Last month, Kinneret Day School students, parents, staff, friends and family were treated to an outstanding production of William Shakespeare’s tragedy, “Macbeth.” Directed by Assistant Principal Allyson Israel, the Kinneret Shakespeare Society (KSS) consists of fourth through eighth grade students who have devoted time to learn about the magic of classic theater. Kinneret thespians were involved at every stage of production—from choosing medieval costumes; creating props; designing posters; building sets; and creating special lighting, sound effects and stage make-up to helping to create a Playbill. Since its inception in January, KSS has grown from a group of seven, to over 33 cast and crew members. Faculty, too, became inspired as they were hit by “Shakespeare fever.” Jennifer Mannasse signed on as the stage manager and Amy Hibshoosh perfected the authentic Playbill. Additionally, some younger siblings of the cast members contributed to the performance by portraying young soldiers. The group has fostered a collaborative team of divergent ages who worked together to create an authentic theater experience. The enthusiastic cast and crew spent several months exploring characters, rehearsing lines and learning blocking and choreography. They participated in a workshop with New York’s Classic Stage Company, and had the privilege of learning stage combat for the battle scene from Rebecca Gross, a certified actor combatant with the Society of American Fight Directors (SAFD).
The script, adapted by Mrs. Israel, was a scaled-down version of play, leaving much of the original text, with narrators added to explain the more difficult parts to the modern audience. All the company’s hard work paid off in two performances that were truly worthy of a Tony nomination. KSS first performed for the school, as wide-eyed classmates watched in awe as Macbeth descended into evil and Lady Macbeth went mad. They then cheered on the heroic Macduff as the final duel rose to its dramatic conclusion. Later that evening, the doors were opened to friends and family in the Riverdale community and beyond, culminating with deafening applause for the troupe. Mrs. Israel said, “Macbeth is a difficult work, but the team quickly made connections to the moral dilemmas the title character is faced with. They learned about conflict and the power of free choice. It was an unforgettable experience that they will never forget.” The Society plans to perform “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” next year, and further grow their love for stagecraft. One student remarked, “I have so many ideas popping into my head already about our next show! It’s a comedy and it looks like it’s going to be hysterical. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I can’t wait until school starts next year!”
By Allyson Israel