Today we’re talking about Richard’s grandson Kapono, 18, who just graduated from Kamehameha Schools and plans to attend the University of Hilo at Hilo in the fall, where he’ll major in performing arts.
And he’s not just sitting around in the meantime. Next week he stars in the play Kamau, up at Jason Scott Lee’s Ulua Theatre in Volcano. (Though we call Richard's grandson "Kapono" around here, on the program his name reads Christian Pa).
The play tells a story about a Hawaiian family torn between preserving their traditions and surviving in the modern world, and it revolves around three cousins.
Kapono plays the main lead character. Ron Serrao, who has done numerous local Hawai‘i plays and appeared on TV, plays the second cousin.
from left to right: Kapono, Ron Serrao, Jason Scott Lee paddling the canoe. (All photos by Bonnie Kim)
Well-known actor and Volcano resident Jason Scott Lee plays the third cousin. “He’s really good to work with,” says Kapono, “because of what he can do. He really gets into his character. He can change his emotions on the flip of a dime."
"He’s actually kind of challenging to work with just because he’s so good at what he does.”
The play, by Hawaiian playwright Alani Apio, tackles some complicated subjects related to Hawaiian sovereignty and family.
“It’s about a Hawaiian family who’s living in a shack on the beach,” explains Kapono, “and one day they receive this bad news that they’re going to be kicked off their land. It bounces back and forth between the current time and the past. It’s kind of about standing up for what you believe in. It communicates what being Hawaiian is, and how we as Hawaiians today have to adapt to the modern world and western influences.”
The play’s title, “Kamau,” means to “carry on,” and Kapono says the play has a really strong, good message. “It gives a multi-point of view of what it is to be Hawaiian," he says. "What we as Hawaiians should be doing. We’re not going to forget about our culture and what not. We have to keep moving forward, stick together, and work together. If we going to separate, then things are just going to fall apart.”
Tickets to the intimate theatre venue are available online and selling fast. Opening night is already sold out. Buy tickets here if you’re interested. Advance tickets are also available at Basically Books, Kea‘au Natural Foods and Volcano Store.
Kapono says the play is indescribable. “You have to see it. It’s very emotional and spiritual, and for people who are Hawaiian—even if they’re not Hawaiian—people are really moved by this story.”
“It’s a really incredible play.”
The details: August 14, 15, 16, 21, 22, 23, 7:30 p.m. at Ulua Theatre. 19-4325 Haunani Road in Volcano Village.
Advance tickets $12 general, $10 students & seniors. At the door, $15 and $10.
– posted by Leslie Lang