My favorite aspect of dramaturgy is understanding the history of a story, what it is based on, what the author wants to say, and its evolution over the years. Saturday night Linda Carnevale and her Baldwin High students will present a musical version of "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" adapted by Carol Weiss, based on the Brothers Grimm tale. In addition to the book, Weiss penned the music and lyrics.
Weiss' take on the more-than-400-year-old legend blends Disney elements with the much darker Grimm telling. It's possible that the legendary brothers never really wrote anything but simply gathered folk tales and published them. It's also possible that Snow White was a real person, Marguerite von Waldeck, who lived in the 16th century. Like Snow White, von Waldeck was a teenage beauty, the daughter of a nobleman and a jealous mother. She left home at 17 to live in a mining town where vertically challenged men and boys were used to mine in confined spaces. She was supposedly courted by Prince Phillip (King Phillip II) of Spain and she died of poisoning at age 21.
The original version of the tale is disturbingly dark; the Queen is not an evil stepmother but a vain and jealous mother. In Weiss' version she becomes an aunt. In the original version the mother demands Snow White's lungs and liver be returned after her murder so mom can eat them. The hunter can't go through with it and returns with the organs of a wild boar, but mom still ate that night. Lungs, really? When the magic mirror insists that Snow White ist die schnste in the land, mom takes matters into her own hands. After attempting to kill Snow White three times, she finally succeeds via a poisoned apple. For just an extra dose of creepy, a traveling Prince falls in love with the dead teenage girl and buys the body off the dwarves. A bumpy wagon ride dislodges the apple pieces from her throat, she lives, they get married and live happily ever after?
Snow White (Sienna Minnock) is surrounded by vertically challenged admirers Picker (Jamie Long), Woeful (Erica Hirose), Mouse (Lorena Abreu), Keeper (TJ Idemoto), Grinder (Jordyn Clarke), Packer (David Ho) and Cutter (Demi Ann Boutyan) in the Baldwin High School production opening Saturday.
Baldwin Performing Arts Learning Center photo
Luckily over the years, writers have decided, "Oh, I don't know, that's completely insane!" By 1912 the story became a hit Broadway children's show, Disney adapted that version and Weiss' 1995 version sticks with the theme of keeping it a story for children. The additions Weiss has made are a comical magic mirror and a second aunt who is a witch. The hunter is now Sir Pompous, the evil Queen's right-hand man, and Weiss also offers new names for the seven dwarves: Picker, Packer, Cutter, Keeper, Grinder, Woeful and Mouse.
The Baldwin cast features Sienna Minnock (Snow White), Jamie Long (Picker), David Ho (Packer), Demi Ann Boutyan (Cutter), TJ Idemoto (Keeper), Jordyn Clarke (Grinder), Erica Hirose (Woeful), Lorena Abreu (Mouse), Kenny Komatsu (Sir Pompous), Julianna Scharnhorst (The Queen) and Cera Souza (Witch Wicked).
* Baldwin High School Performing Arts Learning Center and the Baldwin Theatre Guild present "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," a musical based on the story by the Brothers Grimm, Saturday through Nov. 12 at the Baldwin High School Loudon Minitheater. Book, music and lyrics are by Carol Weiss; the show is directed by Linda Carnevale. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturdays, 5 p.m. Sundays and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12. Tickets are available at the door only, $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $6 for 17 and younger. The box office will open one hour prior to showtimes and seating begins one half hour prior to the performance.
King Kekaulike drama instructor Chris Kepler is quietly developing an alternative theater program Upcountry. Friday night he and the beginning and intermediate acting classes open Renee J. Clark's powerful social-awareness drama "Fighting For My Self," an exploration of taboo subjects focused on teenage girls. The edgy script tackles teen sex, pregnancy, abortion, domestic violence, bullying, eating disorders, depression, pregnancy, substance abuse, sexual choices and drug abuse. The play is a series of short vignettes and monologues with a Greek chorus wearing drama masks chanting to the sound of a live drum marking the transitions.
"I think parts of it will be quite creepy and haunting," says Kepler, but he added, "Some very heavy issues are involved. The objective is to bring these issues out of the closet and to help the audience understand they are much more common than perceived and must be addressed by society."
The play is one act, but Clark intends it to spark candid conversations about real issues facing adolescent females. The conversations may be between mothers and daughters, in classrooms or elsewhere, all reflecting the freedom to discuss these challenging issues. King Kekaulike's Peer Education Program will have information tables to distribute pamphlets and other relevant literature, and the counseling department will be available after each show for students.
