Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center's Journey to Scotland

Follow the adventures of the Nanakuli High and Intermediate School Performing Arts Center's Journey to Scotland and the 2011 Fringe Festival.

We will post updates as we prepare on this once in a lifetime experience for cast and crew.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thoughts from NPAC director: Robin Kitsu

My thoughts go back to the final night (when we didn't sleep due to early check out time) sitting in my dorm listening to the energetic voices of students from across the country joyfully celebrating their successful shows and newfound friendships, I'm taken back almost 15 months ago when we were first notified that we were selected to perform at the American High School Theatre Festival at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.  It was a dream to get the notification and I am still in that dream.

The thought of taking a few students, much less, a group of 18, seemed like a goal that we could never reach.  But here we are, at the end of that dream and what a time it has been.  

So many memories . . .

  • Everyday we kept repeating that we couldn't believe we were in London/Scotland.
  • Thank you Michelle for blue pompom's.
  • "Count off!"  "One," "Two," "Three . . . "
  • The Great Tuesday . . . from our first breakfast to meeting Wayne Rapozo and being treated like rock stars with limo van pick up and elegant lunch and Almeida Theatre tour to meeting Loretta Ables Sayer and the cast of South Pacific . . . OMG all these Tony winners and nominees to surprising the group with tickets to Wicked.
  • Our "guys" hallway pizza party.
  • Stonehenge
  • Jersey Boys . . . London Cast and NPAC Cast
  • Performing on the Royal Mile . . . watching the group interact with people from around the world . . . they were so good.
  • Our first and last performance of Under the Influence and seeing and hearing the sobs from the audience.
  • Meeting all the wonderful people who came out to see Under . . . those from Hawaii and from Scotland.
  • Reenacting scenes from our favorite cartoons on the bus.
  • See students grow and blossom into leaders and confident young men and women.
  • The food, oh my, the food . . . deep fried anything to Kalbalbs to the duck to the lamb shank and the buffet breakfast, lunch, and dinners . . . but I was told I did lose weight.
  • The hike up Arthur's Seat . . . yes, I did it.
  • Cab rides
  • Tears at the closing ceremony . . . at final dinner . . . at Wicked surprise . . . tears of joy throughout.
  • The company of two people I have come to respect and am honored to call friends . . . Roy Kimura and Glenn Yamamoto.
  • Watching the "mojo" of Sam . . . again, you are my hero . . . ahh, to be young again.
  • Every show we were able to see and how proud I was of each student from all the other schools . . . they were all soooo good.  
  • The support from everyone and the bus rides to and from performances.
  • Being in an environment of artistic energy and appreciation.
  • Grateful to every person, business, organization over the last 15 months who donated money, spread the word, believed in us, came to our shows, and just kept the faith . . . Thank You!
  • Every moment, every minute . . . the perfect trip.
To say that I am proud would be an understatement.  This group of 18 took in everything that the UK had to offer and then some.  They never complained, supported each other, and appreciated every site and every person they came in contact with.  I want everyone to know that this group of young people exemplified the Aloha spirit as they traveled through London and Scotland. I wish I could bottle that feeling and use it here when needed.

I am also proud of their professionalism in how they prepared for the four performances of Under the Influence . . . not an easy play to perform and with the added distractions, even more difficult.  But the students kept their focus and showed everyone that NPAC has talent and passion that equals all the other schools that were here at the Fringe.

Yes, it's been hard to get back to reality, but we will.  The question is what is next? As Roy mentioned, for the last 15 months, this Journey to Scotland has consumed my life and now that it's over, what now?  Ahh, but that is the lesson now isn't it?

As I shared with the group at Heathrow Airport, the lesson from all of this is not the final destination, but the work over the last 15 months to get there.  That with hard work and passion (my mantra) and support from others, anything is possible.  They all have seen where this can take them.

For me, the challenges will never stop . . . but that is part of the fun, right?  Funding to keep the NPAC alive will be needed to continue the program past this school year.  Recruiting and keeping students in the NPAC to help sustain the program.  Choosing and producing a variety of shows that help to showcase every member.  The dream of having our own performance auditorium venue on campus not only for our use but for the whole West Side.  

After this experience, I know that all of these challenges are just goals for us to reach; and we will.  For 15 months ago, who would have thought a tiny program on the West Side of Oahu that began 20 years ago on an outdoor stage with 8 students would find themselves traveling to London/Scotland and performing in the middle of the world's largest performing arts festival.

I found out that hundreds of people believe we could and would and we did.

Thank you, thank you to everyone.

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