This spring, Judah’s own Ava Carder was Amélie.
Thursday, March 2, through Saturday, March 4, a musical adaptation of the 2001 French film Amélie debuted at Champaign’s historic Virginia Theatre. The musical play follows the story of a young French woman in Paris named Amélie as she creates a magical world of her own by positively affecting the lives of those around her in unique and imaginative ways. The play also recounts the story of Amélie’s relationship with Nino, her love interest.
In half the play’s performances, the lead role of Amélie was masterfully portrayed and sung by none other than Judah junior Ava Carder. Ava’s experience as the play’s lead impacted her in a profound way. Ava described her involvement as a confidence-building experience in a welcoming and supportive atmosphere. She said, “It helped me find confidence in myself.” She said that performing in a play like Amélie “gives you a voice and shows you the influence you can have on people.” She and the rest of the cast rehearsed three times a week for three hours at a time to practice their lines, choreography, and singing.
Yet playing this part meant more to Ava than just having fun or even improving herself. Ava saw the play as an opportunity for her to share Jesus. In such an open and supportive atmosphere, she was in the perfect place for sharing the gospel. Ava said, “It’s a really good way to go out and share Jesus with people who don’t know Him.” She explained how, before every show, they had a prayer meeting for whoever wanted to participate. So Ava’s performance in the play not only showed her acting and singing skills, it also showed her willingness to share the love of Jesus.
Ava was not the only Judah student to participate in the play. Junior Talon Fazio worked behind the scenes. He was one of the designers who built the play’s sets and props. The set designers brought the play’s scenes to life with their artistic expertise. Talon said of his experience, “It’s developmental to someone’s character. I mean, how often do you get to build a bridge at sixteen? I got to make things, I got to learn how to make things. It’s practical, it’s hands-on, it’s real.”
Other Judah students participated in the play as well: Liza Carder, Jackson Dalbey, Kisandra Fazio, and Ali McGuffin. All of this Judah involvement in Amélie was a prime example of how we as Judah students can participate and make a difference in the world. Whether through acting, set design, or something else, we can demonstrate our skill and hard work, all the while showing Jesus and the gospel to those around us. Ava, through her skill as an actress and her eagerness to share the gospel, set an example for many more Judah students to follow.
— Caleb Yant, class of '23