Serious to Silly
School shootings and safety are certainly hot button issues. Rarely do I discuss anything too serious in this column, but tomorrow night Maui Academy of Performing Arts is opening a very serious show on these timely topics.
It’s perhaps easy to assume tragedies such as Columbine and Sandy Hook are recent phenomena. In fact, American school slaying dates back to the Pontiac school massacre on July 26, 1764. Four American Indians entered the schoolhouse near Gettysburg, Penn., shot and killed schoolmaster Enoch Brown, and killed 10 children. But that stuff doesn’t happen in Hawaii, right? On January 17, 1913, in Honolulu, Manuel Fernandez entered a classroom and shot and killed his wife, teacher Johanna Fernandez, with a shotgun. Several children were severely wounded by the scattering buckshot.
On Maui, although it may have been a prank, police received a 911 call from an anonymous female on March 11, saying that she saw a boy with a concealed handgun going onto the Maui High campus. The Maui Police relayed the information to the vice principal, who then decided to implement a lockdown of the campus. The Maui Police didn’t find anyone and the lockdown was lifted about one hour later.
I asked director Sally Sefton about the timeliness of MAPA’s upcoming production, “Lockdown.”
“It’s a very topical play,” she said. “About three weeks after we chose this production, the events of Newtown happened. There is this idea out there that our schools are not safe. It’s a fear and after the Maui High scare that fear is now in our backyard.”
The play “Lockdown” was commissioned by South Coast Repertory to LA-based playwright, children’s author and teacher, Julia Edwards in 2009.
It’s just another day in a high school library until a siren sounds, the doors automatically lock, and the not-so-studious students discover they are trapped. Someone thinks they heard a gunshot, a terrified teacher barricades herself in the bathroom, and Crazy Lily (Jackie Gladden) has a diabetic seizure. Without knowing what caused the lockdown, a diverse group of high school students are forced to deal with each other in very real ways that strip away the stereotypes of high school social structure.
What is the conversation she wants parents, kids and teachers to have after seeing this show, I inquired.
“We shouldn’t be governed by fear. I would hope that they don’t allow fear to dominate them. When I’m looking for a play, I look for something that is great for teens. I look for characters that have depth. Every student is on stage for the entire show, held captive for seemingly eight and a half hours without knowing what is happening outside. The fear of outside becomes less important than what is happening inside.”
* Maui Academy of Performing Arts’ advanced play production students present “Lockdown” by Julia Edwards and directed by Sally Sefton. It opens Friday and runs through March 30 at Steppingstone Playhouse in Queen Ka’ahumanu Center. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, with one matinee at 2 p.m. this Sunday.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $8 for seniors and students (18 and younger), available by calling 244-8760, online at www.mauiacademy.org or by visiting the Customer Service Kiosk at Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.
Also this weekend
Kumu Kahua Theatre presents “Fishing for Wives” by Edward Sakamoto at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Maui Arts & Cultural Center’s McCoy Studio Theater. “Fishing for Wives” is a comedy of errors over a mail-order bride mix-up. Set in 1913, two Hawaiian fishermen realize they have women problems. Lonely and bored with catching fish, Nishi sends for a picture bride from Japan, but sneaks a photo of his handsome friend Aoki in his place. The bride arrives and falls in love with the wrong man, setting off a classic battle of the sexes. Tickets are $22 (plus applicable fees), available at the MACC box office, by calling 242-7469 or online at www.mauiarts.org.
The Kit Kat Club Cabaret brings its Coconut Island cabaret to Fleetwood’s on Front St. every Friday night, beginning this week through April 26. Fly with the fun and flirty Kit Kat Club as they take you on an exotic, fantasy-inspired journey from the inside of a stylized airplane, through the Bermuda Triangle, and onto an exotic tropical island. Go-go dancing stewardesses encounter feisty pirates, sinister mermaids and mysterious jungle animals. Have your photo taken with the Kit Kat Club gals and dance under the stars on Fleetwood’s stylish, bohemian-inspired rooftop. Show begins at 9 p.m. Tickets are $40 for VIP theater-style seating; $20 for deck view. For reservations, call 669-6425.
Don’t miss the chance to see Bill Cosby at 7:30 p.m. March 29 at the MACC’s Castle Theater. A national treasure of comedy, television, literature and the recording arts, Cosby’s career has spanned five decades in virtually all media. In the ’60s, his stand-up act was a coast-to-coast sensation, spawning a string of hilarious, best-selling comedy albums, which went on to win five Grammy Awards. His role on TV’s “I Spy” made him the first African-American to co-star in a dramatic series, breaking television’s racial barrier and winning three Emmy Awards. In the 1980s, he again rocked the TV world with “The Cosby Show,” a hugely successful series that single-handedly revived the family sitcom. Tickets are $45, $55, $75, $85, $115 (plus applicable fees), available at the MACC box office, by calling 242-7469 or online at www.mauiarts.org.
Seabury Hall’s student-run philanthropic arts club, Art with Heart, presents its student-produced benefit showcase on March 30. The evening begins with a fine art silent auction at 5:30 p.m., plus dining, refreshments and live music in the ‘A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center. A live performance of music, acting, dance, and poetry readings will follow at 7 p.m.
Proceeds will support Art with Heart’s goals to promote the arts and education here on Maui and abroad. This year the club is supporting an elementary school in Nicaragua, where Seabury Hall volunteers worked this past February through the organization Outreach 360. Locally, the club brings art projects to the children at the Ke Hale A Ke Ola homeless shelter and to special needs youth through the Best Buddies program. The club has currently raised $4,928.32 and is hoping to double the amount to reach its goal of $10,000 by the end of the year. To reserve tickets, call 573-1257.
The Maui Academy of Performing Arts announces its youth summer musical theatre camp with two productions to choose from. “Disney’s 101 Dalmatians,” for kids entering grades 3-7, will hold auditions from 2 to 4 p.m. April 14. Camp dates will be from May 27 to July 4, with one weekend of performances July 5 through 7. Tuition is $875, with payment plans and partial needs based scholarships available.
The teen summer musical theatre camp will present “Fame,” for teens entering grades 7 and higher. Auditions for “Fame” will be held at 1 p.m. April 7, with an end time depending on the number of students auditioning. The camp dates will be from June 17 to July 24, with one weekend of performances July 25 through 28. Tuition is $275, and scholarships/payments plans are not available. “Fame” has mature language and content.
Visit www.mauiacademy.com and download a registration form, then bring the signed registration form to the audition. Actors must prepare a one-minute monologue and a musical theater song that shows one’s range, and must provide their own sheet music or accompaniment CD to audition.