King’s theater program “blossoms in the woods”

The fall semester was undoubtedly a challenging one for everyone as classes began in-person but physically distanced before moving online, then gradually returning to in-person again after a period of quarantine and the establishment of a safe campus Green Zone. Despite all of these transitions, King’s Academy theater students succeeding in presenting a series of performances during the last week of in-person classes before the winter break, all the more impressive for the challenges they overcame.

“We auditioned and met with our cast masked and distanced, so much so that several cast members interacted with us through their computer screens from their various quarantined abodes around the globe,” says faculty member Alison Trattner who directed the fall musical Into the Woods Jr.

Into the Woods Jr. features famous storybook characters including Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, Jack (and his beanstalk), Rapunzel and the Witch in a lyrically rich retelling of classic Brothers Grimm fables. The musical centers on a baker and his wife, who wish to have a child; Cinderella, who wishes to attend the King's festival; and Jack, who wishes his cow would give milk. When the baker and his wife learn that they cannot have a child because of a witch's curse, the two set off on a journey to break the curse, and wind up changed forever. (MTI)

Fall Musical

After over a month of rehearsals, and missing the presence of many key technical people who could not join them in the Green Zone, the cast and crew set to work creating their own sets and costumes before the fall musical Into the Woods Jr. opened on November 24 for four nights in the Abdul Majeed Shoman Auditorium.

“As a cast and crew, we pooled our skills and became a village: ingenious, thrifty, undaunted and thoroughly bonded,” says Trattner who explains that the musical took on a far deeper meaning during this challenging year. “We knew that somehow, no matter what it took, we would tell you this story about sheer determination, self-discovery and catharsis that occur under challenging circumstances.”

Fall Musical

There was no rest after the conclusion of the fall musical production; theater students readied themselves for another series of performances the following week. Saja Aggad ’24, Faris Kassisieh ’23, Wedad AlRousan ’22, Susan Aloudat ’22 and Wadei Tadros ’22 performed staged readings in the Gallery of three original short plays — described as “fascinating and provocative” by Trattner — that were written by students taking the playwriting co-curricular: Tia Hammad ’22, Mariam AlMuzainy ’23 and Jessica Fakes ’24. 

Next was an evening of selected scenes from three plays: “Sure Thing” by David Ives, “The Glass Menagerie” by Tennessee Williams, and “Fences” by August Wilson, performed by students* of Intro to Theater, Scene Study and Page to Stage. 

“They took nothing less than an epic journey,” says Trattner of her students this semester. From not knowing whether they would ever see the inside of the auditorium, to two weeks of inspiring theatrical performances, King’s students proved that no matter what the obstacle, the “show will go on!”

*Performers listed below:

Into the Woods Jr. Cast
Zeena Habashneh ’21, Nadia Salfiti ’21, Saif Qutishat ’22, Ahmad Ismail ’21, Lara Abuali ’23, Yanlin Li, ’22, Ghalia Zureikat ’22, Maryan Bakir ’22, Liliana Abuzeid ’23, Fay Aljasem ’22, Yasmine Najjar ’24, Susan Aloudat ’22, Faris Kassisieh ’23, Michaela Balloch ’24, Thafer Al-kilani ’24, Josephine Koehring ’22, Oday Fraij ’22, Ruofei Shang ’21, Louisa Koehring ’24, Leen Fariz ’21, Taha Noui-Mehidi ’21, Abdulhameed AbuZaid ’22, Bana Haloush ’24

Into the Woods Jr. Crew
Langqing Xie ’22, Wadei Tadros ’22, Emelia Karanowski ’21, Sama Alissa ’23, Yuru Wu ’22, Kyung Phil Lee ’22, Yinzhe Liu ’24, Malak AlLawama ’23, Mahmoud Alhamed ’22, Faris Lahham ’24, Lina Obeidat ’23, Tamara Lufti ’23, Hanna Kobs ’22, Liliana Sanchez ’23, Seba Al Lahham ’23, Sadeel Alhazim ’23, Jiahui Yan ’23, Rand Tadros ’24, Noor Shahinbanwi ’23, Gabriella Rogers ’22, Minseo Kim ’24, Maya Martinez ’24, Laura Aloudat ’24, Aya Abdallat ’22, Maya Martinez ’24, Ahmad Ismail ’21, Kareem Al Sawalha ’22, Nadine Kurdi ’22, Ruofei Shang ’21

“Fences” performers
Sad Khalayleh ’21, Fanar AlDerzi ’21, Jana Alhusseini ’21, Celina Shteiwi ’21, Fuad Alkhoury ’21, Raseel Haddadin ’21, Salina Haddadin ’21, Maryam AbuHawash ’21, Abir Jabri ’21, Oday Fraij ’22, Shaima Bunnia ’22, Wedad AlRousan ’22, Susan Aloudat ’22, Maryan Bakir ’22, Ghalia Zureikat ’22, Wadei Tadros ’22  

“Sure thing” performers
Tia Kharbat ’23, Saja Aggad ’24, Omar Kurdi ’23, Minseo Kim ’24  

“The Glass Menagerie” performers
Liliana Abuzeid ’23, Julian Eubanks ’23, Faris Kassisieh ’23, Mira Daoud ’23, Wissam Ezzedine ’22, Joud AlMbaidin ’22

Staged reading of three original short plays
Playwrights:
Tia Hammad ’22, Mariam AlMuzainy ’23, Jessica Fakes ’24 Performers: Saja Aggad ’24, Faris Kassisieh ’23, Wedad AlRousan ’22, Susan Aloudat ’22, Wadei Tadros ’22