Meet the keiki who are opening the first show at Molokai’s new children’s theater

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – In a rehearsal space on Friendship Island, members of the newly formed Hokulani Molokai Children’s Theater are preparing for their April performance.

The youngsters will star in their own version of The Legend of Mulan, the classic Disney tale of heroes and villains.

Ten-year-old Ti-zin Bishou plays the role of Captain Cheng.

“I like that he’s kind of bossy on the outside but kind of nice on the inside,” she said.

Former art teacher Vicki Boswell started CTOM to inspire young people in Molokai to spread their wings through theater and the arts.

“Wherever they are is good enough as long as you try to get a little better. It’s just that the process of trying is so important,” he said.

22 young people from Molokai are participating in the play. Their age ranges from 6 to 18 years.

Twelve-year-old Adia Forcinelli is one of the three girls who play the lead role.

“I’m not really shy. It was just easy,” he said. “I was really excited and wanted to do it.”

Boswell has seen remarkable progress since training began earlier this year. He thinks it’s because the entire cast and crew get along.

“When they bond with each other, it’s going to be so much better on stage,” he said.

He believes that theater creates self-awareness and discipline. Acting brought him out of his childhood.

“It was like the first time I didn’t take the burden of the world on my shoulders. I need to develop the life skills I need without stressing me out. I have to be someone else,” he said.

Molokai youth have done more than memorize their lines.

They make some props for the play, spend a day at Camp Mulan, and sometimes even act as their own acting coach.

“They just bully other kids. They’re the ones who tell them, ‘This is unacceptable. You need to try harder,'” Boswell said.

If you live in Molokai or are planning to visit, you have three chances to see The Legend of Mulan – one performance on Friday April 14th and two performances on Saturday the 15th.

Tickets are free for the show at the Pumehana Home Entertainment Center.

“I’m very grateful to the senior community that we have in Molokai at Home Pumehana. They let us use the facility for free,” Boswell said.

The Hokulani Children’s Theater of Molokai tries to put on three plays a year. Boswell is already working on his turn.

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