Fun and A-grades

  • Kimmelman playing Mengele alongside India Milne
Matthew Kimmelman doesn’t follow anyone’s script in life because he writes his own.
by JORDAN MOSHE | Jan 16, 2020

With numerous plays, stories, speeches, and film scripts to his name, the prolific 18-year-old has emerged from matric not only with distinctions, but a creative portfolio of note.

An avid writer, promising producer, and film enthusiast, Kimmelman was creative throughout his school career at King David Victory Park, even producing two original scripts in matric.

He matched his love of the creative arts with an enthusiasm for English, drama and history, ultimately creating a matric year in which he expressed himself and displayed his talents wherever possible.

“Everyone takes science or biology,” says Kimmelman. “I found them really boring. History and drama fit my strengths.”

His subjects enabled him to express his creativity and score top marks. For example, his interest in drama converged in a history research task in which he evaluated famed American Alexander Hamilton, the subject of the hit Broadway musical, Hamilton.

“My love of history and drama really came together in the research task,” he says. “History forms an important part of drama, and when you study a play, you come to understand something of history as well.”

Kimmelman also found expression in public speaking from Grade 9. He found notes and cue cards limiting, preferring to let his speeches develop naturally and ensuring that he and his teammates never scored less than an A for impromptu speeches. He continued public speaking throughout matric.

His greatest achievements, arguably, were his film and theatre scripts. In 2017 and 2018, he produced two short films for a competition in the school’s name, the latter being a Holocaust film called The Necklace. This was inspired by his trip to Poland during the March of the Living programme, and it was screened at the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre.

In his matric year, Kimmelman wrote, produced, directed, and acted in two plays. The first was Free Churro inspired by the Netflix series BoJack Horseman, which was performed at the One Act Play Festival. The play was nominated for best costume, best original script for stage, and best actor in a leading role. “In the end, I won the best script award,” he says.

His second play was a collaborative effort between him and fellow matriculant Eli Kaplan, which adapted the memoirs of Dr Edith Eger, a Holocaust survivor, into a unique stage production. Named after Eger’s book, The Choice, it was performed at both The Fringe Theatre during the Festival of Excellence in the Dramatic Arts (FEDA) and at the Holocaust & Genocide Centre last year. Kimmelman starred as the infamous Dr Joseph Mengele. Kimmelman and the team successfully captured Eger’s sense of hope, perseverance, strength, and courage. The play was received with acclaim.

In spite of devoting a considerable amount of time to his theatrical work, Kimmelman didn’t miss much school, and felt sufficiently prepared for prelims and final exams.

He emerged with four distinctions, and says he is pleased that he maintained his passion and performed well academically.

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