Miss Hawaii Visits Children’s Theater
By Jack Kiyonaga, Reporter | Editor
In the week leading up to their first performance of The Legend of Mulan, keiki performers of the Hokulani Children’s Theatre of Molokai (Hokulani CTOM) got a visit from a special guest. Miss Hawaii 2022, Lauren Teruya, shared her own passion for theater, and also spoke with students at Kaunakakai School during her visit to Molokai last Wednesday.
Leading Hokulani’s keiki actors through a series of exercises and warmups, Teruya spoke to the role that theater had played in her own life.
The 24-year-old Oahu native explained that theater “gave me the confidence to want to be on stage.”
Having participated in similar theater programs growing up, Teruya said she hopes to “promote learning in a space that isn’t traditional.”
“A lot of children don’t feel like they are talented, or don’t feel like they are intelligent, and the arts can really bring that out of them. It can spark a new joy, a new passion. That’s really all kids need to stay in school,” said Teruya.
As Miss Hawaii 2022, Teruya has had the opportunity to designate an area of focus for the year. Hers is “art for all,” focusing on filling the gap in arts programs in Hawaii’s public schools.
What attracted Teruya to Hokulani CTOM was its unprecedented debut last weekend.
“The fact that this is the first youth theater program on Molokai, I think that it’s historic and wonderful,” Teruya explained. “I know that [Hokulani CTOM] will continue to grow and grow.”
After guiding the keiki through exercises, Teruya had a chance to watch a dress rehearsal for The Legend of Mulan.
Her presence inspired some young actors to swing harder with their swords, while others improvised lines and props.
“I don’t know if it is because Miss Hawaii is so pretty,” said Hokulani CTOM founder and play director Vicki Boswell, as she asked the actors about the rehearsal jitters.
Taking photos with parents and keiki after the rehearsal, Teruya knew her way around a selfie, having been involved with over 150 events so far this year. The excitement of her role has not faded, however.
“I’ve loved every second of it,” said Teruya.
Hokulani CTOM premiered The Legend of Mulan last Friday and Saturday to a standing room only audience at Home Pumehana’s main hall.