Performing arts comes to Ignacio Middle School

The play featured plenty of joyful moments for audiences of all ages, including an ending that required audience participation.
Seventh grader, Kyia Box, portrays the character Marjorie in the student-produced play, “Cafe´ Murder”.
Bird Red performs in “Cafe´ Murder”, a comedy-mystery play that was put together by Ignacio Middle School. The play opened on Thursday, March 26 and was also the school’s first performance piece acted out by students.
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum
Damon Toledo | The Southern Ute Drum

Students from Ignacio Middle School were put in the spotlight figuratively and literally during the school’s very first hosted performance piece on Thursday, March 26.

“Cafe´ Murder” is a mystery-comedy play that intertwines the enigmatic twists-and-turns from the common 50’s mystery movie, but with the added bonus of audience participation. The play is directed by middle school teacher, Jennifer Boniface, and features the cast of twelve dedicated students willing to showcase their acting chops: Emerald Owens, Eli Armendariz, Kyia Box, Bird Red, Misty Egger, Chris Pedlow, Anika Shideler, Jeffrey Brittain, Matthew Belleau, Hannah Cundiff, Elco Garcia, and Elijah Weaver. Extras in the play include Lizzy Valdez, Emily Lohrey, Bella Pena, and Makayla Miller.

“I found the script through a production company, and after Christmas break we started rehearsing Tuesday and Thursday every week after school,” said director, Jennifer Boniface. “It was fun and nice to know more about the students and their personalities. It helps them break out of their shell, be creative, and be apart of a team.”

This is the first time the middle school has introduced a performing arts program, and is encouraging fellow students to open the visionary doors to imaginative boundaries. However for some performers, this isn’t their first acting engagement.

“I play the character Marjorie,” said seventh grader Kyia Box. “She’s polite and more successful than the sister characters. I’ve been performing since I was in 4th grade and helped put on a play about bullying … With Cafe´ Murder, I joined late and prepared myself by acting proper, polite, and dressing right. I think [the play] was a good experience, and I think it could be something to try out for the students who are shy, because it’s not as bad when you get up there in front of an audience.”

Elijah Weaver, who played the role of a waiter, commented on his experience with the play.

“The director was looking for help and I decided to volunteer,” he said. “The experience was good, I liked it. I enjoy fine arts, and I would definitely perform in another play.”

“This production was the best production I’ve worked on,” commented seventh grader and actor, Jeffrey Brittain. “Everyone was cooperative and worked together all the way. Drama helps with stress and is a really good experience. I thought I can be a lot of different characters, so acting can definitely be a hobby for me.”

“I was comfortable to be on stage since I’m used to being in front of a lot of people,” Hannah Cundiff stated. “Plus it’s good to give my friends confidence. Ms. Boniface asked if we wanted to sign up, and I decided to play the waiter before landing the role of the hostess. Acting gives you confidence in talking to people, making them laugh, and interacting with many others.”

With one play in the bag, the performing arts program has shown interest in reaching out to students who have a niche for acting. Creativity can go a long way for anyone who is inspired.

Jennifer Boniface concluded, “I hope we can continue this and hopefully more students will come out to audition … we want to be able to do this every year for the students.”

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