Uchinaaloha – Lee Tonuchi’s Newest Play Touches on Cultural Understanding and Preservation

Uchinaaloha – Lee Tonuchi’s Newest Play Touches on Cultural Understanding and Preservation

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Gwen Battad Ishikawa
Commentary

“See, I wanna do someting for help da Okinawan people. Da Okinawan ladies. Especially da ones who live away from Okinawa. Okinawa. (sighs) Lotta these Okinawan womens is social outcasts in these diasporic communities. Not because dey eat different, talk different, but because dey simply look different. Because of their hairy arms dey shame go out and make da friend. Das why I tinking, you know how dey get panty hose for da legs, what about panty hose for da arms? For all da Okinawan aunties. We can even call ‘em Aunty Hose.” A scene from “UchinaAloha”

If my conversational banter with Lee Tonouchi while interviewing him about his new play, “UchinaAloha,” along with the above dialogue is any indication of how the production is going to go, Kumu Kahua audiences will be sure to love it. Tonouchi had me in stitches during our “talk story” interview a couple weeks ago, and playing back the recording, I was still cracking up at the office.

“UchinaAloha,” pronounced smoothly as one word (I was scolded by Tonouchi after breaking it up into two separate words.), is directed by Reiko Ho and kicks off Kumu Kahua Theatre’s 46th season.

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