Pup­peteer Tom Lee re­turns to Hawaii with new pup­pet tales

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - Front Page -

Tom Lee (Mililani 1991) re­turns to Hawaii next month to di­rect a pup­pet tale about an in­trigu­ing Kauai cow­boy named Kalu­aiko‘olau.

Lee, who is prin­ci­pal per­former for the bun­raku-style pup­pet in Madama But­ter­fly at the Metropoli­tan Opera in New York, has toured the world with La MaMa Ex­per­i­men­tal The­atre Club and teaches scenic de­sign and pup­petry at Sarah Lawrence Col­lege.

He also pro­duced the mul­ti­me­dia Ko‘olau: A True Story

of Kaua‘i, praised by crit­ics for its “in­ti­mate and in­ven­tive retelling of a na­tive Hawai­ian pan­iolo’s re­sis­tance to forced ex­ile to Kalau­papa.”

The show is booked for 7:30 p.m. March 5 in Pa­liku The­atre at Wind­ward Com­mu­nity Col­lege in Ka­neohe. Tick­ets cost $25-$15 in ad­vance or $28-$20 at the door. To pur­chase, call 944-2697. For more in­for­ma­tion, call UH Manoa Out­reach Col­lege at 9568246.

Lee, the son of Sam and state Rep. Marilyn Lee (Mililani-Mililani Mauka), first vis­ited NewYork dur­ing his se­nior year at Mililani High, af­ter winning the state Shake­speare com­pe­ti­tion. A sum­mer pro­gram at UH Hilo also led him to­ward his unique ca­reer in the­ater. “We worked on the story of Mo­mo­taro,” he ex­plained, “not only build­ing the bun­raku-style pup­pet, but a scrolling stage back­ground — some of the same tech­niques I have used in my own pro­duc­tions.”

Ko‘olau also will be per­formed on Kauai, Maui, at UH Hilo and in Waimea’s Kahilu The­atre. Lee and cast also will share the play with chil­dren at Wa­iau Ele­men­tary School March 3 and the WCC drama pro­gram March 4.

Mililani’s Tom Lee trains at a cart pup­pet the­ater in Ha­chioji, Ja­pan in 2005. Photo by Ha­chiojo Ku­rumo.

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