Thomas Perrotti: Man of Music

The wind is blowing along the ocean shore.  It’s the summer of 1966, a time of change in America.  A teenage boy balances on the stonewall walking down Third Beach, holding tightly to his transistor radio taking in the music that defined his life.  While the transistor radio has gone out of style, Thomas Perrotti again calls Newport his home and works locally as a musical director.

Sitting at a small table by the window, Perrotti lunched in the local store the “A Market,” enjoying his first meal of the day with some hot chowder.  While the “A Market” is really an organic grocery store, the few tables by the cash registers offer a front row seat to people watch in the town center.  A small section in the back offers hot food and pre-made meals that can make an enjoyable lunch.  Looking a little different from his image as a teenager, Perrotti has long white hair and tinted Lennon glasses that gradually adjust to the light.  Feeling most comfortable when talking about music, we began discussing the intricate nature of Folk music, the genre that served as both an entertaining pastime and educator in Mr. Perrotti’s life.

Perrotti, a long time Newporter, is the musical director for Common Fence Music, a non-profit organization interested in presenting music to the community through different venues.  The Newport Folk and Jazz Festivals serve as the inspiration for the concerts and musical workshops the organization offers.

Perrotti describes Folk music as “people music,” representing whatever culture it comes from.  It serves as a connection to the past for people who truly listen to it.  Common Fence Music aims at getting people to listen and appreciate the music that is played.  Additionally, the organization doesn’t sell alcohol at their events.  The performances are not meant to be a “bar scene” where people come to dance and chat.  Guests will frequently bring a meal and wine, but when the music starts the room gets quite, and the messages of the music are transferred to their audience.

Perrotti views his position as a part time job but is very active in finding national and international bands, as well as keeping up with the website, emails, and execution of performances. Dr. Laura O’Toole, a member of the board of directors for Common Fence Music, calls him the “one man band,” as he frequently juggles multiple tasks at once. Common Fence Music finds unique but powerful folk, roots and world performers.  Some upcoming concerts include Malcolm Holcombe, Nora Jane Struthers & The Party Line, and the Jammin’ Divas.

Perrotti incorporates his passion for music into his work and tries to keep the focus on human expression rather than profit.  “There’s a gap between the joy of music and the reality of the music business,” says Perrotti.  Most musicians want to play their music for the emotions it provokes and its connection to other people.  However, Perrotti concedes a musician can’t be too “pure” that they’re not promoting their work.  If artists don’t spend time packaging themselves, their music won’t be widely heard.  Perrotti hopes to find these talented underdogs and bring their music to Newport, maybe even finding the next Bob Dylan.

To promote the Common Fence organization, Perrotti was involved with their first major fundraiser, a dinner dance with a silent auction.  Dr. O’Toole described the event as very successful and was most proud, not only of Perrotti’s work, but of his outfit.  “Tom’s characteristic ‘uniform’ is a t-shirt, some sort of shirt-jacket, and of course his jeans,” said Dr. O’Toole jokingly.  “So I was really surprised when he showed up in a suit! And I think he was even more surprised when I made him dance with me.”

As a musician himself, Perrotti has experience playing the piano, accordion, guitar, and mandolin.  He enjoys playing Irish music, usually in the minor keys, resulting in sadder songs.  Perrotti enjoys the human emotion that results from these gloomy melodies.

Somewhat struggling to find the proper words, Perrotti describes the experience as a “neurological exercise” that activates an unconscious part of the intellect.  A certain feeling is illuminated when these minor keys are played; the music “speaks differently” to the instrumentalist.  Perrotti is also liberated by the prospect of expressing an idea.  He views society as always needing to be bright and cheery.  But when a song has the ability to articulate a reality, to Perrotti, “the truth is refreshing.”

