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Maui Fringe Festival – Performances From Maui and Beyond

By Vanessa Wolf

The Maui Fringe Theater Festival 2013 kicks off tomorrow night at the Iao Theater and runs through Sunday. The festival itself offers a series of one-act plays and other performance pieces ranging from high drama to wacky comedy to burlesque.

We caught up with two of the headlining actresses – both first timers to our island home – to learn a little more about them, their work, and what they’d be doing if they weren’t doing this.

Qurrat Kadwani. Courtesy photo.

Qurrat Kadwani. Courtesy photo.

Qurrat Kadwani’s performance piece is entitled “They Call Me Q!”

It’s described as a journey to find herself amidst 13 characters based on her traditional Indian parents, Caucasian teachers, Puerto Rican classmates, African-American friends and various Indian women. Q grew up in the Bronx and currently resides in New York City.

Maui Now: How long have you been acting and performing your own one-act plays?

Qurrat Kadwani: I majored in theater at the State University of New York at Geneseo where I developed a strong foundation for acting, directing and producing plays.

I’ve been writing and working on my solo play, “They Call Me Q!” for four years and only in 2012 has it reached the performance level that I am excited about. I workshopped it at The Chicago Fringe Festival where audiences of all backgrounds related to the universal themes I present – cultural and family pressures, friends dictating how you see the world and eventually, an appreciation and acceptance of who you are as an individual.

MN: Do you have another job or is it all one-act plays all the time?

QK: I am focusing heavily on “They Call Me Q!” I’ve been performing it at colleges, as special events for non-profit organizations and charities, and participating in festivals such as the Maui Fringe Festival. I am also very big into philanthropy. I have a non-profit organization called eyeBLINK.

MN: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an actress/playwright?

QK: I’ve asked myself this question so many times. The answer is, I can’t imagine doing anything else. If there was something I’d rather do, I’d be doing it. The acting business is very difficult – there is no set road. I have to constantly create my own opportunities, network and be present in each moment of life.

Fine, I’ll answer the question!  I’d travel around the world and document every country’s independence day and how they celebrate freedom…that would be so fun!

MN: What would you say is your worst quality?

QK: I try to have an amazing balance in life: family, friends, and career. There are times when I’m jumping from one event to another so that I can see my friends, or rushing back home because I need to send out an important email. This makes me very, very tired at times. I stretch myself thin.

MN: What’s your earliest memory?

QK: When I was three, I had a t-shirt with a puppy on it. My brother did the laundry for my mom one day and he put that shirt in the dryer. The puppy was ruined because it was rubber or some type of material that shouldn’t go into the dryer. I was so mad as a 3-year-old! I was crying and stomping my feet!

You can catch “They Call Me Q!” tomorrow night at 6:30 p.m., Saturday night at 7 p.m., or Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Iao Theater in Wailuku.

________

Julia Wackenheim. Courtesy photo.

Julia Wackenheim. Courtesy photo.

Julia Wackenheim was born in Reno, Nevada; grew up in Atlantic City, New Jersey; and lives in LA. Her play, “Turner & Hooch 2: Murder at the Wackenheim Manor.” follows three friends as they “navigate the clues of ole Wackenheim Murder Manor and discover the truth about it…and themselves.

Maui Now: So your play is about three friends one of whom is possibly a dog…and stars you and only you. How does that work?

Julia Wackenheim: I play all of the characters.

MN: Just verbally or are you costumed… or???

JW: It’s mostly verbal. There’s a little bit of a reveal, but I don’t want to give that away.

MN: How long have you been acting and performing your own one-act plays?

JW: I’ve been writing my own material for about seven years, but this is the first time I’ve done a full show.

MN: Can you tell me a little more about the show?

JW: I play myself as a 12-year old in the house I grew up in in New Jersey, where there was a murder in the house right before we moved in since my parent’s thought that wasn’t a big deal. This is a 12-year-old’s fantasy about that mystery.

MN: Have you ever seen the TV show American Horror Story?

JW: I have. Not that creepy!

MN: Do you have another job or is it all one act plays all the time?

JW: I live in LA, and I’m a working actress. I do a lot of comedy, improv, sketch and standup. What pays the bills are commercials and some stuff on TV. For instance, on Jimmy Kimmel Live he has sketches within the show that I’ve done.

MN: What do you think you would be doing if you weren’t an actress/playwright?

JW: I really dig animals, so I’d probably start some kind of non-profit animal rescue probably for dogs or cats or both. Or bunnies.

 MN: What’s the last thing you cooked in the microwave?

JW: I think I reheated some homemade vegetable soup.

MN: What would you say is your worst quality?

JW: I don’t have good boundaries. I get into situations I shouldn’t.

MN: What’s your earliest memory?

JW: I think I was two and a half. I remember walking up to the hospital with my dad to see my brother who had just been born.

MN: What is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you?

JW: I was at an audition and there was this random guy that had been on the TV show The State, which was on MTV. He was just a random guy. He wasn’t even one of the main actors, but I couldn’t do my callback because I was so awestruck by this F-level celebrity. He wasn’t even a celebrity, but I kind of lost it and had to leave.

Julia will be performing “Turner & Hooch 2: Murder at the Wackenheim Manor” tomorrow night at 9:15 p.m., Saturday at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at the Iao Theater.

Tickets for individual performances are available online or at the door for $10.

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