Winning Plays for PlayBuilders Festival of Original Plays Announced

Playbuilders is pleased to announce that the recipient of the “Best Play Award” for PlayBuilders 3rd Annual Festival of Original Plays is Kelsie K. A. Pualoa for her full length play, A Dance With Abandon.

Kelsie K. A. Pualoa is a writer, teacher, violinist, and guitarist from Aiea, Hawai’i and holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa. Her work at Manoa earned her an Abernethy Writing Award and a Myrle Clarke Award, and she completed a full-length play as her thesis. She currently teaches English at Kapi’olani Community College.

A Dance with Abandon is about a talented and hard training local dancer named Keola, who welcomes a young stranger, Andrew, to come live with her for free in her Kaimuki apartment. Her mother, Ruth, soon decides that she will be moving in also, whether there is space or not. Keola, Andrew, and Ruth need to come to some kind of arrangement that fits all three of their needs. The play, which was directed by Craig Howes for the festival, explores themes of responsibility to culture and family, the freedom of art, and the hard work of being an individual.

A panel of adjudicators made the decision based on considerations regarding plot, dialogue, characterization, structure, and originality. During the three day festival, adjudicators watched 11 play selections, directed by 10 directors and read by approximately 60 actors at the Leeward Lab Theatre where PlayBuilders is the resident theater company.

In addition, a special Audience Appreciation Award was given to Anthony Pignataro for his one act play War Stories. This award was chosen by audience members who gave scores based on plot, characterization and overall enjoyment.

PlayBuilders Artistic Director, Ronald Gilliam said, “The number and quality of the plays submitted this year was pretty mind blowing. We couldn’t choose everyone, but playwrights presented compelling work and it should be considered a real accomplishment to have been included as an official selection in the 2014 Festival.”

Gilliam added, “PlayBuilders Festival of Original Plays provides an outlet for new plays and playwrights. Recent successes from the festival included Nancy Moss’s “Will the Real Charlie Chan Please Stand Up” and Jan Shiarella McGrath’s “Outage” which were produced in 2013 at Kumu Kahua Theatre and TAG respectively. PlayBuilders only produces community-collaborative plays using real stories we collect from our island ‘Ohana, thus we are unable to directly produce plays submitted, however, we may commission some of these very talented writers to serve as resident playwrights for future community collaborative works.”

Cast Members Alex Monro, Anni Lokomaika’i Lipscomb, Nyla Fujii-Babb and Daniel Akiyama pose with award winning playwright, Kelsie K.A. Pualoa (center left holding certificate), and director, Craig Howes (center right) after 'A Dance with Abandon' was read before adjudicators on Friday, May 9th at the Leeward Lab Theatre. Photo by Karis Lo.

Director Nicole Tessier with actors, Shiro Kawai and Scott Francis Russell who portrayed Tadao and Jake in Anthony Pignataro’s War Stories, selected by audience attendees for the Audience Appreciation Award at PlayBuilders 3rd Annual Festival of Original Plays. Photo by Karis Lo.