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Kennedy Theatre

Media Release

Department of Theatre and Dance
University of Hawai'i at Manoa
1770 East-West Road
Honolulu, HI 96822

Contact: Kristy Miller, Publicity Director
Phone: (808) 956-2598
Fax: (808) 956-4234
Box Office: (808) 956-7655 (v/t)


The University of Hawai‘i at Manoa’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents “Fine Dancing” by playwright and UHM faculty member Vilsoni Hereniko. This production kicks off Kennedy Theatre’s Prime Time Series with a local story featuring Pacific Island dance, gender bending and ritual clowns. “Fine Dancing,” directed by Angela Mangano as her MFA Thesis, will be performed September 4, 5, 6 and 7 at 8pm and September 8 at 2pm in the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre.

“Fine Dancing” tells the story of Rani (Stephanie Kong) who has left her abusive husband (Aina Rapoza) with their two children in Kalihi. While hiding away on Magic Island, Hina (Adela Chu), the goddess of the moon, comes to her assistance. Using the magical and healing power of dance, Hina teaches Rani the steps of forgiveness preparing her to learn the truth about her husband and his relationship with Alexis, an attractive homeless drag queen (Norman Muñoz.) The play ends with an erotic Moon Dance in which all characters may finally reveal their true natures.

Mangano came to the University of Hawai’i at Manoa from Hilo after studying theatre. At UHM she has directed two extremely successful productions of “Vagina Monologues” as charity fund-raisers that featured other female artists in the community. As a student of Hereniko, Mangano became increasingly interested in the art of Pacific Island Drama and was compelled to do one of his plays. When Hereniko gave her his finished copy of “Fine Dancing” she was drawn to it because of its divinely provocative nature and challenges of traditional gender roles.

In 1997 Hereniko premiered “Fine Dancing” with a cast of five on Magic Island in Ala Moana Beach Park. This production is a more finished version which includes a new ending. Returning from the 1997 cast is Adela Chu who plays the moon goddess, Hina. The Kennedy Theatre production includes a cast of five, a dancing troupe performing a range of Pacific Island dances in the round and a musical ensemble fusing Western and Pacific instruments.

Hereniko not only wrote "Fine Dancing," he wrote the Kumu Kahua's play "Love 3 Times," and wrote and directed the film, "Fire in the Womb" which premiered at last year's Hawai'i International Film Festival. He is also an esteemed faculty member at the University of Hawai'i Center for Pacific Islands Studies. In addition to his interest in play and screen writing, he has written a number of short stories and children's books.

Tickets for "Fine Dancing" will go on sale Tuesday, September 3 at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office. Tickets may be purchased or Charged-by-Phone at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $9 Regular, $7 Discount for seniors, military,
non-UHM students and UH Faculty and Staff, and $3 UHM students with validated Fall 2002 ID. For more information, call the Kennedy Theatre Box Office at 956-7655.

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