Originally produced by Kumu in 1990 and remounted as the 1991 summer tour, Kumu Kahua Theatre brings Tea to its downtown Honolulu theatre on 46 Merchant Street.  The show opens August 25 and runs through September 25.

            Kumu Kahua Theatre is an air-conditioned, intimate 100 seat performance space; to avoid disappointment, patrons should purchase tickets in advance.  Performances are at 8pm Thursday through Saturday, with a 2pm Sunday matinee.  Tickets can be purchased with a credit card by calling 536-4441, or by visiting our Box Office between 11am and 3pm Monday through Friday.  Ticket prices range from $16 to $5.  Tickets go on sale August 15.

            Tea tells the story of five Japanese women, all World War II brides who immigrated to the United States with American servicemen husbands.  Teruko, Chizue, Setsuko, and Atsuko meet at the home of Himiko, who has committed suicide.  They have volunteered to clean up Himiko’s house.  In the course of the play they drink tea together and come to know each other and Himiko, who’s restless spirit haunts in play.  The women share traumatic experiences of living in a country devastated by war, their courtships and marriages, and their struggles to create lives in a new country.  Many of the incidents dramatized in the play are true, based on interviews with Japanese women living in Kansas.  In a playwright’s note, Houston described these women: “Without being tough, they are strong.  Without being weak, they are gentle. Without being aggressive, they are survivors.”

            Pan Asian Repertory Theatre Senior Artists Ensemble member Kati Kuroda will direct the play.  Ms. Kuroda previously directed Chen's Eating Chicken Feet and Baroga’s Talk Story for Kumu Kahua.  The production includes set design by Dan Gelbmann and costumes by Alvin Chan.  The cast features Kumu veterans Karen Hironaga, Blossom Lam Hoffman, Denise Aiko Chinen.  Tess Yong Kim and Christine Yano will be making their Kumu Kahua debut in Tea.

            Kumu Kahua productions are being supported by the State Foundation on Culture and the Arts celebrating more than thirty years of culture and the arts in Hawai‘i (with funding from the National Endowment for the Arts); the Mayor’s Office of Culture and the Arts, Mufi Hannemann, Mayor; The Hawai‘i Community Foundation; and Foundations, Businesses and Patrons.

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Copyright 2005, Roger W. Tang

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