Unai appraised for Okinawan theater performance in Hawaii

Unai appraised for Okinawan theater performance in Hawaii

On October 27, Unai actresses performed the drama Teijo gwa at the Hawaii Okinawa Center,.(Photograph provided by the group).


November 13, 2013 Ryukyu Shimpo

On October 13 at the Hawaii Okinawa Center, the theatrical group Unai held their first performance in Hawaii. While Ryukyuan performing arts are popular in Hawaii, performances of Okinawan theater are rare. In the audience questionnaire, 152 out of 170 respondents wrote that the performance satisfied them. On October 25, the group held a workshop at the University of Hawaii.

The Unai support group suggested the performance to the United Hawaii Okinawa Association at the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in 2011. The 23 performers and staff were able to travel to Hawaii thanks to a grant from the Japan Foundation.

On October 27, they performed dances such as Bashofu created by Yoshiko Hazama and lyric drama such as Nachijin nuru dunchi created by Shosei Uema. The performance of Bashofu brought a nostalgic air over the audience.

At the workshop, in addition to the dance and comic drama performances, Shoko Yonaha, who is a PhD candidate at the University of the Ryukyus, and Professor Masae Suzuki of Kyoto Sangyo University, introduced the history of Unai and fantasy drama.

Because they were unable to bring the large items for the stage set, the association created them, using used potted plants for trees. Ryukyu Koten Afuso Ryu Ongaku Kenkyu Choichi Kai Hawaii Chapter helped make the subtitles and the Ryusei Honryu Ryuko Kai lent some small stage props. After the costs in Hawaii were covered, the group presented the remaining proceeds to the association.

The group leader, Ritsuko Nakasone, said, “We received a standing ovation for the first time. The success of the show was just fantastic. I am very grateful for those who have supported us. We would like to come back to perform again.”

(English translation by T&CT, Megumi Chibana and Mark Ealey)

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