HTY Produces Pinoy Power Play!
Honolulu Theatre for Youth has always done a great job in delivering productions that appeal to the melting pot of cultures that lives in Hawaii, and their season for ’18-’19 is no different. Titling the season “Our Stories,” they have picked family friendly productions that are “celebrating stories that speak to and about our community.” The first is the world premiere of Filipino Folktales and Fables by playwright and director, Alvin Chan.
Chan weaves together several folktales and fables from all across the Filipino island chain- or rather, the Philippines archipelago, as the show teaches. The Philippines were colonized by the Spanish and thus do have a strong Spanish (and Catholic) presence that you can see and feel today, but the stories seem to predate this colonization, which makes for an amazing set of stories you have probably not heard of before. From the creation of the Philippines itself to why pineapples have eyes, from a fun intro to halo halo (to which the kids in the audience laughably reeled at) to a darker story about why lunar eclipses happen, Chan and the company have assembled a beautiful sampler of stories that represent Filipino heritage and values. As Artistic Director Eric Johnson noted in his preshow speech, the company reached out to the Filipino community for help constructing not just the stories, but the choreography and the look of the production as well. H. Wayne Mendoza’s choreography was very fun to watch (the HTY ensemble is impressive with their candle skills!) and Gabe Tomo’s choreography and music for the Tinkling section was also a treat. Credited for Scenic and Props design are Chesley Cannon, P. Brian Gilhooly II, and Eric West while Costume Design is done also by Chan and Costume Construction is credited to Sharon Garcia Doyle and Tessie Cabral. They all deserve a hand for capturing that down-to-earth feel that many would associate with the Philippines.
The acting ensemble includes Sean-Joseph Choo, Jocelyn Maki’ilei Ishihara, Matthew Mazella, Christian Jav Quinto, and Junior Tesoro. A seamless unit, they have boundless energy and charisma as they weave the tales for the audience, be it through acting out a story as a monkey or being one of many “Juan’s” to cross the sea for some salt. They treat the material with respect and their dancing skills in the pieces that require it are very impressive.
A special shoutout to Cannon for creating the bird puppet- it looks and works wonderfully, and the audience was very receptive to it. He also does the projection design for HTY’s shows, and through each season he is constantly growing and evolving his animation skills. This show marks a high for him as not only do his animations look the best they ever have, but the synergy with the rest of the elements on stage is a treat to behold as well.
Rolling the R’s and hitting the P’s, Filipino Folktales and Fables is something the whole family can enjoy, Filipino or not. It runs Saturdays August 25 – September 22 @ 4:30 pm with ASL Interpretation Saturday September 22 @ 11:00 am and Onstage Workshop September 15 @ 2:30 pm. Performances are at Tenney Theatre on the grounds of The Cathedral of St. Andrew. The show is ideal for ages 6 and up. Single tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for youth (18 and under) and $15 for seniors (over 60). HTY For Every Family Pay-What-You-Can performance will be Saturday September 22 @11:00 am. For more information, to receive a season brochure, order tickets to a show or learn more about HTY's educational programming call 839-9885 ext 720. Tickets may also be ordered online at www.htyweb.org.