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Kapiʻolani CC to Host Shakespeare's First Folio Exhibition

Traveling exhibit from Folger Shakespeare Library to mark 400th anniversary of Shakespeare's death.

Kapiʻolani Community College
Mark Lawhorn, (808) 352-2324
Professor, Language, Linguistics and Literature
Posted: Apr 11, 2016

First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.
First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare.

HONOLULU, HAWAIʻI – Kapiʻolani Community College has been selected as the host site in Hawaiʻi for First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, a national traveling exhibition of one of the world’s most treasured books. The Folger Shakespeare Library, in partnership with Cincinnati Museum Center and the American Library Association, is touring this book to all 50 states, Washington, DC, and Puerto Rico. The Folger Shakespeare Library holds 82 copies of the First Folio, by far the largest collection in the world and more than a third of the 233 known copies in the world today. It is believed that 750 copies were originally printed.

“One of our goals is to alert people to Shakespeare-related events taking place in our local community,” said Hawaiʻi First Folio project director Mark Lawhorn. “Visit our website at  and you will find an extensive calendar of performances and other activities. For many people this will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to come within inches of one of the most influential books in history."

The First Folio!: The Book That Gave Us Shakespeare exhibition runs from April 25 – May 25, 2016 in Lama Library, second floor. A few significant moments in the history of Shakespeare in Hawaiʻi will be presented concurrently in the library’s lobby on the first floor and titled, Shakespeare Comes to Hawaiʻi. Visitation hours are Monday-Thursday from 2:00-6:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10:00a.m.-2:00p.m.

Valerie Wayne, University of Hawai`i at Mānoa Professor Emerita of English, reminds us that one does not have to worship Shakespeare to recognize ways that his work is culturally and historically significant. For Professor Wayne, “Shakespeare doesn’t matter because he’s a monument to be preserved or a genius to which we’re obligated to pay homage in order to maintain a cultured society; or because he has ‘universal’ appeal or wisdom to impart. He matters because, given his iconic status, he is constantly being restaged and rethought and remade into someone who speaks to our present moment.”

The First Folio will be opened to the most quoted line from Shakespeare, “to be or not to be” from Hamlet. Accompanying the book will be a six-panel exhibition exploring Shakespeare’s impact, then and now, along with interactive, digital activities.

Multiple translations of Hamlet’s most famous speech will be on display, including a rendering of the speech into Hawaiian by Professor Puakea Nogelmeier, who pointed out “for the sake of humor” when asked to attempt the daunting task, “There is no term for ‘to be’ in Hawaiian.”