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2017 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Come and Take It, This Wonderful Production

Director Tony Pisculli and translator/dramaturg/actress Olga Kalashnikova successfully navigated these waters with their cast and crew to bring a refreshing and wonderful piece of theatre to close the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival in the form of The Seagull.

Improv meets the Bard at Shakespeare Fest

The most diverse Hawaii Shakespeare Festival in the event’s history continues Monday with the opening of “Dromio and Juliet,” a production that Shakespeare could have envisioned but certainly didn’t write.

I Am Error: A Fun Romp in Ephesus

When I went to see the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s Comedy of Errors at The ARTS at Marks Garage on opening night, two things were certain: I was not in a Chinatown I knew anymore ...

Shakespeare Festival puts a modern spin on ‘Errors’

Shakespeare gets a modern twist this week, thanks to the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival and its presentation of “Comedy of Errors.”

To Cut or Not to Cut, This is the Question!

With the biting of thumbs and the slashing of blades, the timeless Romeo and Juliet kicked off the 16th Annual Hawaii Shakespeare Festival. Hosted in the intimate theatre of The ARTS at Marks Garage, there was plenty of cutting present on opening night ...

Hawaii Shakespeare Festival adds Chekhov to its lineup

Tony Pisculli, R. Kevin Doyle and Harry Wong III founded the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival in 2002 with a single goal: They were going to present every play in the canon ...

2016 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Dream Within a Dream: ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at The ARTS at Marks

What made this production special is that the whole cast was women and the cast only spoke in made-up languages.

Shakespeare 2.0

“I’ve never seen such energy being thrown from actor to actor onstage," says Eden Lee Murray, who teaches and directs Shakespeare at the Hawai‘i Theatre. She plays Egeus in this production. “You can’t just lay on the lines. You have to use your face, your body, your expressions, your voice, to make sure the story is told using this language. It’s breathtaking.”

Shakespeare-less Shakespeare

... what happens when you take Shakespeare’s language out of Shakespeare? Director Tony Pisculli and the cast of A Midsummer Night’s Dream ventured to find the answer to that question. And find it they did.

Some Call Me Witch

... a highly accessible play from the 17th century with disturbingly contemporary resonances. Backed by a large cast of splendid performers and a fine interpretation by director Taurie Kinoshita ...

Quick Pics: Twelfth Night at Hawaii Shakespeare Festival

... HSF is no stranger to putting modern twists on Shakespeare ... Kanda’s interpretation of Twelfth is no exception, with selfie sticks, Lolita maidens, and a cosplay drag queen Olivia ...

2015 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Director rises through ranks

A dream will become reality for Eleanor Svaton and Tony Pisculli this weekend when the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s production of “The Winter’s Tale” opens its two-weekend run at The ARTS at Marks Garage.

2014 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
5 Things We Love

I discovered French singer Indila and her international hit “Derniére Danse” when Tony Pisculli used the song in his production of “Much Ado About Nothing” at the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival in August.

Courtiers upstage flinty despot ‘Henry’ in Bard’s Tudor tale

Lala Buzzell (Katherine of Aragon) has beautifully written scenes that show Henry’s first wife to be an astute administrator, a loving wife and a loyal queen. Buzzell’s final scenes are heartbreaking and she plays them beautifully.

Timeless tale of betrayal rings true today

This chillingly timeless story of false friends and betrayal could be playing out today in Hono­lulu even though it takes place in ancient Greece.

2013 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
12th Annual Hawaii Shakespeare Festival 2013

Frankly and sad to say, I have never gone to a play by William Shakespeare. NOW I AM HOOKED, especially in this small theater where you seem to interact with the players ...

The Hawai‘i Shakespeare Festival’s Milestone Summer

Twelve years ago three youthful theatre directors set a goal of producing every one of Shakespeare’s plays here in Hawai‘i ...

2012 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
All-female cast elevates festival’s ‘Richard III’

Stephanie Keiko Kong gives a career-best performance in the title role as one of Shakespeare’s most vividly written and complicated characters ...

Several players stand out in ‘Cymbeline’

Marcus Lee (Cloten) ... quickly becomes an audience favorite as the chronically inept, aggressive yet cowardly prince.

2011 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Coming-of-age tale entertains

Randerson plays the unprincipled knight with a full-bodied swagger over and above the ”fat suit“ that gives him the requisite bulk ... he plays the scene in which Falstaff sees his great plans for self-advancement go awry with such skill that it is easy to sympathize with Falstaff despite everything we know of him.

Character chemistry carries production of ‘Two Noble Kinsmen’

The chemistry between Atiburcio and Sutherlan is the heart and soul of the production ... The third leg on which this production stands is festival veteran Katherine Aumer’s portrayal of the jailer’s daughter.

Tempest thrills with imaginative looks, voices

... puppet designer Sandra Finney’s creations steal the show ... Ariel is a ghostly marionette with shiny eyes and the sharp features of a fruit bat. Caliban, who looks like a cross between a monkey and a space alien’s dog, is the most lifelike of them all ...

