Actors, directors visit English classes for virtual panel about ‘Seven Guitars’ play


Andrew Burke-Stevenson

Actor Kevin Roston Jrvisited Ms. Himmelfarb’s Music and Literature classes on April 27 for a virtual panel regarding the play

Anathea Carrigan, Opinion Editor

Two groups of actors and directors presented to English teacher Christine Himmelfarb’s Music and Literature classes for virtual panels on April 19 and 27.

 These actors were part of a previous Court Theatre production of August Wilson’s “Seven Guitars.” The first panel consisted of the play director Ron O.J. Parson and actors Felicia P. Fields and Jerod Hayne. Actor Kelvin Rolston Jr. visited for the second panel on April 27.

 Ms. Himmelfarb said she wanted students to hear from actors in the play while they were reading it. 

“When we couldn’t see live theater, having them describe the very physical action of being on stage reminded students that they were reading a play,” Ms. Himmelfarb said.

The director gave context for the play, while the actors discussed memories from the stage. 

Additionally, some of the actors discussed their personal connections to music. Understanding the power of music has been a key focus of the course. 

“One of the actresses talked about blues, and what that meant to her personally,” Ms. Himmelfarb said. “We’ve read texts in which Langston Hughes and various other people comment on what the blues means to them, but to hear someone in 2021 say, you know, blues is alive for me, that gives that authentic connection.”

Ms. Himmelfarb said she wished the actors could have visited her classes in person, but the virtual visit was a valuable experience.

“It would’ve been fun to have them in person. That would have been my preference. I think it’s hard for people to focus as well when they’re online, but I think the students were still able to get a lot out of it,” Ms. Himmelfarb said. “It was also kind of interesting to see these actors there and in their home.”

She hopes students learned both about the role of music in plays, but also the role of hard work in achieving success. 

“I hope my students take away that with any art, the people who are the best at it are really thoughtful about it,” Ms. Himmelfarb said. “It looks easy, but it isn’t.”