About Hitting The Stage

 

Aloha and welcome to The Hawai'i State Theatre Council's website and Hitting the Stage!  When the Council decided it was time to have a website, it was a natural choice to not only create a site to share information about our theatres, but also to host Hitting the Stage - Hawai'i's first dedicated theatre news and review website.

—The Hawai'i State Theatre Council

Aloha, and welcome to Hitting The Stage. On behalf of the HTS team, thank you for your interest in Hawai‘i’s first dedicated theatre news and reviews website.

Why start a website for a small theatre community? Because our theatre community deserves it. These are people who give their time, energy, and effort, often for little or no pay, nightly, weekly, sometimes for decades, to create art on these island shores. Some are well-trained professionals while many others are regular community folk with varying degrees of expertise. Why do they do it? What makes them tick? This is what HTS will bring you: their passion, their vision, their stories.

Most of all, this is for you, our theatre peers and patrons, to give a spotlight on Hawai‘i’s theatre scene, now.

The initial idea for what would later develop into HTS started in 2010 with fellow UHM alum, Frank Episale. In July of that year, a review came out for a show I directed, Julius Caesar. At the time, Hawai‘i had recently gone from having two major newspapers, each with a regular theatre critic, to a single dominant publication with only one reviewer. On a Facebook post of that critic’s review, I remarked that while it seemed to be a positive critique, it was still unfortunate that there was only one main reviewer in town. Frank commented, “Y’all need to start some kind of peer review web site for local performing arts.”

The seed was planted. Thank you, Frank, for your insight, inspiration, and endorsement.

Fast-forward to the beginning of 2012, when a review came out for Kumu Kahua Theatre’s adaptation of Lois-Ann Yamanaka’s Saturday Night at the Pahala Theatre. That review, scathing in its reproach, did much to energize many in the theatre community who had had enough of being subjected to the one-paper-one-reviewer status quo. On yet another Facebook post, the issue of creating a peer-to-peer review website once again came into play. Upon seeing this post, long-time friend and theatre workmate Kylie Coonse volunteered to build the website that would become the first incarnation of HTS. Her technical knowledge and website startup experience has proved invaluable, and we could not have done it without her. Thank you, Kylie, for your tremendous work and expertise. Your efforts have made it possible for people in the community to be more active about the kinds of theatre we see and create.

While a reviewer provides an important voice and is a necessary facilitator in the dialogue between artist and audience, there's is still only a single point-of-view. In this information age, there is absolutely no reason why the general public may not readily voice its own opinion. Hitting The Stage was born to provide the public that voice.

This relationship between those who create art and those who experience the fruits of their creation is reciprocal; it is a dialogue. Dialogue, debate, different points-of-view having a shared experience— all feed into the idea that theatre, by its very nature, encourages empathy. And the more we as a community are able to see the world through each others' eyes, the stronger and more vibrant our social fabric becomes. When you uplift the performing arts, you uplift the community as a whole. Therefore, we here at HTS advocate the general public submitting their own reviews. Our staff reviewers are trusted professionals in their craft, and while HTS endorses their opinions for a featured spot on our Home Page, their reviews are meant to serve as a jumping-off point for discussion and dialogue, and not the end-all, be-all final word on the matter.

More important than our staff reviews is hearing from you, the general public. Tell us what you think. Submit your own review, and if you're so inclined, we invite you to join the HTS team and take a featured spot on our Home Page as a Staff Writer.

Mahalo, love, and aloha to original HTS crew: Kylie Coonse, Set Designer Brett Botbyl, Assistant Director (News) Steve Wagenseller, Assistant Director (Reviews) Stu Hirayama, House Manager Dusty Behner, and Writers/Reviewers Malia Balayot, A. Diegel, Becky Maltby, John Wythe White, Donna Bebber, and Scott Robertson.

Hitting The Stage: Hit your mark. Find your light. Find your voice. You’re on. Break a leg!

—Troy M. Apostol, HTS Director (Revised August 2016)