THE KAMAU TRILOGY Comes to Kumu Kahua Theatre

Performances run May 30 – June 30.

By: May. 22, 2024
THE KAMAU TRILOGY Comes to Kumu Kahua Theatre
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 Kumu Kahua Theatre will present The Kāmau Trilogy by Alani Apio, with Kāmau, Kāmau Aʻe  and Ua Pau back by popular demand at the theatre that has commissioned each play through the years.  In a new twist for 2024, all three of these profound works are being produced at the same time in an epic undertaking running from May 30 – June 30, reuniting Apio with longtime creative collaborator and trilogy director, Harry Wong III. Audiences will now have an opportunity to experience the totality of this moving trilogy exploring land sovereignty, kuleana and ʻohana, with the option to watch each distinct yet intimately connected play on separate show dates or in a unique back-to-back presentation. 

A Hawaiian playwright, sculptor and actor, Apio did not initially set out to craft a trilogy. He
drew heavily from personal experiences as Kāmau, Kāmau Aʻe  and Ua Pau unfolded, and
had an appreciation for trilogy that was deepened by his studies with Dennis Carroll, Kumu Kahua founder and professor emeritus of the Department of Theatre and Dance at
University of Hawaiʻi. “Thirty years of life in Hawaiʻi has passed, a generation, from the
first production of  Kāmau in 1994, and it has weighed on me deeply what these islands
have become, who we have become,” shares Apio. “When I look at where Ua Pau ends
there’s hope, but there’s also a big question mark for Stevie—what is the Hawaiʻi you are
inheriting and what are you going to do about it? The best of theatre strikes up introspection and dialogue, and I’m very interested in seeing how these plays are going to
hit audiences today.”

In the compelling Kāmau, cousins’ perspectives on kuleana put them at odds when their
ancestral beach-side homestead is sold to build a hotel. Picking up ten years later, Kāmau
Aʻe finds Michael, now a member of a sovereignty group and newly released from prison,
returning to occupy the beach he was evicted from while Alika has become the resort’s
manager, offering cultural tours and providing hundreds of jobs for Native Hawaiians. The
cousins’ worldviews again collide as larger forces vie for control of the place that was their
home. The trilogy concludes with Ua Pau, as Stevie returns from college and uncovers
hidden truths about her family and the inter-generational trauma that haunts them. Her
struggle to release old ghosts and claim her place—and her kuleana—will determine
whether she and her ʻohana survive intact, or at all.

“Creating all of those connections, that’s the through line for me. Making sure that each
character that the plays focus on do what is necessary to free the family’s spirit in the last
play,” shares Wong on his artistic approach to orchestrating the concurrent and reimagined productions.  “When you see all three plays, you’ll see this grander arc. The actors, they’re amazing—pushing their emotions the way an athlete would push so that the audience can experience what these people are going through. Just that is worth the price of a ticket.”

Concluding Kumu Kahua’s 53 rd Season, Kāmau will be presented on Thursdays (May 30,
June 6, 13, 20, 27), Kāmau Aʻe on Fridays (May 31, June 7, 14, 21, 28), and Ua Pau on
Saturdays (June 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, 2024) at 7 p.m. For the ultimate theatrical experience,
audiences can take in all three plays one after another in special Sunday marathons (June 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, 2024), with the first play starting at 1 p.m. and the event concluding at
approximately 8 p.m.  On Sundays, food from Happy Belly Eatery and a variety of snacks
will be available for purchase onsite.

Supported by a dedicated crew including trilogy Stage Manager and Light Board Operator
Rebecca McLeod, ensembles of tremendous actors will bring to life a total of 31 roles across the three plays as follows:

  •  Kāmau – Starring Alaura Ward, Denise Aiko Chinen, Harper Steele, Iāsona Kaper, Joshua “Baba” Tavares, Joshua Keoni McBrayer, Kahiau Machado, Laurie Tanoura,
    Lelea‘e “Buffy” Kahalepuna-Wong, PJ Souza, Ron Heller, and Stuart Featheran Jr.
    Assistant directed by Elexis Draine.
  •  Kāmau Aʻe – Starring Mika Pualilelile Cox, Michael “Donut” Donato, Kealaula “Lala”
    Faifili, Stuart Featheran Jr., Kahana Ho, Wil Kāhele, Kahiau Machado, Sheela Sharma, Darryl Soriano, Joshua “Baba” Tavares, and Alaura Ward. Assistant directed by Thoren Lagaʻali Black and Jonathan Reyn.
  • Ua Pau – Starring Maile Kapuaʻala, Charles Timtim, Carolyn Grace Corley, Wil
    Kahele, Kalia Ongolea, James Keawe Bright, Leleaʻe “Buffy” Kahalepuna-Wong,
    Iāsona Kaper and Joshua “Baba” Tavares. Assistant directed by Hoku Gilbert.

Shares Tavares, who appears nightly in all three plays and throughout the marathon
Sundays, “Although the trilogy circles around a lot of heavy themes and there’s emotionally draining things that are happening to these characters, itʻs very real. I ask myself where these characters carry their anger, and where do they carry their aloha— where does it live in them, and when does one overtake the other, which I think is the human condition.”

Coinciding with the theatrical presentation, The Kāmau Trilogy will also be available in its
entirety for the first time as a new book release from Kamehameha Publishing, carrying on
a rich and robust tradition of producing one of the largest archives of Native writings in the
world. Copies of the book will additionally be available for purchase onsite at Kumu Kahua
throughout the trilogy’s run. 

Tickets are on sale at or by contacting the theatre box office at (808)
536-444. General admission is $25 for each individual show, with Sunday marathon
attendees able to take advantage of savings through one flat price of $60 for all three shows ($50 for seniors). Sales proceeds will help the nonprofit in presenting theatre written by, for and about the people of Hawaiʻi. Kumu Kahua’s Spring Fundraiser is also underway as the theatre readies a new season. To give the gift of local voices sharing stories for the community, learn more and make a donation by visiting https://bitly.KKT54.Supporters subscribed to receive the theatre’s next season brochure may also look out for enclosed donation envelopes for a seamless mail-in option. 


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