Mothers and Sons: Meet Kainoa Kelly

The following interview is part of the ongoing “Meet the Cast and Crew” series for The Actors’ Group.  Rebecca Lea McCarthy conducts interviews with cast and crew of upcoming productions.

Meet Kainoa Kelly


Kainoa Kelly as Bud Ogden-Porter: Mothers and Sons at TAG

Kainoa Kelly plays the character of Bud Ogden-Porter in Mothers and Sons, the next production at The Actors’ Group.


Kainoa is nine years old, and he just finished third grade at Iolani School. His first stage role was in first grade when he played Tiny Tim in Iolani’s high school production of A Christmas Carol.  He has played Captain Sheng in Mulan and Shere Khan in Jungle Book in school productions.  He studies drums with Von Baron, dance with Jonathan Sypert, and writing with Lois-Ann Yamanaka. He is very grateful to Joyce Maltby for the opportunity to be a part of this production and says thank you to the cast and crew for welcoming him into the family. He is a fan of the work of Walt Disney and hopes to someday work in movies.

Aloha Kainoa, we are also very excited that you’re going to be joining us in this production at The Actors’ Group. Can you tell me a little bit about how you got into theater?

I’ve done plays in school but this is my first grown-up play.

That’s terrific! You must be very excited, and I know that we are very excited to have you with us. You’ve done a lot of theater in school, and I noticed that you’re taking a lot of classes in dance, music, and writing. What influenced you to get into the arts and theater?

My mom is a playwright and she took me to rehearsals from the time I was a baby.  My mom loves the theater and she showed me that theater is where magic happens.

I think your mother’s right, theatre is where the magic happens. Well, because you’ve gone to a lot of rehearsals and  watched a lot of theatre with your mom, you must have a pretty good idea what you need to do in order to be successful.

Practice a lot so you know what you’re doing and you don’t have to worry about trying to remember stuff and can just focus on doing your best and having fun.

That is good advice!  Is there any other advice you might offer someone new to theatre?

I would say to try your best and have fun.

Fun is right!  That’s one of the reasons we all do theatre, and a lot of fun and crazy things happen when you are in Theatre.  Can you tell us about a crazy thing that happened to you when you were doing a show, or when you were going with your mom to a show or rehearsal?

My mom wrote a play that had lots of swear words in it.  During the show, she made me sit in the light booth and cover my ears during certain scenes.  Afterwards, I would ask her what I had missed. She still won’t tell me.


That’s funny!  That’s for sharing that with us. Let’s turn to the play Mothers and Sons, what is it about this particular play that you like the most?

I like the way Bud’s fathers talk to him because I like when adults explain things to me like that, like they trust me to understand.

You have a good point, there are many adults who talk down to young people rather than talk to them. We can learn a lot from plays. With this play, do you find that there’s anything you have to do that is particularly challenging?

I am older than my character, so I have to think about what it was like to be Bud’s age.

That is an interesting challenge! I’m sure you’ll figure out how to make it happen. If there is one thing you want the audience to take away with them, after they leave the play, but with that be?

Like Bud says, families just grow.

That’s a beautiful lesson. I want to thank you very much for taking the time to give us this interview. I’m now going to ask you that crazy question that I’m asking everyone involved in Mothers and SonsIf you were to visit  Mars and an ancient Martian invited you for dinner, what might be the main meal?

Pizza the Hut  (like Jabba the Hutt… get it?  )  I hope they serve grilled cheese sandwiches. And fries.

Hahahaha! I do get it and I hope they serve grilled cheese sandwiches and fries too!  Thank you again for sitting down and talking to us Kainoa 🙂

TAG, you’re it! The world needs theatre and TAG needs you!

Mothers & Sons runs July 8 – 31st. Purchase tickets online at or 808-722-6941

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