The Hawaiian sovereignty movement, with its complexities and controversies, takes the stage in Alani Apio's powerful drama Kamau A'e, opening May 31 until July 1 at Kuma Kahua.
First produced in 1997, K?mau A'e-meaning "to carry forward"-is the second installment of Apio's in-progress trilogy focused on the Mahekona family set against a backdrop of an island and culture in transition. Kumu Kahua restages the work to share its message with a new generation of audiences.
This new production marks a natural line of the "carrying on" of commitment to the work of Alani Apio. The show's director, Wil T.K. Kahele, co-directed with Harry Wong III the revival of Apio's K?mau -the first play in the trilogy-at Kumu Kahua in 2007 and on tour to the Pacific Arts Festival in Samoa in 2008. And actor Charles Kapahu Timtim, who appeared in K?mau in 1994 and the premiere of Kamau A'e in 1997, takes the role of the central character, Michael Kawaipono Mahekona. Taking on a new role, he is again poised to make an indelible impression on audiences in this evolving story.
At the center of the production is Michael Kawaipono Mahekona. Fresh out of prison, Michael joins a group of activists on a mission to reclaim Hawaiian land. As the group splinters over whether to stand firm or compromise on its principles, Michael must decide how to stay true to what he believes.
"The cast is solid and powerful," says Apio. "I'm excited for them and for our audiences. Fifteen years have passed since the show premiered in 1997. So much has changed here and yet, with respect to the Hawaiian sovereignty movement, not much has changed since then. It'll be interesting to see our collective take on it now."
PLaywright ALANI APIO grew up in Pu'uloa, or 'Ewa Beach, in a family of fishermen. He graduated from Kamehameha Schools and the University of Hawai'i–M?noa (UHM), with a degree in Drama and Theatre. He's a founding and current board member of Kanu Hawaii (kanuhawaii.org) and works as a community consultant for utility companies and developers on sustainability projects and projects that have potential Native Hawaiian burial issues.
Director WIL T. K. KAHELE is well known for his work in local theater and film and has acted, directed, and stage managed many productions for KKT. He co-directed with Harry Wong III the revival of Apio's K?mau at KKT in 2007, and on tour to the Pacific Arts Festival in Samoa in 2008 and directed Maui the Demigod in 2010.
Jaime Bradner (Lisa Kealoha) made her KKT debut last fall in Kemuel DeMoville's Cane Fields Burning. She is a veteran of the Leeward Community College (LCC) Acting Training Program under Paul Cravath and is currently studying with Paul Mitri at UHM.
Elexis Draine (Anita Sanchez), trained in theater at Leeward Community College, most recently earned raves from KKT audiences in the recent smash Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre, which will be revived in July.
SHARON R. GARCIA DOYLE (Wainani Carson) is known in Honolulu for her work in costume design as well as acting. This past fall she appeared in two Late Night Theatre productions at UHM's Ernst Lab: Paula Vogel's Hot n' Throbbing and Diana Son's Stop Kiss. Last summer, she played in HSF's The Tempest. Her training and education includes an Associates of Arts in Liberal Arts from Honolulu Community College (HCC), acting and voice work at University of South Dakota in Vermillion, and acting, voice and Shakespeare with Paul Mitri at UHM.
Dawn Gohara (Raynell Hashimoto) is from Pukalani, Maui. She has been seen in several KKT productions including the 1986 revival and interisland tour of James Benton's Twelf Nite O Wateva! and the two revival seasons (2003 and 2011) of Cataluna's Folks You Meet in Long's. She also played in the 2007 revival and tour to Samoa of K?mau, and the 2011 production of Lee Tonouchi's Da Kine Space. Her work in other media includes 20 years at KCCN/KINE radio, the Honolulu Advertiser, and radio and television voice work. Dawn is a member of the KKT Board of Directors.