Blinded by De-Light was a dine-in-the-dark and drama venture by the Chandler Lions and Hamilton High School (HHS) Leo Clubs to bring awareness and understanding to our blind and visually impaired community.
I asked the HHS culinary teacher, Mr. Orlando Craig Chaney, if his classes had the capability to cook and serve for our project. Before he said yes, I met with his 4th hour class to discuss exactly what this meant because the patrons would be blindfolded. Prepared food couldn’t be too difficult to eat – we immediately eliminated spaghetti, each plate and glass had to be placed and served exactly the same way in order for our blind Lion Club members to instruct the audience on how to eat, and servers had to pay attention to raised hands during the evening if patrons needed something extra. People couldn’t just shout out or ask because there was also a play being performed.
Christina Vail’s advanced acting class – HHS’s Theatre Company performed The 39 Steps while guests were finishing dinner and being served dessert. This was no easy task. Actors would not be seen yet they needed to entertain and relay their message. With a very clever selection of play (I know this part alone took many months of searching) and creative ways of making the audience be part of the performance, guests felt the brush of air as people bustled through the train station, laughed as they found themselves surrounded by baa-ing sheep blocking the road, and jumped as gun shots fired behind them, the actors managed to amaze us. I am positive many, many hours of rehearsals coordinating sound, staging, and memorization of lines and accents took place prior to the great performance we “saw” last night.
Something else I saw last night was several members of the National Honor Society complete their program in the gym and stop by the cafeteria to lend a hand in our clean-up. No one planned or asked them, they just offered. Honor takes on several meanings doesn’t it…
Our HHS Leo Club members and advisor, Mrs. Lily Chen, were on hand to fill-in where we needed them: serving water and tea, answering raised hands, providing additional information, renting masks, taking pictures, delivering raffle baskets, and cleaning up at the end of a truly enjoyable evening.
I’d like to thank everyone at Hamilton for making Blinded by De-Light an awesome evening full of entertainment and education, from the secretarial scheduling, custodial support, teachers who purchased tickets and came to our event on a school-night:-), Christina, Orlando, and ALL the students involved.
I am enlightened and excited to be associated with HHS – as a former teacher, member of the community, and a Chandler Lion Leo Club sponsor. Who wouldn’t be after being blinded by delight at everything I, and 165 guests, were privileged to experience last night!