Shocka Rocka Aflame
In hindsight, I didn’t think much of Shocka: The Story of Energy & Hawaii. I remember looking at the season, and seeing this title being the big finale, and could not wrap my head around how HTY would make an enjoyable TYA production about energy in Hawaii. What’s interesting about electricity? What’s captivating about the story of energy in our islands?
Sitting down in the theatre, this production made me believe absolutely everything was exciting about energy. I was happy to be swept off my feet and taken on this journey forward through time, and the keiki in the audience sounded like they gave a stamp of approval as well.
Written and devised by the HTY Company, Shocka: The Story of Energy & Hawaii features a delegation from the future coming back to Hawaii to educate our community about being energy efficient and planting the seeds that will make Hawaii have 100% clean energy by the year 2045. Let it be known that the future knows how to mount a production- one part rock concert, one part interactive learning exhibit, one part variety show, and one part science fiction fantasy come true, Shocka closes HTY’s The Power of People season with a bang.
Through a mix of catchy songs and electrified performances, the company takes the audience through different aspects about energy and electricity- where it comes from, places you don’t know it comes from, how it’s saved, the difference between potential and kinetic energy, the history of electricity and the Hawaiian Kingdom- all while keeping the youth engaged with fantastic audience interaction. A joke that runs through the production is that every one of the delegation finds their past selves in the audience attending that night, and the results range from hysterical to heartwarming. The production speaks not just about energy and electricity, but how we can be moving forward to a clean energy future for Hawaii. The time travelers come back to the past to help us learn about something many youth (or adults) may not understand, and impart a draw to action to the keiki in the audience- to keep the momentum going so they may see this clean future realized for the state, and maybe the world.
Only one moment drew pause from me throughout this show, and that’s when the company broke up into teams to have miniature “learning” sessions with the audience. If you’re not in a chosen section, be prepared to just sit and wait for a couple of minutes while hearing the buzzing activity of the theatre going on around you.
Set & Prop Designer Eric West and Video & Light, Co-Set Designer Chesley Cannon birth an environment that looks and feels futuristic, and they have many tricks and effects that would not have been possible if not for their synergy. Iris Kim deserves strong acolades, as her costumes manage to feel like an evolution to what fashion may be in the future rather than something outlandish and jarring. Harmony Turner’s choreography was fabulous, fun, and crisp, keeping up with the wattage of the production. Sound Consultant Paul James Prendergast worked with the company to bring the audience an audible smorgasbord in the soundtrack- hopefully the songs get a CD release for the keiki to enjoy over and over again!
Congratulations to HTY Company Members Alvin Chan, Sean-Joseph Choo Maile Holck, Jocelyn Maki’ilei Ishihara, Matthew Mazella, Nathaniel Niemi, Junior Tesoro, Christina Uyeno and Director Eric Johnson for not only a bombastic show but a thrilling close to a strong season.
Shocka: The Story of Energy & Hawaii will run for the public on Saturdays April 21, 28, May 5, and 12 at 4:30pm with an ASL performance on Saturday, May 5 at 11:00am. For tickets, go to www.htyweb.org or call 839-9885 ext. 720.