flowers of hawaii promotional poster

A production about a multi-generational family’s life in Hawaiʻi, and a performance presented as a single-player interactive video game, will be featured virtually, November 20–22, by the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Department of Theatre and Dance.

Flowers of Hawaiʻi

Written by award-winning playwright Lee Cataluna, Flowers of Hawaiʻi is about quirky, troubled and resilient members of a local family as they battle over love, sex, money and inheritance. The production features 15 roles of various ages. Lurana Donnels O’Malley, professor and director of graduate studies in theatre and director of Flowers of Hawaiʻi, said it is up to the audience to discover the connections, generations and persisting grudges held by everyone.

“Theatre and dance students are working with faculty and staff to find ways to better reflect our community on our stages, so we will increasingly be turning to original and locally written works in future,” O’Malley said. “Students may have read Lee Cataluna’s plays in classes, but this is their first chance to see her work here on our campus. Most of the cast was born here in Hawaiʻi, so the performers have a special understanding of the play’s characters, the language, the locations, the food, the clothing, etc. The actors keep commenting on how much they are reminded of their own aunties, uncles and grandmas.”

Online performances are November 20 and 21 at 7:30 p.m., and November 22 at 2 p.m. Visit the Department of Theatre and Dance website for more information and to purchase tickets.

When We Were Young

promotional poster of when we were young with two people smiling

Written by MFA candidate in playwriting Kimberlee Stone and directed by MFA candidate in directing Thea Wigglesworth, When We Were Young is an innovative production that is similar to a video game. It is presented as a single player game where audience members will play through Kayli, one of the main characters. Her memories provide information which the audience will put into a pro/con list that will unlock the next sequence. The play is similar to a traditional passive puzzle game until an active choice is required and audience members select their own ending.

The storyline involves nostalgia, memory and the friendship between Kayli and Diana. Stone recrafted the narrative to explore the ways in which the criminal justice system creates tension in our modern society, amid the Black Lives Matter movement.

“It’s an entirely immersive experience that asks the audience to engage in a more intimate way as they get to know Kayli and Diana (from Kayli’s point of view), and grapple with the incredible gravity of the situation she’s gotten herself into and moreover what the ‘right thing to do’ really is in this situation,” Stone said.

Stone and Wigglesworth said the innovative production would not have been possible without the collaboration from UH Mānoa students in the Information and Computer Sciences Department, Academy for Creative Media and School of Travel Industry Management.

Online performances are November 20 and 21 at 9:30 p.m., and November 22 at 7:30 p.m. Visit the Department of Theatre and Dance website for more information and to purchase tickets.