Regional premiere of EXHIBITS IN THE ZOO opens ThinkTank’s Play Fest this Friday

“Mendel is a boy who remains hopeful, even during the German occupation of his hometown in Warsaw, Poland. When Mendel finds a German soldier’s camera, a whole new world opens up to him. This is the tagline for the ThinkTank Theater’s first regional production of “Exhibits at the Zoo,” by Matt Harmon. The show opens this Friday, August 12 at the Stageworks Theater. Exhibits at the Zoo’ was a Showcase finalist at ThinkTank’s 2021 TYA International Playwrights Festival. The show received a staged reading as part of the festival featuring local professional talent and included a discussion with playwright Matt Harmon. The play also received the Distinguished Achievement Award at the 2019 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The first regional production will run August 12-21 with a preview on August 11 and a casual performance on August 13 at 3:00 p.m. There will be a discussion with the playwright and the cast after the evening performance on the 12th.

The cast includes Tampa favorites and ThinkTank veterans Landon Green (Eli) and Colleen Cherry (Beggar). Another local favorite, Kaylie Horowitz (Liba), will make her ThinkTank debut. The piece also features former ThinkTank Young Artists’ Ensemble member Jake Perez (Mendel), now a freshman at the University of Central Florida, in addition to a number of current YAE Society members: Brilee Gold (Shlomit), Jadon Milne (Shmuel), Noah Perez (Soldier/Ensemble/Mendel Understudy) and Sofia Pickford (Ensemble). The show is directed by Kara Gold-Harris.

“Showing off at the zoo” follows Mendel, an imaginative and brilliant boy who finds joy in the most unlikely places. The only thing keeping that joy contained is the German occupation of his hometown in Warsaw, Poland. When Mendel finds a German soldier’s camera while begging in the Plac, a new world opens up to him where he sees things the way he wants to see them. However, his parents know that this camera, coupled with Mendel’s inability to produce vocalized sound, makes him a target. As Mendel, his parents, and everyone around them grapple with the dangers of the imagination under persecution, Mendel refuses to let his dreams be dashed.

Researching the historical context of the play, ThinkTank artists working on the show visited the Florida Holocaust Museum and also attended a traditional Shabbat dinner hosted by Stageworks Theater and Brandy Gold and the Tampa JCCs and Federation .

“EXHIBITS IN THE ZOO is a touching play that introduces audiences of all ages to the atrocities of the Holocaust in a delicate and meaningful way,” says director Kara Gold-Harris. “Our main character’s desire and discovery for a new form of self-expression, as well as the love and grief experienced within family life, are universal themes that can relate to everyone, regardless of background. age, race or religion.”

Georgia Mallory Guy, Artistic Director of ThinkTank, said, “This is the year we see our festival fully realized. We started with over 300 play submissions, open to playwrights, internationally from January to March. by our two-piece reading panel for this year’s festival showcase – Matt Henderson’s Most Awesome Superhero Movie Ever and Kimberlee Stone’s Star Stuff. Exhibits in the Zoo was one of our 2022 showcase finalists. Our goal with this festival is to provide playwrights with the means for regional, possibly global, premieres for their play here with our community and theater audience. from Tampa Bay. We are one of only two TYA professional game festivals in this country that I know of, and the only one to offer a full production for one of our Festival Showcase finalists.”

As part of our vision to provide a theatrical experience that welcomes everyone, we plan to offer casual performances for all of our productions on the main stage. For these shows, we will be adjusting various elements to ensure that audience members with sensory sensitivities can join us!!! Our laid-back performances are open to everyone and are specifically designed to enhance the performance experience for members of our community with special needs, families with young children, and any theatergoer who might enjoy a more enjoyable performance experience. relaxed !

Tickets for ‘Exhibits in the Zoo’ and other readings that will be part of the 2022 TYA Playwrights Festival are available at®id=101& bottombuybutton1 or by calling 813.374.2416. Student and group rates are available. Consider purchasing a festival pass to see ‘Exhibits in the Zoo’ and get priority seating for our 2022 festival finalist readings, ‘The Most Awesome Epic Superhero Movie of All Time’ by Matthew Henderson on August 14 and “Star Stuff” by Kimberlee Stone on August 14. 20th

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