Meet the keiki who are kicking off the first production at Molokai’s new children’s theatre

In a rehearsal space, members of the newly formed Hokulani Children’s Theater of Molokai prepare for the production they’ll present in April.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 4:10 PM HST|Updated: Mar. 21, 2023 at 9:11 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - In a rehearsal space on The Friendly Isle, members of the newly formed Hokulani Children’s Theatre of Molokai prepare for the production they’ll present in April.

The youngsters will star in their own version of “The Legend of Mulan,” Disney’s classic tale of heroes and villains.

Ten-year-old Ty-zyn Bishaw plays the part of Captain Cheng.

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

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

“Wherever they are is good enough as long as you’re trying to be a little bit better. It’s just that process of trying is so important,” she said.

Twenty-two Molokai youth are participating in the play. Their ages range from 6 to 18.

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

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

Boswell has seen amazing progress since rehearsals started earlier this year. She thinks it’s because all of the cast and crew get along.

“When they make a connection with each other, it’ll look a lot better on the stage,” she said.

She believes theater builds self-esteem and discipline. Acting brought her out of her shell when she was a child.

“It was like the first time I didn’t have the weight of the world on my shoulder. I got to process life skills that I needed without being the pressure of me. I got to be somebody else,” she said.

The Molokai youth have done more than memorize their lines.

They built some of the props for the play, spent a day at “Mulan Camp,” and sometimes even act as their own acting coaches.

“They just malama the other kids. They are the ones telling them, ‘That’s not acceptable. You got to try harder,’” Boswell said.

If you live on Molokai or are planning to visit, you have three chances to catch “The Legend of Mulan” – a single show on Friday April 14, and two shows on Saturday the 15th.

Tickets are free for the show that will be staged in the recreation center at Home Pumehana.

“I’m just so thankful to the senior community that we have here on Molokai at Home Pumehana. They let us use the facilities for free,” Boswell said.

Hokulani Children’s Theatre of Molokai will try to put on three plays a year. Boswell is already working on the next one.