Lights, Camera, Class Action

This semester, the Hebrew Academy drama department led by Mrs. Berman decided to put on a very different kind of production with Brad Slaight’s Class Action. The Hebrew Academy production featured 18 new and returning actors starring in 27 different scenes. The message of the play is perhaps best summed up in this quote from Nick, portrayed by senior Danny Yerushalmi, that both opens and closes Class Action:

“In high school, the real learning takes place outside the classroom – in the halls, before and after school, hangin’ out in the parking lot… and all the other places where we can just be ourselves. That’s where we learn about life, love, and how to get along with each other. You see, the things we do outside the classroom will form the foundation on which we build the rest of our lives.”

The play is set in an ordinary high school that seems to belong both to the 90’s and 2017 between certain dated figures of speech and references to 21st century life, including mentions of Starbucks and the new Beauty and the Beast movie. This leads to slightly confusing moments at times, but it does not detract from enjoyment of the production.

Among the short scenes were several stunning and hilarious monologues. These monologues never failed to draw raucous laughter and applause from the audience, especially regarding David Gillinski’s (11th) portrayal of Dylan, a terrible athlete who suffers a debilitating, career-ending injury and forms a rock band.

Another great monologue was performed by senior Aliza Posner. Her character, Vanessa, received an abysmal report card, and devised an ingenious plan to confront her parents: she would unleash factoids about successful people who originally failed, including Albert Einstein, Michael Jordan, and Walt Disney.

The cast also presented many group scenes depicting different aspects of adolescent life. The vignettes contained both serious and comedic elements while always keeping the spectators entertained. One of the best scenes took place in a mock courtroom, where Justin, played by Shmuel Kahn (12th), was taken to court by Tehila Moore’s (11th) Megan after he stood her up on a date. 

In addition, Sara Fuchs (12th) and David Gillinski starred in a trilogy of scenes where the duo films a video yearbook of life in their high school. Fuchs was in a total of 6 scenes in Class Action, her 10th and final Hebrew Academy production. Another well-received scene highlights Jillian (Rena Kahn, 11th) and Adam (Judah Neuwirth, 12th) as radio-show jockeys. The pair connects, and the scene ends with the two sharing a beautiful romantic moment.

As the play occurs in a high school, there are multiple scenes that unfold in the hallways. Brilliantly, to show this, the cast and crew used the auditorium itself to serve as the high school halls.

Some scenes may have been lacking, but in the end, the only true fault of Class Action is that it was not long enough with a run time of one hour. In all, Mrs. Berman did a stellar job and produced one of the best Hebrew Academy plays ever.

For students who did not receive the opportunity to see the show live or those who want to see Class Action again, Mrs. Berman is selling DVDs of the play.

By: Jack Benveniste-Plitt (10th Grade)

Hebrew Academy Movie Rating (HAMR): 4 out of 5 Warriors.

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