2019 PlayFestival

April 13-14, Arts at Marks Garage

2019 PlayFestival Program

Sat 13th April , 5 pm to 9 pm

5:00 pm Welcome reception
Pupus sponsored by PlayBuilders Board of Directors
Ice cream sponsored by Mid-late summer ice creamery Cash bar

6:00 pm Welcome remarks

6:10 pm As Big as a Dallas Cowboy by Kirby Wright
Directed by Amy Sullivan
Cast:
Kirbo…………………………………………………………………Berkley Spivey
Troy…………………………………………………………………………….Jeff Juett
The General………………………………………………………Alan Shepard
Stage Directions……………………………………………..Ann Brandman

6:30 pm Winter Wedding by Carol Polcovar
Directed by Robert St. John
Cast:
Zelda Katechild………………………………………………..Maggie Odom
Kate Katechild…………………………………………………..Rasa Fournier
Alice Edmonson………………………………………….Eden Lee Murray

7:00 pm Birdman by Maggie Odom
Directed by Robert St. John
Cast:
Rick Gardner………………………………………………….Daniel A. Kelin II

7:30 pm Intermission

7:45 Let the Dead Pass By by Michael Markrich
Directed by William Ha’o
Cast:
Yost…………………………………………………………………Berkeley Spivey

8:20 pm Romance by the Surf
Written & Directed by Daniel A. Kelin II
Cast:
Meredith Enos……………………..Actress, Laiekawahe, Chief Kekalukahiouokawa
Jonathan Sypert…………………Actor, Halaaniani, Grandmother

8:40 pm Dirty Kitchen, Happy Bar by Sean-Joseph Choo
Directed by Reiko Ho
Cast:
Maile Kapua'ala……………………..………………………Jonathan Reyn 

9:00 pm End of day one

Sunday 14th April, 2 pm to 6 pm

2:00 pm A Wilderness of Monkeys by Jan McGrath
Directed by Peggy Anne Siegmund
Cast:
Leah……………………..………………………………………Anna Hamaguchi
Eli……………………..……………………..……………………….Maseeh Ganjali
Miriam……………………..…………………………...Victoria Brown-Wilson
Pablo……………………..……………………..………………………..Alex Munro

2:50 pm Kahala Blues by Rich Figel
Directed by Misa Tupuo
Cast:
Walter……………………..……………………..…………………….Craig Howes
Queenie……………………..……………………..…………………….Lisa Bright
David……………………..……………………..……………………..James Bright
Malama……………………..……………………..………………………Kiki Rivera
Keoki……………………..……………………..………………..Jonah Moananu
Tiana……………………..…………..………..……………………...Anette Arinix
Justin……………………..……………………..………………Theoren Nansen
Pono……………………..……………………..………………………….Jason Hoy
Rocky……………………..……………………..………………………Shiro Kawai
Alicia……………………..……………………..…………………Christina Torres
Haole Man……………………..……………………..……………Mark Branner
Haole Woman……………………..……………………..………..Betty Bolton
Bill……………………..……………………..…………………………David Farmer
Cop/Carl……………………..……………………..………………..Micah Souza

3:40 pm Intermission and ice cream sponsored by Mid-late summer ice creamery

4:00 pm An hour with Queen Lili‘uokalani by Rianna Williams
Directed by Will Ha’o
Cast:
Queen Lili‘uokalani……………………..…………………….Malia Lagaso

4:20 pm Stairway to the Stars by Lorenzo DeStefano
Directed by Karen Kaulana
Cast:
Her/Lavergne……………………..……………………..………….Kati Kuroda
Him/ Tony……………………..…………………………….J. Kamamo Bailon
Buff Young Male……………………..……………………..…………..Paul Yau
Stage directions……………………..………………………….Julia Lopresti

4:45 pm End of Festival


PLAY SYNOPSES

As Big as a Dallas Cowboy by Kirby Wright
A younger brother gets in the middle of a power struggle between his big brother and their old man.

Winter Wedding by Carol Polcovar
The scene is take from a longer play called Winter Wedding a comedy, that looks at the lives of three women: a mother (Alice), daughter (Kate) , and granddaughter(Zelda) whose lives reflect their times.
In this scene it is eighteen year old Zelda is about to get married. Her mother an ardent  lesbian-feminist is aghast that her lessons in independence and achievement have fallen on deaf ears. Zelda wants to be a housewife and mother.
Alice is overjoyed that  Zelda shares her own values and not what Alice sees as her mother’s crazy destructive ones.
Now Kate is refusing to go to the wedding thus ruining the day for her daughter.

