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by Kalamalama staff

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 them.

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 night.

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 of Hawai‘i

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 added.

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.



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