DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Kennedy Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, which has been closed since July 18 because of mold problems, reopened yesterday after a $170,000 cleanup. The Jingju Physical Performance class was the first to use the stage since it was closed. Above, students Alexia Hsin Chen, left, Nina Beck, Trinh Nguyen and Kiana Rivera stretched their legs...
On with the show
Kennedy Theatre is operating again after mold forced it to close down
Drama students in colorful Chinese costumes bobbed onstage yesterday at Kennedy Theatre, back in action after a $170,000 mold cleanup that forced the cancellation of the University of Hawaii's season opener.
Next on stage
The Kennedy Theatre Mainstage reopens with "Battle of Will."
What: "Battle of Will," by French playwright Laurent Gaude
When: Nov. 11, 12, 18 and 19 at 8 p.m.; Nov. 20 at 2 p.m.
Where: Kennedy Theatre Mainstage, University of Hawaii at Manoa
Tickets: $15 regular; $13 seniors, military, UH faculty and staff; $10 students; $4 UH-Manoa students. Now on sale online at etickethawaii.com, and available through the Kennedy Theatre Box Office and outlets on Oct. 31.
"It's the cleanest it's ever been," said Emma Kennedy, UH-Manoa industrial hygienist, after running her hand along a gleaming wooden railing that was coated not long ago in a fuzzy blanket of mold.
Yesterday would have been opening night for the children's play "The Boy Who Tricked the Moon." Instead, production is gearing up for the American premiere of "Battle of Will," by French playwright Laurent Gaude, which opens Nov. 11 at Kennedy Theatre Mainstage.
University officials believe mold started growing in the theater after the air conditioning was turned off for about a week in the summer, while a fire-retardant curtain containing asbestos was removed. The theater is normally air-conditioned year-round.
Cleanup began on Aug. 27 and was completed by Sept. 20, when air samples came up clear. Workers used High-Efficiency Particulate Air vacuums to remove the major dust and mold from its teak paneled walls and other solid surfaces, then wet-wiped with a disinfectant. Upholstery and carpeting were HEPA vacuumed and chemically dried, Kennedy said.
DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
...before joining their classmates in practicing Chinese spear-fighting techniques.
The university will do some mechanical work to reduce humidity and will inspect regularly to ensure that the theater stays clean, she said.
The closure displaced some University of Hawaii drama classes and meant the cancellation of "The Boy Who Tricked the Moon," costing the theater a projected $25,000 in income and dashing the dreams of students who were already cast.
"It was a huge disappointment," said senior Robert Wyllie, who won a competition to design sets for the show with his partner, a chance rarely given to undergraduates. "It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and then it's gone."
But he'll be onstage as the brother in "Battle of Will," along with junior Savada Gilmore, who had to relinquish a major role as the moon in the children's play and was cast as a grave digger in the coming production.
"Battle of Will," directed by Markus Wessendorf, focuses on the power struggle between the boss of a crime organization and a killer whose family he murdered.
"It's dark. It's about power and greed and tough guys in the mob," Wyllie said.
Added Gilmore, "It's going to surprise a lot of people."