Folk music, he says, is the ultimate venue for expressing ideals.  Folk music has been a part of Perrotti’s life since he was a child.  His father was part of the Kiwanis club and sold hamburgers and beer at the Newport Folk and Jazz festivals.  These performances cultivated a range of folk and blues music that would exceed the boundaries of society and attract an audience interested in both innovation and tradition. Having free access to the event, Perrotti would often tag along and soon realized he wanted to go every year.  The music he was exposed to became his key educator for the “intellectual and philosophical change of direction going on.”  Perrotti found himself “lost in the middle of something,” and thus turned to music to help shape the open and free attitude he still holds today.

The festival didn’t control crowds back then.  Swarms of people would cover the beach, creating a “quilt” of people dancing, sleeping, falling in love and absorbing the music. “The festival wasn’t free, but the spirit around it was free,” Perrotti remembers.

Reminiscing, Perrotti described a particular year when a riot broke out.  Thousands of people tried to reach the sold-out festival, ending in a quarrel with the police.  Unfortunately, Perrotti was busy taking a typing lesson at a secretary school, per his mother’s request.  Stuck in class, listening to the news reports on the radio, Perrotti wondered, “What the hell am I doing here?”

After graduating high school in 1967, Perrotti describes the time as “lightning bolts going off in terms of awareness.”  The Civil Rights Movement was in affect and the U.S.’s involvement in the Vietnam War was at its peak.  Perrotti’s participation in the festival and civil rights advocacy was a significant part of his life, but would sometimes lead to actions he wishes he hadn’t taken.  As a teenager, Perrotti described himself as arrogant, rude, young, and protesting everything.  While looking back at some of his rebellious actions over the years, he described his “flaming youth” as one of his regrets.

Expressing his thoughts through a different outlet, Perrotti created his own band in the 70s.  The “Viking Town Trio” as they called themselves, had multiple performances including a television appearance on a variety show.  Newport’s historical heritage was expressed through the clever band name, uprooting the mystery of the Old Stone Mill, a round stone tower located in Touro Park.  Speculation as to who the original architects were is still being questioned, but the Vikings are one of the rumored architects of the structure.

Despite moving to Connecticut to attend Fairfield University, Perrotti continued practicing his music as a solo artist.  Perrotti graduated with a major in English and minors in music and history.  Marrying young, Perrotti decided to move back to Newport with his family where he taught at a high school for 20 years.

Dr. Debra Curtis of Salve Regina University was a student of his for her 9th grade creative writing class.  She described Perrotti as a very inspiring, creative, and alternative teacher.  His unique classroom atmosphere was beneficial for troubled children in particular.  “He created a space where students could imagine the unimaginable,” said Dr. Curtis.  As a teacher, Perrotti was able to provide kids with the understanding that there is a place for them in society even if they were non-conventional.

Sneaking in a spoonful of soup before starting a new topic, Perrotti was interrupted by a friend passing through the market.

“Hey Tom, where’s Eddie?”

“He was here, he left about a half hour ago.”

Their exchange continued, concluding with a bellowing laugh and a friendly wave goodbye.

Perrotti spent most of his life in Newport, and frequently encounters his friends in town, particularly at “A Market.”  Not much of a cook himself, Perrotti enjoys stopping by this eatery for the healthy food and pleasant company.  “I keep a day bed behind the painting,” he jokes, pointing to a mural behind the table.  Throughout lunch, two other friends stopped by the table to give a quick hello, confirming the frequency of his lunch spot.

Perrotti likes to remain open to new ideas and welcomes the change that occurs around him.  Having lived through drastically evolving decades, Perrotti recognizes the different values, economy, and sense of security in America.  Fear and doubt have become a prominent feeling in today’s society.  “I don’t feel that I have a blueprint to help you understand the world that you’re emerging in,” comments Perrotti, referring to the 21st century generation.  While he can’t predict how life will turn out, he still learns a lot from his three children.

From his two marriages, Perrotti has 43, 40, and 27-year-old children.  He finds that in this generation, it is easier to reach his kids through text, a change he is just getting used to.  In addition to the cultural information he receives from his kids, Perrotti also feels that he needs to look through several different sources of media to understand what is going on in the world.  The news that used to surround his adolescence is now becoming a struggle to find.

