“Instantly riveting. A highly relevant, first-person story.”
“Speaks to an important chapter in Hawaiiʻs history.”
“Shipment Day is about humans and our treatment of each other, about connection and yearning,
loneliness and fear, fulfillment, hate, ignorance. This piece has it all. Major standing ovation.”
“Immediately brings the far away past right to our doorstep, here and now,
in all its horrific, moving, tangible, shame-inducing intensity.”
Imagine that you have stumbled upon a family secret, a relative in exile that no one in your immediate family has ever spoken of.
Intrigued, you meet that relative, a Portuguese cousin, and spend the next seventeen years, until her death,
getting to know the circumstances of her life, her struggles and her quiet achievements.
Such was the case when Hawaii-born playwright & director, Lorenzo DeStefano, learned about his cousin,
Olivia Robello Breitha.
“SHIPMENT DAY” is set in Honolulu between 1934 and 1937 and dramatizes Olivia’s traumatic early life experiences.
It chronicles her diagnosis with the condition at 18, her two and a half year confinement at Kalihi Hospital,
to the day before her shipment to Kalaupapa, the Hansen’s disease settlement on Molokai where,
as Hawaii State Department of Health parolee #3306, Olivia would spend the next seventy years of her life,
until her death there in 2006 at the age of 90.
Hawai’i-born writer/director Lorenzo DeStefano is a member of the Directors Guild of America
and past member of the Motion Picture Editor’s Guild. In addition to his work as a photographer he has worked in U.S. and U.K. Theater
as a playwright and director as well as written fiction & non-fiction.
DeStefano’s most recent play is “Shipment Day”,
about the early years of his cousin, the noted author and leprosy activist Olivia Robello Breitha (1916-2006).
The play was first developed as a One-Act at the Road Theatre Company in Los Angeles in 2015.
It won Best Play at the 2016 PlayBuilders of Hawai’i New Works Festival.
Commissioned by the Hawaii Performing Arts Company as a full-length play,
it received its world premiere during the 50th Anniversary Season of Honolulu’s Manoa Valley Theatre in Nov./Dec. 2018,
where it won Broadway World’s 2019 Award for Best Regional Play in Hawaii.
DeStefano’s play “Providence” is based on the screenplay by English dramatist David Mercer.
His play “Camera Obscura” is adapted from the 17 million word “Inman Diary”, published by Harvard University Press.
“Camera Obscura” was developed at Seattle Repertory Theatre and received its world premiere at London’s Almeida Theatre,
both productions helmed by the celebrated English director Jonathan Miller.
DeStefano’s theater directing credits include “Shipment Day”, “Providence”, the 25th anniversary production of William Inge’s “Natural Affection”,
for which he received an L.A. Drama-Logue Award, Horton Foote’s “The One-Armed Man”, “Jitters”, by David French,
the world premiere of “Conversations With The Spanish Lady” by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Robert Schenkkan,
and the world premiere of “Twisted Twain”, a one-man show by Bill Erwin.
DeStefano is Producer/Writer/Director of “Shipment Day” (www.shipmentdayfilm.com), an upcoming filmed adaptation of his prize-winning play.
He is Producer/Writer of “The Diarist” (www.diaristmovie.com), a 5-Part Limited Series inspired by the 17 million word “Inman Diary”
by the Boston eccentric Arthur Crew Inman, published by Harvard University Press.
He is Producer/Writer of “House Boy”, a 3-Part Limited Series and fact-based urban thriller set in London and South India,
adapted from his novel.
DeStefano’s narrative short film, “Stairway to the Stars” (www.stairwaytothestarsfilm.com), is based on his One-Act play.
Other original screenplays include the originals “Lads” and “Deep Inside”. Adaptations include“Cropper’s Cabin” (from the novel by Jim Thompson),
“Appointment in Samarra” (co-writer, from the novel by John O’Hara), “Waiting for Nothing”, based on the novel by Tom Kromer,
and “Creeps” (from the play by David E. Freeman).
DeStefano began as a street photographer in Honolulu. His work in Hawaii, California and Cuba has been widely exhibited.
