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Yours, Mimes, and Ours: A Great, Late Night at Earl Ernst

Yours, Mimes, and Ours: A Great, Late Night at Earl Ernst

Mimes, Masks and Miracles by director and mimeographer Todd Farley plays for just two more nights at The Earl Ernst Lab Theatre at the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, Friday September 23 and Saturday September 24, at 11:00 pm.

What? What kind of people attend late night theatre that late at night? It seems mostly college students and/or theatre art majors and loyal friends of the cast, maybe a relative or two, and of course—reviewers.  I felt very fortunate to have been able to see this show as I'm sure everyone in the audience was as well— and really, this show is so deserving of a larger audience.

Farley studied under the great French mime, Marcel Marceau, from 1984-1987 and was acknowledged as a master mime by Marceau in 2001. In this show he presents his own original work as well as two adaptations of Marceau’s work: The Hands and The Mask Maker, both taught to Farley by Marceau.

The works are all performed by Farley and some include a handful of UHM students; Yunshan Feng, Maseeh Ganjali, Tyler Haagen, Abbey Oelke, and Hepsy Zheng. Performed on a bare stage with effective lighting by Robert Sanchez and Todd Farley and with minimal set pieces, Mimes gives an audience everything they need. I used to think that there was just one type of mime but in reading the show program I was surprised to learn that there are:…”French classic mime, American Mime, Mimeistry, Spoken Mime (after the Greco-Roman mime) and pantomime, which uses both text and music”.

Todd Farley is a master of mime. To witness the ease and fluidity of his movement as he walks down a long corridor without moving from his place on stage and then watching as he finds himself in a box that progressively gets smaller and tighter and finally finding the way out to freedom by the mere opening of a door, was amazing. Because he knows his craft so well, all of Farley’s nuances and movements are intricate and purposeful without seeming so and this helps You, the audience, to use your imagination to fill in the rest of the stage. You “see” the walls, the street, the forest of trees. From your seat in the audience, you become a part of the presentation on stage (probably without even knowing it). How wonderful is that?

The show is presented in one act comprised of eight different scenes. Actors hold title cards that  announce each scene, giving the audience an opportunity to process and digest the previous scene. My favorite was The Mask Maker. It is sad and surprising and really touches the heart.  This is a show that I think would be great for everyone especially theatre students, improv actors, or any stage actor. Stay up late this coming Friday or Saturday and bring a friend and find your favorite. Who knows? You may find that whats yours is mime.

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