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Review of Little Shop of Horrors at the Village Theatre

Written by Teen Writer Elle Vonada and edited by Teen Editor Kyle Gerstel

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Warning: Spoilers ahead!

Village Theatre’s production of Little Shop of Horrors brings the classic horror comedy to life through thoughtful set design, choreography, and blocking. Little Shop of Horrors opened in 1982 as an off Broadway production with book and lyrics by Howard Ashman and a score by Alan Menken. Broke botanist Seymour Krelborn (Kyle Nicholas Anderson) has a breakthrough growing a fantastical plant. Seymour thinks his financial issues have been resolved when the plant attracts customers to the store he works at, Mushnik’s Flower Shop. However, the plant grows a mind of its own, and things go awry.

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Behind the Art of "Beyond the Mountain"

Review of Beyond the Mountain at the Seattle Asian Art Museum

Written by Teen Writer Olivia Qi and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

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There’s a mountain of historical Chinese art, and many people are familiar with its loose inky style. But what lies beyond the mountain? The answers, present in the Seattle Asian Art Museum’s Beyond the Mountain exhibit, are thought-provoking performance art, painting, photography, and multimedia installations. The exhibit is organized around five themes and five artists. The themes are combinations of a traditional motif and concepts gaining traction in the modern world, with names like ink/protest, artifact/culture, proverb/nature, landscape/cityscape, and landscape/escape. Beyond the Mountain shows how contemporary Chinese artists react to a modern world while staying rooted in tradition. Furthermore, it shows how their Chinese art breaks national boundaries, becoming internationally relevant in the face of globalization.


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A Trip to the Depths of Seattle Through Music

Review of Shred Flinstone, Sailing Camp, Shudder, and Miss Prince at the Vera Project

Written by Teen Writer Calvin Lundin and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi

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On a random Wednesday night in the middle of October, the last thing most people would expect to do is to see a four-band punk show. Nonetheless, the Vera Project hosted just that, with bands from Seattle and across the country. The lineup included 3 Washington bands—Miss Prince, Sailing Camp, and Shudder—and the New Jersey trio, Shred Flintstone. Though the crowd was small, each band brought their A-game, powering through high-energy (and high-volume) sets that had everyone in the room bobbing their heads, cheering loudly, and eventually, moshing.

The night began with Miss Prince, a five-piece band that came straight out of the 90s grunge scene. With long hair blocking their faces, Miss Prince delivered a set of punk-infused hard rock tunes with solid melodies and organ solos, bringing a psychedelic vibe to the performance. Though the crowd left an awkward amount of empty space around the stage, the band wasn’t fazed, jumping around with happy faces and an undeniable aura of pure confidence. Miss Prince’s performance certainly made an impression on me; after their set finished, I kept an eye on Instagram to find out when they’ll play next.

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Appreciating the Details in "The Great Jheri Curl Debate"

Review of The Great Jheri Curl Debate at East West Players

Written by Teen Writer Poppy Lang and edited by Teen Editor Yoon Lee

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The Great Jheri Curl Debate at East West Players explores the relationship between Veralynn Jackson (Julianne Chidi Hill) and Mr. Kim (Ryun Yu), and many different forms of racial bias.

Award winning playwright Inda Craig-Galván created a heartfelt, whitty and incredibly written play that East West Players performed beautifully. Directed by Scarlett Kim, this piece is a meditation on racial bias, overcoming certain preconceived notions, and creating a beautiful relationship.

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Exploring the “Uncomfortability” of Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ

Review of Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ at On the Boards

Written by Teen Writer Miriam Gaster and edited by Teen Editor Yoon Lee

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Radio III / ᎦᏬᏂᏍᎩ ᏦᎢ is most easily described as “beautifully uncomfortable,” though this barely brushes the surface of what the performance really is.

Radio III is a contemporary dance and music performance created by Elisa Harkins, Zoë Oluch, and Hanako Hoshimi-Caines. The piece explores themes of colonialism, and the cycle of life in the past, present, and future through an Indigenous lens. The dances and score portray an Indigenous reaction to the way colonialism affects the way we think about life, death, and the limits put on our perspective. The show’s venue, On the Boards, was an excellent fit for the nature of the performance; the stage is minimalistic in a way that directly complements the performance. Walking into the theater, an open-white space and a foggy haze in the air greets the audience, welcoming us into a dream-like state.

