The Play That Transforms Lives: Simon Family Scholars See "Moby Dick"

Tania Thompson
 | Feb 15, 2017
Simon Family Foundation

Simon Family Foundation "Simon Scholars" at a performance of Moby Dick.

"The feeling of excitement that continued throughout the whole performance was something memorable for me. My self-acknowledgement that I loved theatre was crystal clear after watching Moby Dick.”

That’s one way Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of Moby Dick connected with Jessie, a junior as Los Amigos High School and a Simon Family Foundation “Simon Scholar,” who recently saw the show.

The foundation serves students from disadvantaged backgrounds and provides them with tools, mentoring and support to create successful college applicants with the ultimate goal of developing confident individuals who remain highly competitive throughout their college years and beyond.

The arts—and in this case, a theatrical production at South Coast Repertory—have been another opportunity to introduce the students to experiences that can be transformative. Student scholars from the Newport Mesa School Unified District, Garden Grove School District and the Santa Ana School District saw Moby Dick.

“South Coast Repertory is so close to where our students live,” said Megan Barnes, the foundation’s chief operation officer. “It was a perfect opportunity for them to experience a literary classic like this and enjoy it on so many different levels.” 

For the students, those levels of engagement with the show included the acting, the set and costume designs, the sound, acrobatics and hands-down great storytelling. For SCR, it was another chance to bring the live theatre experience to more young people.

Here are some other comments from the Simon Scholars:

  • “I greatly appreciated the opportunity to attend Moby Dick [and to see it] brought to life. It was my first time [seeing a play] and it was amazing—an unforgettable piece of living art. The best part was the very end, when one of the actors came out to mingle with us. It was a great experience.”—Eliasar M., Simon Scholar alumna
  • “The show was just spectacular—I loved the stunts they did. It was funny, adventurous, and fulfilling.”—Manuel, Los Amigos High School
  •  “I have a deep appreciation for the arts and enjoyed how well this performance of Moby Dick incorporated the different styles of art to bring the show to life, fully immersing the audience. The show exceeded any and all expectations I had and I am glad to have had such an amazing opportunity.”—Jesus B., Costa Mesa High School
  • “Being able to attend Moby Dick was incredible! I sincerely enjoyed every second of it. This event gave me the opportunity to see my Simon Scholar Family from other schools and spend time with them. I do not see them very often but events like these help bring us all together, which I genuinely love.”—Eric L., Saddleback High School
  • “Thanks for the opportunity to see one of your amazing plays live.”—Walter R.
  • “The play was a pleasant experience, the actors and staff were amazing!”—Fatima O., Saddleback High School
  • The scholars and I really enjoyed the evening out being able to be together and watch the wonderful play, Moby Dick. Thank you again.”—Celine O., Saddleback High School

Find out more about the Simon Family Foundation.