Two public discussions are to be held in conjunction
with Kumu Kahua Theatre’s upcoming production of Ola
Na Iwi. The first is a presentation on the history of scientific
treatment of bones, and the current regulatory debates about
Ola Na Iwi: The Bones, and Their History will take place at 7:30
p.m. Tuesday, November 6 at Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant Street
in downtown Honolulu.
The central plot of Ola Na Iwi, according to Scott Rogers, Kumu
Kahua managing director, deals with the treatment of human bones—by
Hawaiians, by archaeologists, by museum curators, by rogues,
by scientific institutions, and by people who for various reasons
suddenly find themselves having to deal with remains. The evening’s
guest speakers, Vann Diamond, former chair of the O‘ahu
Burial Council, and Sara Collins, former state archaeologist
for Hawai‘i, will also talk about the Native American Graves
Restoration Act (NAGPRA).
These events allow the audience to discuss the play’s issues,” said
Rogers. He added that those attending would have an opportunity
to ask questions not only of the experts, but also of the people
involved in the production on a night other than a performance
The second forum will by held at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 20, at Kamakakuokalani
Center for Hawaiian Studies, on the Manoa campus of the University
One of the most interesting aspects of this play, according to
Rogers, is the way it engages so many different perspectives
in conversation. Four different Hawaiian women from two centuries
are featured prominently in the play, as are Germans, Samoans,
and Americans spread out over 200 years.
Theater is of course a fine venue for discussing such matters,” said
Rogers. The discussion on Nov. 20 will be about how dialogue
serves as a way of exploring different perspectives on such key
issues as race, cultural heritage and responsibility, cultural
preservation, and the history of all of these concepts. “This
evening will feature scholars Jon Osorio and Justina Mattos,” Rogers
At both forums, playwright Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl will talk
about the writing of the play, and the cast will perform scenes
from the play, with comments from the director, Sammie Choy.
Ola Na Iwi, will play at Kumu Kahua Theatre, 46 Merchant Street
in downtown Honolulu, through Dec. 2. For more information, call
Kumu Kahua Theatre’s box office at: 532-4441 or visit www.KumuKahua.org.