“I want to survive.”


Aditi Jain

Bliss discusses with his performance students what needs to get done in preparation for their play. He said that he is interested to see how students learn how to tap into their character.

“I kept telling myself, I’m going to beat this,” he said.

English and new Drama teacher Kevin Bliss took an 18 foot fall headfirst off of an orchid ladder in July of 2017. He spent two and a half weeks in urgent care and two months in a complacent home.  

According to him, his doctors said his mind might not be able to function as it did before. For the next couple of months, Bliss did physical therapy twice daily and walked a mile to the gym, regardless of the weather. He said that one of the things that helped him recover mentally was his focus and determination.

“The other teachers at Inglemoor supported me enough so that I could stay home and afford the sick leave, while focusing on my physical therapy,” Bliss said. “It meant a lot to me.”

While Bliss is still recovering, he is coming back to this year to teach. Bliss is teaching five different classes: English 11, IB Literature 2, Theatre Arts (acting), Technical Theatre and Performance. His passion originally sparked in college.

“I was assigned to write a review for a play. Instead, I told [my professor] to give me an incomplete because I wanted to write a play, something that would only work on stage,” Bliss said.

From there, his interest took off. After teaching drama in 2006, Bliss said he knew that he would eventually get back to drama; it just happened sooner than he thought. According to him, teaching drama and English comes with an opportunity and a challenge.

The upside, according to him, is that he is teaching one of his interests: drama. He said he likes that it requires the artist to explore the way the human mind functions and how relationships change over time.  “I find it interesting and fascinating to see what [my students] know, what would benefit them and what kinds of issues or situations they find interesting to explore,” he said. “It is also exciting to find something that they will find engaging.”

Every once in a while, he said he feels that it is necessary for a play to be for more than just light entertainment.

“Seeing it [a play] for relaxation from the toils of our life is important, but we need to get shaken out of it sometimes,” he said.

As a long term goal, Bliss said that he is looking for plays that addresses modern social issues like gun rights, gun control, marriage or equity.

“I want works of drama that tap on current unresolved issues. [Plays] that go well beyond presenting, well beyond something that is entertaining. Living up to drama’s potential for eliciting social change,” Bliss said.

Although looking at social issues in a high school play is a small step, Bliss said that it could become big. As an example, he is going to see an all-female production of “Richard lll” performed by Seattle Shakespeare and flying to Ashland to see a production in Oklahoma casting all same gender couples. Bliss said he personally enjoys seeing these kinds of plays and hopes to produce one in the near future.

There was one play in particular that he said he wanted to challenge the performance students with: “Lysistrata” by Aristophanes. It was written in Athens 411 B.C.

“This is a play I am interested in doing. It is from the ancient greeks and was written for a reaction. Doing plays like this is dicey, but differences in opinion could lead to having your own views explored and challenged. [Your opinions] could conceivably evolve,” he said.

“Lysistrata” is about the war with the Greeks and the Trojans going back 2500 years. Despite the gap in time, the play is still relevant to modern life.

“Her [Lysistrata’s] fight is still trying to influence society in a positive way,” he said.  

Bliss’ interest in society expands to much more than plays; he said he intends to travel to other parts of the world to get to know the people.

“I want to go to Africa and do something while I am there that allows me to work with the people. I’m going for the people rather than the place. I’m looking to immerse myself into the community in a small way,” Bliss said.

Sometime in the future, Bliss said, he wants to travel to Africa, India, South America and China in that order.

“My own world has been too small. Before I’m gone,” Bliss said, “I want to experience the culture and the perspectives and the languages. I want to see more of the variety.”