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The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

The student news site of Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School

The Lion's Tale

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Behind the curtain: a sneak peek into the Shakespeare play at JDS

Jordana Dauber
The cast of Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” perform a dress rehearsal for their upcoming play.

For the first time in years, CESJDS is putting on a spring play. After a canceled attempt at a spring production in 2020 due to COVID-19, high school English teacher Nancy Wassner decided that this was the year to try again.

Wassner chose Shakespeare’s “The Comedy of Errors” because she wanted something that could accommodate a small cast and that would build on the middle school’s Shakespeare program. While the middle school productions have frequently been tragedies, Wassner wanted to put on a comedy.

“It’s fun to be someone you are not,” Wassner said. “And comedy is fun because making people laugh is really, really fun.”

The play features four leads, two sets of identical twins, who are trying to find each other after being separated by a shipwreck. All four end up in the same city, and there begins a series of incidents caused by mistaken identity. The show ends when all four twins reunite.

Auditions were held in January, with rehearsals every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday since. While the play is a comedy and allows students to have fun with their characters, all the actors were serious when it came to learning their lines and running through scenes in rehearsals.

“We’re having fun with it, which is good, because it’s meant to be a very silly play,” junior Eli Cashon said. “We’re coming up with new ideas of how we could make [the scenes] silly, but also everyone has definitely been taking their roles seriously in order to make the play better. I think the group has definitely been great.”

It is important to Wassner to give students more opportunities for theater in school. She said it is unfair that there are three sports seasons a year, but only one theatrical performance, and is trying to even out that imbalance.

Every year JDS puts on a winter musical, but for students who prefer plays to musicals, “The Comedy of Errors” is their first chance to be in a school production. The play has presented many with the ability to learn about acting in a new environment. But it has also allowed veterans of the JDS musicals stage to participate in their first spring production.

“This has been a really fun experience,” freshman Sami Goldin said. “I think it gives high schoolers an opportunity to do theater when the high school musical isn’t happening. It’s really fun to have that opportunity after most other shows are over.”

In addition to the students, who have clearly put a lot of effort into the play, Wassner has also fully dedicated herself to the process of putting on a production. Whether it’s drawing a diagram of the stage to plan out all the set designs, sitting down one weekend to figure out all the blocking or finding costumes for everyone to wear, Wassner has spent hours trying to make the play a success.

“I think it’s good to give kids opportunities to do things they haven’t necessarily done before,but also to allow kids to shine in ways that they didn’t necessarily have the opportunity to do before,” Wassner said.

On Thursday, April 4 at 7 p.m. the cast and crew of 16 will perform the first and only production of the school’s spring comedy. Tickets are free but should be reserved.

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Jordana Dauber
Jordana Dauber, Reporter

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