Jeff Gere, local Honolulu storyteller organizer and performer has been producing this festival for over 25 years and has included not only visiting nationally known tellers but also an emphasis on the diverse styles and cultures represented by Hawaii’s home-grown telling talent. This delightful festival, made free to the public (best price of all!) featured tellers throughout the weekend with a wide range of styles, some poetic, others historic, many dramatic and while others choreographic.

Friday night olio’s (Oct 19 ) was dedicated to Spooky Tales. The community loves to come out for this to hear “chicken-skin” tales (hair rising, goosebumps). Eth-Noh-Tec presented our scariest tales: the Kapre (Philippines): tale of a shapeshifter; The Dirtball: tale of a16th Century heart gobbling demon; and New Ghost (China) story of a lone travler outwitting a ghost.

James McCarthy who blended vocals, guitar and storytelling presented a ghost story from chapter in the Civil War.

Another real treat was delivered by Kathy “Tita” Collins who retold the famous Obake ghost story (Japanese) in local pidgin English. Her alter ego (“Tita”) was rauchous and bold!

We delighted in the artistry of deaf teller Ed Chevy. The clarity of his American sign language deliverance, his dramatic and intense facial expressions all sharpened the macabre tale of Edgar Allen Poes stories. Ed’s storytelling was calligraphy of the human body in motion.

Jeff Gere, founder of the festival donned his artistic cloak (a cloak of darkness I might add!) as he offered one of our favorites, the classic Japanese “Obake” ghost story, “Yuki Onna” (Snow Woman). By combining an eerie effect using angled and severe lighting, and a unique rotating silouhette-projection box, Jeff revealed changing faces that revealed the faces of a “lovely wife” to the countenance of a “breath sucking ghost” (“da’ kids go scream kine! “You a scary guy, Jeff!)”

The Saturday night concert (Oct 20) lightened up aire as it was devoted to stories for family listening and some of our favorite tales. Nancy told a Chinese story “Dragon Wings” a story of a do-good dragon gaining his wings, and a young lad keeping his promises and thus was justly rewarded (he got the girl, the bountiful farm, and his mother’s eyesight regained!)… “Happily ever after”, Chinese style!

Kilohana Silve offered a tale from the pantheon of Hawaiian goddesses including a performance of dance-theater storytelling inherent with Kahiko style hula performed by her student, Amy Daysog.

Other featured tellers included Daniel Kelin, Yasu Ishida, (Oahu), Pat Masumoto (Maui), and Pete Griffin (Juneau, AK).

If you are EVER planning an October trip to the islands (specifically Honolulu) be sure to google this event. It’s a must-see-and-hear event! Here are some pix of our favorite tellers from the Talk Story Festival 2012.

Following our appearance at Talk Story Festival, began our interisland tour to the outerislands starting with a plane to Lanai. Thanks to organizing of Tim Slaughter of the University of Hawaii and numerous island libraries and schools, Eth-Noh-Tec has been able to bring their performances to remote communities in the archeipelago. How different all the islands are in their feeling, the bioscape, the local flavor of the communities.

To get a sense of the make-shift theater we performed in, here’s the pre-show chair set up in this cavernous resort lobby of the Koele Lodge. It was so interesting to see the uppercaste tourists checking in with their golf clubs as local Hawaiian families sat waiting for the show to begin. Producer, Greg Cohen, local Lanai writer, musician and webdesigner was our host and did a fabulous job making sure our mics were set, our lodging was great (and it was GREAT!) and our performance requirements met! Take a look at the great photos (above) he took of the crowd as well. Mahalo to Greg and the many hats of talent he wears (what can’t that man do?)!

The Koele Lodge is a located on acres of gorgeous, landscaped, prime real estate overlooking what used to be vast expanses of land once tilled by the multi-national sugar industry. How ironic to see current day beauty adorning the lands of what was once an independent sovereign nation before the take-over by US corporate interests. All of this, a society changed drastically within 114 years! Now here we are, storytellers performing for the descendants of both colonizers and the colonized. Life is strange.

Immediately following the show we headed off by shuttle to the ferry landing to take us to our next stop: Maui. They told us to keep an eye out for dophins. They told us to enjoy the interisland views upon the aqua-marine colored waves. What did we do? The pulsing of the ferry’s engine, the bouncing of the waves, and the busy schedule sent us off in the slumberland, only to be woken by the voice in the ships speakers “Welcome to Maui!”.

Our performance at the MACC (Maui Arts and Cultural Center) involved 2 shows before over a thousand pre-schoolers and first graders! YIKES! Actually they were divided between 2 shows- but even still 600 children at that age is still short of a miracle. We chose stories that were visual, lots of physical movement, and plenty of call-and-response musical ideas. Below is the picture of the theater BEFORE the throngs of little keiki’s come strolling in. Now THAT’S a big room!

Later that day we presented in a much smaller venue, the library at Makawao, a darling rural town up on higher ground overlooking a sugar cane field. Afterwards we got to have dinner with new found storytelling friends Pat Matsumoto and Kathy Collins.

Pat Masumoto is a 72 year old slam poetry and visual artist on Maui! That’s right: 72 years! Watch out young bloods this lady is a kick! Surely when she steps on the stages of the poetry slam events in Hawaii all eyes, ears and jaws open! One of her signature performance pieces is the “Mother Monologues” a series of anecdotes, stories, and personal experiences both her own and curated through the internet from hundreds of entries from around the world.

Kathy “Tita” Collins is another whirlwind performer involved deeply in the Maui performing arts scene including theater, voice work and formerly as a radio host on a local show where she first introduced “Tita”, the sassy pidgin speaking, block-busting, local girl with serious island attitude.

This article has 2 Comments

  1. Do such things actually exist? I would like to be there! Great pictures and what a colorful variety of entertainers! I for one appreciate the sharing here, Mr. Robert! Mr. Jeff

  2. Well, sure looks like an interesting tour! What a great way to see the Islands. Can hardly wait til you come back again.
    Adela Chu

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