San Dieguito Academy's theatre department presents "The Yellow Boat" from March 15 to March 17 at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) in the school's Clayton E. Liggett Theater at 800 Santa Fe Drive.
The show retells the life of the playwright's son, Benjamin Saar, who was born with congenital hemophilia and contracted the AIDS-virus from the blood factor meant to save his life.
The performance is SDA's eighth annual Theatre for a Cause production, aimed at benefiting local organizations. Proceeds from "The Yellow Boat" will go toward Conner's Cause for Children, an Encinitas-based organization aimed at easing the financial burden of families with children with life-threatening illnesses or injuries (connerscause.org).
Tickets for the show cost $15 for adults and $8 for students and children. They are available at the door or at www.seatyourself.biz/sandieguito
Stephanie Siers, the theatre teacher and director at SDA, recently discussed the upcoming show and what it has taught her students.
Why did you decide to put on this show?
“The Yellow Boat” is a family-friendly story that challenges young actors and provides designers with amazing opportunities to be creative.
How has the story resonated with and affected your students? What lessons do you think it has taught them?
I think they have learned to be more appreciative and compassionate. The family in “The Yellow Boat” experiences some incredible obstacles and the students have had some honest conversations about what it would be like to be in their shoes. The most impactful moment was when our cast met with parents from Conner's Cause and heard their story. During our Q&A with the parents, their responses were almost identical to some of the dialogue found in the script.
Have your students faced any challenges with performing this production?
It is an abstract piece and the audience is whisked from location to location, with significant jumps in time. It has been a challenge to convey all of these changes. It has truly been a collaborative process between the cast and the crew to tell a story in a non-traditional way.
What does this story mean to you?
It is a story about family. It follows a young child, named Benjamin. The story shares his gifted imagination and resiliency when facing the impossible.
How does this production compare to past SDA Theatre shows?
Because we are donating the proceeds to charity, we do additional fundraisers on campus to generate the largest profit possible. We have several teachers volunteer for Paint a Teacher Day (students put money into cups of teacher volunteers and the winning teacher, with the most funds, gets their face painted and wears the fantasy makeup for the entire school day to help raise awareness). We also do a silent auction with donated items from local businesses during intermission of the evening performances.
What would you like to say about the performers in this show?
I am really proud of them and all they have accomplished. I am really fortunate to get to work with such talented, dedicated and passionate students.
Tell us more about Theatre for a Cause.
Once a year we put on a Theatre for a Cause production, where I select a production and a local charitable organization and all proceeds made from the production are given to the charity. This was something my high school theatre teacher created and I was excited to bring the idea to SDA. This is our eighth Theatre for a Cause production.
Being that this is a charity show, how do you think this element affects your students? What does that teach them?
It is important for them to learn about philanthropy at a young age. It is empowering for them to see the difference they are making in someone else's life. I feel that because they have this experience, they are more apt to continue to seek out philanthropic opportunities as they grow older.