Birdman by Maggie Odom
Based on a series of interviews and observations, the one man show details the life of the Birdman, a Kailua icon that many know nothing about. A delightful meditation on our relationship with each other and the natural world around us.

Let the Dead Pass By Michael Markrich
It is a World War II play about Hawaii troops fighting in Italy in 1943 - told through the Eyes of Lutheran Chaplain outsider from Pennsylvania assigned to them by chance. When the war is over the soldiers ask him to come to Hawaii to do a memorial service for those young men who have died. He is a White Lutheran talking to hundreds of Japanese American Buddhists.

Romance by the Surf by Daniel A, Kelin II
An oft-told island tale of surfing and feisty romance becomes the vehicle that brings together a pair of heartfelt young lovers. 

Dirty Kitchen, Happy Bar by Sean-Joseph Choo
Dirty Kitchen is a short, frivolous, self-aware piece. A talk-story scene of two friends hanging out in a bar becomes an exploration of love, forgiveness, and character. This piece is inspired by two local actors, Dylan Chace Lee and Maile Kapua'ala.

A Wilderness of Monkeys by Jan Shiarella McGrath
The inspiration for the play is Shylock's only reference in A Merchant of Venice to his presumably dead wife. Told that his runaway daughter has traded a ring of his for monkey, he says," I had it of Leah when I was a bachelor; I would not have traded it for a wilderness of monkeys." This play is conceived as Leah's tale and a prequel to Shakespeare's Shylock

Kahala Blues by Rich Figel
An affluent Kahala couple (WALTER HENRY THOMAS and QUEENIE) along with their wealthy neighbors are thrown into a tizzy when eccentric Japanese billionaire ROCKY KAWASAKI rents his mansion to a poor Hawaiian family (MALAMA and DAVID PAHANUI) plus their kids and farm animals.

An hour with Queen Lili’uokalani by Rianna Williams
Yes, Lili’uokalani was a queen with many problems. But, what was her personal life like?  How did she emotionally deal with those problems? What about her unhappy marriage?  Who were her 3 hanai children? What was her association with Queen Victoria? What did she do on Annexation Day? Did she really fly the American flag over Washington Place, her private home? Learn all of this and much more about this multi-dimensional woman!

Stairway to the Stars by Lorenzo DeStefano
In the hills of old Hollywood a steep flight of stairs rises dramatically between a lower-winding street and the street above. It is mid-afternoon, hot and smoggy like so many others here. Two figures, an elderly woman and a very large young man, goad each other as they climb, their complex relationship gradually emerging between the bottom and the top.


PLAYWRIGHTS

Sean-Joseph Choo (Dirty Kitchen, Happy Bar) is a Honolulu-based actor, musician and creative with a lifelong passion for and experience with the performing arts.  Recently he was in HTY’s Home of the Brave and  in KOA’s production of Rolling the R’s. His writing has been featured at Playbuilders before (“Da Kine Hawaiian Soap Opera”, 2017 Playbuilders Festival Selection), and also in Kumu Kahua Theatre’s 38 Minutes chapbook (Janice Nakayama is My Ex-Girlfriend).

Lorenzo DeStefano (Stairway to the Stars) In addition to his extensive work as a photographer, writer and filmmaker, Honolulu-born Lorenzo DeStefano’s plays include the originals Shipment Day (PlayBuilders 2016 / Manoa Valley Theatre 2018), Stairway to the Stars, and 221 Finchley Lane, adapted from his novel. His play, Providence, is based on the screenplay by English dramatist David Mercer. His play, Camera Obscura, is adapted from the 17 million word Inman Diary, published by Harvard University Press.

Rich Figel (Kahala Blues) is an award-winning screenwriter, who has optioned feature screenplays to Hollywood producers and was formerly represented by Cathryn Jaymes, the manager who discovered Quentin Tarantino. He also produces the local Spectrum OC16 TV show, Career Changers TV, and was a writer for the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Daniel A. Kelin II Romance by the Surf, works for the Honolulu Theatre for Youth and is a theatre artist whose work has taken him to Asia, across the Pacific and the US.  2019 saw the world premiere at Kumu Kahua Theatre of his solo play Shipwreck’d on the Body Beautiful, which he wrote and performed. The American Alliance for Theatre and Education awarded him the 2015 Distinguished Book of the Year for his latest book, The Reflexive Teaching Artist: Collected Wisdom from the Drama/Theatre Field.

