A Wonderful Take on the Instruments of Change
By Community Reviewer Allan Okubo
With youth comes exuberance and arrogance! With age comes wisdom and impatience! With UchinaAloha you have both! A wonderful world premiere play by Lee A. Tonouchi, beautifully directed by Reiko Ho, opened at Kumu Kahua Theatre on August 25, 2016, and runs through October 2, 2016.
The instruments of change are the Okinawan musical instrument, sanshin, and the disappearing Okinawan language, Uchinaaguchi. The discovery that the preservation of both can link generations and bring different cultures together –Hawai`i and Okinawa- brings this comedy to a delightful conclusion.
A cast of six take you on a cultural roller coaster ride of humor and reflection of youth, aging, Hawai`i and Okinawa, and how in life there is always compromise.
Shah J. Hoshida Bento (Tamashiro Sensei) is the patriarch and sanshin instructor; Serina Durham (Ghost Mom) says nothing verbally yet communicates the love and concern all mothers have for their children as she looks out for her son, David; Collin Gushiken Hoo (Elmer) makes his stage debut a splash as the Okinawa loving sanshin student; Maile Kapua’ala (Maria Ginoza) is hilarious as the college student from Okinawa staying at the Tamashiro residence; Kenny Kusaka (David Yonamine) is the grandson of Tamashiro sensei and takes nothing serious, both in life and in sanshin. His revelation, through the sanshin, brings life back into focus for all; and Eun Ho Lee (Derrick) rounds out the cast as the hip sanshin student of Tamashiro Sensei. The blending of all makes for a wonderful whole.
A shout out goes to the design team: Bulldog (Set Design)-simple but gorgeous; Dusty Behner (Costume Design); Barett Hoover (Sound Design); and Thomas Tochiki (Lighting Design).
This play will leave you with a smile on your face and a craving for bittermelon and pig feet soup. So call Kumu Kahua Theatre at 536-4441 and get your tickets before it’s too late.