Acting group finds new theater

  • Photo courtesy of Fran Kalb

    Women In Theatre will be opening their new space with a dramatic play, “The Plight Before Christmas,” featuring, from left, Michael Horning as “Slim Dickens,” Donna Gould Carsten as “Mrs. Fuzziwig,” Morgan Liddell as “Ebenezer Humbug,” Claudia Cowden as “Cheyenne,” Larry Richardson as “Marley,” and in front, Stacy Ramos as “Felicity” and Coltan Moore as “Bob Scratchit.”

LIHUE — Women In Theatre is home.

The acting group has found a new performing studio at Kukui Grove Center in the retail space formerly occupied by Verizon.

“We’ve been wandering in the wilderness for the last few years,” said director Romey Curtis. “The new theatre is called WIT’s End, which is where we are at.”

The group has been getting the theater ready with fresh paint and woodwork. The new space has plenty of room to arrange props in back and change costumes in dressing rooms, in addition to seating up to 50 spectators in front.

“We’re really happy and want to spread the word that we have this lovely space,” Curtis said.

WIT started about 15 years ago with a women’s program of monologues, rehearsing at Coconut MarketPlace and putting on plays throughout the island.

It has bounced around a bit trying to find somewhere to settle.

“WIT is so excited to have its own space once again,” Curtis said. “Part of our mission is to share the joy of live theater with audience and performers alike; and our very accessible new theater at the Kukui Grove Center will make that possible.”

The first opening production will be “The Plight Before Christmas” adapted by Fred Cusick and Diane Moore. The old-fashioned drama is loosely based on characters from Charles Dickens’ Christmas Carol.

“We want to launch it with something fun, so we’re going to put on a Christmas melodrama the first two weeks of December,” Curtis said. “And we’re going to precede that with a grand opening gala event on the Thursday before. We’ll have a special performance for invited guests and any others who care to join us.”

The comedic farce takes place as Ebeneezer Humbug is about to “raise the dickens” by foreclosing on everyone in town on Christmas Day. He hopes to force Felicity Fuzziwig to marry him, much to the dismay of his clerk, Bob Scratchit, who also wants to marry her. Their delightfully hilarious performance includes five song parodies and puns galore.

“It’s going to be fun, because they’re going to set up the whole interior of the theatre as a Western saloon,” Curtis said. “It’s set in the Wild West, and it’s totally absurd.”

To match the old western theme, live music for the opening shows will be provided by Not My First Rodeo.

“And of course it will have everybody in appropriate costumes for that,” Curtis said. “It’s not a very long play with audience participation. Ticket holders will choose a table and be part of the whole production as it were.”

The group performs three or four plays each year with workshops for recitals. They also present a big festival every other year, called Kauai Shorts, with all new 10-minute original plays. The popular showing receives submissions from all over the country and internationally, from places like New Zealand and Wales. This year they’ve already received more than 120 submissions.

“It’s a great opportunity for local people, because a 10-minute play is a wonderful place for newbies to start,” Curtis said. “We try to find new talent when we can.”

“We actually like to favor local talent. Of course, we couldn’t do it without the men, it’s not at all gender specific.”

Performance dates for “The Plight Before Christmas” take place Dec. 1, 2, 3, 8 and 9 at 7 p.m. with 4 p.m. matinees also on Dec. 2 and 10.

Cost of admission is $25 and includes two beverages, popcorn and pretzels.

Tickets: brownpapertickets.com and www.womenintheatre.org, or 635-3727.

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