by Shane Toguchi, student writer
| You won’t find Cameron Diaz, Brad Pitt,
or Julia Roberts acting in a Kumu Kahua Theatre production. You
won’t find plays written by Andrew Lloyd Webber or directed
by Stephen Spielberg either. But you will see local actors performing
plays written by local writers about life in Hawai‘i.|
Kumu Kahua Theatre, now entering its 37th season, strives to
provide affordable theatrical entertainment according to its
Artistic Director, Harry Wong III. The season consists of five
plays, starting with Ala Wai, which premieres on August 23.
Kumu Kahua, which means original stage, has put on more than
165 plays, including performances translated into American sign
Kumu Kahua is committed to the cultural preservation of local
lifestyle, according to Wong. The theater is supported by many
Hawai‘i businesses and organizations that share its belief
in the values of portraying island life via the performance arts,
including, the state, the city, University of Hawai‘i,
Indigo, Murphy’s Bar and Grill, Wholesale Unlimited, and
Bank of Hawai‘i.
The theater is located in at 46 Merchant St., just two blocks
from HPU’s downtown campus. It holds 100 patrons and creates
an intimate atmosphere more like a campfire than an auditorium
or concert hall, with seats located in such close proximity to
the stage that the audience members can actually feel as though
they are part of the play.
The theater offers no reserved seating, but guarantees that all
ticket holders will be seated. The shows generally sellout, so
patrons should purchase their tickets in advance.
Local history teacher Gary Fukushima, a frequent patron of the
theater, said, “KKT [Kumu Kahua Theatre] is the only theater
in Hawai‘i that consistently produces plays that show local
life. Most of their plays really dig deep into the culture of
Byron Hiroshi Wake wrote Kumu Kahua’s first production
this season’s, which premieres on August 23. Like most
Kumu Kahua productions, Ala Wai’s dialogue is in Pidgin
This local comedy is about roommates, Bertram and Ernesto, who
abruptly become unemployed and homeless. Ernesto has a drug problem,
and Bertram has a fear of tilapias. These roommates weave hilarious
twists with the supporting characters and a storyline filled
Kumu Kahua offers off-season workshops that include playwriting,
acting, improvisation, and voice and movement classes. Instructors
for these classes are local writers and actors, and information
can be found on Kumu Kahua’s Web site, www.kumukahua.org.
Kumu Kahua welcomes actors to audition for any of their productions.
Wong suggests that anyone interested should call the theater
to be put on the mailing list, as audition announcements can
be sent via mail or e-mail
Ala Wai plays on Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from
August 23 to Sept. 23. Thursday, Friday, and Saturday at 8 p.m.
and Sunday at 2 p.m. For more information on show dates and ticket
purchases, call the Kumu Kahua box office at 536-4441.
Tickets can be purchased at the theater. General admission tickets
are an affordable $13 and season ticket subscribers receive a
very generous discount of 25 percent the first time and 35 percent
for renewing subscribers. Students, with valid ID, can purchase
tickets for only $5.