War in times of peace

PUHI — After the end of World War II, peace was supposed to come. Instead, greed and hatred only intensified in the household of Eudora Whitney.

“Going Home,” the final play of David Penhallow-Scott’s series of four plays — Banzai Darling, Emma’s Last Dance, Matilda’s Waltz and now the final play, Going Home — tells the story of the play’s protagonist, Eudora, and how she adjusts to life after war as a widow while the world around her changes.

Feeling trapped inside her estate, Eudora is looking for an escape from reality

“Eudora’s husband passed away and she’s planning on moving to Kauai where she lived before and has rekindled an old relationship with a man named Hank Wong,” said director Steve Whitney. “There’s a number of themes that run throughout the show. Bigotry, selfishness, changing of society as the soldiers come home from war. The sugar plantation workers are unionizing, change is coming to Hawaii.”

Kauai Community Players is putting on another fine show with an impressive cast featuring Jennifer Cullen, Fredan Alfonso, Dottie Bekeart, Jarhett Gaines, Matt Feeser, Erin Gaines and Stacy Ramos.

Playing the role of Eudora is Jennifer Cullen, who is reprising this role from “Matilda’s Waltz,” two years ago.

“(Eudora) is sad, she’s a complex and complicated character,” Cullen said. “I’ve gotten to know her better, in a deeper way through this role, She’s had kind of a rough life, there’s been a lot of turmoil and heartache in her life. This play is about Eudora, hopefully, finding her way back home to Kauai.”

Having played the role before, Cullen knows how to get in the mind of the character. However, she has learned more about Hawaiian history and life after World War II which she used to work on her acting, to make Eudora a more frustrated, anxious and sympathetic character.

“It’s been a really rich experience. I’ve learned a lot more about this era of World War II. It’s really opened my eyes to the history of Hawaii,” she said.

Without giving readers and his audience too much about the play, Whitney smiled and told The Garden Island that the audience will be very immersed into the play and anxious to know what happens next.

Not only is the play different from some past KCP shows, seeing as it’s a straight play with no dancing or singing, the look of the theater is also getting a bit of a facelift to give the audience a new vantage point.

“It’s much more powerful when the audience is right there. It’s really important for a story like this for the audience to be immersed in it so that they really feel what’s going on with the characters,” Whitney said.

The audience will be just a few feet from the action, and that’s if you’re sitting in one of the back rows. The front row seats are practically in the living room, inches away from the actors.

“Basically, we wanted to invite them into the living room and watch everything unfold. Just the nature of this space, much of the audience is further away from the action, but I wanted to audience to feel like they’re in the room with the characters,” Whitney said.

Going Home performances are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 7 p.m. and Sundays at 4 p.m, at the Puhi Theatrical Warehouse, in Lihue. Opening night will be Friday, Feb. 17 and the production will run through Sunday, March 5.

Tickets are sold out for the opening weekend of shows, but are on sale at kauaicommunityplayers.org for later dates.

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