What a jam-packed month of entertainment on Maui! OK. so it's on the edge of what this column is supposed to cover, but Lee Cataluna's appearance last Thursday at the MACC was a treat. Order "Three Years On Doreen's Sofa" right away. The book is hysterical and both Cataluna and Francis Tau'a's readings from the novel brought the character of Bobby to life.
Apparently love is in the air on Maui especially at the Seabury Hall Performing Arts production of "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
I may have gotten lost on campus and accidentally walked into the outdoor lighting at the opening moment of the show, oops, but wow, what a magical setting to stumble upon.
Zoe Harrelson (left) is Hermia and Ariella Brandon is Helena in Seabury Hall’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
ERIC ROLPH photo
The production features two dozen performers, but Makena Wright's Titiana is extremely exceptional. How do you cover very talented, smiling high school students loving a beautiful outdoor staging of a classic play? The smiles are just too infectious and contagious. Of course the hitch when doing high school theater is who is going to play mom? Kathryn Adler is impressive playing well beyond her years as Egea, mother to Hermia. Zeb Mehring is fearless as Lysander. He is becoming such a good actor that the 20-year-olds out there need to watch their back. The one question I have is who was the amazing fight choreographer? Or do teenagers just rebound better? I also wonder if a Seabury gardener is very ticked off this week.
Celina Belkins as Moth gets a steal-the-show moment with her pitch-perfect lullaby to Titiana. The rude mechanicals or regular dudes that work hard and just want to join the party are locked into the spirit of their characters, most notably Zowie Haugaard as Bottom and Wyatt West as Flute. West's secondary role, Thisbe, is very strong and another show stealing moment in its own right.
Shakespeare is always shaped and trimmed; otherwise you get a four-hour show. Director Sally Sefton has cut all the right stuff for a teen show and offered a fun, digestible version for all ages. There are several very clever choices Sefton has made, which include casting the tall Ariella Brandon as Helena opposite Zoe Harrelson's Hermia. In addition, Sefton's sound design choices are stellar, mirroring the mood of the production perfectly. Another perfect little touch is Jerry Wright's beautiful swing. Don't get lost trying to find magical moments on Maui - they happen every day.
* "A Midsummer Night's Dream" continues at 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday at the Cooper House reflection pond on the Seabury Hall campus on Olinda Road. Tickets are $11 for adults, $9 for seniors and $5 for students. Dress warmly. Seating is provided and limited space for short lawn chairs and blankets will be available in the front and to the sides of the seating platforms. For information and reservations, call 573-1257
Also this weekend
Talking Stories and Women Helping Women present the original play "If You Love Me" by Keali'iwahine Hokoana. Hokohana offers, "This play was written to show young adults how domestic violence happens, what it looks like and the effect it leaves on people. I think people will be very surprised at what they see. The show is meant to be an impetus for discussion, between parents and children, teachers and students, but most importantly amongst young adult peers."
"If You Love Me" tells the tale of Lily (Rachel Bega), a promising UH-MC student and singer competing for a chance at a recording contract in an islandwide karaoke competition "Ka Hoku o Hawaii." Her biggest supporters are her state worker by day and kickboxing coach by night mom, Mina (Jett Batoon), and wily tongued best friend, Tara (Emi Nakashima). Lily's relationship with her thoughtful but overprotective boyfriend, Rick (Isaac Rauch), is challenged when she meets the complicated and troubled Jason (Nakota Kai Crumbo). Jason, a neighbor and fellow classmate is on his own journey with mentor and therapist, Abe (Vinnie Linares).
"If You Love Me" will make you laugh, cry, hope, love, hurt, believe, dream and, most of all, remind you what we do for love. It's a tale about learning to love and be loved, despite love's imperfect nature. Hokohana studied playwriting at UH-MC; her previous works include "Hapai," "Koi Like the Fish" and "The Legend of Kaulula'au."
Popular local director Derek Nakagawa helms this world premiere production. In addition to directing, Nakagawa has been involved in Maui theater for more than 30 years as a playwright and actor. His most recent directing projects were "Half Dozen Long Stem," "A Night in Wailea" and "Holy Moses." Making her stage debut of sorts in the lead role is the immensely talented Rachel Bega. Bega has previously appeared in school productions, is a member of the Holy Ghost Mission choir and interned with Maui OnStage in last summer's "Chicago." She is a Maui rising star and someone to keep your eye on.
* "If You Love Me" plays at the Historic Iao Theater at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 3 p.m. Sunday; and 10:30 a.m. Monday. Tickets are $10 pre-sale or $15 at the door. For details or reservations, call 242-6600 or visit whwmaui.net.
Maui Arts & Cultural Center is pleased to present the world premiere of hula drama "Kulanihako'i: Living Waters" at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in Castle Theater at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center. Created by Na Kinimakalehua, a consortium of master kumu hula Hokulani Holt, Keali'i Reichel and Pali Ahue, along with emerging kumu hula Ulalia Woodside, Kauhilonohonua Padilla and Robert Ke'ano Ka'upu, this hula drama blends traditional Hawaiian chants with contemporary stories of Hawaii.
* Tickets for the one-night-only performance are $12, $32 and $40 plus applicable fees. To purchase, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order at mauiarts.org.
Sheetal Gandhi's magnetically rhythmic "Bahu-Beti-Biwi" (Daughter-in-law, Daughter, Wife) wraps North Indian music traditions and family characters into a contemporary exploration that glides between humorous portraiture and active resistance. Enjoy this one-night-only solo tour de force combining dance, stirring vocalization and percussive music at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 20, in Castle Theater at the MACC.
* Tickets are $12, $25, $35, plus applicable fees; a pre-show dinner by Star Anise Indian Cuisine will be available. For tickets, visit the MACC box office, call 242-7469 or order online at mauiarts.org.