A local theater company produces a movie highlighting a piece of Hawaii’s history

A local theater company produces a movie highlighting a piece of Hawaii’s history
The film is an adaptation of the play “Open Your Hearts Wide” by Marion Lyman-Mersereau. (Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - What was once supposed to be a live action play has now transformed into a film production due to the pandemic.

Actors and production crews gathered at the Hawaiian Mission Houses Museum to shoot a new movie Saturday that features the stories of Hawaiian missionaries.

The project was created by the PlayBuilders of Hawaii Theatre Company.

The film is an adaptation of the play “Open Your Hearts Wide” by Marion Lyman-Mersereau.

The plot follows Kemo and Malia, who are students that visit Hawaiian Mission houses. At the museum, they begin having disagreements regarding Hawaiian missionaries’ history. Their argument is refereed by ghosts of 1820′s New England Missionaries and Hawaiian Alii.

Lyman-Mersereau explained that the film’s inspiration stemmed from the descendants of real-life missionaries, who Zoomed in with family stories and shared their own thoughts and interpretations regarding the complexity of their ancestors’ beliefs and actions.

“There were all these story circles where we recorded and transcribed and that became the basic content of the play. I just started adding characters, and it’s a 45 character play at this point,” she said.

The four-part movie will teach keiki and their families about Hawaiian history using a modern twist.

Lyman-Mersereau said that two more projects are in the works, following this film.

”There will be a play or movie with and for Hawaiians and the third will be a bridge play or movie in which missionary descendants and Hawaiians come together,” she said.

The film’s creators plan to release the finished product on the Hawaii Mission Houses website in 30 minute segments.

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