By Raphaela Gold ‘21
On March 26, Heschel high school students crowded into the Roanna Shorofsky theater for the performance of this year’s high school play, A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder. After months of practice, the actors performed admirably, flawlessly portraying their roles.
High school music teacher and play director Ned Ginsburg believed that the play was a success. He commented, “From the reactions of students and faculty, I think it was very successful. We had had a lot of technical mishaps leading up to opening, but by the end, it all came together.” Each year, Ginsburg determines a suitable play for the high school to perform and proceeds to direct it. “I meet with students in September to figure out how large a group of actors I might have and choose a musical that roughly matches the numbers of students to parts,” explained Ginsburg. “This year, students said they wanted to do a comedy and I saw A Gentleman’s Guide on Broadway and liked it.” The show, however, was technically ambitious and presented a host of difficulties. Ginsburg noted, “The show had more technical demands than many shows we’ve done: different locations, 21 recorded voice-overs, and very complicated costumes. There were a lot of visual complications that took a long time to get right.”
Among those helping with the technical and staging aspects of the play were sophomores Yair Assayag and Tova Segal. Assayag explained, “There was a lot of work before the actual play, and the amount of preparation and effort that everyone put into it was both mentally and physically exhausting.” However, he continued, “It was a thousand percent worth all the work put into it. It was an amazing play, and I am very proud of everyone both on and off stage.” Segal agreed, reflecting, “It was time-consuming but very fun. I enjoyed the inter-grade bonding, because people from all grades came together to do musical theater, one of the best things in the world.”
Junior Jacob Fraiman, who assisted with the show’s lighting and sound, remarked, “I pressed the same button 250 times a show but enjoyed it. It’s hard, though, especially because there are certain times when I have to squint to see the sound cue on stage.”
The actors in the play also faced ups and downs, yet viewed the play as an overall success. “I enjoyed the experience so much. It was fun, having friends in other grades and spending time with people six hours a week,” remarked junior Leah Fruchtman, who starred as Monty Navarro in some of the performances. Junior Esther Merczynski, who played Miss Shingle, felt similarly, saying, “I liked… going through the play and the pain and the joy of working together. There were some struggles, but it turned out okay.”