Seabury Hall Performing Arts concludes its 2013-14 season this weekend with its 19th annual Side Shows, a wild array of short plays by professional, contemporary writers and student playwrights, Jordan Priest and Abby Stoner. Similar to the famed Samuel French Off Off Broadway Short Play Festival, Side Shows gives Seabury students a small taste of a future professional theatrical career. At the Samuel French Festival, several hundred young writers and directors, not much older than these Seabury students, are narrowed down to 30, 10-minute plays. The finalists then mount bare-bones productions at alternative New York City performance spaces. A panel of playwrights, agents, directors and producers select six winners, who are awarded publishing and licensing contracts, which generally leads to a professional writing career. Seabury Hall may be off-off-off Broadway, but a quick glimpse of its alumni reveals many a performing arts success story.
Festival directors Sally Sefton and Todd Van Amburgh, as well as faculty, friends and distinguished members of the Maui theater community, volunteer time to work with student actors and playwrights every year. This year, Tina Kailiponi, Vinnie Linares and Scott Winham are joined by student directors Celina Bekins, Zoe Harrelson, Zeb Mehring, Cassidy Ross and Taka Tsutsui.
"The one-act festival has proven to be an ideal experience for students and audiences," Van Amburgh says. "The show is fast and fun - a rollercoaster ride. Students get lead parts, and because the plays are all about 10 minutes, they don't have the taxing rehearsal schedule they get for longer shows. As teachers, we get to include more students." More than three dozen students will perform.
Taka Tsutsui (left) and Celina Bekins from “Hamlet.”
Jack Grace photo
Kaimana Neil (left) and Zeb Mehring from “The Diviners.”
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Zoe Harrelson from “The Diviners.” Seabury Hall’s Side Shows will give students a taste of professional theater. The annual one-act festival kicks off Friday and continues through Sunday at the Makawao campus.
Jack Grace photo
This year's crop of plays includes "The Late Fee" by Michele Hodara, directed by Harrelson; "Hot Dog" by Priest, directed by Van Amburgh; "The Body" by Garry Kluger, directed by Tsutsui; "The Order" by Garry Kluger, directed by Bekins; "The Battle of Bull Run Always Makes Me Cry" by Carole Real, directed by Sefton; "Tracks" by Van Amburgh, directed by Kailiponi; "The Break-In" by Garry Kluger, directed by Ross; "DMV Tyrant" by Christopher Durang, directed by Sefton; "Louis and Dave" by Norm Foster, directed by Linares; "Judgment Call" by Frederick Stroppel, directed by Winham and "Marred Bliss" by Mark O'Donnell, directed by Sefton.
Two of the pieces that will be presented are extremely funny. "Battle of Bull Run" is similar to the type of conversation you might catch on "Sex and the City," as four, 30-something women analyze a first date. Linda (Allie Rudow), who is married with a toddler, lives vicariously through girls-night-out chats, demanding lengthy details. Donna (Mikela Wesson), who has survived the first date, isn't sure what to make of a guy who talks Civil War battle history throughout the evening. "DMV Tyrant," by the Tony award-winning Durang, is exactly what it sounds like. A computer error has made a mess out of a new driver's license, and the "DMV lady" has little or no help to offer.
The original, "Cash and Layla," by student-author Stoner, will make its debut at the festival. Top Seabury veterans, Harrelson and Kaimana Neil (who last teamed in "The Diviners"), will star in this one-act play, directed by fellow student Zeb Mehring ("Hamlet," "The Miracle Worker").
In addition to juniors and seniors getting a chance to expand their training, many younger students will have the opportunity to perform in larger roles for the very first time. "Veterans end their high school careers with this show, while others are discovered here. Students get to work with other directors, and directors get to experiment," added Van Amburgh. "The one-act festival is great education and great fun."
* Seabury Hall Performing Arts presents the 19th annual Side Shows, a festival of one-act plays. Performances are 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday in the A'ali'ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall campus in Makawao. Admission is free; donations are welcomed. For more information or to purchase tickets, call 573-1257 or visit www.seaburyhall.org.
Also this week
Don't miss the final weekend of Maui OnStage's unconventional production of "The Miracle Worker" by William Gibson, directed by Rick Scheideman. The neglected deaf, blind and mute Helen Keller (Pua Kepler) was raised like a wild animal. At a loss to connect with their daughter, the Keller's enlist the half-blind, youthful and inexperienced Anne Sullivan (Jessica Chernicki). Blessed with fanatical dedication and determination, Sullivan tackles the titanic undertaking to release the child from the terrifying prison of darkness and silence.
* "The Miracle Worker" performances are 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 3 p.m. Sunday (a signed performance for the hearing impaired) at the Historic Iao Theater. Tickets range from $17 to $28. Call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com.
Power Up Comedy returns at an all-new entertainment venue. Chino LaForge (voted "Maui's Best Comedian") headlines a lineup of standup comedians that includes Sunny Dennis, Ted Anderson, Chris Rose, Corky Gardner and Vince Foti.
* Catch "Comedy Circus" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Mill House at the Maui Tropical Plantation. Tickets are available at the door for $15, or purchase presale tickets for $10 at 808 Deli, 808 Fades Barber Shop and Wailuku Coffee Company.
Hawai'i Opera Theatre will showcase "The Mikado" by W.S. Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan next month at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Gilbert and Sullivan's romp through the mythical and nonsensical fantasy world of The Mikado will be performed with members of the Hawaii Symphony Orchestra and international and local stars. Set in Japan, this satire on English society fuses both cultures with humorous lyrics and elaborate plot twists. Nanki-Poo, son of the emperor, flees his home to avoid an arranged marriage to an older woman, only to find himself falling in love with the beautiful Yum-Yum, who is betrothed to Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner.
* "The Mikado" takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. June 18 at Castle Theater. Tickets range from $27 to $97 (plus applicable fees), with half-price passes available for children younger than 12. Visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order at www.mauiarts.org.
Kamp Krazy Tales returns with an all-new summer session. The Drama Queen (Kristi Scott) and Keyboard Kim (Kim Vetterli) are teaming up again to present three summer drama and music camps for keiki of Kihei and beyond. Students will learn fun drama games and music techniques; Kamp Krazy Tales will culminate with a short performance for parents. Preregistration required; no previous experience is necessary. The session runs from 9 a.m. to noon, June 2 through 6 in the ProArts Playhouse at the Azeka Shopping Center in Kihei. Kamp Krazy Tales is intended for children ages 5 to 12, and tuition is $150 per child with two-hour extended day care available. Two additional Camps at the ProArts Playhouse run from July 21 through 25 and July 28 through Aug.1. To enroll, or if interested in sponsoring a child, call 463-6550; for more information, visit www.proartspacific.com.