PlayBuilders of Hawaii Theatre Company Announces The PlayFestival 2018 Winners!

The PlayFestival 2018 was held at Kumu Kahua Theatre 3 nights between April 15 -17 as part of their Dark Night Series. The 8 plays featured were selected from dozens of entries submitted to PlayBuilders of Hawaii Theater Companyʻs annual playwriting contest which ran from October 2017 to February 2018.

Selected playwrights this year included Daniel A. Kelin, II, Robert St. John, Maseeh Ganjali, Marion Lyman Mersereau, Carol Polcovar, Neal Milner, Anthony Pignataro, and Paul J. Donnelly. Two playwrights directed their own plays for the festival. Others were directed by well-know local directors including, Sujatha Raman, Jonathan Sypert, Miles Philips, Sammie Choy, William Ha’o, and Ron Heller.

The panel of professional theater makers who judged the plays were as follows: Actor, former entertainment columnist at Midweek newspaper, and current managing editor of the Community & Employee Engagement division at Bank of Hawaii,Rasa Fournier. Multiple award actresses Leeward Community and University of Hawaii at Manoa faculty members Elizabeth Burdick and Stacy Ray and multiple Poʻokela award winning actress, Victoria Gail White.

1. Best Play
Children of Isfahan by Maseeh Ganjali
"Riveting, well-cast, fulfilling. It stays with you and grows on you after the performance has ended. The characters have a virtue about them, and great dynamics. There’s beautiful sparseness and haunting poetry in the dialogue, “I have paste on my hands.” -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

2. Runner Up
Pathways by Neal Milner
"Neal wrote a great play. He pared it down and kept it simple. The actors were all strong. There’s a clear story arch and growth in each character that was a joy to watch." -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

Honorable Mention
Stonewall Stories
"While two well-structured plays earned Best Play and Runner Up, the adjudicators feel Stonewall Stories, which was “creatively honed, first-person accounts from a period of history not widely recognized, and one that continues to be highly relevant today” deserves special recognition. It is a “perfect example of what PlayBuilders is and stories that bring us to ‘the empathy gym." -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

Audience Favorite
Pathways by Neal Milner

1. Best Director
Sammie Choy for Pathways
"Sammie’s direction shined through. The piece was very well staged. Each actor had meaning to their movement and the movement was minimal. The volume for each was excellent – all of each person’s lines could be heard. The actors understood their character and arch and played to the story’s themes. They shared believable emotional connections and each found a sense of resolve." -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

2. Runner Up
Miles Phillips for Stonewall Stories
"Miles had quite a task directing these varied characters and having them weave their stories in a dynamic, yet structured way." -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

1. Best Female
Maile Holck as Fal Hollister in Soul Survivor & Job Corps Worker/Gypsy Woman in Universal Monsters
"Maile played such different characters. She was hypnotizing to watch in Soul Survivor, and then as the Gypsy Woman in Universal Monsters, she leans in and says her lines and it’s a chicken skin moment." -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

2. Runner Up
Betty Bolton as Jeanne in Stonewall Stories
"Betty’s monologue was very well done. She had a moment where she began to choke up that was very moving."
-PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

1. Best Male
Allan Y. Okubo as Westphal in Pathways
"He was an absolute pleasure. He was hilarious. His timing was perfect, and yet he wasn’t over the top. He hit the perfect notes throughout his performance." -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

2. Runner Up (tie)
Albert Ueligitone as Aram in Children of Isfahan
"Albert’s presence, his voice and his demeanor – he carried himself stoically and yet he expressed a vulnerability. From the moment he stepped forward, he was just Wow."
-PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

Jonathan Clarke Sypert as Tommy in Stonewall Stories
"Jonathan was captivating. He had strong presence and every word he said could be heard."
-PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

Honorable Mention
--Kevin Keaveney as Cop/Customer/Interviewer/Mummy in Universal Monsters
"Kevin made every single thing he did count, and he played diverse characters. He was fun to watch. Excellent."
--Nico Wong as Opukaha'ia in Hip Hop Retelling of Opukaha'ia -PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator

"The boy who played Opukaha’ia was charming and endearing. When he spoke extemporaneously and so sincerely mentioned how happy he was to have a role with a name for the very first time, he won us over."
-PlayFestival 2018 Adjudicator