ITS Takes Action! To Mililani YMCA

Chanelle Camero

     This year, the International Thespian Society (ITS) expanded their horizons, starting two new service projects to reach out into the community.

     “We’ve always been kind of like just the theatre club but we wanted to extend our hands to kids who maybe don’t feel comfortable as actors or kids who don’t really like performing but still want to be apart of community service. So this year our whole goal is to just up our service hours and kind of put ourselves into the community more and make sure that everybody kind of knows what the International Thespian Society is and what we’re doing for the community,” said ITS President Senior Raena Guzman.

     Launched at the Mililani YMCA on Sept. 17, ACTION! targets children interested in learning theatre. The name ACTION! represents giving kids the chance to ‘start their own scene.’ It also symbolizes movement and their transition into the community. The ITS members are the ones teaching, allowing them to take on leading roles. “But I think the goal is to just reach more students in our community and to just give them the opportunity to learn acting basics and to start at a young age. You know, to get them involved and interested in performing arts,” said ITS advisor Carolyn Taira.

     Not only are the students taking on the role of teaching, they’re also the ones who plan out the events, through this, developing their leadership skills. “So we are having students basically do all the organization for it. They contact the venue and people, the directors there, and through that we get volunteers to help us,” said Taira.

     The launch of ACTION! was coordinated by Guzman, an actress herself in Central Theatre Arts Academy (CTAA), with the aim to bring something new to the community. The program is in collaboration with Select Choir and will be held once a month, open to children ages eight and up. “So when I came to (the YMCA), I’ve always been kind of like asking them about the idea of musical theatre because I started theatre as a freshman and looking around, there wasn’t (theatre programs) in Mililani. There’s not really that many opportunities for theatre except like CTAA,” said Guzman.

     Guzman organized the event with the YMCA who welcomed the idea with open arms. “So they were really excited about having the students become participants in the community service as well as kind of opening their hands to just kind of the YMCA specifically. They were very open to starting up this kind of project that they don’t offer at there,” said Guzman.

     With these service projects, they hope to achieve goals that also go beyond themselves. “I really just hope that people know who we are cause it’s kind of been a while since we’ve existed but we’ve always kinda been under the radar so we really just want to get our name out there and make sure people learn a little bit about theater,” said Guzman.

     The members of ITS introduced the basics of acting through games to make it more appealing to the children. “It is a good idea because, like I said earlier, it helps people get to know each other. And then we also had fun ‘cause we found a way to help each other through acting and learned about emotions and stuff, and then we did that through games so it made it fun for everybody,” said participant Chloe Zentkovich.

     ACTION! is interactive with children of various age groups. It gave them the chance to create fun memories. “The first part when we went in a circle and then we each had to say one word and then we turned both of the stories into scenes that each group had to act out. I was in the part where we had to make it where the dog ran away and the cow waved goodbye,” said Zentkovich.

     The participants opened up to each other after the warm ups that encouraged them to engage with one another. It helped them become more comfortable when doing acting warm ups with people they had just met. “And then it helps other people to get to know each other. Like several of us, we didn’t know each other and then we got to know each other when we were first starting off,” said Zentkovich.

     The second service project started this year is called Storybook Theater, where participants read children’s books and bring them to life by acting out the characters and putting on a performance for kids. “Because everyone grows up here in Mililani, centralized around the library—like I remember going to the library when I was like in kindergarten and listening to storytimes there—so it’s really important just to get back to your roots and make sure that you’re always spreading love. Even if it’s not love for theater, just spreading love in general,” said Guzman.

     ACTION! gets ITS members involved while also allowing them to pursue their passion. “ I think the International Thespian Society is really unique because we try to give back to the community by spreading theatre so it’s kind of like killing two birds with one stone in a way because you’re getting that community service out there while also doing something you love,” said Guzman.

     The next ACTION! event takes place at the Mililani YMCA on Oct. 15. The acting portion runs from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., followed by the chorus from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Storybook Theatre will be on Oct. 18 at the Mililani Public Library from 1:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.