CINDY ELLEN RUSSELL / CRUSSELL@STARBULLETIN.COM
Rea Fox is silhouetted behind a microphone during a rehearsal of "Hawaii Homeless Companion" at Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church. The radio-style play will takes place at the church on Saturday, as a benefit for programs for the homeless.
Laughter helps serious cause
Hawaii entertainers combine efforts to raise cash to help the homeless
In the 2005 version of "Hawaiian Homeless Companion," musician and UH professor Jon Osorio performed a skit with Kehaulani Watson. "She had da kine pidgin," Osorio said in character. "You know, not Kalihi, more like Kaimuki, maybe even Kam School. Was the way she wen say 'aloha.' Like she was escorting one tour group or hosting one cooking show on K5!"
The variety show also included hula, songs to offend all ethnic groups, powerful poetry about homelessness, and satirical advertisements from the "official sponsor," the Shoyu Advisory Board. It was all part of an effort to raise $3,000 for Angel Network Charities, a nonprofit dedicated to homeless relief.
"We're not the kind of organization that can sell $250-a-plate dinners," said Christiane Lucas, a leader in the Angel Network and producer of "Hawaiian Homeless Companion."
The idea originated three years ago when Lucas, frustrated by the typical fundraising efforts, began brainstorming new possibilities. "I started thinking about things that were fun for me and about how to get people to enjoy spending money on Angel Network. I like 'A Prairie Home Companion,' and we have a lot of really talented people in our community."
So she organized the show in 2005 and revived it this year with all new material. Her goal is to raise $5,000, which allows the group to seek matching funds from other Lutheran charities.
Writers and performers donating their time include Osorio, Billy Sage and Bruce Kau. "Prairie Home Companion" fans should look for "The Adventures of Bruddah Niele, P.I." (instead of Guy Noir), amusing spots from "official sponsor" Mapuana's Mapunapuna Manapua, keiki dancers from the Movement Center and slam poetry from Jamaica Osorio.
Several skits challenge the audience to examine the homeless situation in Hawaii more compassionately. But Lucas made sure to "balance the funny with the more difficult material."
The Angel Network provides a food bank for the homeless a couple of days each week. It also offers clothing, showers, laundry services and phone calls.
Most of all, it's an opportunity for fellowship. "You're accepted," said Lucas. "A lot of times there isn't anything we can do, but we can at least listen and give food. There are plenty of homeless people on the beaches. It's not talked about but they are really there. And they are our friends."
'Hawaiian Homeless Companion'
A benefit for Angel Network Charities, to help Hawaii's homeless:
» On stage: 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday
» Place: Calvary by the Sea Lutheran Church, Aina Haina
» Tickets: $10, $5 children
» Call: 550-8457 or visit www.honoluluboxoffice.com