5 Things We Love

“Intimate theater” sounds so cozy and safe. A better term for what the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival does might be “arresting theater.” In a space no bigger than a good-size living room, these accomplished thespians bring the epic works of the Bard to life, complete with sword fights so close you could become an unscripted victim if not for the skill of those involved.

2010 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Vivid characters populate ‘Henry VI’

No knowledge of English history is needed to be entertained by the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s ambitious production of “Henry VI.” ... HSF founder and director Tony Pisculli has condensed them into a single three-act production that provides a fast-moving introduction to the story and some vividly drawn characters.

Actors give full ‘Measure’ for festival

Vivarttas-Ahrnsbrak earns her place as the female star of the story ... Reb Beau Allen (Duke Vincentio) has shown over the years that he can play leading men, thugs and diverse other character types with equal skill ... Victoria Berg (Mariana) brings the timing of a seasoned comedian to her portrayal ...

Mead is masterful in “Measure for Measure”

Stephen Mead’s brilliant performance in the title role of the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s production of [The Merchant of Venice] in 2008 illuminated every facet of the character of one of Shakespeare’s most complicated villains. He returns this year again playing the villain ... with the pivotal role of Angelo ... Mead’s scenes are some of the best in the show.

Hail, Caesar!

... with superb performances by Moses Goods (Brutus) and the actor currently known as Q (Antony) in key roles, director Troy Apostol’s cross-cultural experiment opens the Ninth Annual Hawaii Shakespeare Festival in fine style.

Shakespeare channels the islands

“Why not take an epic story like ‘Julius Caesar’ and frame it in the place where you live, that’s so rich with the culture of the people that were already there?”

2009 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
‘Merry Wives’ scores with all-male cast

The ”boys will be girls“ thing — large men camping it up in women’s clothing — has been done so often, and so often done badly in local theater that it rates a close second to toilet humor as a way to guarantee cheap laughs. Tony Pisculli’s all-male production of “The Merry Wives of Windsor,” the final show of the 2009 Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, rises above that lowbrow norm in welcome and important ways.

2008 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
“Merchant of Venice” The Way It Should Be

The Hawaii Shakespeare Festival closes out its summer season with an especially clear production of “Merchant of Venice.”

Veteran Actor Mead Superb in Difficult Role

The Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s long-anticipated production of “The Merchant of Venice” is excellent theatre.

A Difficult Play

Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice is not often performed. There is simply no way to get away from the strident anti-Semitism expressed by the ...

Merchant of Mirth

The Summer Shakespeare Festival closes its seventh season with a beautifully costumed and surprisingly funny production of “The Merchant of Venice.”

“Merchant” Opens Big

“Merchant of Venice” cast members ... took time to change out of their Elizabethan-era costumes before coming out to meet the audience ...

Riveting Sleepwalker

Watching the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s well-executed production of “Henry V,” it’s easy to see why some of Shakespeare’s “history plays” ...

A ‘Henry V’ With a Gender Difference

Director and producer Tony Pisculli says the reason for using an all-female cast for Henry V was “to give local female actors a shot at a broader range ...”

La Femme Henry V

Director Tony Pisculli continues his practice of casting all women in his productions for the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival with his upcoming ...

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Meets Shakespeare

It was an auspicious beginning to my night at the Summer Shakespeare production of “Henry V.” Sitting right in front of me was a young boy ...

Once More Unto the Breach

This quotable quote from the middle of Henry V is an apt motto for the play itself. Kenneth Branagh’s epic film brought Shakespeare back onto the ...

Othello Excellent at Marks

Todd Coolidge (Iago), Jessica Ciufo (Desdemona) and Derrick Brown (Othello) came out to meet the crowd after opening the 2008 Hawaii Shakespeare ...

Othello Could Use More Power, Passion

With the classic tragedy “Othello,” the opening play in the seventh annual Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, Scott Rogers directs in a blend of styles ...

Notes on Othello

Shakespeare did not oversee the publication of any of his plays. He wrote for the stage not the page. Thus, the first recorded performance of ...

2007 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Gore, Mayhem, Insanity fill Bard’s “Titus”

... this production is a neatly trimmed performance that plays a little over two hours, with a jaw-dropping first act that leaves the intermission audience wondering where the violence could possibly escalate ...

Gripping Encounter Fuels “John”

... Savada Gilmore (Hubert) and Michelle Raboteau (Arthur) play out that heart-rending confrontation with a well-measured intensity that makes it the most horrifying scene I’ve seen in 16 years of reviewing local theater ...

Cast Rules in this Play by the Bard

Since the stated goal of the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival is to ultimately stage all of Shakespeare’s plays, one understands why “King John” has a slot among this summer’s three selections. However, if you’re looking for ...

Leading Actors Shine in ‘Shrew’

... director Linda Johnson stages their battling characters as victims of love at first sight. Not only are they obviously attracted to each other in their first scene — despite the bickering — they positively smolder ...

Delving into the Dark Side

In addressing the common theme of “civil wars,” Tony Pisculli, in his sixth year as producer of the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival, challenges his actors and directors to look into the darker side of the Bard ...

Much Ado About Shakespeare

To paraphrase The Bard, the place is the thing. For its sixth season, the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival will make its debut Wednesday at The ARTS at Marks Garage, employing a thrust stage for the first time ...

