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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)

March 18, 2003


The University of Hawai‘i at M?noa’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents “The Robbers” by Friedrich Schiller. UHM’s newest professor of theatre, Dr. Markus Wessendorf, directs a politically charged German classic. An avant garde interpretation will transform Kennedy Theatre into “Kennedy Airport” to create a contemporary production full of twists and surprises, all with striking similarity to contemporary world events. “The Robbers” will be performed on the Kennedy Theatre Mainstage April 25, 26, May 1, 2 and 3 at 8pm and May 4 at 2 pm.

“The Robbers”, Schiller's first passionate play from 1781, tells the story of two brothers driven to extremes. Karl (Scot Davis) is a Robin Hood-inspired leader of a gang of students-turned-robbers whose rebellion against society descends into dehumanizing terrorism. Contrasting him is his brother Franz (Jeremy Pippin), a tyrant driven by materialism and power, who schemes to destroy the life of their father (Blake Kushi), a benevolent ruler loved by his people.

This innovative production uses state-of-the-art multimedia and video technology to create a performance space that resonates with a contemporary audience. Kennedy Theatre is transformed into an airport waiting lounge, complete with security checks through which all actors must pass before entering the playing area. The audience is asked to pretend they are being entertained by the play while waiting for their East-West Airlines flight. FBI agents roam the stage, passengers crowd around waiting for delayed flights, suspected terrorists are arrested and video monitors flicker. In today’s highly charged political climate, the main question influencing director Wessendorf’s interpretation is how we can effectively reverse the increasing violence of the political realm without using violence ourselves.

Wessendorf arrived in Hawai‘i in 2001. His primary areas of specialization are experimental, avant-garde, and political theatre. He has written a book on Richard Foreman's Ontological-Hysteric Theatre and several essays on Bertolt Brecht, Richard Maxwell, the Wooster Group, and various German and American performance artists. He has directed in the U.S., Europe, and Australia, and critic Paul Galloway, of the Brisbane News in Australia, said of Wessendorf’s theatre work: “It’s always intelligent, always engaging, always coming up with a fresh idea.”

A special feature of “The Robbers” will be free Pre-Show Chats beginning at 7pm before any of the Friday or Saturday evening performances. On April 25 and 26 Sankaran Krishna and Jon Goldberg-Hiller, both professors from the UHM Political Science Department, will discuss the meaning of political violence in “Eves of Destruction.” On May 2 Niklaus Schweizer, professor in the German Division, Department of Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas, will talk about “Schiller and the Pacific” and on May 3 Juergen G. Sang, also a professor from the German Division, Department of Languages and Literatures of Europe and the Americas, will discuss “Contexts of Friedrich von Schiller’s ‘The Robbers.’”

Tickets for "The Robbers" go on sale Monday, April 14 at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office. Tickets may be purchased in person or charged-by-phone at the Kennedy Theatre Box Office Monday through Friday from 10am to 3pm. Ticket prices are $12 Regular, $10 Discount for seniors, military, and UH faculty/staff, $8 non-UHM students and $3 for UHM students with validated Spring 2003 photo ID. Tickets are also available at all TicketPlus outlets’ phone room (526-4400) or at All TicketPlus sales include applicable service charges. Group rates are available. For more information, charge-by-phone, or disability access, call the Kennedy Theatre Box Office at 956-7655 (v/t).

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"The Robbers "

Friday April 25* 8 pm
Saturday April 26* 8 pm
Thursday May 1 8 pm
Friday May 2* 8 pm
Saturday May 3* 8 pm
Sunday May 4 2 pm

*Pre-Show Chat at 7pm

$12 Regular
$10 Seniors, Military, UH Faculty, Staff, Youth
$8 Non-UHM Students
$3 UHM Students with validated Spring 2003 photo ID

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