Northshore Magazine

Northshore April 2016

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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102 | APRIL 2016 in-depth LIVE and eighth graders at River Valley Charter School to theatregoers at the Fringe Festival in Scotland to schoolchildren in Germany. It tells the story of six children at Terezin concentration camp, in the days before they are sent to their deaths at Auschwitz. It is an intense experi- ence—for the audience and the actors, some of whom join the cast as young as six years old. "It seemed pretty heavy to take on," says Katherine Hall, a 17-year- old junior at Phillips Andover who joined the cast of Terezin at age nine, and has since graduated from playing Celia, the second young- est of the characters, to playing Miriam—one of the oldest charac- ters. "Anna just kind of pulled me in." Hall's siblings were drawn to the play as well—her younger sister, Caroline, 15, and brother, Joseph, 12, are also in the cast. Not surprisingly, Smulowitz— who is well known in the local theatre community both as a teacher with Acting Out in Newburyport and for her critically acclaimed slate of dramatic and musical productions in the area—says it takes a very spe- cial child to take on such a big role. "They are old souls," Smulowitz says of her youthful cast, who age out of the play in their late teens. "[The actors] have depth, compas- sion, are community-oriented, and work well with others." Acting in Terezin has become a rite of passage for a certain subset of community actors. Smulowitz, who also holds down a day job as chaplain at Brooksby Village in Peabody, says that she usually taps kids who she has seen perform in other venues, or whom she has worked with in her acting classes. Such was the case for 10-year-old Georgia Smith, who played the title character in Smulowitz's perfor- mance of The Littlest Angel a year ago, and recently made her debut in Terezin as Celia. While she's looking forward to playing other characters as she gets older, she admits that it is difficult to move from musical theatre, which is her background, to something dramatic that's based on actual events. "It's hard to switch modes, from singing and [acting] happy to a play that is so intense," Smith says, adding, "but I'm glad to have the challenge." Ultimately, Smith would like to fol- low in the footsteps of other Terezin alums. "I picture myself on Broad- way. I want to be in Annie," she says with a shy smile. She's not alone—six graduates of Terezin are now on Broadway, and they all do musicals, Smulowitz says with a laugh. Each of the characters, who range in age from 6 to 17, is named for a relative of Smulowitz's who The young actors have traveled internationally with the play. Cast: standing, left to right, Nicole Davis, Ella Bernard, Alexis Mickelson, William Hopwood, Georgia Smith, Haley Gendell, and Katherine Hall; Seated, Molly Bernard

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