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"Be cool. Don't freak out."

posted by Robert Sweibel on Mon, Oct 20, 2008
in At the theatre

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The plot of Yellowjackets focuses on a news story published by the Jacket, the student newspaper at Berkeley High School. Well, to our dismay, we discovered during the run-up to the show that the real Jacket -- like so many other newspapers these days -- doesn't have enough funds to cover its expenses.

So we asked our audiences to help "Save the Jacket." We announced the problem during a curtain speech before each performance and encouraged people to make donations. After the show, our house manager stood by the door with a donation jar. It seemed like no big thing. Who knew that our audiences would contribute more than $6,600?

Berkeley Rep audiences literally saved the school newspaper!

Last night we welcomed eight teens from the Jacket staff to the final performance of the play. They came bearing a gift -- a beautiful card and letter to the Theatre eloquently expressing their gratitude. After the final curtain call, the cast – led by Ben Freeman, who played Avi -- toted out the donation jar and announced how generous our audiences had been. Then Ben invited the Jacket staff to join the cast on stage for a round of applause and a photo. Let me tell you, these young journalists were beside themselves. I even heard one say to another, "Be cool… Don't freak out." Of course, they were nothing if not cool when they joined our young cast on stage to celebrate the generosity of our community.

Nice all around. Personally, I thought it was incredibly generous of the cast to share their final moment in the spotlight and shine the light on others. What a great group of artists.

Check out this news story to learn more about the Jacket, our efforts to save it, and the paper's 50-year history as an independent reporter on Berkeley news:

Berkeley High Jacket staffers receive donation from Berkeley Rep audiences

Photo by Abby Hanson


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