Michael Markrich Let the Dead Pass By is a writer/historian with an interest in stories about Hawaii in World War II. After being asked a number of times to give presentations on the story of Israel Yost he decided to turn the story into a one-man play that could be staged throughout Hawaii.

Jan McGrath A Wilderness of Monkeys,  an actor, poet, playwright, acted and directed for seven decades. In Hawaii,  her scripts include fictional biopics of Christopher Marlowe and of the Puccinis, the autobiographical THE PARISH, HOME FREE, and TUMBLIN’ DOWN. OUTAGE was first presented at Playbuilders, then produced by TAG, and received a 2014 Po‘okela Playwright award. She wrote A WILDERNESS OF MONKEYS  as a prequel to Shylock's story in A MERCHANT OF VENICE (which she did not write). 

Maggie Odom Author of Birdman and Zelda Katechild in Winter Wedding is a sixteen year old poet and playwright. Her work has appeared in the Oahu Fringe Festival and Hawaii Women's Voices Festival, has been recognized by the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and is forthcoming in several literary journals. She has also acted in a plethora of local theatrical productions. Maggie was recently named the 2019 Hawaii Poetry Out Loud State Champion. She would like to thank the Kailua Birdman for sharing his story.

Carol Polcovar Winter Wedding, is a published poet and writer; a playwright whose plays have been produced Off Broadway and in Europe; a director of more than thirty shows ; a producer whose production of the musical Take It Easy played 110 performances Off-Broadway and a teacher of American History, English, Civil Law and Writing   She was the Founder and Artistic Director of All Out Arts’ Fresh Fruit Festival, a yearly summer NYC festival dedicated to fighting prejudice and homophobia through the arts.

Rianna William An hour with Queen Lili‘uokalani,  is an independent historian specializing in the Hawaiian monarchy period. She spent nine years as a docent at Iolani Palace and is in her tenth year as a docent at Washington Place. She has done research for the late historian HJ Jim Bartels, written four books and numerous articles

Kirby Michael Wright As Big as a Dallas Cowboy, won the 2018 Redwood Empire Mensa Award for Creative Nonfiction. His new book is THE QUEEN OF MOLOKA'I, a work of creative nonfiction based on the life and times of his hapa haole grandmother. His stories and stand-alone chapters have appeared in over 200 literary magazines and journals around the world, including Hawai'i Review, Chaminade Literary Review, and Hawai'i Pacific Review.


DIRECTORS

Reiko Ho (Dirty Kitchen, Happy Bar)  

Will Ha’o (Let the Dead Pass By and An hour with Queen Lili‘uokalani) has been a champion of theater and the dramatic arts for most of the last five decades. In New York City he performed onstage and volunteered for various theaters and theatrical events.  Since his return to Hawaii in 2005, he has dedicated his life to helping Hawaii’s people tell their stories through theater. 

Karen Kaulana (Stairway to the Stairs) a 30 year veteran of the stage returns to Playbuilders PlayFestival after directing Lyana Atsumi's Da Truth of Da Fruit for the PlayFestival in 2017 which won Audience favorite and earned her Best Director. She is a graduate of the University of Hawai’i with degrees in Journalism, and Theater and Drama.

Peggy Anne Siegmund (A Wilderness of Monkeys) is an actor, director, singer, playwright, and theatre educator with stage, tv, and film credits.  Her work has received several Po‘okelas, most recently with TAG, HSF, and MVT. This is her first opportunity to work with PlayBuilders.

Robert St. John (Birdman and Winter Wedding)  After graduating from the University of Oregon with an MFA in Creative Writing in 1989, Robert moved to Hawaii.  When he is not teaching theater, Robert advocates for student involvement in original theater outside of his theater program, including play writing festivals such as this one. His next project is launching a devised theater challenge for high school students at Windward Community College.

Amy K. Sullivan (As Big as a Dallas Cowboy) is grateful to work on her second Kirby Wright piece as part of PlayBuilders Festival, this time as Director.  She has been seen around town at MVT, DHT, TAG and Hawai’i Theatre, in drama, comedy, improv, musical theatre and music performance. Amy has a BA in Theatre.

Misa Tupou (Kahala Blues) is a graduate from Toi Whakaari: New Zealand Drama School and the University of Auckland.  He has directed short films that focus on non-dialogue film-making, and he has appeared on various film productions as well. He works on Mask Performance, Physical Theatre with a focus on Viewpoints, Suzuki Acting Method and Choreographic Theatre and in Devising new works.  