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Vesper: Morality and Mortality After the Apocalypse

Review of Vesper film at the Grand Illusion Cinema

Written by Teen Writer Aria Sanya and edited by Teen Editor Audrey Gray


When our communities break, do we fight, lie, trick, and steal? Help each other out? Or do we flee the situation completely? Vesper (2022) is a French-Lithuanian dystopian film directed by Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper. It tells a story of a young girl navigating an inhospitable Earth while dealing with classism, relationships, morality, and survival. After an effort to combat an ecological disaster using genetic engineering goes wrong, most life is destroyed by bioengineered bacterial organisms, plunging the planet into “the new dark ages.” The upper class hedges itself off in affluent areas called Citadels, where they enslave artificially created, humanoid creatures called Jugs. The Citadels control food and resources, so the poor are forced to scavenge for food and to rely on the wealthy for genetically modified seeds that yield only one harvest each.

Vesper (Raffiella Chapman) is a curious 13-year-old girl struggling to survive in a community where resources are scarce and monopolized. She is incredibly intelligent with a natural talent for biohacking, an ability that she utilizes throughout the movie to experiment on plants and produce food and medicine. Vesper has a genuine heart but is polluted by the naivety of youth. Her tenacity is tested throughout the movie, when the condition of her paralyzed father (Richard Brake) grows increasingly worse, and a mysterious stranger (Rosy McEwen) offers a poisonous promise that could hold the key to Vesper’s survival. Film still from Vesper directed by Kristina Buozyte and Bruno Samper

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Las Mariposas: How a Rebellion Spread its Wings

Review of In the Time of the Butterflies presented at Book-It Repertory Theatre

Written by Teen Writer Joelle Walworth and edited by Teen Editor Audrey Gray

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The play opens to a lively set, filled with bright colors. Music pulses through the floorboards. The separation between the audience and the actors shrinks, and we are brought into the powerful, resonant story of four brave sisters. Directed by Ana María Campoy, the play In the Time of the Butterflies showcases the story of Las Mariposas and their rebellion against the Dominican Republic’s dictator Rafael Trujillo. Las Mariposas were four Dominican sisters—Dede (Beth Pollack), Minerva (Jasmine Lomax), Patria (Aviona Rodriguez Brown), and María Teresa Mirabal (Sofía Raquel Sánchez)—living during the tyrannical reign of President Trujillo. They helped lead the rebellion against his dictatorship, and three of them were eventually killed for it—their legacy, however, still played a role in Trujillo’s downfall. Based on the novel by Julia Alvarez and adapted for stage by Caridad Svich, the production by Book-It Repertory Theatre effectively conveys the events of Las Mariposa’s rebellion, but falters in operating as a theatrical piece.

One blatant issue with the piece is that as the sisters mature, the play’s events seem to have minimal effects on them. The sisters experience imprisonment, harassment, and horrors beyond imagination, but quickly after these events transpire, the characters return to their original disposition as though they had not encountered these evils at all. This flagrant lack of character growth is most noticeable in María Teresa. As a child, she was spunky and cheerful, always wanting new dresses and shoes. Her immature attitude surrounding clothing continues throughout the story, right up until her death—while Las Mariposas are driving before they are stopped and killed, María Teresa remarks on wanting a new bag. In some ways, this can be interpreted as a demonstration of how the sisters’ core values still hold true throughout all circumstances. However, in this scene, María’s materialism came off as shallow and fit the atmosphere poorly. Her childishness contrasts sharply with the mature and solemn María Teresa we see when she is actively participating in the rebellion. This inconsistency rendered attempts at understanding her emotional growth from child to adult near impossible. Her inconsistent nature could have been used thoughtfully to show the effects of Trujillo’s tyranny, but instead it makes it difficult to understand her character because she acts like two entirely separate people. Sofía Raquel Sánchez in In the Time of Butterflies at Book-It Repertory Theatre, Photo by Anthony Floyd

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Stories Like "Where We Belong" Belong on More Stages

Review of Where We Belong presented by Seattle Rep

Written by Teen Writer Anna Melomed and edited by Teen Editor Kyle Gerstel

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Where We Belong is a story told by one person, but it features countless different perspectives. Meet Madeline Sayet, the playwright and performer of the piece. Her Mohegan name translates to “Blackbird” and over the course of the play, Sayet learns to soar through life. She is the daughter of the medicine woman of the Mohegan tribe, an Indigenous tribe nestled in the emerald forests of Connecticut. Her community is her family and a large part of her identity.

