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The Miser: Going behind the scenes

by Domenica Riggio, staff writer


The HPU theatre program produces a play every semester at the windward Hawai‘i Loa campus theatre and they tend to sell out. But how many of those who enjoy them actually consider what goes on behind the curtain?


This semester’s production, The Miser by Moliere, is produced and directed by Joyce Maltby, an HPU instructor and a director with 25 years experience in Hawai‘i. She said that “Teamwork, with a goal of making the product the best it can be, is what goes into making a great show.”


The Miser opened March 25. It is a comedy play that takes a humorous look at love and greed and the impact these can have on each other. Maltby held a week of auditions for the cast of 10 and spent seven weeks rehearsing. “Rehearsals are five days a week for three hours a night, and more days are added the closer we get towards the opening night” Maltby explained before auditions began.

What does Maltby, or any director, look for at auditions? She explained that she chooses cast members on the basis of their performances, and that she also looks for responsible, hardworking people. “The worst that can happen in a production,” Maltby said, “is casting an actor who does not show up or gets sick.”

Work on the play actually began before the semester started. The set designer, Karen Archibald, had to design a set for the play, tear down the old set, and build the new one. “A new set is built every semester,” Maltby said. “I have a great set designer, and the design construction is nice, so the finished product will be wonderful.”

The assistant director, Nikitas Karakatsanis, a business major at HPU, helps at rehearsals every night. “Right now I am doing the blocking in the script,” Karakatsanis explained. “Basically I write in the movements that the characters will do when they read their lines on stage.”

Rehearsals ran smoothly, according to Maltby. “It’s going very well,” she said. “I have an excellent cast, and they are very cooperative.”

Maltby made a number of changes to the 17th century French play, the most noticeable of which was changing its setting to the 19th century. This allowed her to economize on costumes, some of which, like those used in HPU’s recent production of Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, were borrowed form the UH costume shop. The Wilde play was whimsical, and Maltby and her costume designer, Peggy Crock, kept the costumes for The Miser playful and silly, in tune with comedy of manners.

Crock, a professional costume designer with 25 years experience, put in more than 100 hours designing and creating or refitting the costumes for The Miser. Research about the period and reading books about the clothing, color, and fabrics of the era were necessary for accurate costumes, Crock said.

“Each character has moods,” Crock added. “You would not dress a character who is serious in a funny costume. Clothing needs to fit the character,” she explained.

The Miser continues through April 24. General admission is $20 discounted to $14 for senior citizens, military, and students. HPU students pay only $3.


2005, Kalamalama, the HPU Student Newspaper. All rights reserved.
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