UH Manoa Dept of Theater and Dance

November, 2015

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click here for UH Manoa Theater & Dance website

Awesome Foundation Oahu is pleased to announce their November recipient of $1000, UH-Manoa's Dept. of Theatre and Dance!  Paul Mitri, Chair of the Dept. of Theater and Dance at UH Manoa, applied to Awesome with this entertaining information.  Chair Mitri wrote they are planning an outreach program that will perform scenes from Shakespeare's plays that deal with themes of love and madness. Many of the scenes will be from some of his best-known plays, like Hamlet, Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night...in many ways, this is a Shakespeare Sampler, or a Shakespeare's Top Ten. He has found that this type of program is very successful at introducing middle- and high-school students to the works of Shakespeare, especially using fight scenes. Nothing quite holds a student's attention like swordplay. Through carefully (and safely) choreographed fights, actors can utilize the spectacle of combat and combine it with the power of language to create riveting drama or comedy. It is this duality that we can demonstrate the power of Shakespeare's works--great language said by fascinating characters doing extraordinary things.

Chair Mitri also added that he believes language is dying out in our all-too-visual world. Today's generation is reared on Vines and sound bites, and their ability to discern between the nuance of words is dwindling quickly. Shakespeare's vocabulary topped 30,000 words--the average American today has between 8,000 and 15,000, a huge loss. Using Shakespeare's works as a way to open a door to stories and the words that create them is an essential tool for any educator. But sometimes students can still be turned off just by the fact that it's Shakespeare. In his experience, using these scenes of confrontation, of high emotion, can create a chance for students to say, "Hey, I can relate to that."

What will they do with the $1000? Some of the scenes need a certain kind of sword called a rapier, or a rapier and dagger. The department owns some broadswords, but no rapiers. These are needed for scenes from Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, and Twelfth Night. It takes time to train with these weapons, so they are needed as soon as possible to train safely for performances in the Spring of 2016. With Awesome's check they plan to buy four rapiers, which would cost $222 each plus $74 shipping for a total of $962.

Awesome Foundation Oahu is excited to see the performance come Spring 2016.  We are happy to promote the arts to our youth and young adults.  Break a leg......