So I wanted to share about one of the highlights this summer. Squire and I directed a show at Kumu Kahua Theatre. It was special for many reasons, 1) because it was the first show the both of us have worked on together in a long time, 2) it was at Kumu one of our “homes,” and 3) our lives are considerably different from the other times we’ve been this involved in a show.
Normally, I would have wanted to give you a blow by blow of the process while we were doing it but it went by so fast.
First off, we were going to do an improv workshop but Donna Blanchard floated this idea of directing a show at Kumu based on submissions they had received around the 38 minutes around Hawaiʻi received a false missile alert of an inbound ballistic missile.
The process for us was, we looked at and chose the pieces we were going to put in the show based on a submission call out that Kumu had made a week after the event, had auditions, and jumped straight into three solid weeks of rehearsals before we had to have our cast ready to act and improvise in front of an audience for another three weeks of shows.
Challenges were, not everyone had acting experience or improv experience, we had a short time to do both, and we had to teach everyone how to improvise in the style that we thought would serve the show the best.
The overall concept of the show was to have the actors perform, based on what we could do in such a short period, the most stage ready pieces in the first act, and use those pieces to make the audience comfortable enough to share their own stories in the second act. We tried to set up the show as naturally as possible, having the actors pretend to be audience members, breaking the fourth wall whenever we could by using the whole space, having moments of interaction between the cast, the crew, and the audience, and having the our tech and actors exchange places to show that everyone really is a part of the show.
This worked out the way we had envisioned it, we had no shortage of people volunteering their stories and all types of people willing to do it. We weren’t being overly cocky but because of what we had experienced so far through auditions and talking to others about their experiences we knew that people had stories and they were all unique. The odds were in our favor that people would be willing to share.
I have so many stories based on the people in the audience and what we learned about Hawai’i and the people that make up this wonderful place. The best part of the experience was getting to hear more stories and feel the connection between the performers and the people that came to the show. But delving it this subject would definitely take a really long time.
So I’d like to end with some general thoughts, although it was a terrible 38 minutes to live through, we all lived through it together and came out unscathed at the end, how lucky is that. Many people realized this and sought out what really mattered to them. Hawai’i is a very special place and what really highlights that, and our fragility, is what makes us pretty amazing and can easily brings us together. Squire and I also knew that this show was going to be special because of how different and unique each of the experiences people had were and continued to be during the run of shows. I may not remember every single line of every story shared in the second act for the shows that we were able to watch, but I remember every single person who shared, their story, how they felt, and how it made me feel with them letting us in and being a part of our show.