By Sarah-Kate Bergstedt
This article is exclusive to the Online Edition 7 of VARSITY.
“You don’t have to be afraid to put your dream in action.
You’re never gonna fade, you’ll be the main attraction…”
Nothing? You don’t know where that song is from? Well then you missed out on what was possibly the greatest three years of my life! Nay, the greatest three years that Nickelodeon has ever known! I invite you to build your hibernation nest in front of the TV and join me, a theatre student, as I reminisce on the wonder, the splendour, the pure brilliance that was Victorious.
— Victorious (@Victorious) January 7, 2016
Victorious was an American sitcom that aired on Nickelodeon in 2010. It centred around Tori Vega, played by seventeen-year-old Victoria Justice, who got accepted into the prestigious performing arts school, Hollywood Arts High School. The only reason why she got accepted was because she took her overly dramatic sister’s place in a showcase after she fell ill. Before this moment, no one knew that Tori could sing and dance, let alone perform on stage without any experience.
Actress crosses stage and pauses DSTV.
First of all, this would never happen at UCT’s Centre for Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies (CTDPS) because at Hiddingh no talent goes unnoticed or is looked over. If you are a theatre and performance student, you quickly become adjusted to the fact that you are swimming in a melting pot of endless talent from dancing to painting; and if you want to make a name for yourself and be taken seriously in your prospective profession, you have to speak out.
In the first episode of Victorious, Tori meets Cat Valentine, played by pubescent, pre-super fame, Ariana Grande, who very much lives inside her own head, leaving conversations before they are over. One quickly comes to understand that it is not because she is disinterested or rude, but rather because she is naïve, whimsical, and has too many worlds inside her head that demand her attention more than the present one. Similar to Hiddingh, many of the theatre and performance students have endless and infinite worlds of different situations, characters, and roles whirling around and waiting to come to life. And if we do leave a conversation before it is over, it is most likely because we are late for a rehearsal or have to catch the next Jammie if we do not want to wait forty minutes to an hour for the next one.
— Victorious (@Victorious) June 1, 2017
Sure, at CTDPS we do not have Ariana Grande, but there are without question way more hair colours, lengths, and styles on the heads of the womxn at the Michaelis School of Fine Art than Ariana Grande has ever had. I once saw an frohawk, a crossbred afro and mohawk.
Students at CTDPS are also much less cliquey and elite than the kids at Hollywood Arts, and are more accepting of newcomers and fresh faces. Not at all like how Jade was stand-offish with Tori in the first episode. After seeing Tori accidentally spill coffee on her boyfriend’s shirt and try to wipe it off, Jade declares Tori her arch nemesis for allegedly trying to flirt with him. It is all very brash and creates a toxic relationship between the two that lasts the whole series. At least on Hiddingh, we get to know you before we judge you. Acceptance at CTDPS is painless and smooth. If you find yourself on Hiddingh campus, you do not have to go through a strict audition process to be accepted as one of us. Even if you simply take the Hiddingh Jammie back to upper campus, you become involved in a spectacular karaoke session of songs from High School Musical to Phineas and Ferb.
There is one thing that is definitely lacking at Hiddingh, though. It is the one thing, the only thing, that Hollywood Arts has that Hiddingh does not have, and that I fear Hiddingh will never have:
— Victorious (@Victorious) February 9, 2017
Played by the real-life Aladdin, Avan Jogia, Beck is the heartthrob of Hollywood Arts. He is the gift that never stops giving. If Hiddingh had Beck Oliver, I would have no reason whatsoever to come back to Upper Campus.
Our lecturers and theatre practitioners on Hiddingh are also much more qualified and experienced than Mr Sikowitz, who seems to be the only teacher at Hollywood Arts. In the second episode, Sikowitz drives Tori insane telling her to rehearse and re-rehearse one particular scene until she shouts at him that she is proud of her work and she refuses to change it further. He then reveals to her that that was the point of the exercise the whole time: that in order to succeed as a performer, whatever work and energy you put into your rehearsals has to come from yourself alone, and you have to be proud and unapologetic of your acting style. Although this style of teaching is not common at Hiddingh, our movement classes and vocal training rival that of Hollywood Arts.
— Victorious (@Victorious) December 8, 2016
Victorious is the perfect throwback sitcom for you to binge watch on these procrastination-inducing winter nights, especially if you have a passion for acting, singing, making art, and producing music. Perhaps even if those areas are not your forte, because it will give you the opportunity to be inspired by the young artists, performers, and theatre makers of our world. Victorious ultimately gives young artistic men and womxn a sense of liberation from thinking that commerce, engineering, and science are the only ways to be successful and celebrated in life. It reassures them that there is a place in this world for people with creative flare and music in their bones. Victorious teaches you to be yourself where, especially in institutions such as high school and university, you are pretty much taught you need to be better, stronger, or smarter than the next person. But at Hollywood Arts? Well, at Hollywood Arts you do not need to be anyone else other than yourself in order to make it shine!