BY LEAH BRAUNSTEIN LEVY/SPECIAL FOR THE AJT//
The Greenfield Hebrew Academy (GHA) hosted The First Annual Celebration of Educational Theatre on Sun., Nov.17—and it was a day packed with remarkable performances and interesting workshops.
The performances included the GHA Players in their one-act play, “Children of the Wire Fence”. Students handled lighting, blocking, costuming, and set design. Under the leadership of Taryn Carmona, Brian Harrison, Joel Coady, Liz Whittemore, Stevyn Carmona, and Carla Nixon, the GHA Players were a tremendous hit.
Yet they were not the only performers at this extravaganza. As a celebration of educational theatre, it seemed only right to open the festival with a group of interns from the Atlanta Shakespeare Company.
These talented young adults dramatized a lesson on the works of Shakespeare that was both fascinating and funny, mesmerizing audience members from kindergarteners to great-grandmothers.
A third group of performers were the teenagers of the Christian Magby Company. 19-year-old Christian Magby founded this theatre company when he was a high school student, and is comprised of high school and college students.
The troupe presented “Out of the Box,” a musical exploration of what it means to be your own person that was written by Christian himself when he was only 15-years-old. The 20 young performers dazzled with their acting and their incredible singing.
The last group to take the stage was Rathskeller, the Emory University improvisational theatre troupe. Rathskeller had the attendees in stitches with their spur-of-the-moment humor. Their performance required a lot of audience participation, and students were clamoring to be next on the stage to participate in a sketch.
Between performances, attendees enjoyed workshops taught by real working actors. Stevyn Carmona, taught the stage combat workshop, had participants weaving and bobbing (and taking some dazzlingly dramatic fake falls). Victoria Dunn led the musical theatre workshop, where attendees sang and danced their way through “Wicked” and “Hairspray.”
“The student participants were so talented, and the performances were stunning!” said Interim Head of School Leah Summers. “We all had a wonderful time, and we can’t wait to host the festival again next year!”
Leah Braunstein Levy is a paraprofessional at GHA and the author of “The Waiting Wall”, a Sydney Taylor Notable Book for 2010. Her work appears in a new collection of essays, Kaddish, Women’s Voices, available from Urim Publications.