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Student Spotlight: Maile Onsaga

by Andrew Ochoa, Reporter

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Sophomore Maile Onsaga is one of Palo’s hardest working and most creative students. If she’s not starring in one of the school’s many plays, she’s working as a member of the Pun Intended Comedy Team, not to mention her many solo endeavors. These endeavors include her musical YouTube channel, Hi I’m Maile, her ceaseless, creative efforts, that constantly challenge her and her friends.

“No matter what, I want theatre in my life wherever I go, even if that’s just being a patron [some who supports] and seeing community shows,” said Onsaga.

Not only her hard work, but also knowledge of theatre arts proves how devoted Maile is, despite how combative the process can be as she explains, “Well, some kids in theatre are my closest friends, but make no mistake, there can definitely be ‘drama’ in drama.”

Maile has had a creative nature even before she began theatre, “I’ve been in church theatre my entire life, did a few roles there when I was really young. I only really started taking it seriously around 7th grade,”Onsaga explained. Not only does she have life long involvement in theatre, but Maile’s creative passion has only continued to grow as she has gotten older, “I’ve had a starring role in four plays, but in total I’ve been in about ten, which means a little over three plays every year for the past three years,” said Onsaga.

Constantly being in production doesn’t come without its issues. Working on such a tight schedule can be difficult when trying to coordinate such a large group. Which, as Maile explains, can create a really stressful environment for students, “The newbies tend to get stressed more than others, I’ve even seen the more experienced actors get really anxious over certain lines and stuff like that,” said Onsaga. In addition to the actors that have to worry about getting all their lines together in time, there are the teachers behind them that have to make sure everyone is on the same page, “Directors tend to be extremely harsh, but they sort of need to be, and good actors can always take notes and direction well,” Onsaga explained.

As difficult as deadlines can be to handle, an actor’s main job is to convey strong emotion, something that can be immensely difficult for actors in training, “I once had to play someone who lived in an insane asylum and death comes and visits them and I had to change very quickly between telling some funny story and then being totally horrified. That was really hard emotion to get a hold of,” Onsaga stated.

Yet another aspect of acting is the ability to both act, and sing. Although Palo generally does non-musical productions, every once in awhile an actor will be asked to channel their musical talent, “I think displaying emotion through song is easier for me, and some what therapeutic because it’s an outlet for pain, or happiness or whatever really,” Onsaga explained.

When asked why she had an appreciation for musicals, Maile had this to say, “Well I write a lot of songs in my spare time, because of that, I’ve developed a really deep understanding of how difficult that process is. The great thing about being in this day-and-age is that we are surrounded by internet videos that teach us how to do things.  So all around my house there was always music so I picked up the basics by ear then I joined choir in elementary school to learn harmonies. It was really fun learning and going through that process so I really really do like acting and incorporating that stuff.”

Considering how much Maile does, you can only assume that she plans for a career in something creative. She stays realistic about this, but has high hopes for her future, “My dream is to be on Broadway or be a stand up comedian. From there I’d like to incorporate other arts I enjoy. I’m also a realist and I know that these goals are hard to obtain and will likely not happen so I would also be content as just being a theatre teacher.”

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Student Spotlight: Maile Onsaga