In another installment of “Imaginative Interviews” TheatreBloom continues to make friends with the cast of Kensington Arts Theatre’s production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee. This rare exclusive, the likes of which can’t be found anywhere else, gives readers of TheatreBloom a chance to meet the characters from the show!
We’re continuing on and will now meet all six spelling contestants who are featured in the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.
Amanda: Thank you all for taking a minute just before the bee gets under way to sit down and talk to our readers about this exciting experience for you! I know you all must be very nervous so we’ll keep this short, but if you can just tell us who you are and a little about yourself, the readers of TheatreBloom would love to know all about it! Let’s start with you, you are?
William Barfèe: My name’s William Barfèe.
Amanda: Can you spell that?
William Barfèe: Um, it’s W-I…L-L-I…A-M B-A-R…F-E with an acute and then E.
Amanda: And what brings you to the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?
William Barfèe: Um, I’m trying to prove myself because uh, last year I was actually— I uh had to be emergency evacuated out of the building because I had um an allergic reaction to this really nasty peanut allergy that I have. It was horrible.
Amanda: I’m so sorry to hear that. But I’m sure you’re excited to be back. And who are you?
Olive Ostrovsky: I’m Olive. Just Olive.
Amanda: Ok, just Olive. What brings you to the bee?
Olive Ostrovsky: This is my first time. I really just love to spell. I had a really fun time at the last bee.
Amanda: Ok. And you are?
Marcy Park: I’m Marcy Park.
Amanda: Can you spell that please?
Marcy Park: M-A-R-C-Y P-A-R-K.
Amanda: And what brings you here to the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?
Marcy Park: I just transferred here from Virginia and I’m just qualifying. I am trying to get to nationals.
Amanda: Ok. And you are?
Chip Tolentino: I’m Chip Tolentino. And yes I can spell that. It’s C-H-I-P T-O-L-E-N-T-I-N-O.
Amanda: And what are you doing here at the spelling bee?
Chip Tolentino: Um, I’m back again. I won last year! I’m just trying to get through this bee and get back to nationals so I can do better again this year.
Amanda: Awesome. And our last girl contestant, you are?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: My name is Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre.
Amanda: Oh my goodness. Can you spell that?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Would you like me to spell my whole name or just the first part? Or just the last part?
Amanda: Can you spell your whole name?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Alright. Logainne. L-O-G-A-I-N-N-E. Logainne. Schwartzandgrubenierre. S-C-H-W-A-R-T-Z-A-N-D-G-R-U-B-E-N-I-E-R-R-E. Schwartzandgrubenierre.
Amanda: That should be an award winning spelling right there.
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: I agree-ee!
Amanda: What are you doing here at the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Well, I really like to spell and my dads really like to spell—
Amanda: Your dads?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Oh yes! I have two gay dads! Well, obviously, because they’re two dads, right? I was made in a turkey baster! And um my birth mother she lives in Kansas, but I’ve never met her. But I spell for my dads. And I spell for myself. And then I spell for my mom.
Amanda: That’s really awesome. Alright, last contestant. You are?
Leaf Coneybear: Leaf Coneybear!
Amanda: Can you spell that?
Leaf Coneybear: Um…L-E-A-F. Um…C-O-N-E-Y-B-E-A-R. Right?
Amanda: What are you doing here, Leaf?
Leaf Coneybear: I’m just lucky, I guess, I’m a third alternate because the two people who were supposed to be here before me had to go to a Bat Mitzvah.
Amanda: What’s a Bat Mitzvah?
Leaf Coneybear: I have no idea.
Amanda: Alright! We’re going to back to you, William. What’s your favorite word of all-time ever?
William Barfèe: My favorite word of all-time ever is actually hare, as in like the rabbit hare and not like the hair on your head. Like H-A-R-E hare. Because it kind of tricks you. So yeah, I like hare. Also my favorite animal is also a rabbit.
Amanda: That’s awesome. Do you have a pet rabbit?
William Barfèe: I do have a pet rabbit. His name is Bugs just like my foot. Just like my foot.
Amanda: Your foot is named Bugs? Can you tell us about your foot?
William Barfèe: Well, I’m best friends with my foot and he is basically my friend. So we hang out and we spell words together. Me and my foot and my rabbit Bugs.
Amanda: That’s really awesome. Ok, Miss Olive, what is your favorite word of all-time ever?
Olive Ostrovsky: Um. Phalange.
Amanda: Phalange? What does that mean?
Olive Ostrovsky: It means fingers and toes.
Amanda: Can you spell that?
Olive Ostrovsky: P-H-A-L-A-N-G-E. It’s the word that I won the school bee with.
Amanda: Neat. And what about you, Miss—
Marcy Park: It’s Marcy Park. And my favorite word is also a name. But it’s Jesus.
Amanda: Jesus. Why is your favorite word Jesus?
