WORCESTER – “Two girls started off as a best friends with one dream. Although they lost contact due to a move, this one dream eventually brought them together again. However, this one dream also tears them apart. This dream is to make it into the exclusive theater group, Show-Up. As the many qualified contestants compete for a spot in Show-Up, the two, long lost best friends turn against each other. Both girls are determined to make it and will give whatever it takes to live their dream, together or apart…”
This is the premise of “No Show” a play written and produced by Orit Cohen of Worcester and performed at the Worcester Jewish Community Center and at Jewish Healthcare in June.
This is the 11th play written and produced by Orit, 18, a graduate of Bais Chana Girls High School. She got her start as a playwright at the tender age of 9 when she began attending Bancroft Summer Theater Camp’s junior program.
“I was always really drawn to theater and the performing arts,” she said. “I danced and sang with my sister in our basement and really enjoyed it. Then I decided that I wanted to write my own play. So I wrote an 11 or 12 page play and got my sister and cousin and we worked every Sunday for a whole year,” she said.
That play, “A Journey for Life,” was about a girl from a Third World country who travels to the United States to find medicine for her ailing mother.
“At the end we had a performance in my basement. I transformed my basement to look like a theater,” she said. “I got curtains and carpet and went all out.”
At first the audience for Orit’s shows was made up of family members and close family friends from around the community.
“Since then we grew and grew. When kids would come to the shows, they would want to be a part of it the following year. My sister would tell her friends and they would tell their friends, and by the end of the year we would have 15 girls join up.”
Each summer since that first production, Orit would write a new play, then after a few months of rehearsal, the troupe would perform the play at the end of the year. Orit still holds all the rehearsals in her family’s basement.
“I definitely love theater and it is something I want to incorporate in my life forever and I would love to pursue it, but I am still debating about what I’d study in college,” said Orit, who said that she might want to study history.
Next year Orit will be heading to Israel to study before returning home to go to college, but she hopes to continue to run her theater program and to build bonds between the girls in her plays.
“I really want to continue to run it,” she said. “Yesterday I was at the JCC going to the gym and two of the girls in camp there were in the show. They came up to me and gave me a big hug, and they saw two other girls who were in the show. Not everybody knew each other [before the show]. But they have become really good friends. I just love to the see the bond these girls make with each other and how they grow.”