Drama students’ education goes beyond the stage

KALAHEO — The science of light collided with more than 30 students from Kalaheo Elementary School’s drama club as they learned how math and science helps them on stage.

“Everything in theater that has to do with light and sound has to do with math and science,” Marly Madayag told the drama club students. “If you are a theater person, you’ll appreciate math and science.”

Madayag is a teacher at the school and director of “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.,” which opens April 27.

The March 20 workshop taught the third, fourth and fifth grade actors about light, its application to theater and how it’s applied in the engineering field.

Technical Director Tracy Sullivan introduced students to the concept of light and how it interacts with matter, Madayag discussed how its used in theater and David Herr, an optical engineer at Pacific Missile Range Facility, gave a presentation about how students can forge careers working with lights and telescopes.

Students were able to play with convex and concave lenses while getting up close and personal with stage lights.

The workshop was made possible by the Aloha ‘Ike grant awarded by the Kaua‘i Economic Development Board.

“KEDB have helped us go further and teach the technical aspect of theater,” Madayag said. “It gives such a rich, well-rounded experience for the kids. This program is not about drama. It’s not about science. It’s about developing a child as a whole.”

“Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” marks the ninth production the drama club has presented.

In previous years, the club has acquired a sound system, theater lights and acoustic panels, which has slowly transformed the school’s cafeteria into a theater.

“In the first season, there was nothing (in the cafeteria),” said Julie Herr, a parent volunteer whose children have been involved with the club. “Every year we try to incorporate a new piece of technology.”

For this year’s production, the club was able to acquire a projector, two projection screens and a cable, which will be operated by a student tech crew.

“This program doesn’t take money from the school budget,” Julie said. “It’s self-sustaining through fundraisers, food booths, admissions, grants and volunteers from the community.”

More than 30 students have been rehearsing since January for “Alice,” who are joined by a group of parent volunteers.

“What I love about this organization is it doesn’t stop at the stage,” Madayag said. “Math, science, history and public speaking all comes into play. This is the experience I want for the kids, to develop their whole being.”

Tickets for Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland, Jr.” is available at Kalaheo Elementary School’s front office beginning in the first week of April.

Tickets are $5 for adults and $1 for children under 12. Children who bring a canned food donation for the Kaua‘i Independent Food Bank is free. All proceeds from ticket sales support the club’s return the following year.

• Andrea Frainier, lifestyle writer, can be reached at 245-3681, ext. 257 or afrainier@ thegardenisland.com.

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