The audience learns that several things make up a soul: a name, a family, and a passion. A passion is an incredibly strong thing: when a person discovers their passion, it changes their life. It is a thing we can fall back on no matter what goes wrong.

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The Immersive World of MAGMA SLIT

Review of MAGMA SLIT exhibit at the Henry Art Gallery

Written by Teen Writer Lily Fredericks and edited by Teen Editor Aamina Mughal

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Equal parts enthralling and bewildering, your queries will spiral as you immerse yourself in Donna Huanca’s MAGMA SLIT. Transporting the viewer from the mundane reality of Seattle traffic and tedious routine, Huanca provides a reprieve from the ordinary, casting the viewer into a cathartic land of discovery. Residing in the Henry Art Gallery, MAGMA SLIT consists of four expansive paintings depicting each season, bringing life to their formerly inanimate white backdrop. These paintings emerged from an array of digitally printed photographs from Huanca’s life, which were stitched together and transformed into the paintings. Huanca coated these foundations with vivid strokes of paint, hues primarily corresponding with their associated seasons: warmer tones depicting summer, cooler ones characterizing winter, and a flurried blend of both expressing the transitory seasons of spring and fall. Echoed with hints of life, these paintings display glimpses of the photographs of people and natural textures concealed within them, providing a real life connection between the audience and Huanca’s abstract world.

In the middle of the exhibit lies a stage. Down the center, a line of six steel sheets with alternating reflective and opaque sides create a transcendent mirror effect. This allows you to simultaneously view slivers of the paintings behind you, before you, and even catch glimpses of yourself. Cast against the vibrant settings of the paintings, viewers are further immersed in Huanca’s surreal world by becoming part of it. This deepens the viewer’s connection with the exhibit through encouraging them to relate Huanca’s pieces to themselves. Donna Huanca, Installation view of Donna Huanca: MAGMA SLIT, 2022, Henry Art Gallery, University of Seattle, Washington. Photo: Jonathan Vanderweit courtesy of the Henry Art Gallery.

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The Interpretations and Identities in Choir Boy

Review of Choir Boy presented by ACT Theatre

Written by Teen Writer Amelia Stiles and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi

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A seat in the second row of ACT’s Allen Theater could not have prepared me more for the intimate and captivating story of Choir Boy. As I sat feet away from the hexagon stage, I was immediately brought into the Charles R. Drew Prep School for Boys’ Commencement Ceremony. Seconds into this opening scene, the space fills with the rich and resonant voice of protagonist Pharus Young (Nicholas Japaul Bernard), the bold and audacious leader of the school’s gospel choir. Choir Boy revolves around Pharus’s sexuality, religious identity, and experience being Queer and Black in an all-male prep school. His story is thoughtfully conveyed through gospel, Step choreography, and innovative set design. I enjoyed the show’s creative visuals, although some of the character choices left me confused.

The unique incorporation of sound made the show a personal experience. Unlike a flashy musical, the songs in Choir Boy are fully a capella. Music entirely created with the human body lets the characters deeply express joy and pain. The absence of an orchestra leaves room for creative ways to fill the space with sound; stomping, clapping, and slamming of benches, and other body percussion are used in each musical number. These are all qualities of a specific African-American dance form, Step. By adding Step into the choreography, Juel D. Lane, the choreographer, creates a complex visual to pair with the powerful vocals on stage. This not only provided the audience with a more raw and personal way to experience the characters’ emotions but also gave a chance for audiences to see a historical Black dance form presented in a modern play. Step, paired with the gospel lyrics, allows the personal stories of each character to be told through their Black experience. The song and dance adds a deeper understanding of the character’s identities. Without explicitly speaking about being Black, the characters can demonstrate how their identity contributes to their stories.

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New Fire for YA Fantasy

Review of Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye
Written by Zoe Loughnane and edited by Teen Editor Disha Cattamanchi


Blood Scion by Deborah Falaye is a fantasy novel which explores colonialist themes, drawing from Yoruba legends and mythologies. The story portrays Sloane struggling to hide her identity while fighting for the very people who would kill her: the Lucis. Sloane must go through mandatory recruitment training known to either kill or break you, in order to thwart them. The world of Blood Scion is rich with magic and lore; the use of African mythology sets it apart from other mythology based books. It is far more frequent to find books with Greek gods or even Norse gods but African gods are untapped source material. It was enjoyable to read a new mythos, being unfamiliar with Yoruba mythology. YA needs more diversity in its titles and this felt like a great example of what new authors should strive for.

