by Sanjana Deshpande, Features Reporter
photo illustration by Kaila Hanna
For junior Valerie Goldstein, nothing is better than being immersed in a good book or podcast.
“I just love interacting with things that other people have made to put their happiness out into the world,” she said. “I like knowing that I’m connected to someone through their art.”
Valerie said that art has been an important part of her life since her first performance in “Annie” in her first grade. While she enjoys multiple art forms, Valerie said she is most involved in theatre because of the sense of community she has found in South Stage.
Valerie’s involvement with South Stage started during the beginning of her freshman year.
“The first play I ever did with South Stage was the Frosh Play, and during that, I met a lot of the people who I’m really close friends with now,” she said. “It was a really good introduction to how South Stage works, and it was a fun show and a great experience for me.”
Recently, Valerie has gotten more involved with the technical side of theatre.
“Last winter, I helped out in the lab theater for a little bit, but then I also got to do hair and makeup for one of the shows,” she said. “I had a lot of fun doing that. This year, I got to do hair and makeup for the Frosh Play, which was huge.”
Valerie’s close friend, junior Sarah Erani, said that Goldstein’s commitment and willingness to learn are strong assets to the theatre community.
“We’ve worked together on tech before,” Erani said. “Valerie is very good at doing what needs to be done and listening to whoever’s in a position of authority, which not everyone is good at.”
Valerie’s sister, Violet Goldstein, said that her love of the arts is evident and motivating.
“She’s really passionate about acting and theater,” Violet said. “It’s really inspiring to watch her do what she loves to do.”
Valerie said that participating in theatre has helped her explore her identity as a person of color.
“When I was a freshman, a family friend of mine told me that she was doing this event called the Monologue Project for people of color and asked me if I was interested in it,” she said. “I wasn’t entirely sure if I considered myself a person of color, at that point. I decided to explore that, and I went to a few meetings for the project and found that I really identified with what a lot of people were saying. Then, I got to write a monologue about my experience, and because of that, I realized that I did fit in there, and I did identify as a person of color.”
Valerie’s tenure as a member of South Stage will culminate in directing a play.
“Next spring, I’ll be directing a play called ‘Leah’s Love Story,’ which I wrote,” she said. “It’s loosely based on my life, and it was really personal to write. Getting to see it on stage and creating something so that other people can see what my life has been like will feel really amazing.”
In the future, Valerie said she hopes to stay involved in theatre as well as focusing on some of her other interests.
“I want to go to college and study something like public policy as my major and then have a minor in theatre. It’s something I really enjoy doing, and I’d like to be able to hold onto that for the rest of my life, even if it’s not my main job,” she said.
Valerie’s people skills will serve her well in the future, her history teacher, Jennifer Bement, said.
“One of Valerie’s best personality traits is her compassion. There is a need for leaders and CEOs and directors that know the value of human life and are willing to listen,” Bement said. “Valerie is so good at that.”
Erani said that she admires Valerie’s confidence.
“She’s always very willing to be herself and stand up for what she believes in,” Erani said.
Violet also said that her sister’s assuredness inspires her.
“Valerie is so confident,” she said. “She doesn’t care what other people think and she stays true to her values. I think people can learn a lot from that.”