Kennedy Theatre raises curtain on productions
BY STEVEN MARK / firstname.lastname@example.org
The spring theater season at the University of Hawaii at Manoa opens Friday with two explosive offerings: taiko drumming and an intense drama.
SPRING THEATRE, UNIVERSITY OF HAWAII-MANOA
Kennedy Theatre productions:
» “Taiko Drum and Dance,” 8 p.m. Feb. 8-9, 15-16; 2 p.m. Feb. 17. $5-$24. Preshow chats at 7 p.m. Saturday and Feb. 16.
» “Thread Hell,” 8 p.m. April 12-13, 18-20; 2 p.m. April 21. $5-$24. Preshow chats at 7 p.m. April 13 and 20.
Earle Ernst Lab Theatre productions:
» “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea,” 11 p.m. Feb. 8-9, 15-16. $5-$10 (buy at the door)
» “La Strada,” 8 p.m. March 6-9; and 2 p.m. March 10. $5-$16. Post-Show rap on March 8
» “A Lovely Violent Ghost Haiku with Gun,” and other short plays, 11 p.m. April 5-6, 11-12. $5-$10 (buy at the door)
» Spring Footholds, annual spring dance concert. 8 p.m. April 24-27, 2 p.m. April 28. $5-$15 . Post-show rap on April 26.
Info: Unless otherwise noted, tickets available by phone at 956-7655 or online at hawaii.edu/kennedy
That only seems appropriate for a university program that seeks to broaden the experience for students and theatergoers alike.
“One of the things that I think is exciting about this season is that it really reflects the diversity of our program,” said Matthew Kelty, director of publicity for Kennedy Theatre. “We have dance and drama, we’ve got guest artists who are from Hawaii but are using Japanese instruments. In that same concert, which is a taiko drum and dance concert, we’re also featuring hula and dance from India. So there’s a real broad diversity of the work that we do.”
Kennedy’s main stage will feature guest artist and taiko master Kenny Endo, who will join members of the UH theater and dance program to present a program of modern and traditional dances.
The taiko performance is a collaborative effort between Endo’s Taiko Center of the Pacific and UH faculty members.
Endo composed the music for two dances, “Empty Sky” and “Crystal Clear Moon,” which were choreographed by UH’s Kara Miller, Gregg Lizenbery and Amy Schiffner. Endo’s wife, Chizuko, also composed music for one dance, which is based on a Japanese noh drama but was inspired by driving over the Koolau mountain range.
Also coming up in Kennedy’s spring season: “Thread Hell,” a play about the lives of women working in textile mills by Japanese avant-garde playwright Kishida Rio and guest-directed by Rio student and UH alumna Colleen Lanki.
FOR NIGHT OWLS, Kennedy’s Late Night series presents “Danny and the Deep Blue Sea,” a drama about two scarred people coming together to take hold of their lives. “They’re everyday folks, but they’ve been through a lot in their lives and they’re sort of damaged by what they’ve been through,” Kelty said. “They’re people who are hurting and reaching out. And sometimes when you’re hurting that badly, the only person who can understand is someone who’s hurting that badly.”
New York playwright John Patrick Stanley wrote the drama, praised as “an explosive, deeply affecting study of alienation and the redemptive power of love” by The New York Times. UH undergraduate theater major Lavour Addison directs.
For a “Prime Time in the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre” production, see “La Strada,” a world-premiere adaptation of the famous film by Federico Fellini directed by Benjamin Sota, an M.F.A. candidate who worked on the translation with fellow student Josephine Calvo. The production incorporates masks, physical theater and even acrobatics.
The Late Night series is a student-run program that is part of the UH theater program. Though often featuring material for mature audiences — one reason the shows are staged at 11 p.m. — the point of the series is to “bring plays that might not have a life somewhere else in the Honolulu theater community,” Kelty said.
The short plays in the Late Night series, including “A Lovely Violent Ghost Haiku with Gun,” make a good example. “Haiku” examines a post-apocalyptic world through the lens of corporate masters, jealous lovers and personal demons. M.F.A. candidate Alex Munro, “who is just eager and excited about new work, went and found it and decided to do this play,” Kelty said.