Your network and always putting you best foot forward speaks volumes. Director/Teacher, Vicky Wallace referred me to a company she knows well called Plays for Living. When Operations Manager, Howard Edelbaum was looking for some actors Vicky put my name in the bunch. I really really thank her for that! Plays for Living, is a not-for-profit organization, that uses interactive drama and theater techniques to help people at all levels of society explore and confront sensitive contemporary issues. I was aked to come on board for the project as not only an actor but a director as well. I had assistant directed before but never taken the reigns of Director before. This was a challenge and definitely scary.
“Whats the Difference?” A play based on Alice in Wonderland set in a high school. Its a play about diversity, bullying and the challenges kids face to “fit in.” I was so delighted to be on board for such a great project. Being able to mesh together my love for theater and giving back is always a win, win. Throughout the rehearsal process, I had such support from the cast and from Howard. They believed in me and really respected what I brought to the project. This past Monday, March 26th the gang and I loaded up in the car and drove down to Tenafly, NJ to perform for the 3rd, 4th & 5th graders of the Tenafly Elementary School. Being in a show and directing has its challenges but we worked together as an ensemble. I thank Team Tenafly for their hard work. The show was a hit and we had a wonderful talk back with the kids. See Pictures & Email from Howard below:
TODAY WE HIT A HOME RUN. OOOPS…I SHOULD SAY WE HIT A GRAND SLAM. The cast was astounding. Congratulations to the cast under Franceli’s direction you were brilliant. The kids, at least 200, along with parents and teachers laughed and cheered. Julia who kicked off the performance by having the kids yell ACTION led a touching and riveting facilitated conversation. Some of the highlights were:
At the end of the play Blue characters try to figure out color Alice really is – red, blue, yellow?
Julia asked the kids what color is Alice? What do they think?
One kid answered – What difference does it make?
Two kids named Ben who sat next to each other answered: If you mix all the colors together
you get turquoise.
Julia at one point asked the kids to sit in a circle and asked them why we sat in a circle.
One kid answered – Because you told us to.
Another said – So, we can speak person to person.
The biggest highlight was Derek. Derek spoke about how he did not have any friends.
Julie supported Derek by saying he did not have to do this by himself. Craig told Derek
how brave he was for saying he did not have any friends.
When Julia asked if others at times felt like Derek almost everyone including adults raised their hand.
Susan showed us the assignments the kids did over the weekend. Every kid in the school wrote at least
one page about a bullying experience – reading some of them brought tears to my eyes.
Mary, one of the parents said this needs to be videoed and we should be doing this everyday all over the country.
The teachers and Principal thanked us profusely.
Once again GREAT JOB.