Today, Perrotti takes pleasure in spending time with what he calls his “extended dysfunctional family” but also hopes to open up his life to travel. Having had the best vacation of his life in Ireland, traveling to other parts of Europe is on Perrotti’s bucket list.  Italy is a particular destination that Perrotti would like to go, to potentially teach music or English to children.

Whether he is listening to the radio in the car, organizing concerts for Common Fence Music, or simply playing guitar at home, music consumes Tom Perrotti’s life.  When looking into the future, Perrotti imagines himself sitting in the corner of a restaurant, “people eating, drinking, and tapping their toe” to the Irish music he plays softly in the background.


Dinner at Diego’s


The twinkling lights, the rustic wood interior, and the savory smell of Mexican spices welcome you into Diego’s in downtown Newport.   As I walked closer to the harbor, a small space opened up next to the crammed boutiques packed tightly together.  Black tables and chairs occupied the terrace while the autumn accents complemented the restaurant’s exterior.   Giving off a feeling of warmth and comfort, my friend Maggie and I were promptly seated at a table for two in a corner by the window.

Diego’s specializes in West Coast style Mexican food with a concentration on fresh ingredients, homemade sauces, and bold flavors which certainty comes through in their generously portioned entrees.  While their Restaurant Week menu offered a three-course meal for $30, my companion and I chose to order from the original menu.  One serving of “Braker’s Guac” split between two was the perfect appetizer to begin our own Mexican excursion.  The guacamole made of just fresh avocadoes, diced tomatoes, and a hint of lemon gave a light creamy taste that complemented the crispy tortilla chips it resided on.   We chose water as our beverage, which was served in small plastic cups, adding a more casual feel to the romantically lit atmosphere.

Having small appetites, Maggie and I probably could have stopped after the guacamole, but trudged on to the circular but unmatched plates that contained our main courses.   Smelling nothing but Diego’s ancho chili barbeque sauce, the steam from the “Barbacoa Burrito” moistened the roof of my mouth just as I went in for my first bite.   The burrito was a Mexican mix of ingredients wrapped in a toasted tortilla.  The tequila lime marinated pulled pork formed the foundation of the burrito, each shred of meat possessing a hint of subtly spicy barbeque sauce.  Baja cheese, black beans, green tomatoes, lettuce and scallions each possessing their own flavors, added to the width of the wrap.  The seasoned rice weighed the burrito down, making this a heavy food option.  A spoonful of leftover guacamole also added a smooth topping to the impeccable creation.   The burrito was as delicious as it was messy.  No matter how you eat it, prepare for a little spillage.  While I thoroughly enjoyed myself, I wouldn’t recommend this super-stuffed burrito on a first date.

Maggie went for the light and infamous “Loaded Fish Tacos.”  A soft grilled tortilla formed a hammock for the pan-seared Cod, black beans, Baja cheese, pineapple salsa, Baja aioli, and small chunks of tomato.  After tasting it myself, her serene expression was understood.  The combination of ingredients created a cool taste and was boldly dressed up by a light pink sauce.  The sauce, carefully drizzled on top of the tacos had a sweet and tangy flavor, which left a memorable impression.

As the evening continued and night took over, we forgot that we were in Newport.   Long-leafed plants hung from the ceiling and the string of tiny lights and a few dim lamps became the only source allowing us to see our food.  The noise of the crowd consumed the space, almost hiding the quietly played rock music in the background.   The setting had an exotic feel that was not offset by the TV behind the bar, which was being watched religiously by sports fans.   And while the cuisine is focused, the customers were not.  Diego’s restaurant not only created a hotspot for adults, but was also the place for a family dinner as well.   It’s multiple deals and themed nights attract all people looking to have a good time.

