Hawaii Scholastic Journalism Association

Small town troubles portrayed by two local women in musical, The Spitfire Grill

Matthew Calulot

 

Rebirth. Change. Seasons. Beginnings.

These themes are addressed in the newest musical play, The Spitfire Grill. The songs and the story of this character-centric play delve into social issues in the small fictional town of Gillead, Wisconsin.

Kaimuki graduate Jorin Young, 18, plays the fresh-out-of-jail character, Percy, while Maryknoll graduate Rachael Uyeno, 29, plays a mid-30s housewife, Shelby. The story takes place  in a restaurant called “The Spitfire Grill” as various events spiral around the main characters which causes them to change the town’s way of thinking.

Even after having years of experience from community theater plays such as Cinderella and Shakespeare’s, Twelfth Night, these actresses are challenged, portraying characters that clash with their personality.

“You have to allow yourself to be vulnerable… and when you become affected by the emotions of the characters, you can be empathetic,” Young said.

She stated that she does not relate much to Percy, which made playing her character a new experience. After researching key information from the novel and receiving lessons from a dialect coach to teach her to have a southern accent, she wishes to truly show the feelings of a character that is trying to “start anew”.

In addition to that, she added that there were some songs that required her to speak in a softer voice which differed from the normal energetic voice that she uses in the characters she portrays in other musicals.

“The problem was that I was judging her (Percy) instead of trying to understand her,” Young said. “Afterwards, I could finally feel the emotions of a character that recently came out of jail.”

As for Uyeno’s character, she had to portray a person who she did not want to be. It was difficult for her to relate to some who is “shy, and completely domineered by her husband.”. It was the opposite of her previous role as the dramatic and overbearing, Antonia in the Twelfth Night.

“However, it is very satisfying to take the character on a journey to become a better person,” Uyeno said.

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