From ‘Dance’ to ‘Waltz’

With the success of last year’s “Emma’s Last Dance,” writer and director David Penhallow Scott continues the story with “Matilda’s Waltz.”

The play, presented by the Kauai Community Players, opens Feb. 20 and runs through March 8 at the Puhi Theatrical Warehouse. 

It is set during World War II in 1944, a time when Oahu became home to millions of servicemen heading to fight on the islands in the Pacific and then, if necessary, on to the shores of Japan to finish the war.

It was a time, Scott said, that changed the moral, political and social climate of Hawaii — forever. It was a huge turning point in Hawaii’s history and it is a story Scott experienced, knows well and wants to share.

“It was never the same again,” he said. “Everything turned upside down.”

Matilda’s Waltz is a continuation of the saga of the Whitney family that Scott shared in Emma’s Last Dance. Oahu, to servicemen, was known as “The Rock” because it was a lonely outpost in the middle of the ocean, where they were forced to wait and contemplate a future of life or death.

“These GIs live for the moment. Their angst creates havoc for the people who live on Oahu and now all bets in Hawaii are off,” Scott wrote about the play. “The Whitney family and the people around them get caught up in their chaos. Forbidden relationships are formed, strikes are threatened by the sugar workers wanting a better life, and the old, sweet Hawaii is lost in a war that concludes that madness rules over reason and life is a mere shadow signifying nothing.

“But as in all chaos which man creates, the Whitneys of the Hawaiian Islands still find hope in this new world; a world where beauty, humor and love still exists in their land of aloha.”

Hawaii, Scott said, is generous and kind to newcomers. 

“It is less judgmental, I believe, than you will find anywhere else, maybe in the world,” he said.

The cast includes Jennifer Cullen, Isaac Worth, Chad Dellatan, Rod Green, Steve Whitney, Emily Goldbach, Tani Ishino, Averie Soto, Kaina Allard-Mahoney and Claudia Cowden.

Matilda’s Waltz runs Fridays and Saturday at 7 p.m., and Sunday’s at 4 p.m. for three weekends. There is a pay-what-you-can preview at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19. There will be a reception with the director and actors after the opening night’s performance with refreshments served.

Tickets are $20, $5 off opening weekend, discounts for KCP members, students and seniors.

Info: (800) 838-3006 or kauaicommunityplayers.org

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