Upper School Lights Up the Stage with a New Play


Rachel Snyder

The annual Pine Crest play, “Brighton Beach Memoirs” will take place in Stacy Auditorium on February 1st and 2nd. (via sophomore, Rachel Snyder)

Pine Crest Upper School’s annual play is coming up; this year, students will perform Neil Simon’s Brighton Beach Memoirs, a semi-autobiographical comedy about Eugene Jerome (played by senior Sammy Koolik), a Polish-Jewish American teenager growing up during the Great Depression while living with his unique extended family.

“It is a perfect balance of adolescent humor and coming-of-age with the seriousness of 1937, the oncoming war in Europe, how it was affecting American families,” English teacher and director Mrs. Ortega says.

Junior Caroline Nouhan, who plays the character of Blanche, appreciates the subject matter: “I really love the idea of a celebration of the Jewish family, which I feel like isn’t seen so often in film or on the stage, so I was really attracted to the show.”

With a cast of only seven characters, this play is quite different from last year’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Caroline also shared her thoughts on this small cast: “It’s really cool; I think we have gotten really close. Everyone’s at every rehearsal.”

“I think it creates a more one-on-one working environment with Mrs. Ortega, and we get to really build personal relationships with our fellow castmates,” sophomore William Prevor, the male understudy, added.

Rehearsal started November 27th, and it has continued nearly every day after school and on Saturdays. The limited rehearsal time and minimal cast necessitate intensive rehearsals, but the cast is enjoying it.

Junior Sarah Rodriguez, who plays Laurie, says she tries her best to take care of her work during the day because she has rehearsal after school; “Even though it’s a lot to take on, it’s so nice to go to rehearsal after school and unwind from the stress of the school day doing something I love,” she says.

“When you choose a play that’s very text-heavy, dense in terms of dialogue and verbal interaction, it’s challenging, but it is fun to work with the students as actors, to have the opportunity to work through relationships and scenes, and to learn to balance comedy with real family tension,” Mrs. Ortega explained.

Pine Crest panthers can support the actors and see Brighton Beach Memoirs this Thursday, February 1st and Friday, February 2nd at 7:00 p.m. in Stacy Auditorium. There will be a reception provided by the Founder’s Council following Thursday’s show. The cast hopes to see you Thursday and Friday night.