‘Battle of Will’: A thinking man’s ‘Goodfellas’

February 7, 2014 7:00 am

 

Orrin Nakanelua

Some of the cast members from “Battle of Will’: Jessica Kincaid, Christian Sylvester, Brandon Anthony Dipaola, Eybelle Nevins-Rosado and Domina Arroyo.

Boss waits for the boy whose family he’s slain, hoping to embrace him as his own son. The boy pulls the trigger and the bullet chases a target it will never hit. Instead the shot will haunt a hit man who can’t bear the idea of being killed himself.

That’s a snapshot of “Battle of Will,” being presented on two weekends, Feb. 28 to 30 and  March 7 to 9, by WCC’s Palikū Theatre and the students of THEA 260.

Orrin Nakanelua

Cast members Ashley Shankles and Domina Arroyo.

“Battle of Will,” written by Laurent Gaude and directed by Taurie Kinoshita, is a gritty, pseudo-crime drama with dark humor, lyrical dialogue and unforgettable characters.

“The characters are named according to their occupations—nothing more—as if their entire identities revolve around their social function (‘Boss,’ ‘Wife,’ ‘Gravedigger,’ etc.),” says Kinoshita,  “Yet despite this symbolic convention, each character is full of life, detail and psychological nuance.”

Thematically, Gaude’s award-winning play deals with the possible immorality of survivalist ethics; the play is full of animal imagery.

The French play roughly translates to “A Battle of Possessions” but was adapted into British text as part of a project at Londonʻs renowned National Theatre.

A meticulously written text, “Battle of Will” will take audiences through a desert wasteland to luxury hotels, where the rich manipulate the poor, a man seeks a son, a wife manipulates her ego-ridden husband and between the body bags, gun shots and arguments over the size arrangement of burial plots, it’s a thinking man’s “Goodfellas.”

Gaude explores the illusion of man’s intent, the evolution of thought by cautiously illustrating the motivation behind these  human relationships and the power of ego that will  convince the audience that the most difficult battle is the one within oneself.

In Gaudeʻs world, and sometimes in our own, we are trapped by our need to survive, mere possessions in a high-stakes world, doomed to play our roles despite ethical implications.

“When all one does is survive, how are we different than any animal?  Are we not economic slaves, willing to commit unspeakable acts for a fair market price?” says Kinoshita.

She adds that she likes to try different styles or techniques every semester for the THEA 260 course.

According to Kinoshita, they will be focusing on Stanislavski techniques this semester due to the stringent realism required by the text.

Stanislavski techniques focus on method acting—connecting with the audience by taking on the character both on and off the stage.

In light of the six-week rehearsal time, Kinoshita said the castʻs hard work and relentless dedication have made the production possible.

“Yes, we have less rehearsal time than normal, but I am confident in the awesome students I was blessed with this semester,” says Kinoshita.

The success of her students as well as the production is heavily backed by Kinoshita’s theatrical resume.  She has written several plays, directed over a hundred productions and taught in both New York and the United Kingdom.

According to one of her THEA 260 students, “Taurie has this remarkable way of taking in a student and, in a matter of a few short weeks, giving the stage an actor.

“The conviction in her speech, her dedication to not only the theatre, but to her students, and her constant encouragement have been the most educating, beneficial and life-changing experiences I’ve ever been so fortunate to have. The only thing I regret is not being able to take it in my previous semesters.”

PERFORMANCES:
Friday, Feb. 28, 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 29, 8 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 30, 4 p.m.
——
Friday, March 7, 8 p.m.
Saturday, March 8, 8 p.m.
Sunday, March 9, 4 p.m.

RESERVE YOUR TICKETS NOW!
$15 Adults; $10 Students (any age), children (through age 25), seniors and military.
(Note: Ticket prices published in paper are incorrect.)

To charge tickets by phone, call Palikū Theatre Box Office at 235-7310. Online purchases can be made at www.eticketHawaii.com.

by Ashley Shankles
Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporter

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