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Circus Lolo makes its debut at ProArts Playhouse

Circus Lolo will feature more than 50 characters in an array of crazy costumes, performing dozens of zany acts. In photo, Unkl Willie. Circus Lolo photo

“Circus Lolo really is like nothing else ever,” says its creator Glenn Martinez. The locally based, live-action, cartoon circus troupe makes their debut this weekend at the ProArts Playhouse in Kihei.

The 90-minute comedy performance will feature more than 50 characters in an array of crazy costumes, performing dozens of zany acts, described as “rather poorly,” by Crescendo the Ringmaster. “No other Maui-based circus includes a free luau, a guaranteed humpback whale sighting or the strong possibility of appearances from both Sasquatch and Elvis,” Martinez promises.

I asked Martinez to describe some of the acts audiences will witness. “There are around 30. The characters include some familiar faces, from Elvis to Abe Lincoln, and some less familiar. ‘El Shakeel Shaboom Shaboom the Suspicious, the Seducer of Shrouded Serpents that Slither Slightly’ is our mystical snake charmer who does indeed place a rather giant cobra into a deep trance. Two giant fighting fish square off in an underwater boxing ring. There’s a dancing jellyfish, a peg-leg rat, a recurring cockroach problem and a classically trained green sea turtle. Our human cannonball, Ballistica is a tall gal and hence, Circus Lolo’s ginormous cannon, ‘The Hovering Heavy Howitzer of Horror,’ is sized accordingly. The Closed Trunk of Claustrophobia is big enough that Scott Free, our escape artist extraordinaire, could bring a friend along when he gets tossed into the giant stage-side pool we like to call ‘The Fjord of Fulfillment’,” he shared.

Martinez has had roots on Maui for 40 years and has dreamed about building Circus Lolo here for 20. Upon relocating to Maui permanently in 2018, he began the development of Circus Lolo’s script, props and costumes, which he calls “a true labor of love.”

“The coalescing of this effort into a real fake circus, including the establishment of an amazing circus ohana, has been a dream come true. They share a passion to have fun and make Maui laugh. They also share a willingness to wear silly costumes and be generally, if not specifically, very goofy,” Martinez shared.

Kid Mahi, performed by Derek Dombrosky. Circus Lolo photo

* Catch the debut of Maui’s own Circus Lolo. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays, 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturdays, 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 10, and 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17 at ProArts Playhouse in Kihei. Tickets are $17 for children under 12, and $35 for adults. For more information or to purchase tickets for any ProArts event call 463-6550 or visit www.proartsmaui.com.

MINI REVIEW

Director Chris Kepler of King Kekaulike Drama has introduced his students to a demanding acting challenge with their current production of “Rememberin’ Stuff.” That is because nearly every actor in the cast takes on lengthy monologues throughout the performance.

Eleanor Harder’s wonderful script tackles a great many troubling and timely topics, and the teen cast not only admirably delivers these extensive solo pieces, but they also provide quality presentations of the emotional topics. Set in a teen acting class, a never-seen dramatic instructor has assigned her students to share substantial memories from their lives. They range from the food stamps, adoption, violence, sexual and physical abuse, teen pregnancy and divorce to name a few.

Act one performances of note include a well-done scene between Kaniela Kahaialii and William Yudis, who present an accidental gun death account of an 11-year-old childhood friend. Abi Dupont impresses with a solo address of her longing to feel more loved on “I’m Special.” Madisen Hicks captivates in imparting the distressing description of child molestation with “Uncle Jack,” and Maila Baker and Sachi Pierner excel in “Hospital,” a trying scene that addresses domestic violence.

Helen Hong will headline Maui LIVE Comedy Series at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday at Historic Iao Theater. Helen Hong photo courtesy of the artist

The entire ensemble cast remains onstage throughout the entire production offering support and rotating into each memory as the additional characters being described and remembered. Each contribution, whether large or small, adds layers of believability to Harder’s powerful prose.

In act two, Madelyn LaCount gives a strong personalized reflection on teen pregnancy with her monologue, “Baby.” But “Rememberin’ Stuff” also features several highly comedic and charming vignettes, such as “Driver’s Test.” Sampson Campbell and Mikayla Fujita contribute keen comedic talents as Fujita relates her nightmarish driving exam. Yudis and Hicks shine on the endearing teen-crush scene “Bookstore.” Both display talent that suggests leading role abilities in future traditional, character-based plays. Another impressive performance is that of Electra Richards with the beautifully written “The Brown Chair,” Harder’s finest work in “Rememberin’ Stuff.”

Though these topics might strike a nerve with some due to their mature content, these are front-and-center topics that all 21st-century teens are either already exposed to or need to be exposed to. The caring manner in which Harder addresses and Kepler presents this work is far less risque than cable television or even the nightly news. Kepler’s continued envelope-pushing in youth theater is inspiring and to be commended.

* King Kekaulike Drama continues “Rememberin’ Stuff” by Eleanor Harder, directed by Chris Kepler. Performances are at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 3 p.m. Sunday through Nov. 10 at the King Kekaulike Performing Arts Center on the King Kekaulike High School campus in Pukalani. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 students and are available at the box office only 45 minutes before show time.

ALSO THIS WEEK

The Baldwin Theatre Guild presents “Play On!” by Rick Abbot, directed by Linda Carnevale. In this show-within-a-show comedy, a theater group desperately attempts to put on a play in spite of interference from its arrogant author’s (Raina Ouye) constant script revisions. Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, Nov. 8 through 16, 3 p.m. Sunday Nov. 17 in the Loudon Mini-Theatre on the Baldwin High School campus in Wailuku. Tickets are $8 adults, $7 seniors, $6 students, $3 children 10 and under and are available at the box office 45 minutes before show time.

Catch the “Maui LIVE Comedy Series” with headliner Helen Hong and special guests John Padon and Larry Feinberg. In addition to being a fan favorite on the hit NPR podcast “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me,” Hong has performed standup comedy on “The Arsenio Hall Show,” “Last Call with Carson Daly,” “Gotham Comedy Live” and “Comics Unleashed with Byron Allen.” Performances are at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8 and 9 at Historic Iao Theater. Tickets are $25 general, $40 premium reserved. To purchase tickets for any Iao Theater event, call 242-6969 or order online at www.mauionstage.com.

UPCOMING

Seabury Hall Performing Arts presents “Catch Me If You Can The Musical,” book by Terrence McNally, music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Shaiman and Scott Wittman, directed and choreographed by David Ward, under the vocal direction of Molly Schad. In this musical adaption based on the film, Frank Abagnale Jr. (Dominic Carosso), hunted by agent Frank Hanratty (Gabe Frampton), narrates his life as a dance-heavy variety television show. Written by the creative team behind “Hairspray,” “Catch Me If You Can” tells the tale of an ingenious, yet lonely teenage con-artist looking for his place in the world by assuming a multitude of identities which include airplane pilot, doctor, and lawyer. Performances are at 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays Nov. 15 through 23, 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 24 at the A’ali’ikuhonua Creative Arts Center on the Seabury Hall campus in Makawao. Tickets are $15 for adults, $13 seniors, $8 students, with $2 discounts if purchased in advance. For more information, visit www.seaburyhall.org.