When students walked into G103 this year, a room more commonly known as the Black Box Theater, they were greeted by something almost entirely new. A redesigned stage was constructed by people who shared a common vision to refurbish the theatre and aid Kaiser’s long-standing drama program.
Drama teacher Ann Ogilvie was presented with the idea of building a new stage by senior Sydney Maher, freshman Spencer Maher, and their father Dennis Maher. Sydney Maher has been involved with the drama program for all of her four years at Kaiser, and her family was part of the project from start to completion.
Dennis Maher, a member of the Hawaii Lodging and Tourism Association’s Engineers Advisory Council, donated materials totalling $25,000 and labor to create the new stage. Ogilvie’s response to the idea was positive; however, she was unsure of how the project was going to be executed. Luckily, sophomore students Ruby and Teia O’Malley were able to connect Ogilvie to the University of Hawaii’s scenic design and painting professor, Michelle Bisbee. “She drew up the floor plan, produced the floor plan totally for free, just as a volunteer,[even though] she doesn’t have any kids [at Kaiser],” Ogilvie said.
Once the design was finalized and set, Lighting Designer and Assistant Professor Brian Shevelenko came to Ogilvie and told her that with the new stage, she would need a new light plot, a blueprint outlining the location of each light above the stage. Shevelenko “created a whole new light plot that goes with [the stage.] He and some of his graduate students came in and hung and focused and… everything has been wired to the lighting board,” said Ogilvie.
The last time the stage had been refurbished was for the production A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was performed in the spring of 2014. “It had been renovated multiple times in order to fit the scene of different plays but… I don’t think it’s ever been gutted out and rebuilt like we did,” said Maher. The process of building the new stage went smoothly: “The only difficulties we had were mis-measurements which were easy fixes.” For a month, the construction team – consisting of Maher’s family and other members around the community – worked on weekdays from noon and continued late into the night until the project was completed.
All of the effort that went into the renovation paid off. Drama classes have been benefiting from the new stage. “It’s been really nice being able to use it, and it has given new life to the acting room for sure,” Maher said. The design of the stage provides opportunities for more variety in sets and props to create new landscapes for the actors. With students interested in directing, Ogilvie plans on producing a play this next April on the new stage. The stage will be completely finished in November, with a final coat being put on by drama club advisors. “We’ve been here since 2000, so it was time,” said Ogilvie.