SCREENPLAY BY MARK BRANNER AND ELIZABETH WICHMANN-WALCZAK
PRESENTED IN PARTNERSHIP WITH
THE HAWAIIAN MISSION HOUSES HISTORIC SITE AND ARCHIVES
& THE PAʻI FOUNDATION
THIS PROJECT IS SUPPORTED IN PART BY THE ATHERTON FAMILY FOUNDATION, THE COOKE FOUNDATION, LTD,
THE NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS & WITH IN-KIND K0KUA FROM THE HAWAIʻI ARTS ALLIANCE, KUMU KAHUA THEATRE, AND THE UNIVERSITY OF HAWAIʻI AT MĀNOAʻS DEPARTMENT OF THEATRE AND DANCE.
TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE BY CLICKING THE ORANGE BUTTON BELOW.
STREAMING DATES ARE THURSDAY JUN 03, 7 PM TO MONDAY JUNE 21, 11:55 PM.
PLEASE NOTE: ONCE YOU HAVE PURCHASED A TICKET, YOU WILL RECEIVE A VIEWING LINK AND A UNIQUE ACTIVATION CODE
IN YOUR CONFIRMATION EMAIL. USE THIS LINK TO ACCESS THE SECURE VIEWING SITE. ONCE ACTIVATED, YOUR VIEWING
LINK WILL ALLOW UNLIMITED VIEWING 24 HOURS FROM THE TIME OF ACTIVATION. TO WATCH THE SHOW, JUST CLICK THE
START STREAM BUTTON AT ANY TIME DURING THAT VIEWING WINDOW. YOU CAN PAUSE, FAST FORWARD, REWIND, OR
START FROM THE BEGINNING.
Photos of OYHW Rehearsals and Filming
Photographers: Becky McGarvey and Terri Madden
Graphic Artist : Linda Rucci
ABOUT OPEN YOUR HEARTS WIDE
The Community Collaborative Way
OYHW Was Created
Several years ago PlayBuilders of Hawaii Theater company partnered with Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives to create a community based play with Hawaiiʻs missionary descendants to acknowledge the 200th anniversary of the arrival of the first missionaries aboard the Thaddeus in in 1820 and commissioned playwright and missionary descendant Marion Lyman-Merseau
to write it.
Marion spent the next two 2 years asking fellow descendants one simple question which was, "What is it like to be a descendant, and what do you think of your ancestors?" In early 2020, we had the play workshopped for Marion with directors Mark Branner, William Ha'o, and a bevy of talented actors. After Marion finished the first draft of the play, and as is part of our process, PlayBuilders invited the community member descendants (or cousins as they call themselves) to listen to a beautiful audio reading of the play on Patreon and to share their thoughts and ideas about the play through a Google survey form. Marion then took those suggestions and completed the play, keeping those suggestions in mind.
Of course, we hoped that we would be able to create a live production, but Covid-19 had different plans, and so we hired Jeff Orig of Orig Entertainment and turned Marion's play into a film with screenwriters (and co-directors) Mark Branner and Elizabeth Wichmann-Walczack,with important input by co-director, and PA'I Foundation Executive Director, Kumu Vicky Holt Takamine.
This production is a massive community effort with 2 community partners (Hawaii Mission Houses and PA'I Foundation), 3 directors, 3 assistant directors, 3 theatrical costumers, a music director, several singers, 27 professional actors and 19 community member performers.
Kimo and Malia have very different opinions regarding early Protestant Missionaries to Hawai‘i. Kimo thinks they were selfless heroes who did wonderful things for the Kingdom of Hawai‘i and its people. Malia thinks they were entirely self-serving and acquisitive people bent on manipulating and profiting off them and their land. While passing by the cemetery at Kawaiahaʻo Church, Kimo and Malia hear a beautiful voice emanating from the Hawaiian Missionary Houses Historic Site and Archives. They follow the voice and meet a friendly “Docent” who invites them to go on a tour. While being shown around the old buildings and quiet grounds, they continue to argue. But ghosts of both the early missionaries and the Ali'i appear and show and tell Kimo and Malia more than they ever imagined. The Docent helps them to zoom with missionary descendants to hear more, and even Siri and Alexia chime in from time to time. Perhaps history is not as black and white as they thought it was, but is actually much more colorful and complex?
Mahalo Nui Loa to the Following for their Kokua:
- Lisa Chow, Elizabeth Lentz-Hill, Mike Smola, Mary Ann Lentz, and other staff members of Hawaiian Mission Houses Historic Site and Archives for their hospitality and enthusiastic support of our efforts.
- The 18 Hawaiian missionary descendants who generously opened their hearts wide and shared their knowledge about about their ancestors.
- PA'I Foundation, Kumu Kahua Theatre, and the University of Hawaii at Manoa's Department of Theatre and Dance, for kindly sharing period costumes, props and space for our us to work.
- Hawaiʻi Life Real Estate Brokers for their support and hospitality in donating use of their beautiful and comfortable Kaimuki office for workshopping OYHW in early 2020.
- Kai Markell for lending us his valuable Hawaiian Artifacts for this project.
- PA'I Foundation for generously sharing their knowledge, aloha and support during the production.
- The Hawaii Arts Alliance and Mark Branners' 2018 Applied Theatre Class for their help in obtaining a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.
- Donna Blanchard
- Robert Duvall
- Ed Kaahea
- Nick Logue
- Paul Mitri
- Carlynn Wolfe
- Rose Wolfe
- Harry Wong III