His “Cubanos-Island Portraits” is in the Permanent Collection of MOLAA, the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California
His work as a producer & director of feature documentaries includes the 2018 Humanitas Prize-nominated
“Hearing is Believing” (www.hearingisbelievingfilm.com),about the astonishingly talented young musician and composer, Rachel Flowers.
He produced and directed “Los Zafiros – Music From The Edge Of Time” (www.loszafirosfilm.com), a multi award-winning film about the Beatles of 1960s Cuba.
DeStefano also produced, directed and edited the acclaimed public television documentary “Talmage Farlow” (www.talfarlowfilm.com),
a portrait of the great American jazz guitarist.
— MORE THEATER AUDIENCE COMMENTS —
“So very touched by this brilliant presentation. How blessed we were to be introduced to this inspiring lady.”
“Very movingly performed. Actors committed to telling this story.”
“History comes alive. How has a story like this not been told before?”
“Amazing show. Loved everything about it.”
“A touching, eye opening true story. An emotional and entertaining play.”
“The characters are dynamic and well-rounded. A must see.”
— HONOLULU THEATER REVIEWS —
“SHIPMENT DAY’ RECALLS PAINFUL ERA IN HAWAII HISTORY – A beautifully staged look at a painful era in island history.
The playwright/director and a consistently talented cast bring the story to life with memorable success.”
– Theater Review by John Berger, Honolulu Star Advertiser 11.10.18
“HAWAII-BORN LORENZO DESTEFANO EXPLORES TRAGIC ERA IN ‘SHIPMENT DAY”
-Feature article by John Berger, Honolulu Star Advertiser 11.2.18
“KALIHI TO KALAUPAPA: A NEW PLAY SHARES ONE WOMAN’S STORY OF SURVIVING EXILE.
LOCAL-BORN ACTRESS FINDS UNEXPECTED CLUES TO HER OWN FAMILY’S MYSTERY IN HAWAI’I.”
-Feature article by Robbie Dingeman, Honolulu Magazine 11.9.18
“SHIPMENT DAY’ DESCRIBES THE SENSE OF FEAR THAT SURROUNDED A DIAGNOSIS OF LEPROSY, AND NOT ONLY FOR THE PATIENT.”
-Radio story by Dave Lawrence & Catherine Cruz -Hawaii Public Radio 11.8.18
“SHIPMENT DAY’ HIGHLIGHTS DARK CHAPTER IN HAWAII HISTORY, A STORY ABOUT A LOCAL WOMAN WHOSE LIFE IS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN WHEN SHE IS DIAGNOSED WITH HANSEN’S DISEASE AND SENT TO LIVE IN KALAUPAPA ON MOLOKAI.”
– Interview by Maleko McDonnell/ KITV 4 Island News 11.6.18
“SHIPMENT DAY’ BREAKS THE STIGMA OF PATIENTS ASSOCIATED WITH HANSEN’S DISEASE.”
Interview by Trini Kaopuiki Clark, KHON “Living 808” 11.5.18
“MVT’S 50TH ANNIVERSARY SEASON CONTINUES WITH MOVING WORLD PREMIERE OF ‘SHIPMENT DAY”
-Broadway World 10.31.18
“Exciting, heart wrenching, and peppered with comedy to ease the tension here and there, Shipment Day invites you to experience Olivia Robello’s story yourself. ..poignant and beautiful…this is a very interesting and important story to tell.”
Hitting the Stage
The new edition of Olivia’s deeply moving autobiography,
“Olivia-My Life of Exile in Kalaupapa”, in print since 1988, is now available from
OLIVIA’S BOOK available from Pacific Historic Parks – https://pacifichistoricparksbookstore.org/products/50023
The Audiobook of “Olivia-My Life of Exile in Kalaupapa”
now available from
Produced by Lorenzo DeStefano & Benjamin Hamilton
Narrated by Deanna Espinas
Length: 6 hrs and 16 mins
Release Date: 12-20-16
Publisher: The Estate of Olivia Robello Breitha