BENNINGTON >> The students of the Southshire Community School transformed the stage of Oldcastle Theatre into a goblin-infested synagogue on Wednesday, as part of their performance of "Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins."
The North Bennington school's 29th annual winter play was adapted from Eric Kimmel's 1989 book of the same name by Ann Fitzgerald, who also directed the performance. Scenery and props were credited to Jude Fitzgerald, while costumes were designed by Coleen Healy.
In the play, which was performed before a packed house of family and friends, Noah Forest played Hershel of Ostropol, a weary traveler who is looking forward to celebrating the first day of Hanukkah in a town not far down the road. However, when he gets there, he learns that the goblins that have taken over the synagogue hate Hannukah, and have forbidden the villagers from celebrating. In order to remove the curse of the goblins, Hershel learns that he must light the menorah in the synagogue for each night of Hanukkah. Every night the goblins attempt to stop Hershel, but he always finds a way to outsmart them, culminating in a showdown with the king of the golbins, played by Harlan Cuite, who Hershel manages to convince to light the candles himself.
The village rabbi was played by Pierre Dobbelmann. Landon Beagle, Sam Danielson, Delphine Dobbelmann, Eben Radocchia, Kenny Reig, William Reig, Chase Smith, and Xavier Traver Adolphus rounded out the villagers. The first group of goblins that Hershel encounters were played by Luca Barsotti, Emily Grace Maynard, Kelly Taylor, Serafina York, Sebastian Traver Adolphus, and Henry Callahan. The next night, he encounters fat goblins, played by Anna Bergman, Audrey Danielson, Lena Dolmetsch, Nick Haytko-DeSalvo, and Zoey Thomayer. The final group of goblins, wearing red masks, were Delaney Armstrong, Emilia Barsotti, Adrianne Reig, Althea Radocchia, and Noa Shawn.
Hershel, while a fictional character in Ukrainian folklore, is based on a real historical figure, who is believed to have lived in Ukraine in the late 17th century. Kimmel adopted some of the tales for his two childrens books, Goblins, and "The Adventures of Hershel of Ostrapole." The students learned the play as part of a unit on diversity.