Kid Shakes 2019 presents ‘Hamajang Hamlet’

  • Courtesy photo Actors in the summer 2019 Kid Shakes production in Kalakaua Park rehearse under the banyan tree in downtown Hilo. “Hamajang Hamlet” is a local-style comedic version of Shakespeareʻs well-known tragedy, designed for family entertainment.

The Hilo Community Players presents “Hamajang Hamlet” at 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday and July 26-27 under the banyan tree in Kalakaua Park in downtown Hilo as part of the sixth annual Kid Shakes program.

The family offering will share the stage with the evening performance of the full-length version of “Hamlet,” the Players’ 42nd annual Shakespeare in Park offering.

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Admission is free.

Written by Jackie Pualani Johnson, “Hamajang Hamlet” is a fun, local-focused take on Shakespeare’s greatest tragedy. Johnson translates the drama into a short but sweet local tragicomedy, incorporating local humor, Pidgin language, music and Big Island familiarity.

Hamlet becomes Hammie, one “down and out” kinda kid, struggling with the shocking death of his father, his waning relationship with his girlfriend, Nai‘a, and the upcoming surf competition.

The ensemble is led by James Henry Kuliaikapono O’Connor, who takes on the role of Hammie, giving the infamous character a local heart. Neva Kanani Supe-Roque appears as Gertzie, Hammie’s muddah, whose relationship with the suspicious Uncle (Mark Lewis) makes Hammie all hamajang. Tyler Dela Cruz plays Nai‘a, Hammie’s girlfriend, who continually tries to help him through all the upsetting changes in his life. Ocean Bardwell-Jones is Kimo, rival surfer to Hammie and Nai‘a’s brother, who acts as a leader of the surfer ensemble. Nohea Lerma portrays Fortinbras, or Brah, a new surfer to the beach, who poses a considerable threat to Kimo’s and Hammie’s victory in the surf competition.

Hammie’s L.A. cousins, Rosie and Gilly, are portrayed by Kid Shakes veterans Zoe Rose and Cyrus Bower, respectively. The ensemble is filled out by surfer mokes and moke-ettes: Sky Bardwell-Jones, Lila Sophia Makaaloa Debus, Isabel Taylor, Cori Dela Cruz, Maura Brewer, Emma Naukana-Christensen, Betty Jo Lewis, Otis Lewis, Osei Munafo-Watts, Vaea Higgins, Callum Anderson, Erin Smith and Nikki Gour.

Keeping watch over the beach are the Lifeguard and Jr. Lifeguard, played by the father and daughter team of Allan and Sequoia Anderson.

Joining Johnson and the cast on this huaka‘i is director Angie Nakamura, who celebrates her 15th year in theatre, which began with 2004’s “Romeo and Juliet,” directed by the director of the evening “Hamlet,” Catherine Williams.

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Guiding the kid players through the music is Christopher Tomich, while Rachel Klein lends her talent with choreography. Scenery for both shows was designed by Williams, with assistance from Clarke Riedy, and constructed by Steve Peyton. Sound design is handled by Apollo Harris, and Erin McClure acts as the production’s stage manager.

“Hamajang Hamlet” hopes to deliver a fun beach party atmosphere. Try come watch um!

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