Manoa Valley Theatre is the first local stage group to kick off a delayed and occasionally truncated drama season. Its Hawaii premiere of “Be More Chill” opened Thursday night (Oct.14) and runs through Oct. 31, with new protocols.
- For the first time, season subscribers, along with single-ticket buyers, had to designate specific seat choices. Assigned seating will be in place throughout the 2021-22 season.
- Masks must be worn to enter the theater and watch the play, as has been the practice during the past season.
- Proof of vaccination is required, so bring your vaxx card for certification.
- Social distancing protocols mean that MVT can only sell and fill 60 of its 120 seats, meaning half the house.
- The post-show opening night party is canceled as long as the pandemic lingers.
- With the pushback in dates, there won’t be a week or two of extension performances, because the finale of the current show would affect the preparation and opening of the next production, which is “The Joy Luck Club,” beginning Nov. 26.
- Audience members are asked to exit the hall after the performance, which means that apres-show gestures of aloha – lei or bouquets, gifts and hugs – are discouraged. Gifts for cast members on opening night were collected and distributed backstage.
- Playbills are part of the sacrifices of a pandemic – there is only a virtual playbill, available at www.manoavalley.com . It’s a misfortune for actors and techies involved in the ritual of theater – a memory keepsake unavailable for now. …
‘Oliver’ seats scarce
Diamond Head Theatre has virtually been silent about its “Oliver!” season opener, which begins Oct. 22. Because of the half-house seating protocols, most of the performances have been “sold out,” since season subscribers had to be reassigned to other nights. (When sales started, the pandemic protocols suggested that all seats could be sold; that changed).
At this time, only one performance, at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 3, offers pairs of seats available for purchase. Details: www.diamondheadtheatre.com .
The obvious requirements are in place: mask-wearing, social distancing, proof of vaccination before entry.
Further, DHT has eliminated its opening night party, along with the complimentary playbill (a virtual one exists on the website) and also discourages friends and other patrons gathering after a performance for the customary shared aloha with cast members. …
A virtual ghost story
Kumu Kahua’s world premiere of “The Kasha of Kaimuki,” at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 28, is perhaps Hawaii’s most unusual debut this fall. The thriller, about a notable and terrifying haunted house in Honolulu, will be performed virtually. The play is by Hannah Ii Epstein.
A virtual performance is not unusual these days, but the cast will assemble from four different time zones, to perform as one ensemble. Talk about a looming twilight zone.
The cast and crew will involve talent not only in Honolulu, but also in California, Illinois (Chicago), and Pennsylvania.
“One of the best things to come out of having to work digitally, is working with people from all over the place,” said Kumu’s Harry Wong III. “Especially when we get to work with those with local ties to Hawaii, people who are going to school outside of Hawaii, or some who had to leave Hawaii to seek work elsewhere.”
For instance, islander Alisa Boland, is attending school in Chicago, and the virtual performance enables her to participate from afar. So it’s a new wrinkle and twinkle to the digital experience.
“The digital format will also lend itself well to the scary aspects in this production,” said Wong. Which means if things go awry, there will be unintended obake drama. …
And that’s Show Biz. …