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UHM Kennedy Theatre Online Presents ONDINE

Online performances will stream February 26 and 27 at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 28 at 2:00pm.

UHM Kennedy Theatre Online Presents ONDINE

The University of Hawai'i at Mānoa's Department of Theatre + Dance and Kennedy Theatre present a new translation and adaptation of French playwright Jean Giraudoux's work Ondine, by MFA candidate in directing Thea Wigglesworth. It brings triumph and sacrifice to the digital stage as human desires and nature collide. An intersection of humor and heartbreak, this inventive retelling of a classic German fairytale invites patrons to reflect on the parables of the past as presented through a 21st century humanist gaze. Online performances will stream February 26 and 27 at 7:30pm and Sunday, February 28 at 2:00pm. Streaming tickets range from $5-$15. This performance includes strong language and some puppet nudity.

"What does it mean to be human?" is the question posed to the audience in Ondine, a classic tale of magic, fantasy, humor, betrayal, and truth. The play follows the title character, played by MFA candidate Emily Wright (featured in The Moors, Nov. 2019), as she leaves her otherworldly home and family in pursuit of humanity and love. Ondine navigates a strange new world and transforms in order to survive, and is ultimately faced with a choice between love and life.

When planning for the digital theatre platform Wigglesworth and her team of designers knew that movement and the use of non-human elements to convey this adaptation was a must. MFA Costume Design candidate, Isabella Dixon, has created an inventive combination of puppetry techniques using marionettes, objects, water puppets, as well as a blend of various shadow puppets. This production utilizes a menagerie of puppet styles in addition to human actors to help illustrate the different worlds, creatures, and embody some of the changes that select characters experience during the production. MFA Scenic Design candidate, Kara Nabarette's tactile stage designs serve to strip away the metaphorical backstage curtain to allow the audience to witness the puppeteers manipulating the puppets on one part of the digital screen while another camera angle will show the close up of the story as told by the puppet, set, and lighting designs. This empowers audience members to witness the performance itself or the "backstage view" of the puppeteer manipulating the puppet stage elements. Wigglesworth elaborates, "We're building a very tactile environment so even though you'll see the actors themselves, they are experiencing a fully tactile world with no digital backgrounds or green screens."

Wigglesworth emphasizes that while the play is named after the character Ondine, the production will be the result of a collaborative ensemble. To create an opportunity for "real-time" audience interaction, Wigglesworth is investigating ways to incorporate a supplementary "chat" feed so that patrons can submit questions to the production team and performers during the stream. From the original puppet and costume constructions of Isabella Dixon, immersive miniature set creations of Kara Nabarrete, to the innovative lighting designs of Claire Paul, alongside the cast of nine actors manipulating a myriad of puppets, this production aims to be anything but a typical "Zoom Theatre" production.

Tickets to Ondine are $5-$15 and available online at

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