Kumu Kahua Theatre brings back one of American fiction's most distinct voices in an adaptation of Lois-Ann Yamanaka's Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre.
Many who read Yamanaka's poems and books in school also saw the world premiere production at Kumu Kahua Theatre in January and February of 2012. Several performances sold out and the overwhelming majority praised the show – several people came back several times.
"One critic panned the show vehemently, but the others all praised it passionately." Says Kumu Kahua Managing Director, Donna Blanchard. "I didn't hear anyone else – critic or man-on-the-street – give anything other than the highest praise for that show. That sort of wide arch of opinion tells me we're doing a good job; our shows are moving people to think and feel. THAT is what it's all about. And since the vast majority of people loved the show… well you should come see for yourself and form your own opinion!"
What was it like growing up in a plantation town in 1970s Hawai'i? Through beautifully crafted poetic novellas, Lois-Ann Yamanaka lays bare working-class life in Pahala, mixing raw truths and comedic nostalgia as a chorus of girls on the verge of womanhood tell their stories. Yamanaka, with a steely-eyed gaze, describes what it's like to come of age-dealing with younger sisters who "like be the boss of the food" and drunk uncles, catching chicken pox, skirmishing with the town exhibitionist, experiencing a first make-out session, caring for a pet (in this case a baby goat rescued from Mauna Kea), obeying an irate, overworked mother.
Yamanaka skillfully balances the hardships of life with moments of tenderness and understanding, making Saturday Night one of the most engaging, honest plays ever produced on an island stage.
Meet Tita, Girlie, Lucy, Kala, and other young women on the brink of adulthood, as they explore sexual awakening, family abuse, peer pressure, and identity. With humor, pain, and raw honesty, their voices come to life on Kumu Kahua's intimate stage. It is directed by Kumu Kahua Theatre's Artistic Director, Harry Wong III.
This play contains strong language and adult content.
The winner of the Pushcart Prize, Saturday Night at the P?hala Theatre was Lois-Ann Yamanaka's first major work and introduced the world to one of Hawai'i's bravest writers.
Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre was Yamanaka's debut book, published by Bamboo Ridge Press in 1993. Today it has an important place in the canon of Asian-American literature, and is a staple of college reading lists, including that of UCLA's Asian-Amerian Literature Department.
This isn't Kumu Kahua's first adaptation of a Yamanaka book. In 1997 the theater presented Wat's adaptation of Wild Meat and the Bully Burgers, and in 2003, the theater produced the world premiere of Heads By Harry, adapted by John Wat and Keith Kashiwada.
You may purchase tickets online at kumukahua.org, or by calling or visiting our box office at 46 Merchant Street, on the corner of Bethel and Merchant streets in downtown Honolulu. 808-536-4441.
Special event Jul 27th
The theater is honored to host a Talk Back session with author Lois-Ann Yamanaka following the plays Jul 27 performance. The audience is invited to remain in the theater once the play has ended to participate in a Q+A session with one of Hawai'i's premier writers.
We happily announce that the entire original cast is returning for this re-mount...
LAUREN BALLESTEROS (Tita Ensemble, Aunty Nancy, Edward) is originally from Los Angeles. She holds a BA in Sociology, with a minor in Theatre, from UHM. She appeared Richard II for HSF and in Chase's Harvey and Ibsen's Ghosts last season for TAG. Lauren made her KKT debut last season in Victoria Kneubuhl's Holiday of Rain.
ALVIN CHAN (Mr. Shimayama, Uncle, Muggs, Old Japanee Man, Porn Star, Tsukebe Haole Man, Kenoi, Willy Joe) has theatre credentials which span playwriting, costume design, and acting. He holds a BA in Theatre from UHM and is currently a company actor for HTY, as well as, the recipient of a prestigious national award, Theatre Communications Group's 2010 Fox Fellowship Resident Actor Grant which allowed him to train in Asia to develop his traditional Asian performance techniques. Alvin also spent a couple of years in NYC, and while there played in three Shakespeare productions and Shepard's True West. In Hawai'i, recent appearances have been in HTY's Momotaro, and HSF's Henry IV Part 2. Appearances for KKT productions include Yew's A Language of Their Own, the Pak adaptation A Rice Paper Airplane, and Lum's David Carradine Not Chinese.