Since the beginning of the school year, student actors have been preparing for the Middle School play “Coney Island Christmas” with the help of Arts department Chair Tracy Poverstein and Assistant Director Gabby Weltman ’17.
“I was looking for a play that was not children’s theatre. It was not written for children, but I wanted it to be relatable to the children. I loved that it was about a young girl, I wanted to do a comedy but I wanted to do something that was more for an adult audience,” Poverstein said.
“Coney Island Christmas” takes place in Brooklyn in the 1930s. The protagonist in the play, Shirley Abromowitz, is a young Jewish girl. When she is cast as Jesus in her school’s Christmas pageant, her parents are not pleased. Much to their dismay, she continues to pursue her character. As she does so, she finds her voice.
Bess Frierson ’22 plays Abromowitz.
“I like how funny it is because there is a lot of comedy to it. It is also fun getting to play a seven-year-old,” Frierson said.
Frierson added that Shirley learns it is okay for her to be in the play and learn about different cultures.
“Another main character is Clara, [Shirley’s future granddaughter]. You have young Shirley and you have old Shirley. We are taking present day and then she is going back to 1935. So we are seeing it through Clara who is the contemporary girl,” Poverstein said.
The cast has been working to develop their characters through different exercises.
“The best part is watching them grow and develop and see them understanding their characters,” Weltman said.
The play will open on Dec. 11 in the Blackbox theater.