KAREN ARCHIBALD / HAWAII PACIFIC UNIVERSITY
Rob Duval, left, plays the unfaithful husband to Bree Bumatai's suffering wife, in Hawaii Pacific University's production of "The Constant Wife." Patrick Torres co-stars.
Comedy of manners hits universal themes
Fads, fashion trends and reality shows come and go, but the basic dynamics of human relationships remain eternal. In societies where polygamy is the norm, wives and concubines scheme to advance themselves or their children in the family's political hierarchy. In societies where monogamy is expected, an ill-timed dalliance can end a marriage, a career or a life. The details change, but the basic issues remain the same.
"THE CONSTANT WIFE"
On stage: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, through May 4. NOTE: Show times on April 19 are 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. There will be no show on Sunday, April 20.
Place: Paul and Vi Loo Theatre, Hawaii Pacific University, 45-045 Kamehameha Hwy.
Tickets: $20 ($14 for students, seniors, military and HPU faculty and staff; $3 for HPU students)
Take W. Somerset Maugham's 1926 vintage comedy of manners, "The Constant Wife," in which a wife responds to her husband's infidelity in thoroughly modern fashion. True, the tale was probably more shocking when it was written than it is now -- marriage is described as an exchange of a man's "goods" for a woman's "services" -- but the basic situation and Maugham's insights continue to resonate.
Community theater veteran Bree Bumatai stars in the title role of director Joyce Maltby's production, the spring production of the Hawaii Pacific University theater program. Sylvia Hormann-Alper plays the heroine's mother, Julianne Bernath is her sister, and Rob Duval stars as the unfaithful husband.
Maltby's daughter, Becky Maltby, plays the "other woman."
Bumatai was outstanding as Martha in Manoa Valley Theatre's 2007 production of "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf," and Hormann-Alper and Duval also have impressive community theater credentials. Add Gerald Altweis, Tim Dyke and HPU theater stalwart Virginia Jones, and director Maltby's revival of this old-time Broadway hit should offer well-staged, provocative theater.