Maui Arts & Entertainment

History Theater Showcases Lives of Annie Alexander, Samuel Kamakau & Rev. Richards

July 12, 2018, 8:34 AM HST
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History Theatre Maui Flier

The Lahaina Restoration Foundation in partnership with Hawaiian Mission Houses presents History Theater on Friday, July 20, 6:30 p.m. on the Baldwin Home Lawn.

The live performance features three professional actors – Rasa Fournier, Albert Ueligitone and Kevin Keaveney – who will portray Annie Alexander, Samuel Kamakau and Reverend William Richards.

Gates open at 6 p.m. Admission is free; however advance reservation is required by calling (808) 661-3262 or email [email protected]

After seven years running on Oʻahu, the History Theater is expanding to the neighbor islands with the July 20 show in Lahaina, Maui.  There is also a sold out show taking place on July 21 at the Makawao Cemetery where Annie Alexander is buried.

The program began as a way to place history into a format where it could be accessible and fun. Organizers say that seeing characters portrayed by professional actors is exciting, but “seeing the portrayals in a historic setting adds a sense of drama to the drama.”

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The History Theater runs as the Cemetery Pupu Theater program on Oʻahu. The difference is the Oʻahu portrayals take place near where the people are buried; whereas in Lahaina, the actors are stationed at historic sites, not burial grounds.

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The live production will feature three monologues and the audience is divided into three groups. The audience will walk between the different stations with each station running 15 minutes. The first station will be on the mauka side of the Masters’ Reading Room; the second station will be inside the Baldwin Home; and the third station will be under a tree in Campbell Park.

Group escorts will be with each group to help guide them between stations, and seating will be provided at each location. Refreshments will be available before and after the show at the grape arbor next to the Baldwin Home. There’s also a “talk back” session with the actors after the show.

“We believe it’s important to make history accessible to the general public,” said Theo Morrison, Executive Director, Lahaina Restoration Foundation. “Storytelling is a creative and wonderful way to share history. We’re proud to present History Theatre and we hope it will continue so everyone will have a chance to experience it, first hand.”

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The History Theatre allows the general public to meet people from Hawai’i’s shared history and to hear their stories from their perspective. Through extensive research and thorough documentation, the scripts are crafted to be an intimate and engaging way to learn about our history.

“By using journals, letters, and writings by and about the people being portrayed we can get a closer look at Hawai’i’s history through one person’s perspective. Many times the scripts utilize the person’s own words from these sources. This is what makes our version of history unique,” organizers said.

As HMH History Theatre expands its programs, there are many characters available for events at the museums or community organizations. The current characters are Annie Alexander, Samuel Kamakau and Reverend William Richards. Organizers say all three have had an incredible impact on the history of Hawai’i, Maui and beyond.

Hawaiian Mission Houses, including the Hawai’i Council for the Humanities, Hawai’i Tourism Authority, Makawao Cemetery and Lahaina Restoration Foundation, presents History Theater. The History Theatre is grant-funded by the Hawai’i Council for the Humanities.

About the characters:

Rasa Fournier will portray Hawai’i born Annie Alexander who lived from 1867-1950. She is the granddaughter of missionaries and the daughter of Samuel T. Alexander. She was a paleontologist and vertebrate zoologist who founded the Museum of Paleontology and the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC-Berkeley.

Albert Ueligitone will portray Samuel Kamakau. Kamakau lived from 1815-1876. He was enrolled at Lahainaluna Seminary in 1833 where he was a student of Rev. Sheldon Dibble. In 1841, Kamakau was a founding member of the first Hawaiian Historical Society, and he published historical and cultural articles.

Kevin Keaveney will portray the Rev. William Richards who lived in 1793-1847. He arrived with the second company missionaries in 1823 and was stationed in Lahaina. He lived in a house on what is now Campbell Park. He became a teacher to the ali’i on the topic of western political economy.

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