Alumni, Community

Our Community: Alumni Edition #1

Aviva Solkowitz – Alumni from the community

  • Tell us you name, age, and background.

My name is Aviva Solkowitz, I’m 19, I’m from Bethesda Maryland and I’ve been doing theater for about 10 years. I started with Shakespeare productions when I was 9 or 10. Then as I got older I started doing more musicals.

  • Why were you in Israel?

I was in Israel on a gap year program called Nativ, as a part of that program I was living in Jerusalem and studying at Hebrew University.

  • First Experience in the theater community in Israel?

While I was touring Hebrew U before my classes began, I was told that there were auditions that day for the show Cinderella, and that was my first experience with the Jerusalem Theater Community. The auditions were immediately followed by the first rehearsal, so the other Nativers and I got to meet the rest of the cast immediately.

  • General Experience in theater community in Israel?

I’ve seen quite a few shows from the AACI, and Starcatcher, as well as participated in various events involving the theater community as well like the Hannukah party, and a karaoke event at the AACI.

  • What was the highlight of your time with the theater community here?

I don’t know if I could pick just one… there were so many amazing things to happen. I suppose if I had to choose, it would be being able to watch the friends I made perform in other shows. It was really rewarding to be able to see my friends do such great work and to watch them from an audience perspective rather than being next to them on stage.

  • What do you miss most?

Performing and working with the people there. It was really so great to work with such amazing people, and getting to know everyone in the theater community was really rewarding. I became friends with everyone, so of course I miss my friends.

  • What are you doing now?

Right now, I’m at University majoring in theater in New York. I’ve auditioned for a couple things in the city and the school as well as done an audition for a Broadway show.

  • Do you plan on coming back?

I would love to come back and do theater again! I really hope that I’m able to come back for a little while and at least see a show, but hopefully be able to perform in one again.

  • How do you stay connected ? Or do you stay connected with friends you made in the community?

I mainly keep in contact with people through Facebook and WhatsApp. I text people all the time, and get them to update me on what shows are going on each season.

  • Anything you wanna add?

When people ask me what my favorite part of my gap year was, I say that it was performing in Cinderella. Doing that gave me exposure to an entire world of theater in Jerusalem that I didn’t know existed. I was able to make so many friends and I wouldn’t have traded that experience for anything. One other thing is that shortly after the run of Cinderella that I was in, I actually got recognized because of it. I was really surprised, but I happened to be sitting next to someone and we started having a conversation. I told him that I was studying at Hebrew University, and he just turned to me and asked “wait, were you just in their show Cinderella?” It kind of freaked me out because I had never met this person before and he remembered me from the show. I said yes and he started saying how much he loved it, and that he wanted to see more shows so I recommended other shows that were being done in the coming months.

  • Has the theater community in Israel given you any life experience that is helping you today in your endeavors?

Of course. Performing in Jerusalem felt like a more professional production than anything I had done in school before, so that was a really good experience to get.

  • How many roles or shows did you play? Which was your favorite?

In Israel, I (unfortunately) was only in one show. In my entire acting experience, I’ve been in about 14 shows total. My favorite was probably a show I did called Xanadu, it was such a fun show that was meant to make fun of the movie it was about. This allowed us as actors to have a lot of fun with it, and exaggerate a lot to make it bad on purpose. Shows, to me, are the most fun when you get to have fun with it while putting on a good production.

  • What is your favorite thing in Israel?

In all of Israel? I love how important community is in Israeli culture. While I was there I was able to become a part of so many different communities and meet some really incredible people. I think that’s something really defining about Israel is the people and how welcoming they are. I’ve had multiple times where random people and I would have a conversation while we were on a bus together, and those smaller memories of random acts of kindness and genuine interaction are really what stand out in my mind when I think about my time in Israel.

  • Would you encourage others to join the community?

Absolutely! In fact, I already have. When I left Nativ, I left a letter there for someone from my home town who I knew was going to do Nativ the following year. I had done theater before with her and in the letter, I mentioned doing the show at Hebrew U, and encouraged her to do it.

  • What do you think can encourage and help people learn more about the theater community?

I think if more people knew about it, they would want to see a show. Recognition and publicity are really what can help people to become interested in the theater community. They just need to see one show, and that will be the beginning for them to become involved in the community in general.

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