Shakespeare 400th Anniversary Program

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Gravedigger’s Tale

Louis Butelli
4 p.m. Saturday, April 30. Mission Memorial Auditorium

A theatrical performance in words and music--the story of Hamlet is told by the Gravedigger using Shakespeare’s moving words and help from the audience. In Shakespeare’s play Hamlet, the Gravedigger appears briefly in Act V to perform a comic exchange before speaking to Hamlet and presenting him with the jester Yorick’s skull. Our Gravedigger arrives with his trunk and a book and engages the audience in a re-telling of Hamlet from his unique perspective.

(Courtesy of the Folger Society, in association with First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare from the Folger Shakespeare Library, an exhibit and program at Kapiolani Community College.)

PANEL: Shakespeare in Hawai‘i and Hawaiian

Valerie Wayne, Moderator
Theresa DiPasquale, Mark Lawhorn, Paul Mitri, Puakea Nogelmeier
1 p.m. Saturday April 30 Authors Mauka Pavilion

The 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death in 2016 is being marked with special events around the world. For the first time in Hawai‘i a copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio, published in 1623, will be on display at Kapi‘olani Community College beginning April 25 for one month. The scholars, director, and Hawaiian language expert on this panel will discuss Shakespeare’s impact on the islands from 19th century productions to recent performances along with the challenge of translating Shakespeare into Hawaiian.

PANEL: Shakespeare and the Ali‘i Nui

Craig Howes, Moderator
Theresa DiPasquale, Puakea Nogelmeier

During the nineteenth century, English and American writers, and the ali‘i nui themselves, appropriated Shakespeare to characterize the evolving Hawaiian monarchy. Early 19-century King Liholiho and his queen Kamāmalu are likened to Antony and Cleopatra; mid-century King Alexander Liholiho becomes an avid Anglophile and Shakespeare aficionado; Mark Twain and other American and American-Hawaiian journalists, writing about King Lot Kamehameha and his successor W. C. Lunalilo, turn to Shakespeare in their portrayals of both kings; and finally, near the end of the century, W. C. Lunalilo and Queen Lili‘uokalani re-frame Shakespeare's language in defining their own visions of Hawai‘i and the Hawaiian kingdom.

PANEL: Invented Language for Shakespeare

Tony Pisculli, Moderator
Stephanie Keiko Kong, Victoria Brown-Wilson
3 p.m., Saturday, April 30. Authors Mauka Pavilion

This summer, the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival will present an experimental version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in invented language. Actually, in two invented languages, one for the Greek court and mechanicals, and another for the fairies.

Director Tony Pisculli and actors Stephanie Keiko Kong and Victoria Brown-Wilson discuss the process of creating the languages and the motivation for doing so, and examine the challenges and rewards for the director, actors and audience of this and other experimental HSF productions.


Director: Eden-Lee Murray
Hawaii Theatre Center Young Actors Ensemble
4:30 p.m. Sunday May 1. Keiki Stage

0thel-lolo -- an abbreviated (think Monty Python meets Reduced Shakespeare) version of the full length production of Othello presented onstage at the Hawaii Theatre by the Hawaii Theatre Young Actors Ensemble. This high-energy band of Elizabethan Players will undertake to deliver the gist of Shakespeare’s famous tragedy in a 25-minute rendition. Directed by Eden-Lee Murray.

Spoiler alert: while high poetic moments of the famous tragedy will be included, the overall impact may be less “tragic” than originally intended.