Hawaiian mo‘olelo comes alive at Paliku

BONNIE BEATSON

A mighty akua (Brandon DiPaola) glares intensely at the Wind of Waipio Valley, Holopo‘opo‘o (Domina Arroyo).

BONNIE BEATSON

Kiha (Jonathan Saavedra) is tormented by the unique sound the akua (Brandon DiPaola) coaxes from the Magical Pu.

 

For two weekends in February, Hawaiian mo‘olelo will be brought to life for the whole family on the Palikū Theatre stage by a contingent of WCC theatre students.

This semester’s world premiere of “The Magical Pū Stealer” is written and directed by Bishop Museum’s cultural educator and world-renowned storyteller, Moses Goods.

Performances run Thursday – Sunday, Feb 12- 22.  Thursday, Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday shows begin at 2 p.m.

This traditional mo‘olelo from Waipio Valley tells the story of Puapualenalena – a shapeshifting dog with magical powers tasked with wrestling a magical Pū, or conch shell, from the clutches of mighty akua.

“The Magical Pū Stealer” marks the second Hawaiian Youth Theatre production from Windward’s drama program.  Last spring, Nicolas Logue, theatre coordinator, directed “The Charge of ‘Ai’ai,” also penned by Goods.

Logue’s ideas on the importance of live theatre come across strongly.

“Theatre should serve the community,” said Logue.

“With so many students of Hawaiian ancestry on our campus, it only seemed natural that our youth theatre offerings should bring mo‘olelo to the stage,” he continued.

“It’s important for young people to see their own culture on stage and watch dramatizations of their important stories. It creates pride, passes on traditional ideas and empowers the audience.”

Logue is particularly excited by this year’s offering for many reasons.

“First, we are fortunate to have someone of Moses’ abilities working with our students, and this play is really a treat – full of laughs, but also powerful life lessons,” said Logue.

“Additionally, this year’s cast is composed of a handful of our best and brightest who have taken every theater course we offer and are really honing their craft.  Their performances are proof of the acting training we offer here at Windward.

“Ultimately, it’s nice to have a show that can entertain the whole family and inform about Hawaiian stories,” he added.

Tickets ($15 general, $10 student/senior/military/children) are on sale now at www.hawaii.edu/paliku or call to order by phone: (808) 235-7310.