HONOLULU (KHON2) – At UH Mānoa, the Kennedy Theatre brings its season to a close with another hana keaka, or Hawaiian theatre. 

Primarily performed in ʻŌlelo Hawai’i, or Hawaiian language, this production known as “Hoʻoilina” brings attention and its spotlight to, yet another language known as ʻŌlelo Māhū.

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Let’s go inside to find out more. 

KHON2 met with some very influential people when it comes to this play. 

Ākea Kahikina is the writer and director, and Kaʻiminaʻauao Cambern is one of the actors.

KHON2 asked Kahikina the meaning behind the name Hoʻoilina and what can people expect to see?

Hoʻoilina translates to three things. One is a legacy, one is an inheritance, and one is a burying place, somewhere were your iwi kupuna are buried. All three of these definitions come together to talk about a will reading.  All sorts of questions come from this, so it really challenges us to think about what the consequences of this are, both good and bad.”

Ākea Kahikina, Writer and Director of Hoʻoilina

KHON2 then asked Kahikina what does it make him feel like in terms of this momentum of people becoming more familiar with Hawaiian theatre and more interested in Hawaiian theatre?

“So hana keaka starting in 2014 with ʻiekawai, to see it now in 2022 we really have done some great work in being able to establish our moʻolelo, our traditional stories, and now because of my kumu and their predecessors to work on how to walk and run and fly, we’re able to do stories about today,” explained Kahikina. “This is a ʻailona to say we are doing the work and we’re doing something right here.”

KHON2 also asked Cambern how he feels about having the ability to perform and express himself and play this character speaking Hawaiian in 2022.

“It’s really healing in many ways because the subject of ʻŌlelo Hawai’i sometimes in families who have been severed from the language for generations can be quite painful,” said Cambern. “So, studying the Hawaiian language is about mending that piko again.”

One thing that is being spotlighted in the play is something called ʻŌlelo MāhūCambern went on to explain the meaning behind ʻŌlelo Māhū:

“Sure, you probably have heard it before. Like you heard ‘Mary.’  So, you hear it all over the place.  It’s a play language.  It’s important to look at the history of play languages in Hawai’i which we have a wonderful history of that.  So, of these different play languages or code languages coming along through into this time, to me ʻŌlelo Māhū or this queer creole if you will, is a living version of that play language. What I really appreciate about this show is seeing that queer kānaka, māhū in general, those identify as māhū are human beings and have depth, substance, beauty, complexity.  So, I’m hoping that the audience can leave carrying all of that with them.” 

The production of Ho’oilina is set to premiere next weekend, April 15 and April 16, as well as the following weekend, April 22 through April 24. 

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Tickets are available for limited live audiences. For all the information, click here