I praise this place on its comfort food.  Each dish is unique but results in the same satisfied feeling at the end of a meal.  Though your jeans may feel a little tight, the taste of a piquant sauce lingering on your lips makes dinner at Diego’s well worth it.


 Diego’s Mexican Restaurant  |  Mon-Fri 11:30 am- 1 am; Sat-Sun 9am- 1am |

401.619.2640   | Accepts credit cards 

11 Bowens Wharf Newport, RI  |

Five Stops to Good Food

Standing at Viewthe top of the Vanderbilt Grace Hotel, the eight Newport Gourmet Tour members looked out in awe at the spectacular view before them.  It was five o’clock and the sun was just beginning to set, cascading a magical sparkle over the water, blue as Cinderella’s gown on the night of the ball.  Sailboats were scattered throughout the calm water, creating the perfect sight to complement the piquant taste occupying everyone’s taste buds.  It was the last stop of the tour and a perfect way to capture the essence of Newport.

Newport Gourmet Tours, owned and operated by former chef, Michael Martini pleases both foodies and first-timers.  Dressed in salmon pink shorts and a polo shirt, Martini led the group to five stops around downtown Newport introducing less known but equally delicious places to eat.  The criteria for choosing which restaurants to visit is put simply by Martini, “Basically I have to like to eat at them.”  Having been in the culinary business for over 25 years, Martini uses his previous experience as a way to communicate food to others without being stuck in the kitchen.  As the tour guide, Martini takes his group around Newport, not only allowing them to sample tasty food, but also incorporating information about the preparation of the meals.

The first stop of the tour was the “The White Horse Tavern.”  The tavern, or as Martini calls it, “the place where it all began,” was a suitable start as it is the oldest tavern in America.  Built in 1652, Martini points out the image of the white horse represents a place to eat, drink, and stay to the illiterate in the 17th century.White Horse

Our appetizer was eloquently presented on narrow rectangular plates that were embedded with three Narragansett oysters.  Each slippery oyster was topped with pepper, onion, micro Arugula, and breadcrumbs.  A few drops of lemon enriched the spices and masked any hint of a fishy flavor.

Walking swiftly down the road the tour group slows down in front of an aptly named bar “Pour Judgment.”  Not meeting the criteria for a typical “gourmet” restaurant, this eclectically decorated pub infused the tour with a little flare. After sampling rum saturated with pineapple, Martini comments, “That’s the best fruit salad I ever had!”

Pero Salado and El Perrito partner restaurants spiced up the tour with a dash of Mexican flavor.  The tour group comfortably sat at one long table, resting against a wall painted with a desert scene of green and orange cacti, where they were served tacos. The foundation of the taco consisted of slowly brazed chicken that was pulled into thin shreds.  Ripe avocadoes blanketed the chicken and were then topped off with Mexican cheese and cilantro.  The five basic ingredients created a light and sweet taste.

Pour JudgementFrom a small Mexican restaurant, the tour goers’ standards were raised to the elegant Vanderbilt Grace Hotel.  The hotel was built by the sculptor Karl Bitter, who was also the designer of the Breakers and the Marble House mansions.

The tour group was brought up to the rooftop patio where they were served champagne and finger food while enjoying the view of the ocean. The appetizers served were tuna tartar and pear and goat cheese crostinis topped with a truffled honey.

Newport Gourmet Tours offers two different tours in Newport and one in Providence, RI.  Martini creates an upbeat and unique viewing of the restaurants that Newport has to offer.  “A restaurant can put a name and a face and a taste on their food,” said Martini. Whether the group is seeing Newport for the first time, or are locals looking for a good place to eat, Newport Gourmet Tours is a great way to spend an afternoon.

Restaurant Review: Ristorante Da Pancrazio

Sitting under the large white umbrellas enclosed by a metal gate creeping with ivy, you would never guess that you were in fact sitting over the ruins of the Theatre of Pompey.  Ristorante Da Pancrazio creates a relaxed atmosphere tucked around the bend of Campo dei Fiori.  The service is excellent, the history is fascinating, and the food filled with flavor.  This hidden relic makes you feel like you’re sitting in the heart of ancient Rome.