I was pleasantly surprised by the worldbuilding in this book. The war between the surviving decendants of the Orisha and the Lucis set the backdrop for the entire plot to unfold. Scions are descendants of the ancient Orisha gods; Sloane being a descendant of Shango, possesses fire áse (fire magic). It was different to see characters who use their hands to perform magic, unlike books such as Harry Potter which uses wands and Percy Jackson which has “enhanced abilities.” Magic systems not limited by magic aids (wands) or ancestry, were refreshing to see, as these overused tropes often dilute the impact of universal themes. It was also interesting to have Sloane’s magic be physically painful for her to keep in and not expend. Magical powers are often written as gifts with no negative effects to the user, but this book depicts magic as a painful burden. The magic systems therefore end up contributing to the theme of oppression and colonialism the book explores; Scions and Yorubas have to hide who they are in order to avoid persecution. Sounds familiar doesn't it?

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miku, and the gods. is a Stunning Spoken Through Musical

Review of miku, and the gods. presented by ArtsWest

Written by Kyle Gerstel and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju

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I love the Seattle theater scene. We have a wide range of venues that specialize in vastly different types of theater. Hungry for a flashy musical? Go to The 5th and you won’t be disappointed. Interested in exploring more challenging work without sacrificing production value? Check out what’s playing at the Rep. However, there is no theater I know of with shows as surprising yet consistent as ArtsWest. From the delightful We’ve Battled Monsters Before to the disturbing Monsters of the American Cinema, the theater has presented some of the boldest, most intimate productions I’ve seen since quarantine ended, and the world premiere of miku, and the gods. may be my favorite of them all.

The spoken-through musical follows Miku, a 12-year-old girl of Japanese descent, as she pursues her dream of becoming a god. It feels inappropriate to call the show a play since its rhythmic pacing, choreography, and use of theatrical devices are more aligned with what I expect from a musical. Miku’s desire to become a god serves as a smart and relatable analogy for the struggles of tweenhood, but many of the other characters lack a clear objective. Nonetheless, I remained captivated for the entire show thanks to the performers’ energy, playwright Julia Izumi’s wonderful wonder-filled dialogue (antimetabole intended), and director Alyza DelPan Monley’s raw yet thoughtful staging.

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The Price of Selling Kabul

Review of Selling Kabul presented by Seattle Rep

Written by Teen Writer Kyle Gerstel and edited by Teen Editor Triona Suiter

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Entering Seattle Rep’s Leo K. Theater, I could taste the stage: Lex Marcos’ scenic design is immersive yet intimate and textured without overwhelming the senses. The play takes place in an apartment in Afghanistan and Marcos cleverly incorporates a second layer of windows in an adjacent building, which enhances and broadens the world of the story. In addition, the apartment itself has remarkable depth, with doors, a hallway, and a kitchen separate enough to be believable while managing to fit the stage. Once the play started, D.R. Amromin’s evocative soundscape and Geoff Korf’s escalating lighting elements only drew me in more.

Selling Kabul explores the ethical and emotional consequences of valuing one life over another. It follows an Afghani interpreter for the U.S. Army as he hides from the Taliban in his sister’s apartment.

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Don’t Pigeonhole Children’s Theater

Review of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! Presented by Seattle Children's Theater
Written by Teen Writer Kyle Gerstel and edited by Teen Editor Esha Potharaju


Seattle Children’s Theatre’s Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! is not a bad show—admittedly, it is quite enjoyable. However, the book’s innovative structure is replaced with an unfortunately banal narrative, eliminating the essence of what made the source material so special.

The book Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! follows a pigeon’s antics as he attempts to convince readers to let him drive a bus. Meanwhile, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! The Musical! tells the story of a pigeon who is denied his wish of driving the bus, but learns to help the bus driver in a different capacity. Mo Willems, who created the original text, serves as the show’s lyricist and co-wrote the script with Tom Warburton.

