GENseng to bring Conversion to Black Box Theater

Beginning Thursday, April 26, and running until Sunday, April 29, GENseng, Geneso's Asian-American performance ensemble, will be performing Victoria Nalani Kenubuhl's The Conversion of Ka'ahumanu in the Black Box theater. It will be the first time the ensemble will be performing a work by a native Hawaiian playwright.

The production, which is directed by Dr. Randy Kaplan with musical direction by senior Marissa Mulder, is concerned with the clash of cultures between the indigenous people of Hawaii and the haole (Caucasian) Christian women missionaries.

Mulder will be directing an live choir which will perform throughout the show. The choir includes sophomore Norma Butikofer, and junior Lydia Sherrie and Christiana Shorter.

The cast is small and concise, featuring freshman Sarah Murtaza in the lead role as Hawaiian queen Ka'ahumanu. Senior Maggie Davies plays Sybil Bingham, the real life missionary who converted Ka'ahumanu to Christianity in 1825. Junior Emma Leigh, freshman Jenni Yang, and Fangda Ruan round out the cast.

The performance also features historically accurate costumes created by professor Crystal Ferrell. Lighting design is provided by senior Jennifer M. Horton and scenic design is created by junior Abby Kraai. Junior Angelis Duarte and senior Carmen Chan are tackling stage manager and assistant stage manager duties respectively.

On Thursday there will be a curtain raiser featuring a performance by Kumu (teacher) Victoria Kaiulani Viskio and Wayne Kimo Know of Gallery Kauai in Rochester. They will be presenting Hawaiian performance art.

The Conversion of Ka'ahmanu will be performed Thursday, at 7 p.m., Friday at 4 p.m. and Saturday at 2 p.m.