By Ed Knox
Why doesnít Iolani have a hockey team, or at least a lacrosse team? Why is there no decent student parking? Why isnít there a Middle Eastern history class in the history department? Why isnít there a bar under the library? Lord knows we could use one.
The answer to all of these is: priorities. To please economics teacher Col. Richard Rankin, I will point out that the school has scarce resources. So the opportunity cost of the Student Center is a new senior bar; it could be called Leeís Place.
So far, you really donít care what Iím writing about because I havenít gotten close to any sort of a point. Well my point is this: The school allots a fixed budget of somewhere around $5000 to the drama department. The fall drama uses a minuscule fraction of the budget, and all the rest goes to the spring musical. I donít think the musicalís worth it.
As I near the end of my tenure as Iolaniís resident pain-in-the-neck, I get reflective about my experiences here. Iíve watched six times how the same old musical gets used, year after year, with only the songs and the names changed to protect the innocent. And there are very few innocent left.
Itís hard to write these things because everybody knows how much effort all those involved put into the musical. A lot of young soldiers put in great amounts of effort in charging the trenches in World War I, too. But then Iíd listen as someone says in class, "And John Whoever over there was the most fantastic Naked Guard number two Iíve ever seen. You all should really go see the musical." And Iíd think that as much as it meant to Naked Guard number two, the whole thing was a waste of money.
To be honest, I personally donít like musicals. But as it was exclaimed by someone Iím sure, unlike me, doesnít want to be publicly vilified for speaking out, the musical was a joke as it was originally written. And not the type of joke where the writer is in on it. It was taken to be the first mass-media introduction of Hawaii to the mainland. It died after a week on Broadway. And currently, the fact that even a high school would decide to produce it, convinces the author to come to the opening night. Thatís rather sad.
I donít think that the musical was all that good even in the context of a bad script. But if any defense of 13 Daughters can be made it would be that no musical made at least since I came has been terribly better. No, theyíve all been rather bad. The two produced during my sophomore and freshmen years were vehicles for campus divas. And the ones before that were more of the same song-to-song, formulaic and pedestrian exercises. The possible exception might have been last yearís Leader of the Pack because it just cut the plot out altogether and gave itself over to its music whole-heartedly, but that brings up the lesser point that it makes no sense for the drama department to continue footing the bill for what is essentially a music department responsibility.
But almost as important as the wasted money is the wasted effort. The musical takes considerably more time and more than double the manpower to produce as the drama in the fall.
But wait! Hold back those tears and buck up little tiger; this cloudís got a silver lining. Imagine thereís no musical; no empty budget, too. Imagine all the drama . . . itís easy if you try.
Think of it; the school could produce a small drama or comedy once a month if the budget and schedule of the drama department werenít strangled by the musical. Iolani could have Shakespeare in the park every other month. It would need to be in the park because the amphitheater is a ridiculous substitute for a real theater. But that wouldnít be that bad. Itís sunny most of the time. Troupes could perform A Midsummer Nightís Dream in the courtyard, just like the orchestra occasionally does, and should do more often. If its rainy, let them do The Tempest .
I think itís almost a beautiful thought, but most of you still donít care about what Iím writing. Youíre just waiting for me to write another joke about having a bar on campus. And from the few that do care, I donít expect many to share my opinion on this one. No, the mass and studentry of Iolani will continue to file into Mamiya year after year to cheer earnestly for a longer version of what is barely better than football players singing Backstreet Boys at a sports assembly, when they could be eating their lunches to the boom of the Bard. Thatís rather sad.
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