Two Sweet Briar seniors stage their own story

Sweet Briar College seniors Ashlynn Watson of Nelson County and Mayalin Quinones of Houston will present their final project, a cabaret titled “Nothing but Backbone,” at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13, in the Babcock studio theater.

The show’s songs and dance numbers revolve around a central theme, Watson says.

Seniors Ashlynn Watson and Mayalin Quinones, seen at Junior Banquet, are friends and collaborators.
Seniors Ashlynn Watson (left) and Mayalin Quinones, seen at Junior Banquet, are friends and collaborators.

“We wanted to show our growth and the journey we’ve taken as women and performers, and the trials and tribulations we went through to become the women we are,” she said, adding, “The songs are then tied together with dialogue interludes to help the audience understand why each piece is crucial to the performance.”

The two women, who are both majoring in musical theater, co-wrote the dialogue, and collaborated on nearly all aspects of the show. Each worked to her strengths. Watson, a dance minor with a concentration in dance therapy, handled the choreography.

They chose music that evokes for them a specific feeling or that captures a moment in time, Watson says. The program ranges from golden-age musical selections to modern-day pieces.

“The songs allow the audience to follow us in ways that just speaking could not,” Watson said. “I hope the audience gains an appreciation for live art, sees the value in what we work so hard to do and how valuable it is to society.”

The two good friends decided it was “obvious” they should collaborate on their senior projects together. They’ve been working on the show for about a year. The cast list is short. That, too, seemed self-evident, Watson says.

“The only performers are myself and Mayalin. This story is about us — so who better to show that?”

The show is free and open to the public. For more information, email Watson at watson16@sbc.edu.