Kennedy Theatre

Students during a play rehearsal at Kennedy Theatre. 

For the first time ever, the Kennedy Theatre will host online auditions for the late September production of Eddie Wen' Go beginning May 8.

Mark Branner, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) program director, says he’s most concerned about two things: the logistics of people signing up to get onto Zoom and creating a virtual space where those auditioning feel comfortable to act, sing, and move.

“We are far enough away from the actual rehearsal process where we can take some time with this audition process,” Branner said. “In the event that someone is having technical difficulties we will work to find a solution.”

Branner considered in-person auditions with proper social distancing.

“We want to ensure that everyone is able to audition, regardless of their technical skills (and) access to internet,” Branner said.

Things to consider when auditioning via Zoom are to wear solid colors, stand in front of a simple background limiting distractions and to find a way to fit the entire body into the frame of the screen. Branner suggests to also read the script ahead of time to get familiar with the story and the characters.

The TYA production will take place on the Kennedy Theatre’s Mainstage and will incorporate giant puppetry, dance, ‘ōlelo Hawaiʻi, pidgin and hula to share the legacy of Eddie Aikau, a local hero.

“The story of Eddie continues to offer powerful lessons for all audiences – sacrifice (and) others above self,” Branner said.


The playwright was written by Marion Lyman-Mersereau who helped build the Hokulea and was a crew member on its voyage in March 1978 following a voyage to Tahiti in 1980. 

Lyman-Mersereau is a teacher and paddling coach and has been sharing the story of Eddie Aikau and the Hokulea for 30 years 

“It is a very powerful story and very personal to the playwright and to the islands,” Branner said. “We hope many people will audition for the piece and many more will come to celebrate the legacy of Eddie Aikau.”

Eddie Wen' Go was a piece presented at the Hawaii Theatre Center in 2014 and was first done before the The Mālama Honua Worldwide Voyage in 2013.

“It has now been six years since that production and we have a few things in place that have aligned at this time for a remount,” Branner said.

For more information and to schedule an online audition visit the Kennedy Theatre website.

News Editor

Geneva Diaz is a senior majoring in Journalism with a minor in Theatre at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Her goals are to work in radio journalism as an environmental journalist.