An Ocean of Adventure Awaits!
Hawaiian stories, and thus telling them, are very important. Like other cultures across the world, Hawaiians told everything about their lives verbally and passed them down from generation to generation. Their culture, their traditions, their legends, their stories, what they believed in- all passed down without having it been written down. It’s rare, and thus makes Hawaiian storytelling experiences all the more special. Thus, I was very excited to hear that Moses Goods, whose storytelling I had heard and enjoyed before (Paniolo and Kinolau at HTY come to mind), had written and directed a piece for the community and students at Palikū Theatre.
The Epic Voyage of Kāneʻāpua is a story about an akua named Kāneʻāpua (Kaipo Dudoit) who is struggling to get back to his home of Kahiki, a colorful and vibrant island populated by akua like himself. He came with his brothers, Kāne (Kris10 Misaki) and Kanaloa (Darla Richards), to the Hawaiian islands, birthing live giving waters to the islands. However, after a grave and un-pious misstep, Kāneʻāpua made his brothers angry and they left him there, without a way to get back to Kahiki, his home. Kāneʻāpua, ever the crafty one, uses his gifts as an akua to help some voyagers who are also en route to Kahiki to ensure all of them reach their desination safely.
The “epic” voyage of Kāneʻāpua is truly epic- spanning oceans, with the magic and powers of strong deities and forces of nature, Goods’ set design paired with Janine Myers’ lighting and Anna Foster’s projections all lent to a very grand feeling. Mountains rose out of the sea, a great honu that filled the stage appeared out of nowhere, and a foggy channel guarded by the visage of a great wolf were some of the wonders that came about on Kāneʻāpua’s journey, and what a ride it was. Goods also designed all of the puppets, props, and masks that the company wore, and they are gorgeous. The attention to detail is fantastic, and he is able to convey an otherworldly sense to his akua with a dash of whimsy that all audiences are sure to appreciate.
The acting company is comprised of Dudoit, Misaki, Richards, Jeremy Keuma, Likeke Nakachi-Isaacs, Maggie Odom, and Kalena Antone. Duduoit is the only one who plays one character, Kāneʻāpua himself, and he portrays him with the exact kind of sassiness that gets him into his trouble and shenanigans that we see in the show. However, he also wields an inner strength needed for this character to grow and develop, one that everyone can rally behind. Around him, the company does double, sometimes triple work playing various characters in his journey. Some are more memorable than others, but the key thing is that every one of their roles were distinct from each other, making the storytelling clear and concise.
A robust romp for the keiki and fun for young audiences of all ages, The Epic Tale of Kāneʻāpua is currently playing at Palikū Theatre through February 24. There is a Thursday matinee at 4:00pm, Friday and Saturday evening shows at 7:30pm, and a Sunday matinee again at 4:00pm. For tickets online, click the link here.