Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

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Haner: A love letter to the multimedia room

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Independent review of athletics department released, puts forth key recommendations

Northwestern hosts groundbreaking ceremony at Ryan Field construction site

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Derrick Gragg appointed as Northwestern’s vice president for athletic strategy, search for new athletic director begins

June 13, 2024


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Podculture: “Shine Like a Lake” explores vulnerability within a lost-to-found story arc

The Daily Northwestern takes a closer look at the Jewish Theatre Ensemble’s production “Shine Like a Lake.” We’ll follow the story arc, exploring how certain songs fit into the overarching theme.


[beginning of the performance]

LAURA SIMMONS: The Jewish Theatre Ensemble kicked off its season last Friday with a song cycle — fifteen continuous songs without dialogue — connected to the theme “Shine Like a Lake.” Today, we’ll explore the messages within the song cycle and take a closer look at a couple of songs. 

LAURA SIMMONS: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Laura Simmons. This is Podculture, a podcast about arts and culture on campus and beyond.

MILLIE ROSE TAUB: We picked a couple of themes that we felt were really relevant to us. I think Lilah does a really good job of explaining it in her director’s note, which is in the program. 

LAURA SIMMONS: That was producer and Communication sophomore Millie Rose Taub talking about Communication senior Lilah Weisman, who directed the event. Here’s what Weisman’s note says:

LAURA SIMMONS: “Vulnerability is reflective. This is how, in our song cycle, twelve individuals can visit a campsite alone and leave together, safe, seen, fulfilled: acts of courageous expression that spread like reflecting light from community member to community member. They empower each other to shine — and to shine together, expansively, like a lake.”   

LAURA SIMMONS: Every year, the Jewish Theatre Ensemble structures its seasons around a quote from a Jewish thinker or artist. 

MILLIE ROSE TAUB: This year that quote is, “And now you shine like a lake, and whether you want to or not, you reflect the sky,” which is from a poem by Anna Kamieńska.

LAURA SIMMONS: That poem is titled, “On a Sonnet by Leah Goldberg.” The quote guided the production’s story arc. It begins with people showing up to a campsite alone. But, they are vulnerable, and by the end … 

MILLIE ROSE TAUB: That peace of like being together and reflecting off of one another. And when one person is joyful, other people can share in that joy.

LAURA SIMMONS: After being vulnerable and sharing their struggles, everyone is dancing to the upbeat and hopeful song “Sun is Gonna Shine.” 

[“Sun is Gonna Shine” from Bright Star]

LAURA SIMMONS: Communication senior Frances Mary McKittrick performed toward the beginning of the lost-to-found story arc. She sang “Sonya Alone” from Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812, a musical based on a segment of “War and Peace.” Natasha is spiraling after her engagement was broken off. In “Sonya Alone,” her cousin, Sonya, sings about Natasha.  

[“Sonya Alone”]

FRANCES MARY MCKITTRICK: I love the song because I think it’s like an unbridled friendship. It is someone who is unequivocally willing to do anything for the support of someone else. And I love it too, because it’s like, “I won’t see you disgraced.” It’s so much about like, “I care about you.” 

LAURA SIMMONS: Communication sophomore Julia Polster also performed at the beginning of the song cycle story arc. However, her song, “Ghost of Corporate Future” by Regina Spektor, provided a more lighthearted contrast. 

[“Ghost of Corporate Future”] 

JULIA POLSTER: “It was such a funny bit. It was a good way to lighten some of the sadder moments of the show. And I enjoyed doing it a lot.

LAURA SIMMONS: “Ghost of Corporate Future” explores how one is perceived. It challenges the listener to consider living free from the burden of others’ expectations and judgments. These are lessons Polster has taken with her. 

JULIA POLSTER: By the end of the song, I’m like, people are just people. It shouldn’t make you nervous. And I tell myself that often since I got assigned the song because I’m very much a person that needs to hear that daily.

LAURA SIMMONS: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Laura Simmons. This episode was reported and produced by me, Laura Simmons. The audio editors of The Daily Northwestern are Virginia Hunt and Lily Shen, the digital managing editors are Scott Hwang and Laura Simmons, and the editor in chief is Avani Kalra. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.



Email: [email protected] 

Twitter: @LauraS237



Jewish Theatre Ensemble’s Song Cycle aims to shine a healing light on community

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