Drama Club: Community, Creativity, and Chaos

Club members and an advisor discuss the many benefits of Drama Club

Drama Club brings out community, creativity, and chaos in Piscataway High School students who enjoy embodying the true theater experience. Their time in the club has been nothing but fun and energetic. Each member takes part in a crucial role that ends in a full production play in fall and musical in spring.

A variety of questions were posed to three of the members about their personal experience and what the club means to them.

Mr. Yoson, one of the advisors, has been a part of drama club for four years. He directs the fall play and assists co-advisor, Mr. Hall, with the spring musical. Mizha Kyla Bulahan, the president of drama club, has been a member for all her four years of high school. “I’m also a thespian, so I’m part of the Theater program. I’m also in the Academy, so I do theater every single day, in class and after school. I act in the play and I act in class. I run the Instagram account. And I just make sure everything is running smoothly within the club,” she explains. Tori Opitz, one of the lighting crew, who mainly works on spotlight, has been in drama club since last year—their junior year.

All three members are very passionate about the club as their answers show how one school club has become a big part of their lives. When asked what the club meant to them, they all agreed on one word: everything.

According to Bulahan, “I think going into drama club my freshman year, I definitely found a place full of people who enjoy the same things as me. I found a community of people who are all just being themselves.”

It’s the same for Optiz as they want to do more crew work in the future. “It’s a pretty big part of my life. I like it a lot, and I’m actually looking into going into a career related to set design.”

For Mr. Yoson, he felt as if the club pushed him not just as a teacher, but as a person as a whole. “I think it’s allowed me to step more into my own creativity, like as an artist myself — pushing myself to do interesting things on stage and always trying to challenge myself as an artist. But also as a leader too. Taking a group of people and leading them to an end goal has been pretty helpful to me,” he says.

Bulahan had similar thoughts as the club president. Both she and Yoson were challenged by COVID to ensure that the members —actors and crew— still had that theater experience even from a distance.

One of the main benefits the members have gotten out of drama club is inclusion. Opitz and Bulahan agreed that the people make up the experience. “You meet a lot of cool people, and you share a lot of interest,” Opitz says.

Bulahan adds, “It’s a club where not everyone is really going to understand what we do because they only get to see the final product. But it’s a lot of time and energy and emotional states. Being vulnerable with these people and feeling safe. I think my favorite part is the support and the energy that comes from a group of energetic theater kids that you get to spend all of your time with.”

There are over fifty clubs to join at Piscataway High School, but drama club is one of the most popular. And the members were asked what makes it stand out so much.

“I think it’s our talent here in Piscataway,” Mr. Yoson answers. “The students are very, very talented, they’re dedicated, and it’s a place where a lot of the students that are in the club could really shine, where maybe they don’t shine in other places in the school. They are able to take charge and find confidence and really be themselves up on that stage.”

In drama club, there is always a place for someone. Students aren’t simply members, but they each have their own role.

“There are a lot of different aspects to it,” Opitz says. “There are a range of skill sets to do a bunch of different jobs. It’s not just one thing to be good at, there are a bunch of things to be a part of. And they all still go together into one big production.”

The members of the club have learned so much from drama club that they’ve also taken into their personal lives.

“Empathy and understanding,” says Opitz. “I wouldn’t be the person that I am without the experiences that I got here. I wouldn’t be able to talk to people or feel as comfortable as I am with myself if I wasn’t in theater. You get such a better understanding of people and emotions by being an actor and stepping into other people’s shoes. I think that part is the most important part of being an actor and a person — understanding each other. And so I think the club has really given me a better understanding of people in general.”

Drama club is open to anyone and everyone. As scary as performing in front of a large audience might seem at first, nothing is more fun and freeing than experiencing the world of theater. And for some comfort, Mr. Yoson wants contemplating students to know this: “Just do it. Fill out those Google Forms. We have so many opportunities on stage and off stage. If you really have a passion for theater — an interest in theater — the only way to get the experience is to sign up and be a part of the club. There are many opportunities throughout the year, big and small.”

Both Opitz and Bulahan admit that it can be intimidating, but students should be encouraged to put themselves out there. To try it, at least once. “If there is anything at all that interests you — the crew, the cast — try it out to get that experience. And you might like it.”