World Premier ”Open Your Hearts Wide,”written by Marion Lyman-Mersereau. Produced by PlayBuilders in Partnership with Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives and the PAʻI Foundation.
The World Premiere of “Open Your Hearts Wide”
by Marion Lyman-Mersereau.
Screen play by Mark Branner and Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak.
Co-Directed by Mark Branner, Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak,
and Vicky Holt Takamine.
an Orig Entertainment Film,
Where and When:
Streamed on line June 3 to June 24 (Watch any time or day, as many times as you wish,)
For link and to purchase tickets go to playbuilders.org/OYHW (Tickets go on sale May 20.
Family friendly. Ticket price: $20
Kimo and Malia each have their own opinions regarding Hawaiian Missionaries. Kimo thinks they were just about perfect. Malia thinks they were terrible people who took advantage of the Hawaiians. While visiting the cemetery at Kawaiahaʻo Church, they hear a beautiful voice coming from the Hawaiian Missionary Houses Historic Site and Archives. The follow the voice, meet a friendly “Docent” who invites them to go on a free tour. While being shown around, they continue to argue. Ghosts both Ali'i and Missionary, appear and show Kimo and Malia more than they could ever imagine.
They zoom with missionary descendants to hear more, and even Siri and Alexia chime in from time to time. Is history as black and white as we think it is, or are there more nuanced shades of gray? The movie features over 20 local actors and 19 real life missionary descendants. Family friendly. Creator and Producer Terri Madden, shares, “We really hoped that we would be able to create a live production, but Covid-19 had different plans, and so for the first time in PlayBuilders history, we made a movie! We hired Jeff Orig of Orig Entertainment and turned Marion's play into a screenplay by co-directors Mark Branner and Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczak with input by co-director Kumu Vicky Holt Takamine. I see this as the first of 3 productions. The second production will be written with and for the Hawaiian community and the third will be a “bridge play” where we bring both Hawaiian and missionary descendants together. “
The Collaborative Way OYHW was Written
Playwright and Missionary descendant Marion Lyman-Mersereau spent 2 years holding story circles and interviews with PlayBuilders. asking her fellow descendants “cousins” one simple question in preparation for the bicentennial of the arrival o the Thaddeus in 1820 through a series of "Story Circles." That question was, "What is it like to be a descendant, and what do you think of your ancestors?"
Marion turned the answers she received into the first draft of "Open Your Hearts Wide" last spring, PlayBuilders believes it is important to get the community's permission before going into production. Hence, we invited the cousins to listen to a recorded play reading on Patreon and invited them to fill out a Google survey form, letting us know their thoughts and ideas about the play. Marion then took those ideas and wrote a second draft.
"Open Your Hearts Wide" by Marion Lyman-Mersereau was made possible in part through generous grants from the Cooke Foundation Limited, The Atherton Foundation, and the National Endowment for the ARTS. To find out more about how the National Endowment for the ARTs grants impact individuals and communities, visit www.arts.gov.
PlayBuildersʻ community partners for this project were Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, (missionhouses.org) and the PAʻI Foundation (paifoundation.org).
Mahalo nui loa to Kumu Kahua Theatre, and The University of Hawaiʻi at Manoa for their kokua. We are currently working to make "Open Your Hearts Wide Available" to Hawaii schools though special programing. For more information check under past projects at the top of the page.
PlayBuilders of Hawaiʻi Theater Company’s mission is to gather and share real stories that resonate with, empower and connect individuals throughout the culturally rich and diverse communities of Hawaiʻi. For more information, please contact Terri Madden at firstname.lastname@example.org or call her at 808-218-0103.