And now for a personal note. This weekend marks the fourth annual Maui Fringe Festival, which is put on by Maui OnStage. It’s an eclectic three-day deal that includes a ton of dramatic and performance arts. This year there will be showcase performances from Pat Masumoto, Virginia Sandell and Chris Rose; a Fringe Cabaret show; the Adaptations Dance Theater; and the plays Tale of Kathaka by Antara Bhardwaj, Maple Street Militia by Teresa Salyer and War Stories by yours truly.
That’s right: I wrote a play. It’s just a short one-act thing–a scene, really–but it’s the first time anything I’ve written will appear on stage. As far as the story, it’s very simple. Set in the Honolulu International Airport terminal in 1965, it involves two men who flew during World War II, one American and one Japanese, who randomly meet and start to talk about their lives.
The play stars Derek Nakagawa as the American vet and Jason Takaki as the Japanese vet. Oh, and Angie Thompson will direct (disclosure: she’s my girlfriend).
Things seem to be moving smoothly now, but the whole thing was terrifying a few weeks ago. Casting the play was difficult, to say the least–partly, I suspect, because it’s a drama with two male leads, whereas most plays on the island seem to be musicals, comedies or musical comedies with mostly female casts. In any case, Angie was persistent, and calm, and finally secured Nakagawa (who starred in numerous local shows, including MAPA’s Fresher Ahi and Lesser Ahi) and Takaki (who has performed with the local Talking Stories theater group).
Casting a play, setting up rehearsals, acquiring props–all these things were unfamiliar to me. Thankfully, Angie has considerable theater experience. She’s appeared in two plays so far on Maui–both at ProArts in Kihei–and has starred in and directed numerous plays in Northern California. And though I wrote the play, I thought it best to just give the whole thing to her and let her, as director, turn it into something that people will enjoy seeing.
That’s why I haven’t attended any rehearsals. In fact, I won’t see the play until the festival’s opening night. Sure, I get regular updates on the play’s progress, but as far as getting the thing done, it’s entirely in Angie’s, Derek’s and Jason’s hands.
For someone like me, used to directing the presentation of my writing in MauiTime, this can be stressful. But my hope is that it’ll lead to more audience enjoyment, which I think is the ultimate goal of all theatrical works.
The Maui Fringe Festival runs Friday, Jan. 31 through Sunday, Feb. 2 at the historic Iao Theater in Wailuku. Click here more information on the Festival.
Photo: Wikimedia Commons