When is An End a Beginning?

Jake R., Class of 2014
Last night, my comrades and I all took a moment to talk after a two hour rehearsal, Ms. Russell reminded us that it would be our last. Our last time as a company that we would add new things to a script started from scratch six months ago, our last time slowing things down, speeding things up, and taking things slowly again.

She asked us to remember as we were falling asleep what we had been through to get to this moment. We’d written, directed, blocked and improvised. We laughed, and we cried and we very loudly yelled (more often than not). This is more than a high school play to us, this is practically a religion. As we woke up this morning, we spent the day in nervous apprehension. We walked through the halls in our costumes, we greeted our friends from other schools and we warmed up, my only warm up away from the stage at JCHS I’ve come to be so familiar with.

There has been some difference of opinion, some complications on this trip, but for one day, the first day of the rest of our lives, we stood as one. As we drove in the bus closer and closer to our theater, it hit me suddenly that this was really it. The proverbial show time that had seemed years in the distance when it was first announced to me before I’d even applied to the school was suddenly no longer before me, but encompassing me. I had reached “The Scotland Show” that had been on my mind and tongue somehow or someway for almost every day of this year.

As a company we marched through the entrance, we set up our set efficiently and waited “backstage.” And then, show time. As I said backstage to my friends in our warm up, performing Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis (as Performed by the Actors of the Nowy Teater Kameralny) is like falling asleep. You’ve done it so much that you don’t need to be instructed how to do it anymore. It feels right to be doing it when you haven’t for a while, and even when you’ve had a crappy night, you wake up saying it was much better that you had that than not. You’d simply be wrecked without it. I told them that our audience would feel the same way. When they walked out, they’d say that they needed that, they were happy they had that experience, and they would have been wrecked without it.

And so, standing at this moment of time, I’d like to send some thank yous out from Edinburgh. To my fellow actors and tech-smiths, whose blood, sweat and tears glued this play together, thank you. To Gabriel Ben-Jakov (my best friend Gab) who has stepped into a role he neither invented nor knew and memorized more material in the fastest amount of time than any actor I have ever known, who has filled a terrifying hole with a ray of light, thank you.

To my, (and I assume everyone in this company’s) parents, who had to listen to us all complain about the process and each other for months and months, who supported us and the group as if we were the family we felt we were, who came to our shows and cheered and signed the waivers that let us board the plane to the United Kingdom, thank you.

To everyone who put money into those tam o’shanters at the end of our shows and pushed that green plaid fundraising bar up that poster in the commons and made it possible for me to overlook Arthur’s Seat as I write this blog post, thank you.

And to Ms. Russell, Joe McDonald, and Martin Pike, for pushing (and often shoving) us in the right direction, for getting us nominated and getting us there, for teasing us, teaching us and letting us figure it out for ourselves, even when we thought it would nearly kill us, for yelling, Schnelling, laughing with us and being the best examples of what we as people could be, even when we were ungrateful little snots, I give the largest, unadulterated thank you that I can.

I don’t have a Scottish proverb off the top of my head at the moment (shocking, right?) but for situations like these, it suits me to make one up, and so to everyone in any way involved in this tremendous chapter in all of our lives, I say; “The kilt may be woven by one man’s hands but it was made of the wool from a great many sheep.”

Thank you, all, and boy, you wouldn’t believe how much you’d love it here.
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.