Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3:00pm
Performed at The Arts at Marks Garage, 1159 Nu'uanu Ave in downtown Honolulu.
WARNING: Adult language and situations
Kailua Onstage Arts continues its inaugural season with the disco-flavored Rolling the R’s by acclaimed playwright, poet, and author, R. Zamora Linmark, based on his novel of the same name.
Set in Kalihi in late ‘70s when teenagers read Teen Beat magazine, hung posters of Shaun Cassidy in their rooms, and boogied to the disco beat. Edgar Ramirez, a Kalihi teenager "who looks like a Filipino John Travolta," is gay and doesn’t care about the taunts from his peers. Edgar and his friends, Katrina and Vicente, along with their classmates, dream, explore their sexuality, and struggle to define their ethnic identities in this surrealistic and gritty story.
The production is directed by Reiko Ho and runs from December 28th through January 20th, at The Arts at Marks Garage, 1159 Nu'uanu Ave, in downtown Honolulu.
For author, poet and playwright R. Zamora Linmark, writing the book (and later the stage adaptation) was a way “to recapture a moment, mixing memory and imagination. It’s my time travel capsule, where the past becomes the present in order to preserve my memories: of this small place called Kalihi, my first home in the United States as an immigrant, and all of the beauty and horror and wackiness of the times.”
Although the book was first published in 1995 and the stage production is currently celebrating its tenth anniversary, “the issues I grappled with,” says Linmark, ”are pretty much issues that have not gone away, sadly: homophobia, bullying, the trauma and rewards that come with assimilation, the struggle to fit in while, at the same time, fighting to be yourself, to retain that part of you that is important, that is different. Not much has changed, really. Yes, people from the margins (via gender and racial and class differences) are more visible now, they have a voice now, but they are still bullied, discriminated against, even killed because of who they are.”
Linmark explains that in addition to the continued relevance of the themes, adapting the book for the theater was further facilitated “because an important character in it is language – Pidgin, Taglish (mixture of Tagalog and English)... one could watch the play just by listening to it. So, the play, while it’s preserving a specific time in Hawaii’s local history, is also preserving languages.”
For director Reiko Ho, bringing to life the schoolmates of Rolling the R’s is also a blast from the past: “[They] bring up my childhood, every character is someone I remember from growing up here in the 70’s. The flavor of the writing perfectly captures that time period here in Hawaii.” The cast is too young to have had direct experience with the disco era, but as Ho points out, “The music itself is a character in this story, and the songs and what they evoke have helped serve as an entry point“ for the actors.
Kailua Onstage Arts is a new, non-profit performing arts company dedicated to presenting works that give voice to the voiceless. “KOA had a hole in its schedule and Rolling the R’s was submitted for consideration,” explains Artistic Director Kevin Keaveney. “I was immediately struck by how closely our mission statement synced up with the author’s own words about his intent in writing the piece: 'I wrote the play out of the necessity and urgency—to give faces and voices to a marginalized community in Hawaii that, at the time, were invisible or rarely seen on stage.' Although I had already set our first season's slate of shows, I knew that I wanted to present this play early on, to help us state our declaration of purpose."
Although KOA is based in downtown Kailua, we are making the trip over the mountain for this production. “Because this was an addition to our planned season, we had no venue booked, but a happy confluence of schedules and availability meant we were able to accept The Arts at Marks’ gracious offer to host the production. Going forward, we may occasionally perform around the state, but we are still first and foremost a Windward Oahu-based theater.”
Kailua Onstage Arts is a new, non-profit performing arts company based in downtown Kailua and dedicated to presenting works that give voice to the voiceless – those who have gone mostly unheard because of their race, gender, sexuality, geographic location, or economic condition.
A 7-week session in movement, voice, and acting for musical theatre with an informal showcase the 7th class, taught by Kelly Wadlegger (Musical Theater Summer School Teacher at Le Jardin Academy and Dance Director at Castle Performing Arts Center/Castle High School
Sundays 9/9, 9/16, 9/23, 9/30, 10/14, 10/21, 10/28
(no class 10/7)
Place: KAILUA ONSTAGE ARTS
131 Hekili Street #203
Kailua HI 96734
Kelly Wadlegger holds an M.F.A. in Dance (2009) from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (UHM) where she taught dance and choreographed (Rite of Spring) for Ernst Lab Theatre on a three-year graduate fellowship; She has a B.F.A in Dance (1992) from S.U.N.Y. Purchase Conservatory . Kelly currently is the Dance Educator and Dance Director in the Performing Arts Pathways at Castle High School/Castle Performing Arts Center and recently directed musical theatre at Le Jardin Academy summer school.
Kelly is an international choreographer, dancer, and teaching artist who has taught International Baccalaureate Diploma Dance, and choreographed dance concerts and musicals at Western Academy Beijing, P.R. China, and the International School Bangkok, Thailand. She has choreographed commercials; concert dance for CPAC/Castle DanceForce (Sleeping Beauty, Juxtapositions, United Colors of Dance); and staged choreography for Manoa Valley Theatre, Hawaii Pacific University, and Hawaii Mission Houses. She premiered an evening of theatre & dance for Oahu 1st Fringe Festival, and Ong King Arts (Identities in Motion); and has performed locally with Tau Dance Theatre, Halua Pua Ilima, and Convergence Dance Theatre; and has taught/ choreographed at Punahou School, The Movement Center, The Dance Space, UHM Outreach College, Montessori Community School, Still and Moving Center, and Chaminade University.
In New York City she studied Method Acting with Gary Swanson and was a working observer at The Actors Studio where she performed in (MacBeth), and danced with NYC based companies.
131 Hekili St., #203, Kailua, HI 96734
Performances held at 50 Kihapai St in Kailua