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Balance the World of Love and Family

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Angelina N. during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


Our school had the opportunity of allowing 8th graders to watch local performers perform a rendition of the Shakespearean play, Romeo and Juliet - or in this case, Romeo y Julieta. The actors themselves did wonderful, however, myself and many others found that the play was quite confusing and boring. Many of us had no idea what was going on, and the play seemed to drag on for hours (which it technically did).

The play Romeo y Julieta follows the tragic story of two star-crossed lovers in Verona, Italy as they balance the world of love and family. The two meet at a masquerade feast where they both meet for the first time and fall in love. Unfortunately for them, their families, the Montagues and the Capulets, have been enemies for many generations. Even knowing about the feud, the two decide to get married with assistance from Julieta’s nursemaid and Friar Lawrence. The day of their wedding, Julieta’s cousin Tybalt and Romeo’s cousin Mercutio participate in a duel where Tybalt ends up taking Mercutio’s life. Upon hearing about the death of his cousin, Romeo finds, duels, and kills Tybalt. When the Prince found out about the deaths, he sentenced Romeo to exile. Julieta, not wanting to be without Romeo, or marry Paris whom her father is forcing her, tries to kill herself. However, Friar Lawrence helps her hatch up a plan for her and Romeo to run away together. Julieta fakes her death and awaits Romeo in her family tomb. The Friar’s plan however did not work because Romeo misses the Friar’s message about Julieta and goes to see her himself. At her tomb, he meets and kills Paris before finally seeing Julieta’s alleged dead body. He kisses her and downs some poison and dies at the foot of her tomb. Julieta wakes up not too long after to find Romeo dead and kills herself to be with him.

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They Would Do Anything to Be Together

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Binta So during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


Have you ever seen the play Romeo y Julieta? Well if you have that's great but if you haven't Romeo y Julieta, it's about two lovers that are very much in love but due to their religions and their families not liking each other, their relationship was not supported so they were not allowed to see each other. At the end they both killed themselves thinking the other partner was dead, so basically they killed themselves because they both lost the love of their life.

In the play Romeo y Julieta I liked when they never gave up on each other but i didn't like the mango scene because in my opinion it was unnecessary.

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Smooth Transition Between English and Spanish

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Ron Nguyen during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


The play Romeo y Julieta is about two people that are in love with each other. But due to their family, they can not be together.

In the play Romeo y Julieta, I was fond of the smooth transition between English and Spanish. I think this makes the play a lot more interesting. Because without it the play would seem a bit inaccurate because the play is set in a Spanish speaking country. So, with this edition, it makes the play a lot more interesting and the transition from the two languages is also very smooth and consistent. This makes the play a lot more pleasing to watch.

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Well Performed and Well Put Together

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Zoe Hamaker during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


In the play Romeo y Julieta, a play about two people who fell in love, their parents do not like Romeo. Then both ended up killing themselves at the end of the play because of their love and they both thought they died. I felt like it could’ve been more entertaining and more interactive with the audience.

I think it could’ve been more entertaining during the play if they would ask the audience member questions during the play as a more entertaining way to pull the viewers in because most of those kids didn’t pay attention half the time. But instead they made 200+ middle school kids sit in a small gym and watch a theater play about romance, and if you didn't know, those four things don’t add up. So I think it would be important to take into consideration that no middle schooler except for theater kids would enjoy Romeo y Julieta live action.

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A Forbidden Love

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company
Written by Norah Bustanoby during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


The play Romeo y Julieta was a play where Romeo had a forbidden love with a princess named Julieta. They quickly had fallen in love and later both committed suicide due to a staged death from Julieta.

I liked when Romeo and Julieta died because the actors really put in effort to make it seem that they really were hurt. The character that played Romeo truly did show how he was in pain from his lost love Julieta. Not just Romeo but Julieta did to her character, expressing to us that she was in so much despair that she would go as far to kill herself just to be with him.

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Their Strong Suit were the Suits

Review of Romeo y Julieta presented by Seattle Shakespeare Company

Written by Kameron Thav during an Arts Criticism workshop at Glacier Middle School


This play is about two families in Verona, Italy. One of them being Romeo's family and the other being Julieta's, who have conflict against each other. Unfortunately, Romeo ends up meeting Julieta and Romeo and Julieta ended up falling in love. However, the families found out about this love and did not like it.

I liked the costumes of the play. I also liked the action in the play because it was entertaining but I didn’t like the language switching in the play, it was too confusing.

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