Mendokusai Debuts at Kumu Kahua

Mendokusai Open’s KKT’s 53rd Season

Mendokusai Malia Aiello, Jodi Graham, Denise Aiko Chinen

Malia Aiello, Jodi Graham, Denise Aiko Chinen

HONOLULU — Kumu Kahua Theatre launches its 53rd Season with Mendokusai by playwright Eric Stack, in a production sponsored in part by the Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority. The powerful contemporary drama will premiere at the historic downtown Honolulu theatre on Thursday, August 17, followed by five weeks of show dates running through Sunday, September 17, 2023. Bringing audiences into the story of Kūkunu, a man who has become disconnected from culture and community, Mendokusai will debut under the direction of Justina Mattos.


“I wanted to support this show because it emerged from our online Keakalehua play reading group, where it received its initial reading before winning the Hawaiʻi prize in the Kumu Kahua playwriting competition, and eventually being selected for production,” said Mattos, who serves as Chair of the Performing Arts department at the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo and has a long and distinguished affiliation with Kumu Kahua. “It makes me happy to help support local playwrights in bringing their works to the stage.”

Script Synopsis: After losing his mother during the 2018 lava flow, Kūkunu has taken refuge in a new marriage. However, his daughter’s dangerous position at the forefront of the TMT controversy forces him to intervene, setting in motion a series of events which not all will survive. Through this crisis, we learn that someone who is “broken” may not be able to love in an ordinary way; but may instead love in a most extraordinary way.

Thomas Chock of Honolulu will play the role of Kūkunu, taking the stage with a tremendous local cast including Denise-Aiko Chinen (Honolulu), Deenie Tagudin Kam (Honolulu), Sharon Garcia Doyle (Honolulu), Alysia Kepaʻa (Nānākuli), Justin Kawamura (Honolulu), Kevin Molina (Waipahu), Kekoa Graham (Honolulu) and Jodi Kaopuiki Graham (Honolulu). A Talk Story opportunity with the cast and crew will be offered immediately after the show on August 25.

Malia Aiello, Thomas Chock

Malia Aiello, Thomas Chock

Playwright Erick Stack is from Kea‘au, Hawai‘i, where he also teaches at Kamehameha High School. Many of his works have particular focus on the island of Molokai. He is the author of Mū, Vitae, Brought to Bear, and Kūpe‘e (winner of the 2019 Kumu Kahua Playwriting Contest). He has also written the book and lyrics for the Hawaiian operas, Hā‘upu, Kū I Ka Mana, and The Battle of Kuamo‘o. His monologue Hae Upside-Down was produced for The Reset Theatre Coalition series.

Tickets to all shows in Kumu Kahua Theatre’s 53rd Season slate are on sale now, with evening and matinee performances available. Patrons are encouraged to reserve seats as soon as possible at or by contacting the theatre box office at (808) 536-4441. Tickets prices range from $5-$25, with showtimes offered Thursdays-Sundays (7PM Thu-Sat and 2PM Sun).

Kumu Kahua productions are supported in part by the NME Fund of the Hawaiʻi Community Foundation, the Island Insurance Foundation, The State Foundation on Culture and the Arts, through appropriations from the Legislature of the State of Hawaiʻi, The AAPI Community Fund, The Richard Aadland Fund, The Hawaiʻi Tourism Authority, The Honolulu Star- Advertiser, The John R. Halligan Charitable Fund, Spectrum/Charter Communications, ABC Stores, the Gloria Kosasa Gainsley Fund, Hawaiʻi Public Radio, H. Hawaii Media, Simply Storage, The Kim Coco Fund for Justice of the Iwamoto Family Foundation, Vacations Hawaiʻi, Zippy’s Restaurants, Highway Inn, Generations Magazine, CVS/Longs Drugs, HMSA, Hawaiian Electric, MonkeyPod, Edric Sakamoto, Ron and Rachel Heller, Leonard and Charlotte Chow, and other foundations, businesses, and loyal patrons.


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