Members of the ensemble of Kennedy Theatre's Thread Hell (photo by Chesley Cannon and courtesy of Kennedy Theatre)

Members of the ensemble of Kennedy Theatre’s Thread Hell (photo by Chesley Cannon and courtesy of Kennedy Theatre)

The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa’s Department of Theatre and Dance presents Kishida Rio’s Thread Hell, April 12–21 as its final mainstage production of the 2012–2013 season. This classic work of the Japanese angura, or underground theatre, movement will be directed by visiting artist Colleen Lanki, an alumna of the UH Mānoa’s Asian theatre program. This production will mark the first angura production on the Kennedy mainstage—as well as the world premiere of a new English-language version, which Lanki co-translated.

Thread Hell is Kishida’s symbolic exploration of the role of women in Japanese society. Set in 1930’s Japan, the play takes place in a silk-spinning factory that doubles by night as a brothel. The women employed at the factory, named after suits in the Japanese card game hanafuda, have lost the memory of their lives before the factory. However, the appearance of a young woman named Cocoon who “came from the sea” brings back memories, and begins to free the women from the control of Rope, the factory owner.

“Audience members should expect a performance that’s both highly poetic and extremely physical,” says Lanki. “This play is full of characters who do extraordinary things in a terrifying and extraordinary world.”

NOTE: Due to mature themes, the play may not be appropriate for audience members younger than 14 years of age.

More on Lanki

Lanki is the artistic director of TomoeArts in Vancouver, Canada. Before receiving her MFA in Asian directing from UH Mānoa, Lanki spent several years in Japan studying both nihon buyō, or classical Japanese dance, and traditional theatre. She has performed at Japan’s National Nō Theatre, and became a natori, taking a professional performance name in nihon buyō, in 2001. At the same time, Lanki was investigating contemporary Japanese drama, and she worked in a variety of contemporary styles ranging from shingeki to angura and the movement-based theatre. Lanki shares all of this knowledge and experience with her stories, incorporating both classical and contemporary approaches in rehearsal.

Performance Dates

Performances will take place on April 12, 13, 18, 19 and 20 at 8 p.m., and April 21 at 2 p.m. Audiences will also have the opportunity to attend free pre-show chats on on April 13 and 20 at 7 p.m.

Ticket Information

Tickets for Thread Hell are available online at, by phone at (808) 944-2697, at participating outlets, and at Kennedy Theatre box office Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–1p.m., with extended hours on performance dates.

Prices are $24 general admission; $22 seniors/military/UH faculty and staff; $15 UHAA members; $13 students; and $5 UH Mānoa students with validated spring 2013 UH Mānoa photo ID. Tickets priced include all service fees. Discount rates are available for groups of 10 or more. Subject to availability, UH Mānoa students with a valid spring 2013 ID will be able to take advantage of the theatre’s buy-one-get-one-free program on Thursday, April 18.

For more information, please visit Kennedy Theatre’s website or call the theatre at (808) 956-7655. For disability access, please call the theatre.

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