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MEMORIAL DAY Comes to the UHM Kennedy Theatre in October

Performances run October 19-23, 2022.

MEMORIAL DAY Comes to the UHM Kennedy Theatre in October

The University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Department of Theatre & Dance and Kennedy Theatre are proud to present, Memorial Day written by Paul Donnelly and directed by M.F.A. candidate Ron Heller. In the context of the AIDS crisis, the play confronts the universal themes of love, loss, and the powerful human desire to help those we care about. This is the first production of Memorial Day to be staged in Hawai'i. Memorial Day will be performed in-person at the Earle Ernst Lab Theatre on October 19th-22nd at 7:30 p.m. and October 23rd at 2:00 p.m. This production explores mature themes. Q&A follows the Friday performance. Tickets range from $18-$8.

The play, set in 1992, raises issues about anti-gay discrimination that are, unfortunately, still relevant today. With AIDS and anti-gay hysteria running rampant, the protagonist George, a doctor, has been watching his patients die. As a gay man himself, he understands the stigma and discrimination facing the gay community. He struggles with the fact that he cannot offer them any effective treatment. When Evelyn, a drag queen who died years earlier, suddenly appears, George questions if she's a hallucination - or is she really an angel of mercy? Playwright Paul Donnelly mixes empathy with unsettling humor to deal with a difficult question - when a generation of young men is dying, and there is nothing you can do to stop it, how do you deal with that pain?

Director Heller met playwright Donnelly in 2017 at a table reading of an earlier version of the play. After that, Heller directed a rehearsed reading at Kumu Kahua Theatre, which led to Donnelly writing a revised version of the play. "When we want to help someone who is dying but we can't, the pain can be very difficult to handle," Heller says. "To me, this play is about the choice between despair and letting go. What drew me to this play was Donnelly's ability to show that struggle in a way that is very real and yet include enough humor to create a play that people could enjoy watching," adds Heller, who is particularly interested in theatre that relates to social justice.

Heller has a solid artistic team bringing this production to the stage, including M.F.A. candidates Justin Fragiao (Scenic Design), Devin Walter (Costume Design), and Rebecca Mahar (Intimacy Director). U.H.M. Dance M.F.A. Terry Slaughter (aka Whitney St. James) serves as a consultant for helping to create the drag persona for Evelyn with actor and M.F.A. candidate Moku Durant. The cast also includes M.F.A. candidate Robert Morris as Nate and U.H.M. Professor of English, Director of the Center for Biographical Research, and M.A. candidate in ʻŌlelo Hawai'i Craig Howes as Scooter with acclaimed local actors Eli K.M. Foster as George, Ph.D. candidate Matthew Kelty as Martin, and Adrian Khactu as Joe.

For more information about the show and the direct link to purchase tickets online visit: manoa.hawaii.edu/liveonstage/memorialday. For ticketing or accessibility questions please email the box office at ktbox@hawaii.edu or call (808) 956-7655.


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