December 30, 2018

GOA arts department’s ambitious idea pays off

shapirogoa. What an awesome #PlayInADay program today at @goldaochacademy! An 18-h

Gavi Newman ‘20

Play in a Day? More like Play in 18 Hours.
After making its debut, the Play in a Day Festival at Golda Och Academy was a fun-filled, exciting learning experience for the students involved. The idea of the festival was that, over the course of 24 hours or less, four plays are written, directed, designed and performed by GOA students with help from alumni and guest artists.
“The Arts Department began planning for the Play in a Day Festival towards the end of last school year,” Mr. Herskowitz said.
On Saturday night, when the festival began, participating students met with Herskowitz, Mrs. McMullen, Mrs. Watson and guest artist Mya Kagan to learn more about the festival. The night consisted of fun team building and improv exercises to get participants excited for the event.
Students were immediately assigned groups and introduced to the overarching theme for the festival: “How will the world change by the year 2050?” Each of the four groups consisted of a playwright, a director, a designer, actors and a guest artist. Some of the participants were alumni of the school who are currently working in theater and design. Additionally, there were guest professional theatre designers to work with the designers and artists.
After the groups were assigned, the students brainstormed ideas with their playwrights before they were sent home. Once the students left, the playwrights rushed to begin writing and finalizing their plays.
The playwrights had some guidelines that needed to be included in their plays, such as a Hebrew word, or a dance move. Though it did help that the playwrights had restrictions, overall, the writers were given the freedom to explore any topics they wanted. By the time everyone returned in the morning, each group’s playwright had written a brand new and exciting play.
The first play to be performed was “Break-In Role” by senior Jacob Bier. This play had a futuristic setting and was about an aspiring actress struggling to find work because all the living actors were being replaced by holographic ones.
“Instant Replay,” written by sophomore Amitai Nelkin, was a humorous take on what life would be like without instant replay technology for sports and featured sportscasters acting out moments from games for onlookers to see.
“The Benny’s I Remember,” written by junior Aaron Brown, was a creative and mysterious story of an ex-con who returned to his favorite pizza joint after leaving prison, only to find out it isn’t the same place he remembered and loved.
Lastly, “Stand Clear,” by Mya Kagan, featured two unfriendly girls who get stuck on a subway and are forced to talk and settle their differences.
Brown considered the production as a whole to be an overall success.
“I thought it went very well,” he said, “considering how difficult it was to write, direct, cast and memorize a play in under 24 hours.”
Students felt it was an amazing learning experience working with professionals and seeing how much work truly goes behind the scenes when our school puts on a production.
“The best part of the whole experience was that it was mostly a product that students created on their own!” sophomore Shira Ashkenazi added.

Overall, GOA students can say Play in a Day was a success and could definitely be something brought back in the future. All of the students involved greatly enjoyed the process and learned a lot about theatre production and design. The entire activity helped to pique their interest in the arts and teach them how much work goes into theatre shows.  

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