Racy Romeo in a Strip Club

“Romeo and Juliet” in a strip club. Yes, it's been done -- twice, in fact. But with “Femme Capulet: Romeo and Juliet Remixed,” indefatigable adapter/director Troy M. Apostol succeeds once again in approaching ...

2006 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
From Bard’s quill to sitcom, ‘Ado’ a success

Shakespeare’s romantic comedy “Much Ado About Nothing,” is revived as a television sitcom in the opening production of the Hawaii Shakespeare ...

’70s Disco Hits Add to Shakespearean Laugh Fest

The Hawaii Shakespeare Festival has long since passed “Will it survive?” status to become an annual event the local theater community can look forward to ...

Capulet Charged Visually, Loses Vocally

In “Femme Capulet,“ the gratuitous sex and violence are the best parts. The play is Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” deconstructed and remixed by Troy Apostol and Shen Nissan Sugai and presented as an off-season ...

2005 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Cleverly, Puckish Twist on Bard

Sex and violence in “A Midsummer Night’s Dream?” Boogie with fairies at intermission? The much-produced classic is the third play in this summer’s Hawaii Shakespeare Festival and boasts an excellent Bottom ...

Star-crossed Lovers’ Story Shines Bright

Tony Pisculli has been consistently successful in approaching Shakespeare with imaginative insights while still staying true to the material ...

Tragic Love Tale Set in Modern Climate

Watching the restaging of a familiar classic, especially when the director puts a new spin on things, can be interesting and fun. So it is with “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by Tony Pisculli and the second play in this summer’s ...

‘Midsummer’ Ignites Bard’s Hip, Bawdy Side

There is a very thin, very gray line separating crisp physical comedy from sophomoric smut. Director Harry Wong III and a talented cast walk the line perfectly in the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival’s production of ...

Fine Cast Helps Put A Fresh Spin on Shakespearean Tragicomedy

A smaller venue doesn’t hurt a bit as the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival returns for 2005 with a well-crafted production of “The Winter's Tale” ...

Staging of Bard Play, Venue Don’t Jibe

The Hawaii Shakespeare Festival begins its fourth season with a move from Windward Community College to the University of Hawai‘i-Manoa ...

Shakespeare Festival Takes New Tack

Downsizing is not necessarily a bad thing. That's how R. Kevin Doyle sees the decision to move the Hawaii Shakespeare Festival ...

2004 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
“All’s Well“ Adds Subtle Nuances of Humor to Bard’s Work

A beautiful and virtuous young woman saves a king’s life and is rewarded with marriage to the man of her choice. The chosen one freaks out ...

Classic Tragedy Soars with Talented Cast of Local Actors

Dann Seki has distinguished himself in recent years playing an assortment of interesting Asian-American characters at Kumu Kahua and ...

All-female Cast Jump-starts Bard Fest

A comical nobleman and a doltish knave with a knack for mime are two key elements in Tony Pisculli’s successful staging of “Love’s Labors Lost” ...

Shakespeare Festival Opens

Why is Tony Pisculli directing an all-female cast in “Love’s Labors Lost” at this year’s Hawaii Shakespeare Festival ...?

2003 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Excellent Cast Makes for Good “Night”

The third and final entrant into this summer’s Shakespeare Festival at Paliku Theatre gets most everything right. “Twelfth Night“ is a silly, romantic ...

‘Night’ Offers Twisted Tale of Love

Love causes headaches. That’s what Shakespeare probably meant when he wrote “Twelfth Night,” opening tonight at the Windward Community College ...

Shakespearean Drama Packs Adventure Into its Prose

The stakes are higher, but for the most part, Shakespeare’s Prince Hal, the focal character in “Henry IV, Part 1,” is going through something almost everyone can relate to. Coming of Age. At 21, Prince Hal ...

The Bard Meets ’50s Shirts and a Ninja

“Henry IV, Part 1” has not been performed on O’ahu in decades. The marathon production directed by R. Kevin Doyle ...

Play’s the Thing for Tweaking Shakespeare at Isle Festival

“To adapt or not to adapt?” That is the question directors wrestle with in staging Shakespeare for contemporary Americans ...

2002 Season
Press Coverage
and Archive
Festival Gives Shakespeare a Modern Touch

When Windward Community College’s brand-new 300-seat Paliku Theatre opens with its Shakespeare Festival, it should be a memorable occasion for theatre fans ...

A Shakespearean Initiation for a New Theatre

A Shakespeare Festival, assembling three of the Bard’s classics, will help Windward Community College establish its new Paliku Theatre starting tonight in Kaneohe ...

Shakespeare Shines in New College Theatre

Experiencing the new Paliku Theatre at Windward Community College would be reason enough to attend Shakespeare’s “Two Gentlemen of Verona,“ the second of three plays in this summer series ...

Ladies or Gentlemen?

How long does it take to accept women in male roles? That’s the question -- and the hook -- as director Tony Pisculli puts an alternative spin on “Two Gentlemen of Verona” at Windward Community College’s Shakespeare Festival ...