The King Kekaulike ensemble cast includes Megan Alexander, Jaya Bauer, Joshua Berman, Shawn Naone-Burger, Jazzy Santiago and Rachel Simmons. "Fighting For My Self," like Women Helping Women's "If You Love Me," is a conversation starter. Theater and storytelling are the greatest tool to understand an issue, and post-show conversation can truly begin to tackle a problem. Kudos to Kepler for pushing the envelope and branding King Kekaulike as theater on the edge.
* King Kekaulike Drama presents "Fighting for My Self" by Renee J. Clark, a dramatic portrayal of female teen pressure at the King Kekaulike student dining room Friday through Nov. 13. Performances are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays with Sunday matinees at 3 p.m. Tickets are available at the door only, $8 for adults, $4 for students. The box office will open one half hour prior to the performances. "Fighting for My Self" is not suitable for children younger than 12.
Art with Heart, a Seabury Hall student-run club designed to bring young artists together to make a positive difference presents its first global project Saturday at Seabury Hall. The 45 student members will be presenting a mix of physical and performance art including bluegrass band The Mill performing songs such as "I'll Fly Away," in addition to singers Mele Smallwood, Haley Eligio, Laura Mayron, Halia Haynes, Katheryn Barraco, Danielle Morton, Allie Moskow and Kelsey Greenway. Classical music students Greg Saydah, Cole Whitney, Andie Matayoshi and Carissa Ratte will present piano pieces, and Carter Umetsu will contribute a violin piece. The fine artists include Zoe Harrelson, Rhiannon Hernandez, Michelle Bailie, Ashley Cooper, Angelina Demirbag, Bethany Terracina, Dominic Mills, Anna Kali-Deiss, Makena Wright, Lindsey Gomez, Alana Pagano, Jeremy Morton, Mackenze Tezak and Kara Termulo. From the dance department, Jessica Patterson and Gabriella Berman will be performing classical ballet variations, and Ariella Brandon, Isabelle Jones, Yuka Inaba and Kelsey Greenway will perform modern and jazz pieces.
Art with a Heart will be choosing a school in Africa by the end of the year that best suits the club's budget. The students are collaborating with the U.K.-based charity Build Africa. This first benefit performance will also donate 15 percent of the proceeds to the family of Michael Russell, a former Seabury Hall Spanish teacher and soccer coach who recently passed away.
* The art gallery showing will begin at 5:30 p.m. Saturday in the cafeteria followed by the live music and dance at 7 p.m. in the performing arts center. Tickets are $18 dollars for adults, $12 for students, children 5 and younger are free. To reserve tickets, call 573-1257.
"Silent Night" at the Historic Iao Theater celebrates its silent film past Friday with a true crime murder mystery game, "Who Killed William Desmond Taylor?," as part of the Wailuku First Friday celebration. Maui actors play the real-life actor-suspects of the famous 1922 murder including Jackie Shea as Mabel Normand, Robyn Grahn as Edna Purviance, Gracie Clarke as Mary Miles Minter and Ute Finch as Charlotte Shelby. To participate game cards are $3, clues $2, additional questions $1. The winner will receive four tickets to the upcoming production of "A Christmas Carol" starring Mark Collmer. The evening will also feature a free screening of Charlie Chaplin's "The Kid" (1921).
* Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Friday; the screening is at 8 p.m. For more information, call 242-8680 or visit mauionstage.com.
MAPA presents "Tales from Here & There," a charming operetta for preschool and elementary schoolchildren. Maui playwright Derek Nakagawa and composer Patrick Brown have constructed a 40-minute musical incorporating three stories from around the world: "The Ant & the Grasshopper," "Urashima Taro" and "Maui & the Sun." The two- man cast of Francis Tau'a and Eric Peterson sing and act using Indonesian-style rod puppets designed by Frank Kane. The show has been touring preschools and elementary schools across Hawaii since August to rave reviews from kids and teachers.
* "Tales from Here & There" will be presented for free at 10 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, in the Steppingstone Playhouse at Queen Ka'ahumanu Center. No reservations are required. For more information about MAPA programs call 244-8760 or visit mauiacademy.org.
Marc Bumuthi Joseph's "Word Becomes Flesh" a hip-hop-infused spoken-word modern dance piece is a new theatrical form created by Joseph. Self-described as a fluid choreo-poem, it presents a series of letters to an unborn son with use of poetry, live music, dance and visual art documenting nine months of pregnancy from a father's perspective. Joseph has been honored by the Smithsonian as one of the top young innovators in the arts and sciences.
* "Word Becomes Flesh" plays at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, in Castle Theater at the MACC. Tickets are $12, $28 and $38 plus applicable fees, available from the MACC box office, 242-7469 or mauiarts.org.