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Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974

Horizon

Sidwell Friends School's Student Newspaper Since 1974

Horizon

Sidwell Theater Arts Review Features Student Playwrights

Concluding the 2023–2024 school year’s theater productions is the second annual Sidwell Theater Arts Review (STAR). Showcasing a series of skits and brief plays by Sidwell student playwrights and established authors, the production’s performances are centered around the theme of “teen dreams.” The skits include “Spoon,” a 10-minute skit; “15-Minute Hamlet,” a comedic rendition of Shakespeare’s classic; “Don’t Forget Me,” a 10-minute play written by junior Izzy Fandl; and “Paper-Thin Dreams,” a 10-minute play written by senior Elizabeth Hare. STAR will be performed twice, with one performance on Friday, May 17, and the other on Saturday, May 18 in the Caplin Theater. 

For Izzy Fandl, STAR allows her to bring her skit “Don’t Forget Me” to a wider audience, as well as fully cast and direct “Paper-Thin Dreams.” 

“With these opportunities, I want to gain a better understanding of how directing works and to improve my directing skills,” she said. “I also want to make a connection with the actors — I think there’s a really cool community in the theater program here.” 

In Fandl’s “Don’t Forget Me,” a teenage girl engages in a poignant conversation with her inner child the night before she goes to college. Fandl explained that her skit addresses the “uncertainty about the future and pressure that society places on us to have our lives figured out,” and she hopes to convey the message that “even if you don’t have it figured out, it’s okay. You can’t pretend to be an adult.” 

With these opportunities, I want to gain a better understanding of how directing works and to improve my directing skills.

— Izzy Fandl '25

Hare also calls attention to important messages in her own production, “Paper-Thin Dreams,” which explores two students’ relationships with college applications and the future. The play is inspired by Hare’s own “very long and tumultuous experience with college applications” and “fears [she’s] heard from several other students at Sidwell.”  Ultimately, she hopes her audience realizes that “it’s okay to not know what your future looks like.”

“Because Sidwell especially is filled with such high-achieving students, we often have a very narrow plan, especially when it comes to college,” Hare explained. “When I found out that my future wasn’t going to be what I expected, I felt extremely lost. College is not the end of the world, and I hope that people watching my play will see that.”

Although Hare is taking a more hands-off approach in terms of the directing of her piece than Fandl due to other commitments, she still plans to periodically offer feedback on the staging of “Paper-Thin Dreams.”  

“When I do, I hope to see how to work with actors and directors who will very likely have a different interpretation of my words than I did, and rather than try to revert it, to enhance the vision they have,” Hare said. “The beauty of theater is that scripts can be brought to life in many different ways, and I’m excited to see how it happens with this one.” 

This year’s STAR has also attracted a mix of interested actors, new and experienced, to participate. Freshman Sophia Toukan, who participated in this year’s fall play and spring musical, was cast in both “Paper-Thin Dreams” and “15-Minute Hamlet.” 

“I decided to participate in this production because I had a fun and fulfilling experience in both the play and musical and wanted to take advantage of the theater opportunities at Sidwell,” she said. “I’m excited to act in scenes with students I don’t know very well and to bond with the rest of the cast.” 

For senior Lux Winterhof, participating in STAR marks both her first and final high school performance before heading to college. Having overcome the stage fright she experienced in middle school, she now feels “a lot more confident and not as worried about what people will think.”

“I also think that, as a senior, it’s just really fun to try new things I would’ve never thought to try earlier in high school,” she said. “I opted not to act in the play or the musical since it’s a lot more pressure and a bigger time commitment, but STAR is much more of a laid-back environment.”

Hare echoed Winterhof’s sentiments, stating, “The STAR production is a unique and fun time, as the structure means it has less of a time commitment.”

“I think that the fun the actors are having will shine in performances, and I hope the Sidwell community will come to support it,” Hare shared.

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