ACTORS

Betty Bolton (Haole woman, Kahala Blues) is a local actor and thrilled to be part of this years PlayBuilders Festival. Her most recent stage appearances were at DHT as Chris in “Calendar Girls”, the 2018 PlayBuilders Festival, and HPU #MeToo Monologues. She holds a Bachelor degree in theatre from the University of Denver and enjoys acting, improv as well as supporting the community and HFC (Hawaii Filmmakers Collective) to make more movies in Hawaii.

Mark Branner (Haole man, Kahala Blues) received an MFA from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He teaches courses in theatre for young audiences, puppetry, mask, and physical comedy.He has toured nationally and performed extensively in Asia, most notably in chuanju (Sichuan Opera), a regional Chinese theatre form.

James Keawe Bright ( David, Kahala Blues) Professional stage appearances include historical plays Mai Poina and Trial of the Queen.  On-camera experience includes local commercials for Oceanic Cable, HMSA, and HIUSA. Has a BA in Theatre and a Masters of Elementary Education from UHM. Has taught 8th Grade Drama for 6 years.  

Meredith Desha Enos (Actress, Romance by the Surf) is a full time time mom, a full time editor, and a full time creative person. She retains her sense of humor in these trying times by doing improv, listening to podcasts and public radio, and participating in antics with her kids.

David C. Farmer ( Bill, Kahala Blues)  has been performing since 1956. He studied acting with Sanford Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse, at Carnegie-Mellon, and with Alan Arkin. A member of Screen Actors’ Guild since 1987 and current President of the Hawaii Local SAG-AFTRA, he has national and international television and film acting credits.

Jason Lee Hoy (Pono, Kahala Blues) grew up a “military brat” in two countries and six states in which he was influenced and enriched by many cultures. It was at the young age of nine in Omaha, Nebraska that he fell in love with “theatrics” in a lead role for a school play. He continues to be involved in the performing arts, having sung in choirs, danced in small classes, and acted in roles from television.

Craig Howes (Walter, Kahala Blues) teaches English and life writing at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. The co-producer of the Biography Hawaiʻi television documentary series, he has acted in productions at Kumu Kahua Theatre, Manoa Valley Theatre, Kennedy Theatre at UH Mānoa, and elsewhere. He appears regularly in Living History programs at ʻIolani Palace, the Kamehameha V Judiciary History Center, and Foster Botanical Garden. 

Lisa Ann Katagiri Bright (Queenie, Kahala Blues)  has appeared on Kumu Kahua’s stage in Lee Cataluna’s Po‘okela Award Winning Flowers of Hawai‘i, Uncle’s Regularly Scheduled Garage Party is CANCELLED Tonight, and The Great Kaua‘i Train Robbery, as well as Pelicans, Cane Fields Burning, Ghosts in the Plague Year, The Hilo Massacre, and Maui the Demigod.

Shiro Kawai (Rocky, Kahala Blues)  is an actor and a programmer, born and grew up in Tokyo, Japan. He moved to Hawaii to work on computer-generated animations. As an actor he appeared in local plays including All That Remains (KKT), as well as films including "Go For Broke", "Running for Grace", and "Under the Blood-Red Sun".

Kati Kuroda (Her/Lavergne, Stairway to the Stars) holds a BFA and an MFA from the University of Hawaii. She was a professional actress and director in NYC for 21 years. This is her debut with the Playbuilders Festival.

Malia Lagaso (Queen Lili‘uokalani) is a West & Central O'ahu grown educator, performer, writer & handcrafter. She appeared most recently in R.Zamora Linmark's Rolling the R's, as well as in Tali Ariav's Patient (KKT, Dark Night Series); Melina Lillios'RiseUP!: A Patriotic Peace (PKU); and the 20th anniversary celebration for Linmark's novel, Rolling the R's (KKT, 2017).

Anna  Hamaguchi ( Leah, A Wilderness of Monkeys)  is a stage and screen actress with an MFA in theatre performance from UH Manoa.  Film/TV credits include Magnum PI and Hawaii 5-0, while favorite stage roles include ‘Night, Mother, Twelfth Night, The Fox on the Fairway and Antigone.  She is excited to be a part of this festival!

Alex Munro (Pablo, A Wilderness of Monkeys) is a PhD candidate at UH Mānoa and an adjunct at HPU.  He has received multiple Po’okela Awards for directing from the Hawaiʻi State Theatre Council, including The Elephant Man (co-directed with Paul T. Mitri), and Equus.

