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.
Mahalo nui to all the wonderful playwrights who submitted their works to our 9th Annual PlayFestival. Because of the numbers of excellent plays submitted, we added an extra day to the festival to allow for more plays to be included. Furthermore, we had so many entries submitted by young people under the age of 18 that we decided to organize a special play festival just for them.
Thanks to Windward Community College theatre professor, Taurie Kinoshita, who has agreed to sponsor us our first Youth PlayFestival will be presented at Windward Community College (exact date and location to be announced) and Robert St. John of Le Jardin Academy has agreed to organize it.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, we have adjusted festival dates from May 21 to 24 to September 10-14 and it will still be presented at the ARTS at Marks Garage.
Congratulations to the following playwrights who were selected to participate in The PlayFestival 2020:
(To be presented at the ARTS at Marks Garage September 10-14)
“Beretania Snap Shots” by Sean-Joseph Choo
“Vile Jelly” by Robert St. John
“Harlot Town “ by Michael Markrich
“Who You Again?” by Ryan Okinaka
“The Girl’s Bathroom Confessional” by Kimberlee Stone
(To be presented at the ARTS at Marks Garage September 10-14)
“Token” by Lauren Ballesteros
“Velvet Red” by Fili Leasau
“Shame Shame” by SH Murakoshi
“Fable, A Dark Comedy in One Act” by Carol Polcovar
“Happy Divorce” by Kimberlee Stone
“The Bad Woman of Chinatown” by Mark Tjarks
Full-length Plays by Young People Under 18
(To be presented at Windward Community College this fall, at a date and exact location to be determined)
“Symmetry” by Diza Hendrawan
“Praying to Oreos” by Maggie Munday Odom
Ten-minute Plays and a One Act Play by Young People Under 18
(Also to be presented as part of the Youth PlayFestival at WCC)
“The Storm” by Cole Barnes
“Lost” by Savannah Boals
“Fasten Your Seatbelts’” by Lucy Chung
“Hawaiian Style” by Kealisha Kalani
“Betrayed” by Leilani Kawaa
“Rules” by Luc Lambert
“Becoming Bartos” by Aya Lewis
“Love” by Bella Powers
“An Impossible Mistake “ by Dante Sbarbaro
“How to Buy a Pool” by Wade Spriggs
“The Cursed Ticket” by Catherine Ward
“The Surly Bonds of Earth” (a one-act) by Maggie Munday Odom
"Open Your Hearts Wide" by Marion Lyman-Mersereau
Over the course of a year, in preparation for the bicentennial, playwright and missionary descendant Marion Lyman Mersereau conducted a series of story circles and personal interviews with fellow descendants to ask a simple question, “What is it like to be a Missionary Descendant and how do you feel about your ancestors?” The play explores multifaceted perspectives and incorporates excerpts from missionary journals and the recently discovered Aliʻi letters. Produced by PlayBuilders of Hawaiʻi Theatre Company under special agreement with Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives, with grants from the Cooke and Atherton Foundations and the National Endowment of the ARTS. Directed by Mark Branner and Will Haʻo.
On April 24 we will record a Zoom reading and will soon invite missionary descendants to view it on either PlayBuildersʻ or Hawaiian Missionary Houses Historic Site and Archives and to share their thoughts and suggestions with us via Google Forms.
by Laura Clark Greaver with Lauren Ballesteros, Cindy Ramirez, and Terri Madden
Over 30 domestic violence survivors have been interviewed for our"Bursting Bubbles Project." Laura Clark Greaver is doing a beautiful job leading the writing team which includes Lauren Ballesteros, Cindy Ramirez, and Terri Madden. A date for the reading of the first draft of the play will be announced soon.
Monday Night Bursting Bubbles Story Circles have continued since January but we are now transitioning into special story circles lead by Elaine Valdov.
Elaine has volunteered to work with our domestic violence survivors group via Zoom while she is isolating with her family on the Windward side. She was supposed to have returned to hometown of NYC in March but decided it would be safer to stay put here until things open up again. Elaine is a lovely person and we appreciate her so much. When she learned of what we are doing, she wanted to help. Here is a little info about Elaine. I will be posting an interview with her soon.
Elaine Valdov is President and Founder of The International Institute for a Culture of Peace As a peace and human rights activist and conflict resolution specialist, Valdov lectures internationally and is best known for her work in championing and building initiatives worldwide, in support of the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and UNESCO’s International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World. She has chaired task forces for women empowerment and gender equality; and founded “Yoga Peace Ambassadors” to teach MDG humanitarian service options in Yoga Ashrams worldwide.
Valdov has held many NGO positions at UN Headquarters in New York, including:
Mahalo nui for your interest. If you have any questions regarding any of our projects, please contact Terri Madden at email@example.com or call her at 808-218-0103