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by Angela Sorace, student writer

Lion in Winter, directed by Joyce Maltby, assistant professor of acting and direction and head of the HPU Theater program, premiered at the Paul and Vi Loo Theatre at HPU’s Hawai‘i Loa campus on Friday, Nov. 10 at 8 p.m.

It was the first play to inaugurate the opening of the facility named after the two trustees who made its construction possible.

The theater has a capacity of 150 seats, all of which were filled on the premiere night. Lion in Winter has a cast of seven, two of which are HPU students.

Kyle Goff, a sophomore at HPU, majoring in visual communication with a minor in theater, plays Philip Capet, King of France. Maltby is Goff’s acting professor. “She asked me to read a part of the script, and that’s how I was recruited in the cast,” Goff said.

“ Maltby is a brilliant director. The angle of the stage makes it hard for the actors to be seen by the whole audience. But she was able to set up the acting so that this wouldn’t be a problem,” added Goff. “I knew we were going to have a phenomenal show. I don’t have stage fright, rather, I find it exciting to stand in front of people and make them laugh.”

How hard was it to memorize all the lines? “It wasn’t actually that bad,” said 22-year-old Texan Myra Beth Morrison, who plays Alais Capet. “Because we rehearsed everyday hearing the same lines over and over, memorizing was not hard.”

Goff hopes to pursue something with theater, whether on stage or behind the scenes.

Derek Elder, a freshman at HPU, majoring in marine biology, plays John, Henry II’s youngest son. “I saw a group of students in downtown at Club Carnival, beginning this year and signed up,” said Elder. He later participated at the auditions of the HPU Theater program and was recruited.

“ Rehearsals were intense, but fun and invigorating. The cast members and the director were good and very professional,” said Elder, who started acting in his junior year in high school. “I was nervous, but Joyce’s excellent directing made me comfortable on stage.”

Rehearsals were indeed intense. “We would rehearse every night of the week from 7 to 10:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, including a couple of Saturdays and one Sunday,” said Maltby. “I don’t remember any really funny occurences during rehearsals. We were all serious. The cast learned the lines very fast, without the need of deadlines.”

But Maltby also faced challenges in putting together the show. “Bringing the show to life is itself a challenge; having to adapt modern humor to an antique ambience, so not to make it too Shakesperian and to work with actors new to the stage,” added Maltby. “It is a step by step creative process.”

Lion in Winter, originally written by James Goldman in 1966, is a play in two acts that lasted about two hours with a 15 minute interlude and was highly acclaimed by the audience at the end.

Prior to the show, two minstrels in costume entertained the audience by playing folksongs, with typical medieval instruments.

Throughout the Lion in Winter, the recorded songs of Volgamut, a performance troupe acclaimed for their medieval and renaissance inspired music, were played to provide an accurate picture of Henry II’s time period.

The evening ended with the buffet that served champagne, an assorted variety of cheese, cookies, fruit punch, crackers, and Kona coffee. Lion in Winter will be performed until Dec. 10 at 8 p.m.


Above l to r: James Locke as Richard, Gene DeFrancis as Geoffrey, Derek Elder (HPU freshman) as John, and Tom Holowach as Henry.

Courtesy HPU Theater



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