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.

Thoughts from NPAC member: Chanel Smith

Being back home has made me realize how blessed I am to have had the oppertunity to go on this journey to Scotland. I woke up this morning half thinking that I was still in my dorm room at Pollock Halls and then I remembered I'm half a world away from the beautiful castles, cold weather, and the amazing bacon =( 

I still can't believe that I was actually in London and Scotland. I'll never forget the feeling I had when we landed in Heathrow airport. I felt so happy to finally be getting off the plane and I felt so proud that after 14 months of preparing, hustling,and performing 50 times in the school year that we actually made it!! 

I'll never forget all the beautiful things I've seen like the London Eye, Stonehenge, the castles and more but it wouldnt have been possible without the numerous people who supported us. 

When we visited Winchester Cathedral I lit a candle and thanked God for this amazing oppertunity."were like pieces on a mobile..." If it hadent been for all of the support NPAC got we would have never gotten to experience this once in a lifetime dream come true. 

A million thank you cards doesn't feel like enough to show my gratitude but I'm sure that when we tell people how others were so touched by our performance in Scotland that they will feel so proud of NPAC. We not only won the hearts of others through our performance but with our friendly personalities too...some won the hearts of other with his charm ;) 

We made friends that we probably will never see again but we still exchanged facebook information ^_^ 

I think what I've learned from this experience is that theres nothing thats impossible it might be difficult at times but once you've reached your destination all that hard work pays off.

Thoughts from NPAC member: Susan Bowyer

Whirlwind would be the only way to properly describe what the past year has been for both NPAC and myself. Never did I imagine when I first joined in 7th grade that I would get to travel halfway across the world with my favorite people to do what we love, perform. 

As I come to the end of my personal journey with NPAC I could not have wished or prayed for a better ending. I am enormously lucky to have gone on this trip and there are so many people to thank and recognize. The sites, smells, and places we have experienced are once in a lifetime memories. From historical sites like Stonehenge,Winchester Cathedral, Big Ben, Castles. To the wonders of the theatre world,we got the warmth and love of Loretta Ablyss Sayre, the talent and "beauty" of the cast of South Pacific, the generosity of Wayne Rapozo, and the amazing feeling of meeting kids from across the country who are just like us thanks to the staff of AHSTF. 

Nothing I write can fully help anyone understand just what we have been through and how amazing it was. Like Mr. always said " It's a bond, no one else will understand." Yet I hope all our writings can give you a glimpse of how much the kids from Nanakuli learned from this trip. Not only did we learn historical facts, or theatre tips I think we all learned something about ourselves.Most importantly I learned the power of generosity not just from those who donated to our trip but within NPAC. 

On this trip the little things made me realize how amazing everyone really is. The random acts of kindness from one NPAC member to another showed me why we are such a big family. Everyone helps one another from sharing gloves, to buying someone a snack and more. People's generosity is how we got to Scotland and is what we continued while we were there. 

As a group we learned once again that not everyone is like us, but to always welcome them with Aloha regardless. 

First thanks to the cast for pulling out an amazing show. With Under The Influence we proved to the world and ourselves that we are actually good and no matter what anyone says back home we can be and do something amazing being from Nanakuli or Waianae doesn't matter. What we put into this is what we got from it and don't let anyone take that away from you. 

The alumni staff thank you for all the guidance and mentorship you have given us students the past years and on this trip. Your coming back means so much to us and to me. Nikita, thank you for being my role model on stage and off you don't realize how much you have helped me through the years. Tali, Mijo, Andrew, Chelsea, Brandon, Shannon, and Nathaniel thank you for all your advice and strength. 

A HUGE thanks to the supporters of NPAC your time, energy, and money has changed our lives thank you so much. I will always remember this trip and what it did for me without you I would be a different person. 

To Roy ,Glenn, and everyone at PBS, thank you for thinking NPACs story important enough to tell. You don't realize how much it means to us. Glenn and Roy your laughter, generosity, and constant help was more than I ever expected. I never thought that NPAC would gain to new family members so quickly but we did and you will forever be apart of us. 

Lastly thanks to the Kitsu family Mr., Michelle, and Chloe. Your hard work and sacrifices have helped to change hundreds of kids lives. Everyone who has been in the program has come of better because of you all. Personally thank you Mr.Kitsu for teaching me that nothing is impossible to never give up and for just giving me place to grow. What you have taught me is irreplaceable. I am rambling now but I will leave with this. " Theatre people are the best people in the world!"