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 Kahana Ho
Kahana Ho is the assistant director and stage manager for Mothers and Sons, the next production at The Actors’ Group.
Ms. Ho considers herself new to theatre, but she as an impressive beginning: she has appeared on stage in “The Vagina Monologues” (2012, 2013), “Kāmau A‘e” (2012), “One Comedy of Erras” (2012), “Yes, I Am” (2013, 2014), “Houseless in Paradise” (2013, 2014), and “Hawai‘i One-Minute Play Festival” (20115, 2016), and “Muses of Hawai‘i” (2016). She has also worked in various productions as set build crew member, dresser, light and sound operator, stage manager, technical director, and assistant director. She is very grateful to be a part of TAGʻs production of Mothers and Sons, a story which is very, very dear to her heart.
Kahana, tell me how you got into Theatre and how long you have been actively involved in the theatre world.
My first theatre experience was The Vagina Monologues, in 2012; I had been out of performing (music) for many years, but after being in TVM, I realized that I missed performing profoundly, and have tried to be involved in and learn as much as possible about theatre., whenever the opportunity is available.
I love the Vagina Monologues! It’s a great production and I’ve had the honour of being involved in two different innovative versions of the monologues. Very inspiring stuff. And with that said, I’m curious about what inspires you! There any particular person in the theatre world that has impacted your work?
I donʻt think that I can pinpoint particular people who have influenced me – EVERY person whom I have had the privilege of sharing time within the theatre has shown me something about how to see, hear, think, feel – how to BE in theatre.
That is beautiful, and I would agree that it is working with people, day in and day out that influences us the most. It is about the process of theatre. For myself, there I am an actor, director, or part of the crew, my process starts early on before everybody meets for the first rehearsal. What’s one of the most important things that you focus on when preparing for a show?
[You need to be] absolutely committed, that is, to trust and believe in the script, the character (if acting), the director, cast and crew.
How do you build this trust and belief in your process, approach to the work?
I’m SOOO just learning; I donʻt know if I can truly say that I have a process, but if I do have one, I hope that it is something along the lines of study, practice, do the background research, then try to forget it and just listen. listen. listen.
Listen, yes … that is excellent advice for all actors and just people in general. But let me move this conversation to Mothers and Sons. As the AD and SM, you spend a lot of time listening to the rehearsals and the script itself. What have you discovered about this play that speaks to you personally?
There is nothing simple or linear about the characters or their relationships. Everyone in the play is complex, nuanced, and real. No one is a cardboard cutout, a stereotype. This is a play that demands the utmost in respect and commitment from everyone involved, and the willingness and courage to let go of your assumptions and discover.
Assumptions, yes. I think we all bring many assumptions to every production, and half of the process of putting together the show is breaking down our assumptions in order to discover the “truth” beneath the lines. Is this one of the challenges you’re experiencing as well, or is there other challenges in this process for you?
Humm, I could go on and on about this one, but to select something, unique … I think every play has its unique challenges; Mothers and Sons, and working with the Ms. Maltby and the cast and crew challenges me to re-examine my assumptions about the characters, about family, and about myself. It has taught me to excavate, excavate, excavate (thank you, you know who you are), to examine what I have dug up, let it go, and excavate yet more.
You are using some very powerful words here: breaking down assumptions, excavate, a sense of uncovering one’s self. Is this what you think the audience will take away with after seeing the show?
It’s so hard, no, impossible to say what I think anyone will walk away with after seeing Mothers and Sons. I donʻt want to force any particular interpretation of a “truth” on them (least of all, my own). I do hope that they will walk out, and feel something in their gut, in their belly, in their heart, that speaks to their own lives. I hope that the “truth” each audience member walks out with fosters a willingness to examine for her or himself what having an open heart means. To them. individually.
Lovely and I hope audiences feel something from their got as well, and I’m sure they will. Thank you very much for sitting down and talking with me today! But before we leave, I’m going to ask you my signature crazy question! Here it goes: If you were to visit on Mars and an ancient Martian invited you for dinner, what might be the main meal?
before the dust swirls red once more
this dark night, chill
stars and a distant glimmering blue, watch
tears and laughter
a serving of dreams
and a sip of
Lovely Kahana! Thank you for that lovely answer!
TAG, you’re it! The world needs theatre and TAG needs you!
Mothers & Sons runs July 8 – 31st. Purchase tickets online at http://www.taghawaii.net or 808-722-6941