The Theatre of Pompey was built in 55 B.C. when Pompeii wanted to give Rome a new theatre entirely built of marble after having seen a similar one in Greece.  A “Curia” was also built in front of the theatre to provide a meeting place for senators to congregate and continue their political discussions after the performances.  While conversations now proceed beyond politics, the ambiance of this space still creates an atmosphere that generates discussion. History buffs will also be thrilled at the thought of breaking bread in the same Curia where Julius Caesar was murdered by Brutus and Cassius.

To truly be enchanted by this aspect of the Eternal City, you must take a walk downstairs, where you can actually dine among the remaining parts of the ancient walls and columns.  Greeted by thick red curtains, the temperature shifts, as it is completely unaffected by the humidity and breeze outside.  Like a large, hollowed out cave, a series of arches hold up the rugged ceiling.  The walls carved with a tattered diamond pattern then lead to a stained glass window, lightly lit up with pinks, browns, and orange.

Ristorante Da Pancrazio has a variety of food options, ranging from a plate full of spaghetti, which the kid at the table next to me was shoveling into his mouth, to my more exotic dish of octopus salad.  We are initially greeted with a basket of sliced bread and bland but crisp breadsticks.  The cold metallic tasting water neatly poured from the green bottle of Aqua Panna quenched my thirst. Our attentive waiter not only came to light a candle on our table as nightfall encroached, but also adjusted the leg of our table when he deemed it too wobbly.   Sitting outside, the sound of a saxophone can be heard in the distance playing a lovely bossa nova tune.

Our entrees promptly followed as the waiter brought out three dishes at once.  Generously portioned salads filled up our table.  To my left, my friend Serena began to slice into her mozzarella, tomato and arugula salad.  A big ball of buffalo mozzarella cheese was the focal point of her plate, resting idly in the middle surrounded by a circle of sliced tomato, all lying on a bed of rich green arugula.  She described the salad as “skillfully salted” striking a perfect balance of salt and oil to accompany her fresh vegetables.  To my right, Rebecca was enjoying her bread salad with pecorino cheese and arugula.  The Pecorino cheese had an impossibly sharp taste that added to the potent vinaigrette that was sprinkled on top. While this dish was filled with flavor, the strong taste of the arugula unfortunately overpowered the taste of the cheese.

My Octopus salad was also very well prepared.  The first layer consisted of crunchy pieces of butterhead lettuce.  Thin and extremely soft slices of potato circled the outside of the plate, which was rained on by thick chunks of light pink octopus.  A piquant pesto with a basil base stole the show that was evenly portioned over the bits of octopus.  A little skeptical of eating octopus for the first time, I was pleasantly surprised.  The sharp taste of the pesto that had little crumbs of parmesan cheese initially distracted me from the fact that I was eating the eight-armed creature I used to gawk at in the aquarium.  As I punctured a piece with my fork, olive oil from the pesto oozed out of the small hole in the middle of the rounded chunk.  I found the octopus to have a tough texture, like the sole of a shoe.  While the flesh itself had very little flavor, it created an untapped canvas for the other components of the salad.  With olive oil still lingering on my lips, my plate was wiped clean, as were the dishes of my companions.

Our dessert was another spectacular combination.   Pear cake with cinnamon.  One slice, split between three was the perfectly sweet ending to our evening.  The slice of cake was filled with warm pears encased in a grainy thick filling that had just the right amount of cinnamon. The whole thing was dusted with snowy-white powdered sugar.  I found the crust to be a little mushy for my liking.  While I would have liked it to be crispier to contrast the soft insides, overall it was a delectable dessert.

