KDEN’s radio plays show a success; more to come

  • Courtesy photo Ariana Kelley and Ray Ryan in “It’s A Wonderful Life.”

  • Courtesy photo Deb Campbell, Katie Mulliken and Joy Bierman perform in an episode of “My Friend Irma.”

Kilauea Drama and Entertainment Network was able to perform two radio plays in December.

KDEN came up with a plan to allow performances to take place amid the coronavirus pandemic, earning signoff from Kilauea Military Camp, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park and three county agencies. More than a month later, there are still no cases of COVID-19 linked to the shows.

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“As far as we know, this was the first live in-theater production to be performed in the state,” said KDEN executive director Suzi Bond. “Developing a plan was not easy. We had to figure out how to distance people in the theater.”

KDEN followed all protocols for a business.

“We blocked off all but 25% of the seats in the theater, creating 6-foot blocks between available seats. Masks were required. We had sanitation stations at the door and also at the bathrooms. Temperature checks were done at the door. All the doors were left open for ventilation, and it was cold!” Bond said.

“The cast on stage was socially distanced with masks except when at the mics. Reservations were required so that we could arrange the seats to accommodate parties ranging from 2-8.”

In addition, the troupe collected contact information so it could do contract tracing in case it was necessary.

“Fortunately, we did not,” Bond said.

She said the work was well worth the time.

“After 11 months of not performing, the sound of laughter and applause in the theater was healing and made it worth all the effort,” Bond said.

The shows were adapted scripts from old radio shows. The actors were playing actors in the 1940s in a radio show. The troupe performed “It’s A Wonderful Life” and an episode of “My Friend Irma — Irma Wants Extra Money for Christmas.”

The cast featured Arlene Araki, Joy and Murphy Bierman, Deb and Doug Campbell, Karl and Susie Halemano, Dick Hershberger, Ariana and Joel Kelley, Katie Mulliken, Dawn Pelletier, Helie Rock and Ray Ryan.

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KDEN is planning to do “Murder on the Air” on an evening of in April, a night of murder mysteries anchored with an adaptation of “The Thin Man,” as well as two original plays by local writer Hal Glatzer.

For more information, call 982-7344 or email kden73@aol.com.

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