The History of
Are We Here?
The Lanikai Mortgage Players was formed in 1963 as one of several fundraising groups to pay down the mortgage on the Lanikai Association Park and Community Center. The first Old Fashioned Melodrama and Olio was produced in August of 1963 by Lanikai residents Marge MacCosham and Margaret Olds, and proved to be extremely popular with sold-out houses and loyal audiences attending nine melodramas over a period of three years.
The theater went dark between 1965 and 1975 until Nelson and Lucille Shreve arrived in Lanikai from San Francisco after a three year sojourn in Tahiti Nui where Nelson worked as an advertising copy writer for the hotel Bora Bora and Air France, and Lucille practiced her dramatic skills as an island tour guide.
Lucille and Nelson quickly made friends in their new community and upon learning of the Mortgage Players theater group, offered to revive the productions and continue the tradition of Old Fashioned Melodrama in Lanikai. The first production, directed by Lucille Shreve and produced by Marge MacCosham, was “Curse You Jack Dalton” in October of 1975.
The Lanikai Mortgage Players quickly gained a loyal following and the Spring and Fall plays were often sold-out enabling the group to donate proceeds from the productions to the Lanikai Association to assist with paying the mortgage on the park. The mortgage was finally paid off in the early 1980’s. Proceeds from later productions have been contributed to the Lanikai Association to help with various Lanikai Park projects and expenses.
Nelson was not happy with the melodrama scripts which had been rented until this time, and in October 1984 his first original play, “Who Scuttled the Schooner”, opened at the Lanikai Pavilion Playhouse and “the Bard of Lanikai” was born! Nelson went on to write over 20 new melodramas for the group; Lucille directed 59 plays and while we have since lost both Nelson and Lucille to the Theater in the Sky, their legacy lives on in “The Nelson and Lucille Shreve Theater” and Those Strange People in the Park.