Chaminade Silversword

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Chaminade Silversword

Chaminade Silversword

Student-Led Drama Club Preps for Another Production

Chaminade Drama Club members after their performance of the “Write Me a Murder” from Fall Semester 2023. (Photo courtesy of Madison Makishima)

[Correction: The initial version of this story stated that Chaminade’s last musical performance was in 2015 when Theatre Club put on “In the Heights. The campus’ last musical, “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee,” was in 2019. We apologize for the error, and the story has been corrected.]

Lights, Camera, and Action … a new club that was added to the university in the Fall 2023 due to students seeing an opportunity to create their own club dedicated to theater.

Chaminade Drama Club was started by the students since Professor Chris Patrinos and Professor Claire Trevizo accepted a different jobs at different institutions. When the professors/directors left, no one else decided to take over the Drama Department, so a group of students got together and took on the challenge to form Chaminade Drama Club. The Dean of  School of Humanities, Arts & Design, Cheryl Edelson, is the current advisor for the Chaminade Drama Club. The current president of Chaminade Drama Club is Madison Makishima, a junior majoring in Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The club, a group of 25 active students, has been able to produce fun plays and workshops since officially starting in September. A workshop in mid-March was about improv, and the students encouraged anyone to come.

“Improv can help you think quick on your feet,” Makishima said. “It can also just help with your public speaking skills.”

In April, the drama club will be producing a play called “8 Minutes Left,” which was written by E.B Lee. Makishima said the audience can expect a drama-filled play with quite a few scenes of comedic relief. The overall plot is that a small town located in New Jersey just found out that the world is ending, and they only have eight minutes left to live. The play will take place April 19-21 at the Vi and Paul Loo Theatre located in T.C. Ching Hall, and starts at 7 p.m. It is open to the public and free.

Caleb Cloud, a third year student majoring in Forensic Science, and has been part of the theater at Chaminade since Fall 2021. Cloud was the Vice President of Chaminade Drama Club and after the recent elections Cloud is the new Treasurer for the upcoming academic year.

“It is going a little bit slower than anticipated, but we are cautiously optimistic,” Cloud said. “Learning new things has been my favorite thing. I have been acting for awhile, but I have been learning all about set building.”

The club comes up with its productions by the board members coming together and discussing what genre they want to take on next. When they come to a conclusion, they have to find a play with a proper cast size. The next step is to host auditions and then rehearse till it is showtime. With the upcoming production “8 Minutes Left,” they hosted auditions in early February and have been rehearsing since. The club normally rehearses in the evenings from Monday through Friday from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. Out of the 25 members, 17 are part of the the upcoming production.

Live performance of “Write Me a Murder” during fall semester 2023.
(Photo courtesy of Madison Makishima)

Last semester’s production, “Write Me a Murder,” was a murder mystery by Michael Druce. Since the club had just performed a murder mystery they picked a different genre for this semester.

Some of the goals for this club is to grow in size and put on a musical, Makishima said, since Chaminade University has taken a break from musicals due to the pandemic in 2020. The last musical was in 2019 called “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”. Other goals would be to have more workshops on stage makeup, stage combat, costumes, and lighting/sound.

“There are many things we would need to figure out to make the possibility of a musical happen here, but we are hoping it could happen soon,” Makishima said.

A few challenges that the members have faced since creating the drama club has been creating the club and following the process that Office of Student Engagement has created. There are many forms and different types of paperwork that the board members had to decipher. The club wanted to make this accessible to all students whether they commute or live on campus. Currently, 15 of the members are commuters, and the other 10 reside on campus.

Alex Hernandez, a senior majoring in Psychology and minoring in Marketing, has been part of theater here at Chaminade since Fall 2021 and has participated in three plays. Due to being incredibly involved on campus, he could not take on the responsibility of being in another production, but he encourages many to join Chaminade Drama Club.

“It is a good thing to join because it hones in on memorization, working with a team, collaborating, vocal projection, improvisation, scheduling, working under pressure, communication,” said Hernandez. “There are a lot of soft skills that can be transferred from the drama club, but it is really fun to do. It is really good life skills to carry down the line.”