COURTESY THE ACTORS GROUP
Roberta, a homeless woman, is befriended by Lynette in "Merry Christmas Roberta."
TAG's play "Merry Christmas Roberta" focuses on a homeless woman
The Actors Group's latest stage production is a holiday story about friendship, forgiveness and the love of family.
'Merry Christmas Roberta (A Chinatown Story)'
Place: Yellow Brick Studio, 625 Keawe St.
Time: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, and 4 p.m. Sundays, through Jan. 6
Tickets: $15 general, $13 seniors and $12 students
Call: 550-8457 or visit honoluluboxoffice.com
In "Merry Christmas Roberta," Alvin and Noreen Amino (Eric Nemoto and Ona Marie), owners of a small convenience store in Chinatown, find out that their young daughter Lynette (Amber Hazelwood) is giving the store's fruits, as well as her school lunch money, to Roberta (Laurie Tanoura), a homeless person, every morning when she walks to school.
The drama is an original work adapted for the stage by Michael Wurth from a screenplay by TAG founder Nemoto and Jon Brekke.
"I remember living in Chinatown when Wendy's was on the corner of Nuuanu and Hotel," wrote Brekke via e-mail. "There was a homeless man who said his name was Robert. I conversed a few times with Robert and took him inside Wendy's to get him some food. Everyone in the restaurant looked at me and Robert with such disgust that it hit me. How hard it is to help, how hard it is to have compassion. How unlucky one must be to become homeless.
"Then this Thanksgiving story hit me, and I thought it would be more inspiring if the homeless person was a woman, thus 'Merry Christmas Roberta.'"
Brekke went on to write that "after nearly a decade of collaborating with Eric Nemoto on writing a few theatrical plays and numerous screenplays, there remains an ease that is neither definable, nor striking, it is simply a natural process. We don't hang out, don't do the family BBQs, etc. Yet, knowing that 'Roberta' is his wife's favorite read, I get that warm feeling as if I've made my own family proud."