COURTESY THE ACTORS OHANA
Actor Shane Thomas, center, wants some answers from Blade Rogers, left, and Buck Ashford in a rehearsal for The Actors Ohana's "The Lieutenant of Inishmore."
Putting on bloody play is a chancy act
Scott Rogers saw a play in New York that he thought should be staged in Honolulu. He pitched it to local community theater groups. They weren't interested. And so he decided to do "The Lieutenant of Inishmore" himself.
'The Lieutenant of Inishmore'
Presented by the Actors Ohana
Place: The Academy of Film and Television, 1174 Waimanu St. #A
Time: 7:30 Fridays and Saturdays, starting Saturday and running through June 30
Tickets: $13 to $15
Call: 550-8457 or visit honoluluboxoffice.com
"It was the best reviewed show on Broadway last season, and it's amazingly great, and everybody (here) was kind of afraid of it 'cause it is very, very bloody and it's not politically correct. But it's hilarious; it's really funny," the veteran TV director explained.
In fact, Rogers was so "blown away" that he and the newly organized Actors Ohana built an air-conditioned, 40-seat performance space in his Academy of Film and Television in Kakaako so the show could be produced here.
"The Lieutenant of Inishmore" is the latest hit by playwright Martin McDonagh, and those few hardy souls who caught the Lizard Loft's production of an earlier McDonagh hit, "The Pillowman," at the ARTS at Marks Garage last August are probably eagerly anticipating the play's opening Saturday.
In "The Pillowman," we watched ill-matched detectives turn a murder investigation into a personal power struggle as they torture a suspected pedophile/serial killer. "Inishmore" follows the carnage that ensues when an Irish Liberation Army enforcer (or terrorist, depending on one's politics) returns home from an assignment and discovers someone has killed his beloved cat.
REVIEWS of the Broadway production describe "Inishmore" as being both a hilarious farce and a well-written indictment of the self-perpetuating violence that plagues many parts of the world. It was also reported that 6 gallons of fake blood were used in each performance.
Rogers said his actors are up to the challenges.
"It's very heavy technically because of all the effects and things -- meaning blood and guts and gore -- but we've been doing it (with) a very industrious group of actors coming up with ways to 'blow blood' as it were, and I think we have a really awesome show. I guarantee you this: It's different from anything that's ever been to Hawaii -- ever!"
He added: "'Pillowman' had humor, but this is comedy -- but very, very dark -- and a love story, and really great performances. The actors are doing a tremendous job."
Rogers said that although the Actors Ohana can't duplicate everything that was done on Broadway, the cast has been working on Irish accents "for months."
While a new theater group seems to pop up in Honolulu at least once a year as actors and playwrights seek to find a venue or fill a particular niche, Rogers said that TAO isn't this year's new flavor in the local theater scene.
"We're really not. It's not about doing community theater and seasons of shows," he said. Rogers went on to say that "we didn't just build the set, we had to build the theater." Building a group from the ground up is "a little bit bigger than going in and directing for Manoa Valley Theatre, where you have a whole crew of people on staff," he said. "It's been good, it's been worth it, but I really think the next thing we'll do is another film."
Not that the work put into building a small theater was wasted. The space will become a classroom and work area for Rogers' Academy of Film and Television when "Inishmore" closes at the end of next month.
Rather than rush to meet the deadlines of a conventional theater season, Rogers and his group wanted to "focus on the work, as opposed to seasons and serving our subscribers, and making it good quality," he said. "We'll take it one project at a time."