

   While graduation is a fun celebration, Professor Melcher expressed the grief he has after the event. “It’s really exciting, everybody’s all fired up and they’re all going off to have their parties and then I’m realizing, ‘Oh my God, all these seniors I really, really liked are going to be gone. How am I ever going to replace them?’” said Melcher.

   All three professors urged that it is okay for seniors to not know what they’re doing after graduation, but to try to experience as much as they can. They noted that graduating is a new experience and it can be scary but UMF will always be here for seniors.

   “It’s normal to be scared, but hopefully they [the students] had a lot of preparation here for going out into the world,” said Kellett. “Life definitely does not stop at UMF. There’s so much more out there. Look at this as a building block for many other opportunities down the road.”


UMF Men’s Rugby Tackles England

UMF Men’s Rugby Tackles England

By Keely McConomy Contributing Writer

The UMF Men’s Rugby Team has enjoyed a successful season since returning from England. (Photo by Liam Brinkler)

  Recently, UMF Men’s Rugby team traveled to England to improve their skills for the upcoming spring season, and experience the sport to its full potential.

   The team landed in Manchester, England, and traveled through the expansive sheep-filled fields during the four hour drive to Hexham, England. The 18 members of the UMF team and ten alumni, including coach Tony Solis, stayed in bunk houses that were crammed and cozy, making it so all the players could do was eat, sleep and breathe rugby.

  The men played four games in their travels that put their skills to the test. They competed against teams that consisted of members who have been “playing since they were five years old,” said Liam Brinkler, a second year rugby player for UMF.

   Playing the English teams taught the UMF men much more about rugby. Through the games against high caliber teams, Brinkler and the UMF squad were able to show their skills and better themselves.

  “It’s such a better atmosphere to learn and grow, the other guys would give us advice off the field,” Brinkler said. “On the field you’re enemies, but off the field you’re friends.”

   The games were not the only way they were able to advance their rugby skills. The team had the opportunity to work with former professional rugby player from England National Team Chris Jones. Working with Jones resonated with the men.

   “He’s really smart,” said David Kimmel, also a second year rugby player.

   The team was able to learn lots techniques from Jones. “We learned a lot about defensive formations, which is something that we don’t really focus on in the States. He had knowledge that people here seem to overlook,” said Kimmel.

   For current coach and former rugby player Tony Solis, this trip was not only about developing skills related to the sport, it was about fully experiencing the true traditions of rugby. Solis had been on the trip when he was a player, so he was privy to all the knowledge and culture that his men would benefit from.

   “Our guys got to see how various traditions get handed down, and how different club rugby in the UK is than University rugby,” said Solis in an email interview. “On top of it all for me was solidifying old relationships as well as creating new relationships with guys halfway across the world that share the commonality of rugby,” Solis said.

   Solis went on to say, “I hope that we continue as a community of Maine rugby to develop relationships with other squads in a similar vein: Fierce competitors on the field, and members of the brotherhood of rugby off it.”

   Both Kimmel and Brinkler are excited about “Beast of the East,” a collegiate rugby tournament, hoping to show off their improved individual and team skills. In a recent schrimidge against Bates College, Kimmel saw the improvement first hand. “Once we started focusing on what Chris [Jones] had said I think some of us, who were on the tour, figured it out and it clicked a little bit more,” siad Kimmel.

   Brinkler has his heart set on getting the gold at “Beast of the East.” “We lost in the plate championship last year. But I’m very confident, we had a very good team and we’ve even added a couple players,” said Brinkler.

   Beast of the East will be held in Portsmouth, Rhode Island on April 14 and 15.

Painting With Spring in Mind

Painting With Spring in Mind

By Nicole Stewart Staff Reporter

 Walking into the Landing on a recent cold, April evening I was ready to have a night of relaxation by making crafts. I found that the scheduled “Think Spring Crafts” had turned into an open paint night. Along with around half a dozen other students, I got paint pictures on blank canvases.

   Out of my four years at UMF, I had never attended a paint night before, so that made my experience special. I am by no means artistic and I’m not a good painter, so I was nervous. But paint night provided a relaxing and peaceful excursion as I stroked my brush delicately against the canvas.

   Even though the event changed to a free painting night, I opted to go with the “Think Spring” theme originally intended. Now, when I think of spring, I think of flowers and green grass. But, when it comes to spring in Farmington? Small piles of white snow still cover what is meant to be the fresh verdant ground. Regardless, I th

Nicole Stewart’s finished painting. (Photo by Nicole Stewart)

ought spring, painting a flower with pink petals and a yellow center, along with a sky blue background.

   Students were able to use a selection of colors and even paints with glitter. I mixed colors together sometimes, like the dark blue and light pink to make a sky blue for my spring-themed painting. No painting is done without making a mess of yourself, my fingers and my black shawl getting specks of blue paint on them.

   As I channeled my inner Bob Ross for the evening, I was too eager to wait for the paint on the semi-covered canvas to dry. Impulsively, I used the bigger sponge instead of the selection of big and tiny brushes to make sure I would get all the uncovered spots on the canvas. I blocked out the chatter, and just focused on myself in the moment, not thinking about class or the worry of graduation. It was me, and the picture I was creating, the light pink flower I envisioned in my mind in that moment.

   Finally, after spending nearly an hour on my painting, a sense of accomplishment set in. It was no Vincent van Gogh painting, of course, but I felt good completing the piece. A night of relaxing and forgetting about everything was something well needed.

   This was an event I wish I had gone to before. Even if you aren’t the best artist in the world (or maybe not even artistic at all), you can still find peace in painting. The Landing offers a variety of painting and craft nights to UMF students, which I strongly encourage everyone to take a chance with.


UMF Student Directs Her Own Play

UMF Student Directs Her Own Play

Kristen Sarasin, a member of the Performative Writing class, has a monologue and one-act in the Festival of New Works.

By Nicole Pilote Contributing Writer

Students in the Performative Writing for the Stage class have written and created plays that will be performed at the Festival of New Works near the end of April. The festival will feature ten minute monologues and one-act plays.

   All of the plays are written and performed by UMF students. Each student has spent many hours writing and editing scripts of their plays, and they will direct their works on stage.

   Kristen Sarasin, a Junior double majoring in English and Creative Writing and minoring in Women’s Studies, has a one-act play and a monologue that will both be performed during the festival.

   “The Festival of New Works has allowed us to dig deeper into our scripts and constantly revise the piece as a whole,” Sarasin said. “The process is difficult but rewarding; it results in more polished work.”

   Students Astra Pierson and Ian Grima, who auditioned in early March for the roles, will be performing the lead roles in Sarasin’s one act. Her play depicts the last moments of a marriage between a couple in the time of their divorce.

   “I picked Astra and Ian as characters for this play because they both brought individual differences towards the role of each character,” Sarasin said. “Astra had strength and Ian had the softness that was easily relatable to the characters.”

   The course, Performative Writing for the Stage, is a general education class that combines elements of playwriting and staging a show. It allows students to have a closer look into playwriting through writing scripts and developing characters, as well as learning the technical aspects of theatre such as lighting and sound. Jayne Decker, UMF’s theater professor, teaches the class. Students in the class met with Decker individually during workshops to perfect their work.

   “I enjoyed writing the script for my one act because it allows room the explore the relationship between two people, to be able to show the honesty in people’s lives,” Sarasin said.

   The Festival of New Works will be held on Thursday the 19th and Friday the 20th.


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