Academy students stage first-ever dinner theatre events

Deidre Cruse

Math, Science and Arts Academy students will break new ground for the local school system next week with their first dinner theatre production of the original play, ”Who’s Talking Chinese?”

The dinner-and-a-show events are scheduled at 7 p.m. Wednesday and Friday, February 27, at E. J. Gay School.

Because of limited space, tickets, at $10 each, are available only in advance at the MSA office.

The price includes a dinner of fried fish, white beans, rice, salad and cake.

The production will showcase the artistic and creative talents of MSA students, said Elvis J. Cavalier, the school system’s executive director of special projects and head of the academy program.

“At the MSA, our students are encouraged to pursue artistic endeavors,” Cavalier said. “I firmly believe that there is a direct relationship between the arts and student achievement.”

He said that Dr. James Catterall of the University of California at Los Angeles had analyzed the records of 25,000 students as they moved form grade eight to 10.

“He found that students who actively participated in the arts, especially theatre, had higher grades, scored better on standardized tests, had better attendance records, and were more active in community affairs than other students,” the director said. “He also found that students from poorer families who studied the arts improved their overall school performance more rapidly than all other students.”

Cavalier is the author of “Who’s Talking Chinese?”, set in modern day rural Louisiana.

“It is a comedy that explores the emotional and psychological impacts of culture shock associated with an economic revolution,” Cavalier said. “The play is both fun and timely. It utilizes all aspects of the arts in producing its message – we better take care of our own.”

Further information on the dinner theatre is available from the MSA at 687-6845.