Then just when we thought the night was over, the wait staff went above and beyond and introduced us to the chef.  After simply asking the name of the chef who cooked us this amazing meal, our waiter led us downstairs to meet Coviello Vito.  While our conversation was limited because he only spoke Italian, he was very sweet and seemed to be very passionate about what he does.

Ristorante Da Pancrazio is certainly an interesting place to dine when looking for a quaint escape from the busy life of Rome.  Not only was the food an experience in itself, but as Ristorante Da Pancrazio reminds us, “the walls recount more than 2,000 years of history.”


piazza del Biscione 92 – Roma, Italia (link)

T. +39 06 6861246 •

Chiuso il mercoledì • Closed Wednesdays


Bonnie Crehan Interview

At the beginning of freshman year, Bonnie Crehan was sitting in a social work class when inspiration struck.  “I always knew I wanted to help people but I didn’t know how to do it,” said Crehan.

Crehan is a current Social Work major at Salve Regina University in hopes of one day working in a children’s hospital to help kids with cancer, asthmatics, and other family issues.  She was originally a Business major but quickly changed her mind when she found out her own way to make an impact on the world.  Crehan demonstrates her kind nature when describing hopes of going to Africa one day in an effort to stop world hunger.

Crehan is originally from Carver Massachusetts, known as the cranberry capital of the world.  She takes pride in her hometown, as it is the location of the famous Ocean Spray products.  This setting proved to be a fun place to play as she recalls “catching frogs in the bogs” that harvested all the cranberries.

Her family of two brothers, a mother, and father completed the quaint atmosphere of her small town.  Her father’s military past also made for an interesting childhood for Crehan as a little girl.

Crehan’s father served for thirty years in the infantry and was later asked to join the troops in Iraq.  However, her anxiety quickly turned to relief when she found out her dad broke his knee two weeks before he was called to serve.   Even though this incident alleviated him of his duty, Crehan greatly admires him. His past experiences “made him the dad that he is to me today” said Crehan.

Other than her father, Crehan also draws inspiration from her idol, Taylor Swift.  Crehan believes that Swift is “the best person ever” and listens to her music nonstop. Taylor Swift started out as a typical fifteen-year-old with a dream, and worked hard to make her own success. Crehan can relate to the struggles Swift went through as a teenager but admires the way she “took rejection and made it into what she is today.”

Crehan has enjoyed her time at Salve Regina University so far and views this time as a first step to achieving her goals.IMG_0105

Tricks And Treats At Salve Regina University

Spooky stories about the ghosts loitering around Wakehurst.  Pumpkins with eerie grins and toothless smiles. Haunted mansions on every corner.  And lots and lots of candy.  Halloween is just around the corner and Salve Regina University students are making plans.

After experiencing the Halloween festivities in Salem, Massachusetts, Halloween quickly became a favorite holiday for Salve student, Cayley Christoforou.  The activities are endless in the town of Salem ranging from spooky ghost tours to the House of Seven Gables.  The town even starts celebrating Halloween two weeks before the actual day by putting on an annual parade to kick off the season. 

While Christoforou can’t go back to her hometown for Halloween due to her involvement in the dance company, she’s not going to let that stop her from celebrating. “I’ll get dressed up no matter what I do here,” said Christoforou.  She plans to dress up as a Greek goddess or Amy Whinehouse, the artist at the top of her iTunes list.  However, she explains that she always ends up going back to her classic police officer costume, which has been a favorite since her junior year in high school.

Grace Hutto intends to celebrate the spooky holiday both the weekend before and after Halloween.  Unfortunately, Hutto will not be attending any SRU Halloween activities this year.  She has found it harder to hear about campus activities now that she lives off campus in downtown Newport.

Hutto will be attending parties on the weekends, dressing up with her friends as different Britney Spears characters, including the schoolgirl outfit from Spears’ music video “Baby One More Time.” Hutto said, it “seemed like a creative idea enough because I didn’t want to buy a regular costume,” adding that she was looking for something fun and sexy.

