Kaua‘i history revealed though cultural performance

ANAHOLA — On May 19, Kanuikapono Public Charter School will bring a little-k nown yet crucial piece of Kaua‘i’s history to life through a multimedia hula drama performance. “Prince Humehume: Heir to the Kingdom of Kaua’i” is a rare chance to experience Hawaiian culture through the creative vessel of song, chanting, dance and theatric performance.

Early in this school year, Kanuikapono high school students were assigned to read the book “Humehume of Kaua‘i: A Boy’s Journey to America, an Ali‘i’s Return Home” by Douglas Warne. After they finished, the students felt compelled to share the story. The life of Prince George Humehume — son of King Kaumuali‘i — is a story of heroism, adventure, tragedy and hope, and a story that forever changed the history of Kaua‘i.

“It’s almost like Humehume chose us,” said Tiare Mata, drama teacher at Kanuikapono, who helped write the script. Staff and students have collaborated on every aspect of the production: the script, the set, costumes, music and more.

“This has been a life-changing experience,” Mata said. “We are bringing our community together through storytelling, and bringing Kaua‘i’s Ali’i to life.”

“It’s not just entertainment; it’s an education,” said Nestor Figueroa, the production manager.

Ipo Torio, executive director of Kanuikapono, has been instrumental in creating a performance that blends seamlessly the timeless cultural traditions of hula, chant and song — including the creation story of Hawai‘i — with the media tools of modern technology.

“It’s been a fun and inspiring journey watching it unfold,” Figueroa said.

This year marks the 10th anniversary for Kanuikapono, a public charter school in Anahola serving grades K-12. Kanuikapono uses indigenous Hawaiian teaching with 21st-century technologies, combined with small class sizes and hands-on learning, which has proved to be a powerful and unique curriculum.

The “Prince Humehume” performance is a celebration for the school as well as a fundraiser to continue its success. There are two shows (matinee and evening show) as well as a silent auction, craft fair, live entertainment and a gourmet dinner accompanying the evening performance.

Chef Nalani Kaea Pua has crafted a menu that includes deconstructed laulau, poi vinaigrette salad and more. There will also be a vegan station as well as a barbeque station, featuring grilled fish and a variety of meats.

“Prince Humehume: Heir to the Kingdom of Kaua‘i” is on Saturday, May 19 at Kaua‘i Community College Performing Arts Center in Puhi.

The matinee performance is at noon. Adults $15 ($20 at door); Students $10 ($15 at door). The evening performance with dinner is at 6 p.m. Adults $75 ($80 at door); Students $50 ($55 at door). The evening performance (show only) is Adults $20 ($25 at door) and a special offer: Table for 10 $600 ($150 savings).

Children under age five are free if accompanied by their caregivers. For tickets, call 808-645-6038. For more information, visit www.kanuikapono.org.

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