Marcy Park: Well, I go to a Catholic school and we learn a lot about Jesus. And I just believe that he helps me a lot with my daily spelling. And yes, before you ask, I can spell Jesus. It’s an easy word. J-E-S-U-S.
Amanda: Ok…back to you, Mister Chip Tolentino. What is your favorite word of all-time ever?
Chip Tolentino: Uh my favorite all-time word is probably crustacean?
Amanda: Crustacean? Can you spell that?
Chip Tolentino: Uh…C-R-U-S-T-A-C-E-A-N? Yeah. Crustacean. I like that word because that’s the word that I won my first spelling bee with ever? And that’s when I discovered that I really liked spelling because there’s a trick to that word and it’s the “E-A-N” at the end.
Amanda: Do you like to eat crustaceans?
Chip Tolentino: Not really, no. I wish I did because then it would be full circle. But no, I don’t.
Amanda: That’s still a great word. And what about you, Logainne?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: My favorite word is Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious and the reason it’s my favorite word is because it’s both a not-real word and a real-real word! Like it was in the movie as a not-real word but now I think it’s in Webster’s as a real-real word and I just think that’s wonderful!
Amanda: Let me guess, you’re going to spell it for me, aren’t you?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: You bet I am! S-U-P-E-R-C-A-L-I-F-R-A-G-I-L-I-S-T-I-C-E-X-P-I-A-L-I-D-O-C-I-O-U-S! Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!
William Barfèe: Could you do it backwards like in the musical?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Sure! S-U-O-I-C-O-D-I-L-A-I-P-X-E-C-I-T-S-I-L-I-G-A-R-F-I-L-A-C-R-E-P-U-S! Whee!
William Barfèe: Oh my gosh!
Amanda: Holy wow! Go get an apple juice, sweetie! That was well done.
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Thank you!
Amanda: And last but not least, Mister Leaf Coneybear, what’s your favorite word?
Leaf Coneybear: My favorite word is dinosaur.
Amanda: And can you spell dinosaur?
Leaf Coneybear: D-I-N-O-S-A-U-R.
Amanda: And why is it your favorite word?
Leaf Coneybear: Because I have a dinosaur backpack. And my favorite toy Rex is a dinosaur. And I like to pretend that am I am a dinosaur. Like Rex.
Amanda: Now I was told that you guys had some special help in preparing for your spelling bee. That you guys each had a really special mentor that got you all prepared for the stage, so I’d like to ask you guys what that was like working with these special mentors. William, they tell me you were assigned Jonathan Miot. And that Jonathan Miot often tap dances for his super after a long day at the hairspray factory. Can you tell me a little about what it was like to work with him?
William Barfèe: Um…yeah…he’s kind of a cool guy. He’s sort of like out there sometimes. He’s really weird. He’s really, really weird. He loves video games. We’re kind of like nerds together but I’m more of a science nerd? And he’s more of a…kind of a…you know a nerd-nerd. There’s some differences but he knows a lot of things about spelling. So him, Bugs, and I— Bugs my foot, not Bugs my hare— we hang out and talk and maybe have some apple juice and just sit down and like browse through the dictionary and spell words.
Amanda: Very cool. Miss Olive, they tell me you were assigned to a lovely lady named Emma Lord who likes to be on her own in a little fall of rain. What was it like working with her?
Olive Ostrovsky: Fun. She is easily excitable and distracted. But, um, we are both really competitive. And we both really love spelling so it was easy.
Amanda: That’s great. Miss Marcy, they tell me you were assigned to a lovely lady named Emily Dey and she really embraces her inner darkness—
Marcy Park: Actually her last name is pronounced /daɪ/. But it was a little difficult working with her. She’s not the best speller and I’m a really good speller. It was really, really hard but thankfully she used note cards. Little white index cards where it had the word and how to pronounce it and sometimes the definition. Kind of what Panch uses, I think.
Amanda: She must have worked really hard to make all that happen.
Marcy Park: Um, she didn’t really work that hard.
Amanda: Ok. Mister Chip, they tell me you had a really cool dude named Dylan Echter who loves building and climbing on barricades. What was it like working with Mister Dylan?
Chip Tolentino: Um, he’s pretty fun. Um, he’s also not the best speller so I was really kind of teaching him how to spell. And he um uses auto-correct a lot. And really if he didn’t have a computer then he probably couldn’t’ spell anything.
Amanda: Wow. That must have been really interesting working with him because he’s not a good speller.
Chip Tolentino: Um, yeah. But he really likes to win. So he was using the computer to correct me when I was spelling wrong which wasn’t often but, but I was more helping him spell.
Amanda: Cool. Miss Logainne…I hear you got to work with a lady named Sarah King and she likes jumping to the left and stepping to the right on moon drenched shores?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Yes! Yes! And she’s very nice. She’s pretty and she’s smart and she’s super fun! But she’s also equally as sweaty as I am which makes me feel a little less self-conscious about myself!