Hutto also plans to wear a Chancellor Palpatine cloak from the movie Star Wars.  However this isn’t the only costume that made Hutto unique.  She recalls dressing up as a body bag when she was younger.  Her mom bought her a big canvas bag, rolled over it with her car, and then splattered fake blood on it.  “I looked really scary for a fifth grader,” said Hutto. 

In addition, Hutto will be keeping with the Halloween spirit as she attends two haunted mazes in Fort Adams and Jamestown, RI.  Her birthday is only eight days after Halloween, so Hutto usually enjoys this time of year and takes advantage of the fact that “everyone is in a really good mood and really happy.”

Halloween is all about the candy this year for sophomore, James Imhoff, who plans to take his younger cousins trick or treating.  Imhoff will return to his hometown of Barrington, RI on Halloween day.  He’ll also participate in more “college stuff” over the weekend such as going to a bar.  Drawing inspiration from Auburn University in Alabama, where he used to study, Imhoff will be dressing up as a redneck this year by wearing his big boots, flannel shirt, and a trucker hat. 

Reminiscing about old costumes, Imhoff described the year he dressed up as a Salamander, when he was thirteen.  He decided to wear a black suit and super-glued yellow dots to it while adding a mask and tail.  Imhoff said that Halloween was more fun as a kid because he got to wander around and get free candy. Now it is all about the parties.  Regardless, Imhoff truly enjoys Halloween because he gets to act “more foolish than normal.” 

The Thin Line

“The Thin Line”- a one-woman show about the damaging disease of anorexia, was presents to an audience of over one hundred Salve Regina University students last Thursday.

The show, performed by 26-year-old actress Paten Hughes, portrays the characters of a girl with an eating disorder, her friend, her mother, and a negative voice.  Each character represented a different perspective on the issue.

Salve Regina University has been hosting “The Thin Line” for four years. Paul Cardoza, the health advisor at Salve Regina University, is responsible for coordinating these events. Cardoza, who knows a student who died of an eating disorder, acknowledged the importance of these presentations. “We know we have students who suffer from eating disorders,” said Cardoza, and we need to help those we don’t know about.

In the role of Ellen, the girl with an eating disorder, Hughes expressed the uncomfortable silence that accompanies an eating disorder. With her hands in her pockets, biting her lips, Ellen desperately looks at the audience. She feels that when people ask her how she is, she is expected to say, “fine,” as opposed to confronting the issue.  “Her world is spinning out of control” and her body is the one thing she can control, said Hughes.

Hughes then shed her red sweatshirt and took on the identity of Ellen’s friend, Ally.  Ally is concerned about Ellen but contributes to the silence that Ellen feels by not saying anything.  She, too, is immersed in guilt.

The character known as Mrs. Negativity gives the audience a glimpse at the voice inside Ellen’s head that drives the eating disorder.  While frequently calling her “Elley Belly,” Mrs. Negativity extracts Ellen’s biggest fears and exploits her insecurities.  If someone were to offer Ellen food, Mrs. Negativity would convince Ellen that they were intentionally trying to make her fat.  Hughes later commented that this character was the most difficult part of her performance.  She found it heartbreaking to stand up in front of women and say these emotionally damaging comments.  She explained that Mrs. Negativity is easy to relate to because “everyone has that voice” in their head.

Transforming her character a fourth time, Hughes becomes the parent of a child with an eating disorder.  In a pair of rectangular-shaped glasses, Ellen’s mother tells of her struggles as her daughter withers away.  She recalls how “awful [it is] to see how little there is to her body.”

Hughes is a New York actress who graduated from Magna Cum Laude and Lee University with degrees in Theatre and French.  Hughes has been doing the performance “The Thin Line” for three years.  She felt that the material was a good fit for her and addressed many important issues that this country is facing today.  Hughes acknowledges that performers can’t always tell what kind of effect a presentation like this can have on a person, but she hopes she is making a difference in people’s lives.

Salve Regina University anticipates a similar performance on sexual violence this October.