Summer Theater: Real People on Stage
Summer is a time when rigid schedules loosen up, making room for new experiences. Honolulu’s theater community has some tempting offerings for all ages, comedies, musicals and life enriching dramas. HPR’sNoeTanigawa visited two of Honolulu’s smallest venues for this report.
“Mothers and Sons” opens Friday at The Actors’ Group theater in Dole Cannery. “Proof” continues at the Loo Theatre on the Chaminade campus through this weekend.
We were at Dole Cannery last week, sneaking through the darkened entry into The Actors’ Group theater for a rehearsal of their summer production, “Mothers and Sons” by Terrance McNally.
This play picks up where an earlier play by McNally, Andre’s Mother, left off. Kati Kuroda portrays Katherine, a mother who has been in agony the last 20 years
“She’s been brooding, she’s been angry, in the denial of his gayness…”
Katherine’s despair has driven her back to her son’s old apartment, where his former lover, Cal, now lives with his husband and a son.
Awkward? Director Joyce Maltby describes a key scene between Cal and the mother.
“She says, I still can’t accept it And he says, what is it? Is it the f***? Is it two men? And I think for so many people, we don’t see beyond a sexual act. Thats maybe it! we don’t see the love.”
When Katherine does see the love in this modern family, she sees herself more clearly.
Maltby: “It’s that she lost a son, who while he was alive, she couldn’t accept him for who he was.”
That is the stuff of tragedy, in this play, redeemed.
“Proof” by David Auburn, takes us into the world of the mind, contrasting mathematics at its highest levels with messier aspects of the human mind and heart. Rachel Uyeno plays Catherine, the brilliant daughter of a groundbreaking mathematician who has sacrificed her career to care for him. Uyeno says the spine of a play is its through line, the idea that connects everything else.
“Our spine was Let X equal reality. Solve for X. So for each of our characters, it’s trying to define what’s really going on, what our reality is.”
Let X equal reality. Solve for X. Sounds tight but is actually a little slippery.
“You could boil it down to asking yourself in every scene, What is reality?” Paul Mitri has been head of UH Theater and Dance the last 5 years, he’s the artistic director for All the World’s a Stage Theatre Company, a small itinerant group now at the forty-seat Loo Theatre at Chaminade. Proof, the Pulitzer Prize winning play differs from the film you may have seen, it’s more focused, and hits you differently when actual humans are struggling in front of you.
Mitri: “Looking at the world as an actor, our job is to ask a question about basic human nature, Why do people do what they do? And I think many people are not honest with themselves about why they are doing things.”
Proof was written by the American playwright David Auburn. The play premiered in May 2000, and moved to Broadway later that year. In 2001, Proof won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and Tony Award for Best Play.
Caution, self scrutiny may occur as a result of these plays. They make for fine conversation at a late happy hour.
TAG opens the 2016-17 season with Gore Vidal’s The Best Man, directed by Kevin Keaveney September 2-25,2016.
The Palik? Theatre at Windward Community College opens it’s new season with 1776 the Musical, September 2nd.
Manoa Valley Theatre presents Lysistrata Jones, a musical comedy, July 7-24.
Diamond Head Theatre presents Mamma Mia! Directed by Kimmee Balmilero, July 15-August 14th.
Hawai‘i Shakespeare Festival runs July into August 2016. This year's offerings: Twelfth Night, The Witch of Edmonton, and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
The Performing Arts Department of Chaminade University in association with Saint Louis Center for the Arts presents the Chaminade University Collegiate Theatre Festival July 28 - August 14th at the Richard T Mamiya Theatre and Loo Theatre.
The festival will feature three productions Next to Normal, Almost Maine, and The Rose and Rime.