Maryknoll Students Try On Xiqu at Kennedy Theatre

On Thursday, February 22, 2018, seventy-eight Maryknoll students and their teachers and chaperones headed to University of Hawaii at Manoa’s Kennedy Theatre to see a school-time production of the Xiqu (traditional Chinese Theatre) production of Fights & Delights: Three Chinese Comedies. Unfortunately, they arrived nearly two hours early! The production team discovered them waiting outside the theatre and quickly devised a sequence of educational workshops for the students until the official performance began.

Theatre graduate student Muchelle Huynh and undergraduate theatre majors Alten Kiakona and Joanna Mills took one third of the group at a time and taught them beginning Xiqu movement on Kennedy Theatre’s upper lanai.  Costume Shop Manager and Costume Coordinator for the show, Hannah Schauer, took one third of the group on a backstage tour where they could observe the actors getting into makeup and headdresses.  Theatre for Young Audiences Professor and Co-Director of Fights & Delights, Mark Branner, took the last third of the group onto the Kennedy Theatre Mainstage for a hands-on lesson in manipulating the giant Chinese dragon puppet that they would see in the pre-show.  Each group cycled through each of the three activities just in time for the performance to begin.

The teachers and students from Maryknoll were ecstatic with the turn of events. The flexible hospitality and generosity of the production team, cast and crew of Fights & Delights, Kennedy Theatre staff and the Department of Theatre + Dance saved the day. Kudos for being a good neighbor to the school community.