Live performances return to the stage at Vi and Paul Loo Theatre
Luckily, nothing went awry with the recent production of “Things Go Wrong” at the Vi and Paul Loo Theatre. Written by second-year communications major Garrett Hill, the play was flawlessly staged by 13 students and a 2021 alumnus, who is now a full-time surgical intensive care unit nurse. While this may not have been the first student-driven production at Chaminade, it is the first one in a decade, according to Performing Arts assistant professor Christopher Patrinos.
“It was a full house every night,” says Patrinos, who is also the program’s disciplinarian coordinator. Gesturing towards different parts of the “Black Box Theatre,” Patrinos describes the stage layout for the limited five-show performance, with the hotel bar in one corner and the front lobby in another, and a hotel room toward the back.
“We started in a tennis-court-style stage layout (the stage in the middle, flanked by audience members on each side), but as we workshopped the play, we discovered that it would be better as a proscenium stage, which is perhaps the most readily recognizable.”
With the success of “Things Go Wrong,” Patrinos has ambitions to encourage more student-driven plays, explaining that the production process empowers students to make creative and artistic decisions, from stage design and lights to sound and architecture.
“This is what would make Chaminade a unique stagecraft program,” asserts Patrinos, a Silversword alumnus who went on to attain his MFA at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. “I’ve worked with some great playwrights and directors, but they’ve all been graduate students; our productions would be led by undergraduates.”
Since assuming the role as assistant professor three years ago, Patrinos has bolstered the program and received the support of colleagues Claire Paul (Performing Arts Professor/Technical Director), Tim Carney (Music Professor) and Allison Francis (English Professor). Together, they have fostered a cohesive student theatre community that includes majors from every discipline, whether it be from nursing and business to English and forensics.
“I drive a lot of these projects but I want it to be a collective decision,” Patrinos says. “We’re ambitious and we have a lot of goals.”
One of them is to bring back the summer theatre program, which was initiated in the Spring of 2015 by David Coleman, Ph.D., former Dean of Arts and Humanities. “It has been a project of mine for the past four years,” Patrinos says. “Chaminade definitely needs some type of performing arts curriculum during the summer.”
Patrinos also realizes that students truly have an appetite for the performing arts, as proven by the sold-out shows of “Things Go Wrong.”
“It’s been almost two years since our last in-person production,” Patrinos says. “Seventy-five percent of the audience members were students and of that number, 75 percent were first-time theatergoers. There was a lot of enthusiasm surrounding this production and there were also a lot of nerves since only three of the cast members had any theatre experience.”