Chamber Music Hawaii Presents MO'OLELO O KE KOA, An Adaptation Of Stravinsky's The Soldier's Tale
Chamber Music Hawaii (CMH) and the University of Hawai?i (UH) celebrate the centennial of Stravinsky's L'Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier's Tale) with an original Hawaiian translation of the work: Mo'olelo o ke Koa. The production is adapted and directed by Todd Farley, and it features CMH musicians alongside actors and dancers from UH. Public performances are Monday, January 14 at 7:30 p.m. in the Doris Duke Theatre and Friday, January 18 at 7:30 p.m. in Paliku Theatre. General Admission tickets are $35 per person and can be purchased at ChamberMusicHawaii.org.
"There is a special theatrical delight and wonder that takes place when the worlds of music, word, and movement meet," says Todd Farley. "Similar to when world cultures share story together, the result is a spectacular evening sure to enthrall young and old alike."
L'Histoire du Soldat tells the story of a soldier who-while on his way home from the war-encounters the devil and is presented with an appealing deal: to exchange his fiddle for a magic book that will grant him everything he ever wanted. The original French text is by Swiss writer C.F. Ramuz and based on the folk tale, The Runaway Soldier and the Devil. Igor Stravinsky, a 20th-century Russian composer, scored the piece for a septet of violin, double bass, clarinet, bassoon, cornet/trumpet, trombone, and percussion. The work also calls for three main actors (soldier, devil, narrator), a dancer (princess), and additional ensemble dancers.
This co-production between CMH and UH represents the first Hawaiian translation of L'Histoire du Soldat. While it closely follows Ramuz's libretto, the new version is set in the Big Island and the soldier, Koa, is Hawaiian. The plot revolves around Koa's struggle with the lure of colonialism and the seduction of materialism that came with it. Farley explains, "Mo'olelo o ke Koa tells a story as old as time itself, true to the first fallen paradise, to post-war Europe and post-colonial Hawaii-we had peace, then enters the Devil. It is fitting that the story of human struggle is shared in a collaborative work between art forms and cultures-between mimes, actors, composers, and musicians; between Hawaiians, Asians, and Europeans."
The theatrical roles were cast by audition and are being portrayed by a talented group of actors, dancers, and mimes who study at or are affiliated with UH. Stravinsky's modernist score is brought to life by Tresemble, an ensemble of CMH players featuring mixed and atypical instrumentation. In addition to director/translator/mimeographer Todd Farley, Mo?olelo o ke Koa's creative team also includes: ??lelo Hawai?i translator Kalalea Lee; Hawaiian Consultants Haili Baker, Kaipu Baker, and Kalalea Lee; and Assistant Choreographer Kelly Wadlegger.
Farley was raised in Hilo as a child, moved to the West Coast as a teen, and lived in Paris as a young adult. He translated the original French text into English and adapted it to a Hawaiian context. The Soldier's Tale was then translated into Hawaiian by Kalalea Lee and further adapted by the UH cast. The movement style in this production draws from Farley's work with Marcel Marceau (1984-87) and his experience in European mime, physical theatre, and dance, while also featuring Hawaiian theatre forms under the guidance of Tammy Haili??pua Baker, Associate Professor and Director in the Hawaiian Theatre Program. Farley's adaptation and direction fulfill the final requirements of his MFA in Theatre Directing in the Theatre for Young Audiences program at UH, under the tutelage of Mark Branner and Amy Schiffner.
General Admission tickets to Mo?olelo o ke Koa on January 14, 18 are $35 per person. Tickets are available by phone at (808) 489-5038 or online at ChamberMusicHawaii.org. Free student rush tickets will be available at the door with a valid student ID.