The academic year is coming to a close and so are rehearsals for The Library. It has been a very crazy time with finals approaching, but getting to work on such an important project with such an amazing cast has been such a pleasure. As we have progressed over the weeks, we have really begun to find our characters and feed off the energy of the cast as a whole. We are not only actors, but also storytellers conveying a very important message. As a part of the Youth and Prejudice Conference, The Library tells the story of bullying set against the backdrop of the Holocaust.
We will try to teach the audience that it is okay to be different, even if people persecute you for those differences. We will teach bystanders how to stand up for victims and hopefully teach persecutors to see their wrongdoings. We will be performing this story for over three hundred middle school students. They will be looking up to us as an authority on the topics that they will be discussing later in the day with conference facilitators.
Recently as a cast we have been rehearsing for the talkback at the end of the show by doing a practice panel. Our director asks us questions about the show, the time period, our characters, and themes within the show to get us ready for the live talkback with the students. It has been a really awesome experience, and I’m sure that when we actually do the real talkback we will be prepared. But then again, you never know what curve balls the middle school students might throw!
No matter how the talkback goes, I hope that that we are able to convey a message. Just as Hitler used mob-mentality to scapegoat the Jews and other minority groups for an unsuccessful Germany, young students sometimes treat each other badly by ganging up on those they view as different. If the children in the audience can see how hurtful words and actions can be maybe they can learn and reflect on who they are and how they treat other human beings.
Learning about the Holocaust and growing as a character over the last few weeks with the other cast members is really helping us flourish as an ensemble and convey the emotions. I know personally, I have become very emotionally attached to the text. The persecution of the Jewish people hits home and makes me realize that hurtful acts happen around the world each day.
I hope that this play continues to be part of the conference for years to come and that children for generations can continue to learn about the atrocities of the Holocaust and the cruelty of bullying. Through reflection, I can only hope that the children will see the consequence of action and learn from history.
Here’s a picture of the cast in costume: