MCS Theater Club knights Kina Dela Cruz and Larry Cruz take the stage for “As You Like It” | Way of life

(MCS) – As part of its continued 25th anniversary celebration, the Mount Carmel School Drama Club returns to William Shakespeare with an adaptation of his comedy classic, ‘As You Like It’. Taking on the challenge of putting on a Shakespeare show are two club veterans, Kina Dela Cruz and Larry Cruz, who play the lead roles of Rosalind and Orlando, respectively.

Kina is no stranger to performing, having starred in several productions, including the lead role of Tasi in the Theater Club’s 2019 production of “Tasi.” Despite all this experience, her current role has pushed her to grow as an actress. She notably embodies a character who disguises herself as a man in order to know the true intentions of a potential suitor. “It was a challenge to go from being a girl to being a man.” She added: “I had to learn to change my body movements and the way I speak.”

Larry is also no stranger to the club, having starred in several productions and recently directed one of the stories for the club’s award-winning ‘We Drank Our Tears’ series. Yet he, too, struggled with his role. As he said, “In real life, I’m the older brother, but my character is the younger brother, so adjusting to that different mindset was tough.”

Their challenges on stage, however, were worth it. In particular, they value the close relationships they have forged with other cast and crew members. As Kina said, “I love how close we’ve all become.” Likewise, Larry said, “They became my family.”

These close relationships are one of the reasons Kina and Larry continue to return to the Theater Club. Kina said, “Slowly this club has become a part of me, and coming back to the theater for every production is like coming home.”

For Larry, the club family made him feel good about himself. “In Theater Club, you can find yourself. It’s a place that allows us to grow as individuals surrounded by people who understand and love you for who you are. He added, “Without theatre, I would be always this closed, introverted guy with anxiety attacks. It helped me grow in school and introduce myself.

“As You Like It” follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution at her uncle’s court, accompanied by her cousin Celia to find safety and, eventually, love, with Orlando in the Forest of Arden. In the forest, they encounter a variety of memorable characters, including Jaques, who delivers many of Shakespeare’s most famous speeches, including a monologue that begins with the Theater Club’s slogan, “Everyone’s a Stage”.

Launched in 1996, the MCS Theater Club celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, commemorating more than 50 theater and film productions, including several Disney musicals, numerous Shakespeare plays and a number of original productions. The club began this year’s celebration in February with the sold-out premiere of the latest entry in its award-winning “We Drank Our Tears” series, the “Stories of Visitacion, Henry and Dave” at American Memorial Park. The club will continue the celebration after ‘As You Like It’ with a decade-long sequel, the May premiere of feature film ‘Zero2Hero’, a sequel to 2011 cult hit ‘Zero to Hero’. Later this year, the club will continue the celebration with another feature film, “Isla”, and the classic musical, “The Sound of Music”.

“As You Like It” will premiere on the Mount Carmel School campus on April 30 and May 1 beginning at 7 p.m. each night. Tickets are $25 for premium front row seats and $10 for general admission. Tickets can be purchased at Herman’s Modern Bakery, Java Joe’s Kagman Mobil, Naked Fish Bar & Grill, Puerto Rico Shell, Tribe Marianas, and the school business office. To comply with Covid-19 mitigation guidelines, tickets are limited and only available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Funding for this production is provided by the CNMI CARES Relief Fund for Organizations and supported by the National Endowment for the Arts through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security or CARES Act of 2020. For more information, visit www.mountcarmelsaipan .com