One black night, near an old abandoned plantation town by the sea, two cousins lost in the darkness unknowingly cross a supernatural threshold.
That is the premise of playwright Susan Soon He Stanton’s “‘Ō‘ōkala 100,” a collection of eerie Hawai‘i-based ghost stories written specifically to be performed by WCC’s Theatre 260 Dramatic Production class.
Directed by WCC theatre lecturer Taurie Kinoshita, the show runs Oct. 23-30 at Palikū Theatre.
The idea for the play began last year when Kinoshita was looking for performance material for her class.
“Every semester, finding a play which will give every student registered in 260 a ‘meaty role’ with the exact number of men and women, their approximate ages, individual skills and strengths and ethnic backgrounds is a huge challenge,” says Kinoshita. “I refuse to do a play in which half of the students are just ‘chorus members’ or have limited amounts of lines.”
So Kinoshita approached Stanton, whose play “the underneath” she had previously directed, about writing a piece exclusively for her students.
The result is “‘Ō‘ōkala 100,” a production that Kinoshita says is “meaningful,” “enlightening” and “speaks to what is indelibly and inextricably human in us—love, life, how we deal with debilitating circumstances and the fear of not dying peacefully.”
In the play, the cousins stumble onto a leina, a Hawaiian term for a “leaping place” or portal to another world, where they encounter ghosts from different backgrounds and time periods from the past century of Hawai‘i’s history, all of who have gathered nearby to drink and relentlessly relive moments of pain and joy in their lives.
There is Marisol, a Puerto Rican seamstress living with her family until she is kind to the wrong person; Jordan, an out-of-work paniolo who dies drying to save a suicidal woman; Shizuko, a plantation worker from Okinawa who loses her children in a tsunami and wanders the beach endlessly searching for them; Adrienne, a military wife who has a nervous breakdown; and Dalton, a teenager peer pressured into sabotaging his grades and then his future.
Kinoshita says the production allows for “exciting light, makeup and multimedia choices.”
She invited a makeup specialist to come in to teach the students how to do gore makeup, and she chose music to set the period.
While many of her Theatre 260 students will be acting on stage for the first time, Kinoshita says that she holds them all to professional standards. And they deliver.
“Theatre changes people’s lives for the better, and I love seeing this every single semester,” said Kinoshita.
For more information about the production, contact Taurie Kinoshita at 779-3456 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Ka ‘Ohana, News Staff
‘Ō‘ōkala 100 showtimes
Friday and Saturday Oct. 23 & 24, 8 p.m. (Post-show discussion with cast on Saturday, Oct. 24)
Sunday, Oct. 25, 4 p.m.
Wednesday and Thursday, Oct. 28 & 29, 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday-Friday, Oct. 28 – 30, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $5 WCC Students with valid ID; $10 Students/Senior/Military; $15 General
To Purchase Tickets: eTicketHawaii.com or call 235-7310 to charge by phone.
Due to adult language, situations and themes, this play is recommended for ages 16 and older. Running time is one hour.