Amanda: Do you sweat a lot?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: I do! I sweat so much! Sometimes I have to blow on my pits! It’s a little nerve wracking! But it’s okay! She makes me feel good about myself and it’s nice to have a woman in my life that makes me feel confident because my dads don’t always do that for me.
Amanda: Awesome! And Leaf Coneybear they told me that you got to work with Nick Carter who really likes dancing and prancing around in woolly tights. Wait, isn’t Nick Carter from the Backstreet Boys?
Leaf Coneybear: I don’t know who the Backstreet Boys are but Nick Carter’s pretty cool.
Amanda: Why is he cool?
Leaf Coneybear: Well he’s a really good speller and I’m not so good so it was kind of helpful. Sometimes it just comes to me and I think he had a lot to do with that. He’s really nice. And we’re both really easily distracted. So that was fun. Sometimes we would just like pretend to be dinosaurs and be fun together.
Amanda: Alright, I have one more question for your awesome spellers and then we have to get your apple juice before you head up get the bee started! Mister Barfèe, what do you want to be when you grow up?
William Barfèe: Oh I want to be a scientist when I grow up.
William Barfèe: A biological scientist because I love animals and I primarily want to work on rabbits. Um, cause they’re my favorite, like I said, cause my favorite word is hare.
Amanda: And how will winning the bee help you achieve becoming a scientist?
William Barfèe: Um, the 200 dollars savings bond will go toward my college degree!
Amanda: Where do you want to go to college?
William Barfèe: Oh, I want to go to Vassar.
Amanda: Very awesome. Alright, Miss Olive. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Olive Ostrovsky: Um, probably something with words. Like an author or a journalist or maybe even on radio.
Olive Ostrovsky: I just really love words. Uh, I like to read my dictionary a lot. Words are my friends.
Amanda: And how is winning the spelling bee going to help you do that?
Olive Ostrovsky: Um…gosh I hadn’t really thought that far, I was just having so much fun being here.
Amanda: That’s the best answer you could have given. Miss Marcy Park, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Marcy Park: I would like to be a black belt in karate because I’m very strong. And I’m very close. But I’m not there yet. I think maybe when I turn 13.
Amanda: And how old are you now?
Marcy Park: 12.
Amanda: And how is winning the spelling bee going to help you to become a black belt in karate?
Marcy Park: Well, it’s not really, but my mom says if I keep doing different activities that I can focus on different things and I think it’s getting me to that level where I can compete in the black belt competition.
Amanda: Awesome. Mister Chip Tolentino, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Chip Tolentino: Um, I want to be president of the United States.
Amanda: Oh my goodness. Why?
Chip Tolentino: Because I really want to be a professional contest winner. And that is like the ultimate contest.
Amanda: Yeah, definitely, you have to get a lot of people to vote for you.
Chip Tolentino: Yeah and if you win that you basically win everything.
Amanda: And how is winning at the Putnam County Spelling Bee today going to help you achieve that goal?
Chip Tolentino: I mean it’s just another stepping stone on my road to the presidency.
Amanda: Alright. Very nice. Miss Logainne, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: I’m hoping to do something in politics. I’m not exactly sure what but I know that I’m really interested in education for all and equal rights.
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: My two— well, obviously, I’ve got two dads. Right? They’re also interracial. And also I really hope that everybody can feel accepted in this world. Sometimes I don’t feel so accepted even in my own household so I just want everybody to feel welcomed!
Amanda: Awesome! How is winning the spelling bee going to help you with that goal?
Logainne Schwartzandgrubenierre: Oh I think it’ll make me more confident so I think it will set a beautiful example for boys and girls everywhere!
Amanda: Aww! That’s a beautiful answer. Leaf Coneybear, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Leaf Coneybear: I want to be a ring leader of the first professional cat circus.
Amanda: The first professional cat circus. Why do you want to be the ring leader for the first professional cat circus?
Leaf Coneybear: Because I love cats. And I have lots of cats.
Amanda: How do you think winning the spelling bee is going to help you get to that goal?
Leaf Coneybear: Oh I don’t think I’m going to win the spelling bee.
Amanda: Oh, why don’t you think you’re going to win today?
Leaf Coneybear: Because I’m really not that smart and I kind of just lucked out getting here but I’m really just happy being here so that’s ok.
Amanda: Alright that was wonderful, boys and girls, I wish you all the best with the spelling bee!
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee plays through March 1, 2015 at the Kensington Arts Theatre located in the Kensington Town Hall— 3710 Mitchell Street in Kensington, MD. For tickets call the box office at (206) 888-6642 or purchase them online.
To read the TheatreBloom review of Spelling Bee, click here.
To read the first “Imaginative Interview” with the Adults of the 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, click here.