Maui writer’s play to open weekend celebration
KAPALUA – Maui resident Gary T. Kubota’s national touring play “The Legend Of Ko’olau” is scheduled for a performance at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 8, during Celebration of the Arts at The Ritz-Carlton, Kapalua.
The dramatic play, based on a story about a historic Native Hawaiian cowboy during the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy in 1893, stars Los Angeles actor Moronai Kanekoa, a former Maui High School graduate and former University of Hawaii Regent Scholar.
“Mr. Kanekoa has done a superb job during performances at the Hawaii Theatre in Honolulu and at the David Henry Hwang Theatre in Los Angeles last year,” Kubota said.
“He just keeps getting better and better.”
Kubota said the one-man play is on the cutting edge of the Pacific Renaissance and represents a reawakening of Pacific people’s history and their culture.
The cowboy Ko’olau has become a folk legend written about by novelist Jack London and National Poet Laureate W.S. Merwin.
This one-man, multimedia play tells the story from Ko’olau’s point-of-view and focuses on love and devotion – the love of his family and his devotion to his wife and son despite the decimation of his Polynesian race.
In 1893, the cowboy Ko’olau fought a rebel militia that had overthrown the Hawaiian monarchy and now wanted to enforce leprosy laws that would have forced him and his son to the leper settlement at Kalaupapa, called “the Living Grave.”
With more than 50 soldiers and deputies and a Krupp cannon, the militia was confident it could capture Ko’olau, who had killed a deputy sheriff. But they hadn’t taken into account Ko’olau’s expertise as a marksman, nor the resolve of his wife Pi’ilani to keep the family together, nor the vast wilderness of Kalalau Valley on Kauai.
The director for the current production is Monte Scott Perez, who directed the Honolulu and Los Angeles productions and as an actor toured with the late Jack Klugman.
Tickets are $25 for adults and $15 for children; call 665-7089.
The play was selected through a competitive process to receive a Creation Fund grant in 2013 from the National Performance Network of New Orleans, with support from co-commissioners the Maui Arts & Cultural Center and Waimea Historic Theatre on Kauai.
Visit www.legendofkoolau.com for information.