A Whole New Skill Set: Performing at Israel In The Gardens

Aviva H-W, Class of 2012
The past few months have been a whirlwind of activity for our Scotland Company. We got the chance to display the product of all our hard work when The Metamorphosis opened at JCHS, nearly a month ago now! Lest you think that we’ve been doing nothing since closing night at JCHS, I’m here to update you on one of our company’s latest escapades: performing at Israel In The Gardens, a yearly Bay Area outdoor festival celebrating modern Jewish and Israeli culture.

At Israel In The Gardens, our company had the opportunity to perform a 7-minute section from one of The Metamorphosis’s most climactic scenes. We were provided a small area in a side courtyard near the teen booths at the festival in which to stage our mini-show. In order to make our performance a success, we’d have to make sure people knew about us, we’d have to stand out, and we’d need to be able to think on our feet.

As you might’ve already guessed, these are many of the exact same skills that will determine the success of our show in Edinburgh! Why? Because at Scotland’s Fringe Festival, potential audience members will be strolling up and down Edinburgh’s Royal Mile, seeing tons of different groups advertising themselves, and looking for exciting shows to attend. We’ll have to convince them on the spot to attend The Metamorphosis, and this effort will require absolutely everything in our bag of tricks- including all the same skills we needed at Israel In The Gardens.

Walking through the Israel In The Gardens in our crazy black-and-white Metamorphosis makeup and our t-shirts advertising the show, we were pretty self-conscious at first. Slowly, however, our nerves disappeared as we realized that our unusual looks served as their own great form of advertisement: total strangers’ curiosity about what we could be doing in such unusual costumes made it easy for us to approach them and publicize ourselves just by word of mouth. 

The next step, of course, was our actual performance. On the Royal Mile, we’ll likely be doing similar short snippets to pique to curiosity of potential show-goers. We’ll face the same questions as we did at Israel In The Gardens: What do we do when the performance area is ½ or even ¼ of the size of our normal space? How do we perform without even the most basic of our major set pieces? How will anyone hear us when we’re performing outside, surrounded by ambient noise and music? 

Of course, we couldn’t possibly answer all of these questions just by performing outdoors once. However, we managed to face each challenge calmly, using the courtyard’s pre-existing features to create set piece substitutes and “amplifying” our voices with special projection exercises. 

Our performance garnered quite a substantial audience of onlookers, and it was fantastic preparation for our upcoming experiences on the Royal Mile. Thanks to all of you for your continued support of our company, and a special thanks to anyone who came to see us at Israel In The Gardens! We can’t wait to report back to you about our next experience.
Jewish Community High School of the Bay
1835 Ellis Street, San Francisco, CA 94115
Phone: 415.345.9777
The Jewish Community High School of the Bay (JCHS) is a unique college preparatory high school committed to integrating deep learning, universal wisdom, and Jewish values. We empower each student to embrace her or his Jewish identity, generate empathy and compassion, delight in lifelong education, and improve the world.