The Page Comes Alive

What a cool job,” is a typical reaction when people hear about various journalistic gigs MidWeek staff covers. Take for instance, photographer Lawrence Tabudlo, who returned to the office delighted after witnessing a rehearsal of Windward Readers Theatre’s upcoming production of The Cemetery Club. “They are just standing there reading, but they are so funny!” he gushed.

The romantic comedy about three elderly ladies and the widowed gentleman who enters their lives unexpectedly is comprised of a star-studded troupe. Jo Pruden, who recently appeared as an uptight diva in Quartet at Manoa Valley Theatre, plays an opposite role here as the sweet one in the bunch.


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'The Cemetery Club' cast and crew: Jim Tharp, Jo Pruden, Cecilia Fordham, Vanita Rae Smith, Sandy Ritz, Sylvia Hormann-Alper and Lorna Mount

Cecilia Fordham, who gives viewers chickenskin at Cemetery Pupu Theatre (coming up again in April), is the feisty one. Sandy Ritz reprises her role as the priggish and judgmental Doris, a part she played in the 2001 stage version of the show at Manoa Valley Theatre. Jim Tharp, who also can be seen in April as the narrator in Hawaii Pacific University’s Heritage, is the eligible gentleman. The staged reading of The Cemetery Club, which happens March 4, 6 and 9 at Pohai Nani, also features Readers Theatre veteran Sylvia Hormann-Alper, a Pohai Nani resident. Lorna Mount, who occasionally sings with Hawaii Opera Theatre, narrates.

“Musicals are taking over the world. Spoken word is going to die,” notes a rueful Vanita Rae Smith, show director, as well as founder of Readers Theatre in Hawaii and retired artistic director of the former Army Community Theatre (ACT). “In 1997, I started doing Readers Theatre at ACT. I put 100 seats on stage and had the audience sit on the stage, which made it very intimate.”

For those not familiar with readers theatre, the readers do not interact. They look out at the audience as they make the script come to life only with animated vocal and facial expression. It’s a theatrical style that Smith studied with foremost authorities on the style.

“It’s what parents do with their children – they read with gusto and get them imagining,” says Smith, who directed the Manoa stage version of the show and also will be directing the fully staged Clybourne Park at Manoa in May. “It’s like watching a movie, because you see the full face of the actor, their expression and reactions. You’re the camera and you get to look at their reactions to each other.”

No reservations necessary. “Just walk right in,” says Smith.

the TICKET stub

When: March 4 and 6 at 7 p.m., March 9 at 2 p.m.
Where: Pohai Nani Auditorium (45-090 Namoku St.)
Cost: Free
More Info: 436-4578


Underground art went wildly public Feb. 8-15 on the streets of Kakaako, where more than 100 local and international street artists installed a colorful splash of murals across area buildings and walls, while also gathering throughout the week for art-focused lecture series, films and a block party – a movement known as Pow! Wow! Here’s a peek back at a mural-in-the-making.