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New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

The student news site of New Trier High School

New Trier News

Lagniappe-Potpourri draws on traditional roots and new members

School play has maintained format for 85 years, but students and themes help make each year unique
Cast members practice scenes from Lagniappe Potpourri during after-school rehearsal

Traditionally, Lagniappe-Potpourri has always been in the hands of the students. It’s what has defined the play for years and what continues to distinguish it from other school productions. 

Most of the student productions at New Trier are renditions of popular plays. However, Lagniappe Channels the creativity of its cast members to create new and entertaining scenes.

Senior Suvali Dhar, one of the student leaders for the show, explains, “It’s student directed and ran, so it’s working with other students. There is a chance for students to be leaders and learn from your peers.”

It’s student directed and ran, so it’s working with other students. There is a chance for students to be leaders and learn from your peers.

— Suvali Dhar

There’s a significant amount of responsibility given to the students. The board, composed of 23 student members led by student producers, oversee virtually every detail that goes into the play. 

Dhar said, “Lars Arlandson, the scenic designer, basically plans the entire set, measures the dimensions, and makes blueprints for everything. Me and Lars have been coming up with a lot of ideas for the set, we have 60 different ideas for the stairs alone.”

However, there is still guidance from the elders. The adult directors for each section describe an outline of what they want from their students and the students take full control from there. 

Junior Ricki Viner, a cast member, said, “I’m in this one called Men’s Dance, and it’s about how Men’s Dance is a cult. The main thing my director emphasized was like being monotone throughout, so when we rehearsed we tried to show that through our speech and everything.”

While each director has their vision for their scenes, the main foundation and uniting banner is the central theme and title for Lagniappe Potpourri, which changes year by year. The student board and the adults work together to define the theme for the play each year. 

Theater Teacher Nina Lynn, the head sponsor and director for Lagniappe, said, “The theme itself is a snapshot of the current school year and whatever is really in the mind of the student body.”

This year’s title is “Fill in the Blank”, and the theme is “Be Brave, Be Kind, Be Proud.”

Dhar said, “It’s about finding where you fit in with cliques or clubs, and filling the blank space.”

The change to the play is the different people that come and go. Since the students do the bulk of the work for the play, new cast members bring their own ideas and interpretations that really form a unique whole.

“Since the student board shifts every year, you have a different script basically, because they all bring these new ideas together,” said Viner.

Despite all this change, there’s been one constant at the show, which is Lynn. 

“Ms. Lynn has a super positive mindset, and she works out every idea. She also lets students lead, and she is really good at finding that balance. She’s an excellent mentor,” Dhar said.

After 20 years of sponsoring and working for Lagniappe Potpourri, Lynn is stepping down from her role. 

Recounting her memories of the show, Lynn recalls her favorite moment. 

“Seeing the look on the board members’ faces when it’s opening night, seeing the sense of accomplishment that the students feel after making something that audiences appreciate, I get goosebumps talking about it,” Lynn said.                

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