First, I would like to thank all the volunteers and TAG’s well-wishers for their support and kind words. As many of you know, The Actors’ Group located in the Dole Cannery got hit by last night’s storm, flooding the theatre with 7 inches to a foot of water, and there was nothing we could do to stop the events in the end.
We were all worried about the oncoming storm and started planning for it on July 22; how should we prepare for the potential events that were going to happen with Darby? Twice in succession last year, the theatre flooded and so we devised a barrier system to protect it from water and additional damage. Board member Dennis Proulx was the brains behind this particular operation, designing a wall made from two thick doors, plastic, and numerous sandbags. Our barrier worked and we were able to protect the theater from additional flooding issues, last year.
So, we were worried about Darby, but we felt prepared. We had successfully held back the water before, and we had a plan of action ready to go for this upcoming storm. Unfortunately, the doors we used from last year were warped and no longer useful and so a trip was made to purchase two more doors at Habitat for Humanity, a roll of plastic, and we got the sandbags out, standing ready for deployment. We then watched the weather closely.
Dennis, always on the lookout, kept us all up to date regularly over email with pictures and updates of the storm:
“Please keep in mind that I am not a meteorologist, just a pragmatist.”
President Eric Nemoto was monitoring the situation, ready to make the call: the call for us all to come down there and barricade the theater.
Because Mothers and Sons is still running at TAG, and since it looked like the storm would not hit until late on Sunday, we waited until after the matinee performance to the theater.
Dennis and Eric went down to get things started, and Dennis stood vigil at the theatre, ready to ring the alarm if hands were needed to bail the water out. At first, all seemed fine and Dennis even seemed at ease:
“I’m here now and the water is nowhere near where it was last year. Drains seem to be handling it so far.”
Indeed we were all hoping, praying that the storm wouldn’t deliver much. But everything turned in a moment.
At 7:20 PM we got the first flash flood alert. Eric immediately joined Dennis at the theatre. I was just finishing up a performance of Mamma Mia at Diamond Head theatre, on my way home I got Dennis’ message that all hand was needed on deck.
As Dennis and Eric Started to bail out the theater, I got on my bike and rode down to the theater from Ala Moana Mall. I was out of the loop about the storm while on my bike and had no idea what I was about to drive into. Many of the roads were closed, and we did not want more people driving down to the theatre in the storm that unleashed itself. Our primary concern was that people stay safe.
It was thundering and lightning, and what I saw astounded me, telling me what I already knew by the time I reached TAG: I was going to get there too late. On the King’s Street bike path, two blocks before hitting Blaisdell, I peddled through flooded streets. Slowly but surely, as I rode past the Queen’s Palace, my bike started to disappear into the water.
The offramp from N. Nimitz Hwy to Iwilei Rd was almost impassable. There was one car stuck in the middle of that offramp, water creeping up to the windows. I got off my bike and pushed it, as well as myself the rest of the way to the theater, truly in awe of what I saw all around me.
The entire area was flooded, and TAG was under 7 inches to a foot of water in places. Walking out into the Dole mall, I was greeted with more of the same, the Dole building was totally taken over by water.
Dennis and Eric were exhausted. The electricity in the theatre had gone out (emergency electricity was working in the mall area), and we were all sitting out in the mall area stunned by how quickly and how completely everything had flooded. It had taken me 20 minutes to get to TAG and in that time the floodgates lifted. As Eric recounted in an email to many in the TAG family:
“I tell you, if I didn’t see it with my own eyes I wouldn’t have believed it. I’ve seen devastation before, and also a bit of the high water, but what I never got a sense of before last night was the ‘speed’ in which this can happen. I never thought it was possible. I actually thought if you saw the water in the distance we’d still have plenty of time to do something. Wrong. If you see the water, it’s already too late.”
Right now we are regrouping and working on our rebuilding plan. If you have signed up for TAG’s email updates, then you have already received a note from us about our intentions to persevere. We are working to get the theatre in shape for the final weekend of Mothers and Sons, our last show in the 2015-2016 season. We are seeking volunteers for this effort, and if you can volunteer, please call us at 808-783-9700 or email Frankie at: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will update our patrons and the wider theatre community through email and this blog. Mahalo for your support.
Rebecca Lea McCarthy
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TAG-The Actors’ Group
The Brad Powell Theatre
The Shops at Dole Cannery
650 Iwilei Road, Suite 101
Honolulu, HI 96817
Order tickets online: http://www.taghawaii.net
Validated parking in Regal Theater parking structure.
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TAG is honored to be a member of Hawaii State Theatre Council. The mission of HSTC is to promote live theatre in Hawaii and encourage excellence in its management, performance, and production.