• Todd Farley

Moʻolelo o ke Koa

Theatre for cultural transformation and social justice is rising in the awareness of the world of academia. There are new professorates in Theatre for Social Justice, and the discussion in the theatre classroom is centered on more than just Hollywood or Broadway, but about the world stage. Perhaps with our current US President, the world is awakening to the need to confront social injustice, bias, and the tendency of governments to “turn a blind-eye” toward real problems, while distracted by their own created fake politics—that they then condemn or condone. While politics plague our world, its people face unaddressed oppressions and what appears to be an impending doom. Ok, perhaps a bit too dramatic, but there is a new wave of theatre coming to address the woes of our world… I’m glad to be part of that movement. In that spirit, I’m excited to announce a new production of l’Histoire du Soldat by Stravinsky is 100 years old this year and originally performed in French with eight ensemble musicians, four actors, and one dancer. It tells the story of post-war soldier who sells out to the devil for wealth and power. In Moʻolelo o ke Koa, I translated and adapted the original French script into English, which in turn was translated into Hawaiian (ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi). In my adaptation, the story strongly addresses the issues of colonialism and materialism, which are topics at the core of social conflict in the Hawaiian Islands. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa and Chamber Music Hawaii are sponsoring the concerts to take place in January 2019 at local theatres. The difficulties and cultural losses that have taken place in nations around the world due to ‘colonialism’ and ‘materialism’ are a very real concern and growing issue being addressed in Oceania and the wider world. First nations are starting to reclaim their traditions, and in some cases their lands. Of course, such a movement comes with a lot of political problems, and contradictory, even embattled ideals. After the First World War (also thought to be the War to end all wars…. Oops… that didn’t happen), Stravinsky wrote about a common soldier’s traumatic reentry into common life, a condition of many that later will be associated with PTSD. We all know that war brings many horrors, and wars are fought over ideologies, cultures and borders and its victims are the common people and their place in the world. In my version Stravinsky we are looking at Hawaii in the early 1900’s before the overthrow of the Hawaiian Kingdom, when the Hawaiians were first beginning to wrestle with colonizers and the temptation of materialism … enter the devil…




[3]Somewhere between Kona and Hilo, the long road is before him. Where is he going? Who can say?

[4]On foot he has walked, slept, awoke and walked again. Where is he going? Who can say?

He doesn’t know himself. He doesn’t know anything more than we do. He is going onward because he has to leave everything behind. All of his riches are gone, nothing is left. He got rid of it all. Without saying a thing to anyone, he left. Once again, he travels, only this time doesn’t carry the bag on his back, [5] this time his back is against Hilo, he has boarded a ship to a place unknown. He will sail far away, wondering, travelling, sailing, then once again walking, and walking.


He arrives in another land, with a village at the edge of the sea. He comes to an Inn. He enters and orders a drink. Then he looks around him, sees the stained glass windows and the fine muslin curtains bound by silken cords of red. The curtains are a beautifully white with flowery embroidery that moves in the wind. And what is this? Suddenly, the people in the Inn drop what they are doing at the sound of the drums. Beating drums: the drums are beating, beating the story of the plight of the royal princess.She is deathly ill: she doesn’t sleep, nor eat, nor speak. The King of the realm announces, through the beating drum, that the man who heals his daughter and raises her off her death bed, that man will be hers to wed.

(the Devil, dressed as a local, approaches Koa)


Hello sir! I know that you don’t know me, but I recognize you as a soldier. That makes us comrades; and when I say you come in, I said to myself ...

[In Hawaiian]


[3] Aia ia ma waena o Kona me Hilo ma ke ala loa. I hea ʻo ia e hele ai? Na wai lā e kuhi aku?

[4] Hele wāwae ʻo ia, hele liʻiliʻi, hoʻomaha, hiamoe, ala, a hele wāwae hou. Ma hea ʻo ia e hele ai? Na wai lā e kuhi aku?

ʻAʻohe ona ʻike iā ia iho. ʻAʻohe ʻike. I mua ana ʻo ia no ka mea ua pono ʻo ia e waiho i kona

waiwai ma hope. Ua lilo kona waiwai, ua pau. Ua kūʻai aku, ua hāʻawi aku a pau wale ka waiwai. Hele wāwae hou ana ʻo ia akā ʻaʻohe ona ʻeke ma ke kua. Ua kau ʻo ia i ka moku. Ma hea lā? ʻAʻole ʻo ia ʻike. Holo, holo ana ʻo ia ā pae aku la a hoʻomaka hou ʻo ia i ka hele wāwae ʻana.


Hōʻea ʻ o ia ma ka ʻāina ʻē ma kekahi kūlana kauhale liʻiliʻi. Komo ʻo ia ma ka Hale Inu a kāhea ʻo ia i inu. Nānā ʻo ia i ʻō a i aneʻi a ʻike ʻo ia i ka puke aniani kalakoa me nā pākū makalena hoʻohiluhilu. ʻEmo ʻole ka manawa, huli nā kānaka a pau i waho. Ua kani ka pahu, kani, kanikē nā pahu. Kūkala ʻia ka moʻolelo o ke kamāliʻiwahine a me ke kuahaua a ka Mōʻīkāne. ʻAne make ke kamaliʻiwahine a inā hiki I kekahi kāne ke hoʻōla iā ia, i wahine male ke kamāliʻiwahine iā ia,.

(the Devil, dressed as a local, approaches Koa)


E ke kanaka, aloha. ʻAʻole kamaʻaina ʻoe me aʻu akā ʻike au he koa nō ʻoe. No laila he mau hoa pūʻali koa kāua. I kou komo ʻana mai, ua manaʻoihola au e hele...

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