‘Ulalena Story & CharactersAbout Maui Theatre hina moon ulalena

‘Ulalena… There is a wind and rain particular to Maui that rises at twilight. It whispers of other places and and other times, both mythic and real. It blows between daylight and night, between times and worlds. It is hopeful and cleansing.

The ancient Hawaiian name for this wind is ʻUlalena.

From the beginnings of the Hawaiian civilization to the fall of the monarchy, award-winning ‘Ulalena presents the history of Hawai‘i through the stories and legends that have lived through our ancestors. Hele mai, come … join us on a journey through the creation, transformation and rebirth of the Hawaiian islands and its people.

‘Ulalena is as authentically Hawaiian as the Maui wind and twilight rain for which it is named. Contemporary Hawaiian cultural experts drew on traditions preserved in chants and dance to produce this 21st century interpretation of a two-thousand-year-old culture, translation myth to motion and using modern stagecraft to tell ancient tales. This is the powerful story of Maui, of a people rooted in the natural world of their island, of changes brought by the outside world, and the return to those ancestral roots.

‘Ulalena outlines a captivating story of creation, transformation and rebirth – a universal message that crosses many people, places and cultures. Honoring our past is as important as creating our future. We hope you are inspired to celebrate your lineage, sustain the traditions of your past and present, and pass them on through future generations.

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SCENE 1: The Islands are Born…Like the birth of the Hawaiian islands,the Kumulipo (Hawaiian creation chant) begins the endless cycle of life in ancient Hawai‘i. Taro emerges from the ground signifying the first breath of life for the Hawaiian people. A lone man carrying a ka‘ai (woven burial basket) is on a spiritual quest to an unknown destination to provide a final resting place for an ancient ruling chief.

SCENE 2: The Ocean… Navigating by the stars, waves, birds and other natural resources, the first migrators voyaged to Hawai‘i from Tahiti. They pursue their vision of Volcano Goddess Pele and her shark-god brother, Kamohoali‘i. The demigod Ma-ui pulls the islands from the sea with his fishhook.

SCENE 3: The Mythical Forest… The young Ali‘i has a vision of lizard- Goddess Mo‘o who inhabits a waterfall. The trees in the rainforest suddenly come to life as young men and women run playfully among them. Half-man, half-pig Kamapua‘a pursues his passionate love for Pele.

SCENE 4: The Village… Men pound poi from fresh taro roots and women beat kapa (cloth made from tree/plant bark or fibers). The little sister of the young Ali‘i has a vision of the Kapa Goddess while she learns to work to the beat of simple village life in old Hawai‘i.

SCENE 5: The Makahiki… A long white kapa banner honors Lono, the God of Agriculture, and announces the annual celebration of the Makahiki Harvest Festival. Makahiki is a time to give thanks to the deities for the abundance of the year and ask for a prosperous year to come. It was a time for hula, and games that tested and trained the physical and mental abilities of warriors. Work and war were forbidden during these months.

SCENE 6: The European Explorer… The European Explorer arrives and interrupts the climax of the Makahiki Festival. The great white sails reveal a similarity to Lono’s banner. The island inhabitants pledge the highest respect as they believe their God, Lono, has arrived in human form.

SCENE 7: Shadows… Behind a ship’s sail the differences between the two worlds are exposed while foreign elements are introduced. After the death of King Kamehameha, the old kapu system (ancient Hawaiian code of conduct, rules and regulations) is overthrown, resulting in conflict between the old and new ways.

SCENE 8: The Hawaiian Monarchy… The nineteenth century witnesses great changes in Hawaiian political, cultural, economic, and religious life. As the demand for sugar increases, immigrants from around the world are brought to work in the islands’ sugar cane fields.

SCENE 9: The Regenerating Forces of Nature… Pele explodes, reflecting the turbulent emotions of the century. After her devastation comes a time of contemplation, where life begins again under the peaceful lunar light of Hina, the Goddess of the Moon.

REBIRTH: A New Generation of Hawai‘i’s People are Born – restored with hope, inspired by their ancestors, and committed to celebrating their culture. Together they stand, embraced by the ‘Ulalena rain, to face their future.

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