J. Kamamo Bailon ( Him/Tony, Stairway to the Stars)  part-time stage and screen veteran was last seen in TAG's Jesus Hopped the A Train and MVT’s production of Princess & The Iso Peanut. Previous productions include as the DHT’s Billy Eliott, MVT’s Happily Eva Afta, Once Upon One Nodda Time, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Tony & Tina’s Wedding, and Yes, I Am!

Paul Yau (Young Asian Male, Stairway to the Stars)  has performed at Hawaii TheatreLeeward TheatreHawaii Shakespeare Festival, and received three Po‘okela awards, the latest for his role as Ali in TAG’s The Happiest Song Plays Last. He has over 15 years of stage combat experience, choreographing scenes for film and stage. Paul has been TAG’s Technical Director since February 2018, designing and "co-designing" numerous sets.

Julia Lopresti (Stage Directions, Stairway to the Stars) is a Theatre Arts teacher at Aiea Intermediate School. Stage credits include Show Boat and West Side Story at Army Community Theatre, Miss Saigon at Paliku Theatre, and Flowers of Hawaii at Kumu Kahua Theatre. Julia is honored to be serving in her second year as the Hawaii Thespians Chapter Director, where she coordinates the annual Hawaii Thespians Festival for middle and high school theatre arts students.

Rasa Fournier (Kate Katechild, Winter Wedding) and Lead Adjudicator studied theater while earning her MA in English at UH Manoa and has been appearing on community theater stages for the past 15 years. Her community theater credits include: Thelma in Trip to Bountiful (supporting actress Po’okela) and Elizabeth Almond in The Heiress at TAG. Sandy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Catherine in In the Next Room at MVT. Sarah Bush Lincoln and Village Gossip in Heritage at Paul and Vi Loo Theater (ensemble Po’okela).

Jonah Moananu (Keoki, Kahala Blues) is the Musical Director and Senior Teaching Artist for T-Shirt Theatre. He’s a professional Musician, Vocalist, Singer, Songwriter, and Rapper.

Eden Lee Murray (Alice Edmonson, Winter Wedding) is a professional actor/director/artist-educator. Since coming to Oahu in 1992, she has directed or performed in every major venue on Oahu, earning fourteen Po‘okela Awards for her work. From 2009-2016, she served as Education Director at the Hawaii Theatre Center. She has been featured in a number of Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s productions.

Micah Souza was born and raised in Kailua and is a student of Windward Community College. Recent show credits include Massie/Kahahawai (WCC) Nanaue the Teenage Sharkman (WCC) and Burning/Memory (WCC). Micah can also be found preforming stand up comedy or playing music in downtown Honolulu. 

Jonathan Clarke Sypert (Romance by the Surf) is an actor who has grown up in, and been shaped by the local theatre community. His foundation in performance comes from his Broadway Alumnus mother Shirley Sypert; while many circles of community theatre, the Department of Theatre and Dance at UH Manoa, and HTY have continued his growth. It is an honor tonight to play a role in a story, written by one of his mentors.  

Berkley Spivey (Kirbo, As Big as a Dallas Cowboy) Recent Theatre credits include 'June is the First Fall'(KKT), The Crusade of Connor Stephens(TAG) Dead of Night (KKT) Demi-Gods Anonymous'(KKT), 'Small Town Lawyer'(PBF)  'Fiddler on the Roof', 'Midsummer Nights Dream', and 'Can't Take It With You'.

Christina Torres (Alicia, Kahala Blues) is a teacher, writer, and actress. Originally from Southern California, she received her B.A. in Theatre and English from the University of Southern California, and her Master's in Education from Loyola Marymount University. She is currently a teacher at Punahou School.


ADJUDICATORS

Rasa Fournier, Lead Adjudicator (see above)

Lala Buzzell has been performing on Oahu’s stages for close to 30 years.  She received her actor training at UH Manoa + LAMDA (UK).  Lala has worked for Kumu Kahua Theatre & also Second Generation Productions, NYC, co-producing their IN THE WORKS series, nurturing our nation’s emerging Asian American Playwrights.

Victoria Gail-White has been playing on Honolulu’s community theater stages for seventeen years.  She has received numerous Po‘okela Awards for her performances in supporting, leading roles, and ensemble work on the stages of The Actor’s Group (TAG), Hawaii Pacific University Theater (HPU), and Manoa Valley Theatre (MVT).

Mark Tjarks is a professor of English and chair of the Department of English & Applied Linguistics. He has had 32 productions and staged readings of 15 one act and feature-length plays since 2004. He’s the recipient of a Kumu Kahua Theatre Resident Prize, two Women in Theatre Best Comedy Awards, and Aloha Theatre’s Opie for Best Original Play.


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