Do It: ‘King Hedley II,’ ‘Holomua ka No’eau,’ more
SATURDAY, FEB. 16
The Actors’ Group presents August Wilson’s dark tale “King Hedley II”
The Actors’ Group continues its celebration of August Wilson with “King Hedley II,” the eighth in his 10-play cycle on African-American life.
“It’s one of his darker plays,” said director Troy Apostol. “It’s set in 1985. It has a ‘Reagan-era, urban decay’ feeling to it.”
King Hedley II (Quantae Love, pictured, with Wendy Pearson) has “spent seven years in jail, and he’s recently out and trying to set his life straight,” Apostol said. “He’s trying to open up a video store with his best friend, Mister, and along the way he’s encountering trials and tribulations of every kind.”
“It’s one of those stories where he’s brought up to believe that he’s less than he is. He’s been brought up by society to believe that he can only be a janitor or only be a crook. And so when he gets out of jail and he tries to set his life right, he still keeps running into life trying to keep him down. And that’s when he explodes, and you better watch out.”
The play, which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award and a Drama Desk Award, revisits several characters in “Seven Guitars,” set in the 1940s and staged by TAG last year.
Although Wilson’s plays are told through the prism of African-American life in Pittsburgh, Apostol said there is something universal in their message.
“The problems that King faces … are problems that anyone growing up in the city can relate to,” he said. “It’s the lack of jobs, the lack of money, the urban surroundings trying to keep you down and trash your dreams — any of those struggles that anybody in the inner city, they can absolutely relate to and they know where it’s coming from.”
Where: The Actors’ Group, Dole Cannery Square, 650 Iwilei Rd., Suite 101
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays-Saturday, 2 p.m. Sundays; through March 10
Info: www.taghawaii.net or 722-6941
FRIDAY, FEB. 15
‘Breathe Concert’ aids lung health programs
The American Lung Association in Hawaii is inviting you to take a deep breath and enjoy the music.
Its fifth annual “Breathe Concert” ought to help, with music from Grammy Award winners Daniel Ho and Tia Carrere, pictured, Hoku award winner Kawika Kahiapo, YouTube sensation Aidan James and Shari Lynn with the La Pietra Select Choir.
Lorraine Leslie, director of the American Lung Association in Hawaii, said many musicians and performers experience lung problems as a result of their work conditions.
“Entertainers back in the day used to perform in smoke-filled rooms and never smoked a day in their life, but now themselves suffer from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) or lung cancer.”
Some of the performers have direct experience with lung health issues. Carrere’s 7-year-old daughter, Bianca, has had four asthma attacks in four years, according to a press release, and Ho is concerned about air quality because he lives in Los Angeles. Ho and Carrere have teamed up for four albums, all of which were nominated for Grammys in the best Hawaiian music album category, with two winning. Ho won three other Grammys for producing compilations of slack-key guitar.
More than 175,000 people in Hawaii have some kind of lung disease. Asthma attacks hospitalize more than 5,000 people a year here, and lung cancer is the leading cancer killer of both women and men in the state, according to the lung association. The concert raises funds for its free lung health programs, Leslie said.
Where: Hawaii Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.
When: 7:30 p.m. today
Info: www.hawaiitheatre.com or 528-0506
SATURDAY, FEB. 16
Hula performance adds original works to lineup
Kumu hula Mapuana de Silva’s annual “Holomua ka No’eau” concert has always featured hula in its most traditional form. But that doesn’t mean it features only works that you might have already seen.
This year the performance, subtitled “Those Darn Traditionalists,” features five original works, all created by recent graduates of de Silva’s Halau Mohala ‘Ilima, pictured.
Kumu Maya Saffery, one of the recent graduates, said the performance shows how the art of hula is evolving while staying true to its roots.
“We’re using the foundation that she’s laid for us in certain practices, or values or understandings of how things should be done, based on what she learned from her teachers,” Saffery said. “We’re using those teachings to create new hula.”
Like many kumu hula, Saffery’s work concerns a place — specifically, her home in Maunawili.
“My house sits just below the highest peak of the Koolau Mountain Range, Konahuanui,” Saffery said. “That mountain is kind of a staple feature in my life. It’s always right behind me, in front of me, my entire life. It’s part of who I am.”
Her song also has multiple, layered meanings that refer to people and experiences in her life, and though explanations of the new works will be provided, Saffery admitted that knowing Hawaiian helps to enjoy its depth. “If you can understand (Hawaiian), great; but if you can’t, you can still enjoy the beauty of the words,” she said.
The concert also features many of the 26 kumu who studied with de Silva, performing and leading traditional works passed down to her from her kumu, Maiki Aiu Lake. “Those mele and hula were taught to us in the same way, with the same motion and the same words, it was taught to our kumu,” Saffery said. “In that way we’re upholding the traditions of our hula genealogy.”
It is part of the traditional respect and tribute that kumu have for their traditions and their teachers. Saffery said the highest compliment she can get is “if, when someone watches (her hula), they can say, ‘Oh, you graduated from Mapuana.’”
Where: Hawaii Theatre, 1130 Bethel St.
When: 6 p.m. Saturday
Info: www.hawaiitheatre.com or 791-1395
SATURDAY, FEB. 16
RAW returns with eclectic mix of artists, entertainment
RAW: natural born artists, a national organization that showcases up-and-coming talent, started its Honolulu operation last year, and organizer Cy Carnate said it’s been a success.
“The last couple events we have sold out, and the momentum has definitely been showing well for Honolulu, so we’re pretty excited about that,” he said.
The next showcase, titled “Discovery,” will be Saturday. Expect a nice range of talent, from music to dance to film, photography, makeup and fashion. “We just make sure we have different and unique type of genres throughout the show,” he said. “Usually we have about three visual artists, musicians and dancers. We try to spread it out.”
A featured artist this week is Neal Kido, whose close-up photos of shorebreak waves (pictured) have captured the imagination of many locals.
Another of Carnate’s favorites is Tekniqlingz, a dance troupe that combines traditional Filipino dancing with modern dance.
Also appearing will be the work of Esther Anne Wilhelm, a multimedia artist who depicts her abusive childhood in startingly vivid ways. “Once I heard her story and once I heard what she does, I immediately booked her for my first show of 2013,” Carnate said.
Musicians on the showcase have their own unique offerings. Guitarist Chuck Davis plays a carbon-fiber guitar and calls his style “a very hyper-fast moving pace.” On the RAW website, he writes, “I play the bass, melody, and rhythm at the same time giving a full sound; people say I sound like three guitars at once.”
Where: Aloha Beer Co., 580 W. Nimitz Highway
When: 7 p.m. Saturday
Cost: $15; $10 pre-sale
Info: www.RAWartists.org/honolulu or 657-215-0729
– Steven Mark