Yet another jewel will soon arrive on the King Kekaulike High Dramaatican’s stage, courtesy of Director Chris Kepler and his Period 2 Intermediate/Advanced Acting class. Pollyanna opens Nov. 7 and continues for two weeks until Nov. 16.
With a full cast of 23, in-school rehearsals and additional afternoon-to-evening rehearsals for Elf (in which he has been cast), Kepler has his hands full. He’s been doing a variety of different plays at King Kekaulike for nine years now–and eight years previously at Iao School–including High School Musical, The Pony Express and Lady Dracula.
Based on the book by Eleanor Porter and then published as a play by Susan Pargaman on Pioneer Drama, Pollyanna is an all-ages family show. This play throws the audience back to the 1920s. It was an exciting time for most, but not the town of Beldingsville, Vermont. Instead, the town is filled with pessimists who only ever see the negative side of the world. Indeed, the pastor’s favorite quote from the Bible is simply, “Woe unto you.”
The main character, Pollyanna, has gone through a great deal of suffering, first with the loss of her mother and then later her father, all before age 13. Before he father died, they had played a game called “The Glad Game,” where they tried to make any negative situation positive. Throughout the play, Pollyanna slowly teaches it to her new town and helps them see how there’s always a silver lining, no matter how bad the situation. Your roof concaves into your living room? That’s okay–it was a little dark in there anyway!
“It is so exciting to have the opportunity to play the role of Pollyanna,” said Rosie Kulhavy-Sutherland. “There are many aspects of this character that I myself have aspired to. Unfortunately, I do not think that what Pollyanna does, positivity, is as easy as she makes it seem.”
When asked about how she got into her character, she told an interesting story, “Well actually, I was recently on a road trip,” she said. “We were in the middle of no where with no service, no map, and to top it all off, we were running out of gas late at night. A rather hopeless situation. Anyway, I turned to my step-mom and I said, ‘Why don’t we play The Glad Game from the play I am doing. All you have to do is try to find something about the situation to be glad about.’ We tried, but couldn’t find one silver lining. When we looked back at it, after finally getting to where we were going to stay for the night, we managed to come up with one thing–We can be glad that it made us appreciate the feeling of getting home.”
Kulhavy-Sutherland added that a friend told her Pollyanna was the perfect part for her. “Now, I have no idea what she means because the more I practice the part, the more I realize that Pollyanna truly redefines the idea of positivity. I thought that I was a pretty positive person but Pollyanna puts me to shame. As corny as it may seem, what Pollyanna manages to do is quite amazing. Sometimes in life we put down positivity, but the ability to take a hard situation and find something to be glad about is truly incredible.”
According to Kepler, the cast has had no trouble bonding over the two months they spent working together. “A lot of repeater students were together in this group,” he said. “We didn’t have to spend so much time with ice-breakers, etc. The advanced acting kids have already worked together before and the intermediate acting kids are already familiar with the others from being in the drama club.”
With every play comes a few challenges, and placing the play in the 19th century certainly wasn’t easy. “Since it’s a period piece from the 19th century, costumes were definitely difficult and quite a challenge,” Kepler said.
Kenna Rego, the Drama Club costumier, explained her process. “The costumes for Pollyanna were pretty tricky,” she said. “I had no idea what the kind of clothing they wore in the 1900s, but after a lot of sketching and searching through racks of clothing, I finally got it down. I think once it all comes together, it’ll be quite a picture.”
Pollyanna runs six performances–Nov. 7-9 and then again Nov. 14-16. Pollyanna is rated PG and is for kids and adults of all ages. Tickets cannot be purchased ahead of time so make sure you get to the King Kekaulike Cafetorium early before for the seats sell out.
Showtimes: Fri, Nov 7 – Sun, Nov 16. Friday and Saturday at 7pm and Sunday on 3pm. $8 adults, $6 students (18 and under). King Kekaulike Cafetorium (121 Kula Hwy., Pukalani); 808-573-8710; Kkhs.hidoe.us
|Directed by Chris Kepler, Assistant Directed by Kenna Rego
Pollyanna Whittier…………Rosie Kulhavy Sutherland’
Miss Polly Harrington…………Arianna Garcia
Mrs. Burgin/Townsperson……..Livia Eddins
Old Tom/Townsperson ………………. Mick St. John
Jimmy Bean…………. Vince Sotoza
John Pendleton……….. Tiago Ramirez
Dr. Thomas Chilton…….. Jimi McCain
Pastor Malden…….Jacob Devlin
Mrs. Snow………… Tara Servis
Millie Snow………. Makena Laurion
Jack Payson/Townsperson………… Matthew Peacock
Mrs. Payson/Townsperson ……….. Morgan Armitage
Loretta/Townsperson …………. Lianda Lonergan
Mrs. Benton/Townsperson …………… Kaya Lara
Dr. Mead/Townsperson………… Brittney Gaspar
Joey Payson ……… La’akea Mossman
Emily Payson …….. Kiele Kepler
Mrs. McCleary ………. Talisha Nay
Monique ……….. Kaila Kanekoa
Townspeople ……. Lanyssa Kennedy, Kenna Rego, Kiarra-lei Martelles