A Nightmare on Salem Street: Class of 2024 Hosts Junior Varieties

Zachary Nedell and Ruka Truong contributed to this article.

Junior Varieties (JVs) have continued to be a staple of  Malden High School for many years. The show has been performed by the junior class for over 80 years, and the class of ‘24 has upheld the tradition, holding the 83rd annual JV show in March 2023. The class worked hard on the show and planned a great product that was enjoyed by students, faculty, and the MHS community at large. The performances involved dancing, music, and acting that captivated the audience.

The show opened with a chilling mood set as the audience looked upon four teenagers played by Mari Rivadeneira, Damien Josaphat, Sarah Boucher, and Kauan Da Silva.  In every act the hosts would tell more of the chilling story of “The Nightmare on Salem Street” while introducing the next act. Following them were none other than the infamous Freddy Kruger, played by Rodrigo Oliveira, and the Lion, the teacher, and the librarian, Brian Vences. These performances were all music based, ranging from Pakistani dancing to a chilling performance of the song “Say My Name” from Beetlejuice the musical. 

Several students went on stage for fun, but also to show off their culture. Saia Hussain, a junior, mentioned how she wanted to put herself out there and show off who she was. “I went to a very white-dominated Elementary Middle School. As a result of that, I was bullied a lot for being different from my peers.” But when greeted on stage, by the cheers of the audience, she knew she picked the right choice. “Like, oh my God, people are cheering for me. This is crazy!”

 

JVs also relied on the people behind the curtain as several tech teams were scrambling to make the show perfect. Calculating slapstick comedy ala scooby doo and pinpointing lighting was no easy task. The team had to fight overcrowded wings and occasional manpower shortages. Sophomore, Francis Doza commented on the situation, stating “We had people not coming and dropping out last minute. But the week of is when our technique started to get good. From there everything was smooth sailing.”

The class of ‘24 government was also involved in the program, contributing a large part. Tyler Edmond, one of the two coordinators for JVs, mentioned that work had started on selecting a theme for the event: “Our script writers participated in voting at our enrichment session on a list of potential themes we had suggested sometime around October of 2022…the anticipated winner…allowed us to start drafting our script the very next month.” A lot of the writing and scripting work was thus completed by January.

Throughout that entire period, the student government also had to deal with the performers: after auditions in December, around 25 performances were accepted into the show. After accepting these performances, the student government then had to manage personal complications and a myriad of other issues that had an impact on their ability to hold the show.

However, the student government, performers, crew, and everyone else involved were able to pull through. After a rigorous regimen of rehearsals and preparation, the performance went off swimmingly. There were rehearsals after school every day for almost a month, making everyone exhausted, but proud. Edmond probably said it best: “JVs have been on my mind, by extension, since last spring, so the amount of planning and execution we performed by creating the script, rehearsing, collaborating with one another, etc., was certainly worthwhile…I got to enjoy this pleasure with people I had previously never spoken to as well as observe other people's ingenuity.” It remains up to the juniors of next year to see if they can match this year’s performance, and everyone is proud of this year’s class for their stunning work.

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