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Bank of Hawaii OHANA! Series presents Androcles and the Lion, by Aurand Harris | Arts & Culture

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Bank of Hawaii OHANA! Series presents Androcles and the Lion, by Aurand Harris
Bank of Hawaii OHANA! Series presents Androcles and the Lion, by Aurand Harris

Take one of Aesop's most popular fables and the most-produced children's theatre playwright in America today, add an accomplished director of Commedia Dell'Arte slapstick and a talented cast and you'll have the recipe for Hawaii Theatre Center's production of Androcles and the Lion, adapted by Aurand Harris and guest directed by Brian Lee Sackett, artistic director of Hawaii Repertory Theatre.

Presented by Bank of Hawaii OHANA! Series on March 10 and 11, this delicious Renaissance romp promises fun for audiences of all ages, delivering positive lessons about believing in oneself, the karma of a kind deed and the lasting power of friendship. It also addresses the hot button issue of bullying, as our young audiences will watch the slave Androcles discovering how to stand up for himself in the face of his domineering boss, the greedy Pantalone.

The Hawaii Theatre stage will be transformed into the town square of a 16th century Italian village where six masked street players will bring the story of Androcles and the Lion vividly to life in authentic Commedia style.

"Our intention is to transport our audiences back to the time they might have seen such a band of actors playing Commedia as street theatre in broad daylight," explains Eden-Lee Murray, Hawaii Theatre Center's education director. "It also offers the Hawaii Theatre a chance to let young audiences discover the genre of theatre that gave rise to much of the comedy that they watch today."

Sackett, who played Androcles professionally with a mainland touring production some years ago and directed a brilliant high school production of the play here in 2005, has assembled a top-notch cast of local theatre professionals.

Androcles will be played by Jordan Savusa, a company actor with Honolulu Theatre for Youth; Dan Kunkel, who recently played the king in DHT's Cinderella, will play Pantalone; Buz Tennent, a veteran of community theatre as well as Hawaii Opera Theatre and European opera, plays the Captain; Lelio, the lover, will be played by Dan Doohan, who played Rumour and Hotspur in last summer's Henry IV, Part 2. 'Ohi'a Productions actress Ashley Weismantel, plays his lover, Isabella. Michal Nowicki, who was in HOT's Faust last year and in Aida this year, plays Prologue, the leader of the ragtag band of street players, and takes the part of the Lion as well.

Androcles and the Lion is a 55-minute production that is suitable for young audiences of all ages.

Public performances will be on Saturday, March 10 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, March 11 at 2 p.m. General admission tickets to the public performances are $10 for adults; $5 for children ages 4-12; $7 for students/seniors/Hawaii Theatre Center members/military, with ID. Children under 4 years FREE. Contact the Hawaii Theatre Center Box Office at 808-528-0506 or www.hawaiitheatre.com

Androcles and the Lion is made possible in part through generous support from ABC Stores, Bank of Hawaii Foundation, The Bretzlaff Foundation, City and County of Honolulu, Samuel N. and Mary Castle Foundation, Olivia De Jane, McInerny Foundation, Nordstrom, Inc., Thomas J. Long Foundation and the G.N. Wilcox Trust. This project also is supported by funding through the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts and through appropriations from the Hawaii State Legislature (and by the National Endowment for the Arts).

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