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History comes to life in colorful storytelling program

By Staff | Jul 19, 2018

Rasa Fournier (pictured), Albert Ueligitone and Kevin Keaveney will portray Annie Alexander, Samuel Kamakau and Rev. William Richards, respectively, in the show.

LAHAINA – In partnership with Hawaiian Mission Houses (HMH), Lahaina Restoration Foundation will present History Theater, a live performance featuring three professional actors – Rasa Fournier, Albert Ueligitone and Kevin Keaveney – who will portray Annie Alexander, Samuel Kamakau and Rev. William Richards.

The show is set for Friday, July 20, at 6:30 p.m. on the Baldwin Home lawn. Gates open at 6 p.m.

Admission is free but advance reservations are required; call 661-3262 or e-mail joni@lahainarestoration.org.

After seven years running on Oahu, History Theater is expanding to the Neighbor Islands on July 20 in Lahaina and July 21 (the show is sold out) in Makawao.

The program began as a way to place history into a format in which it is accessible and fun. According to LRF, seeing characters portrayed by professional actors is exciting, but seeing the portrayals in a historic setting adds a sense of drama to the drama!

History Theater runs as the Cemetery Pupu Theater program on Oahu. The Oahu portrayals take place near where the subjects are buried. Here in Lahaina, the actors will be stationed at historic sites.

The live production will feature three monologues, and the audience will be divided into three groups. The audience will walk between the different stations, with each station running 15 minutes.

On Friday, the stations will be located on the mauka side of the Masters’ Reading Room, inside the Baldwin Home and under a tree in Campbell Park. Group escorts will be with each group to help guide them between stations.

Seating will be provided at each station. Refreshments will be available before and after the show at the grape arbor next to the Baldwin Home. A “talk back” session with the actors will be held after the show.

“We believe it’s important to make history accessible to the general public,” said Theo Morrison, Lahaina Restoration Foundation executive director.

“Storytelling is a creative and wonderful way to share history. We’re proud to present History Theatre, and we hope it will continue so everyone will have a chance to experience it first-hand.”

History Theatre allows the general public to meet people from Hawaii’s shared history and to hear their stories from their perspective.

Through extensive research and thorough documentation, the scripts are crafted to be an intimate and engaging way to learn about our history.

By using journals, letters and writings by and about the people being portrayed, the audience can get a closer look at Hawaii’s history through one person’s perspective.

Many times, the scripts utilize the person’s own words from these sources.

Friday’s characters – Annie Alexander, Samuel Kamakau and Rev. William Richards – all had an incredible impact on the history of Hawaii, Maui and beyond.

Fournier will portray Hawaii-born Alexander, who lived from 1867 to 1950. The granddaughter of missionaries and the daughter of Samuel T. Alexander was a paleontologist and vertebrate zoologist who founded the Museum of Paleontology and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC-Berkeley.

Ueligitone will portray Kamakau, who lived from 1815 to 1876. He was enrolled at Lahainaluna Seminary in 1833 and was a student of Rev. Sheldon Dibble. In 1841, Kamakau was a founding member of the first Hawaiian Historical Society, and he published historical and cultural articles.

Keaveney will portray Richards, who lived from 1793 to 1847. He arrived with the second company missionaries in 1823 and was stationed in Lahaina. Living in a house on what is now Campbell Park, he became a teacher to the ali’i on the topic of western political economy.